There is no denying it—in our day, corporations are people. That was the argument that protected Hobby Lobby from obeying the contraception mandate of Obamacare. And it’s also the reason why corporations like Google are allowed to give as much as they want to political candidates under free speech laws:
Google’s political action committee, NetPAC, has spent more money on political campaigns this year than Goldman [Sachs], at $1.43m, just edging out the $1.4m by the bank that is famous for its political connections. That is a marked change from the last midterm election in 2010, when Google spent only a third as much as Goldman.
Technology companies are spending big money this year to build political support as Washington debates issues critical to the sector from tax, to increasing the number of visas for skilled migrants to greater oversight of US intelligence agencies.
Ever since Citizens United, we’ve seen a monumental increase in campaign spending from corporations. And I don’t think the trend is very promising. Think about the fact that no single person (other than perhaps Bill Gates) has the power to sway an election with his own money like a corporation does. If Google wants so-and-so elected to serve their own interests, what can informed voters really do about it? Not much.
And don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with Google as such. But that company is humongous. And if it were dead set on getting one person over another elected, it’s not so farfetched to think Google has all the resources at its disposal to make that happen.
Crony capitalism is already destroying the middle class. Big corporations spend big money to get their guy elected, and that guy, as you would expect, feels some pressure to return the favor in the form of “favorable” legislation and votes. I would prefer if legislation was crafted by people who don’t have such incentives. And I’d like to believe my elected officials are representing the actual people in this country. Not the virtual people created by incorporation.