November 12, 2006

Is There a Limit to Corporate Rapacity?

The corporate mentality that motivates tax breaks for the rich is itself richly reflected in the new advertisement from Lexus touting its new system that permits the car to park itself. The wealthy (the Lexus is not for the average worker) are too busy watching stock quotes on their Blackberrys to bother with parking the car themselves. This is a kind of wanna-be limousine driver for the not-yet super-rich.

Another delicious example of corporate rapacity can be found in a recent story and editorial from the New York Times. Here's part of the story by Stephen Labaton:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 — Frustrated with laws and regulations that have made companies and accounting firms more open to lawsuits from investors and the government, corporate America — with the encouragement of the Bush administration — is preparing to fight back.
Now that corruption cases like Enron and WorldCom are falling out of the news, two influential industry groups with close ties to administration officials are hoping to swing the regulatory pendulum in the opposite direction. The groups are drafting proposals to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms from criminal cases brought by federal and state prosecutors as well as a stronger shield against civil lawsuits from investors.
Although the details are still being worked out, the groups’ proposals aim to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do on behalf of clients, to force prosecutors to target individual wrongdoers rather than entire companies, and to scale back shareholder lawsuits.
The groups hope to reduce what they see as some burdens imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, landmark post-Enron legislation adopted in 2002. The law, which placed significant new auditing and governance requirements on companies, gave broad discretion for interpretation to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The groups are also interested in rolling back rules and policies that have been on the books for decades.

Here's part of the editorial from today's edition:

It seems almost unbelievable, then, that corporate America would pick this moment to beg for relaxed regulation and enforcement, as well as more protection from investors’ lawsuits. But as Stephen Labaton reported recently in The Times, industry groups are seeking broad new protections for corporations and accounting firms, not through legislation but from the Bush administration through agency rule changes.

Corporate profits are never high enough. Corporate protections are never strong enough. Corporate personhood must be protected above and beyond any individual American's protections or rights. Whatever can be done to protect, serve, soothe and bouy corporations must be done. And while we're at it, let's not force the human agents of the corporatocracy be forced to park their own cars either.

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