If Corporations Are People, People Should Get Corp. Benefits

Since the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court last January, corporations have had their ‘corporate personhood’ further extended with regards to political contributions. This has dramatically opened the corporate coffers for politicians, as has been written about at great length pro and con by analysts, and it is not the purpose of this to revisit or amplify any of those analyses.

Here, however, is a twist to the ‘corporate personhood’ fiction…why not extend those benefits corporations enjoy to natural persons…that is, you and I. Corporations can write off interest expense against income, yet natural persons are generally only afforded this valuable tax deduction on mortgage interest. (The limits are too high on some other types to really help most taxpayers. Of course, years ago, you could deduct interest on auto loans and consumer credit like credit cards until Congress wiped away these in order to take in more tax money.)

I suggest that since corporations are persons and have nearly all the rights of natural persons, the reverse ought to be true as well. By virtue of personhood, natural persons should be able to deduct ALL interest against income! Why should natural persons be denied this valuable right when corporate persons take advantage of it all the time? Limiting natural persons’ ability to deduct interest curtails their free speech rights, as they may need to charge goods or services, or purchase a car via a loan in order to express their free speech. Shouldn’t the Constitutional right to free speech trump statutes and the tax code?

I’ll start deducting all my interest right after you do without repercussions!

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Rigidity and Gridlocked Government

The present Congressional theatre, like that of most of the last year, is based on gridlock created by an absolute refusal to compromise by a faction of tea party influenced Congressional members. The rigidity of thinking frankly reminds me of a jury case years ago in a simple DUI case. The jury, after deliberation, took vote after vote. One juror always voted guilty, while 11 found the defendant not guilty. This particular juror was a naturalized citizen from an Asian Communist country. He simply refused to believe that any of the testimony for the defense was evidence. In his view, only what was presented by the prosecution was evidence, and he would not be swayed by any of his fellow jurors…including a law student and a nuclear engineer, and several other professional people.

The case ended in a hung jury, and the prosecution chose not to refile. This same kind of rigid thinking by some members of Congress is damaging to our citizens and our economy in the case of the refusal to extend the payroll tax relief for a couple months. The demand to make it for a year is, of course, a red herring. The very reason the senate passed (with 89 affirmative votes!) the two month one was to allow more time to hammer out details of a year long bill.

Today, even the editorially conservative Wall Street Journal slammed the House GOP for refusing to compromise on this, with great concern that it would do a lot of damage to the GOP politically in the upcoming 2012 elections…both at the presidential and congressional level. Politics notwithstanding, it is very harmful to a group of people who don’t contribute much to politicians and therefore don’t get their ear, but who comprise a massive majority of actual voters.

Rigid stances and refusal to compromise have not served our country in good stead in the past, and certainly aren’t at this juncture. The House GOP should pass the Senate bill now.


Footprints of the Giant

A number of years ago, composer/arranger Don Sebesky wrote a piece of music called “Footprints of the Giant,” which paid homage to one of the old masters, Bela Bartok. As the year comes to a close, we often take stock of what has happened in our lives and that of those around us, and think about or plan for the upcoming year. Sebesky, like many creative people, wanted to pay tribute to someone whose shoulders he had stood upon as he worked towards, and achieved a successful musical career.

Here’s a thought for you…whose shoulders have YOU stood upon to get where you are in life? As you plan for the upcoming year, who are you going to elevate to your shoulders and help achieve success in their career going forward? Such is truly its own reward, both for you, and for humanity. That individual you help may never become a giant in your or their field, but someone they help along the way very well may.


70 Years After Pearl Harbor- Events Still Transfix Us

Pearl Harbor was bombed 70 years ago. Many of us are contemplating that, and some have pointed out that there are a lot of folks that may not pay much attention. It seems that every generation has at least one major, defining event. Since Pearl Harbor, baby boomers are transfixed by the JFK assassination. For perhaps the ‘Gen X’ folks, it’s 9-11. These events both horrify and unify us. It is pretty much a certainty that there will be others as the timeline proceeds onwards. It’s how we deal with these as a people that helps define us. Make it your business to be defined in a good and honorable way!


End of Email- Oh really?

After reading another article on the ‘death of email,’ it seemed like a good idea to write about one of the reasons many companies would be loathe to give it up. The gist of the article is that a large French company, Atos, has banned email and is switching all employees to Facebook and instant messaging. (Find the article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/company-bans-email-2011-12.)

Here are a couple of factors that will probably keep most businesses using email, which also may apply to personal email. First, neither Facebook messaging nor IMs live on company servers…they are out of the company’s control. Companies like to save an electronic ‘paper trail’ for correspondence between employees and between employees and the outside in many cases. A corollary to this is that if there is legal action, the company may receive a demand to produce all email on a matter involved in the action, and that will be more difficult when it involves servers that belong to Facebook and IM providers like AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Another factor is the intra-company announcement. You know the kind. While some employees may consider many of these spam, so far there has been nothing to replace them for quickly getting information to a large group or even company wide. That will be much more of a chore on IM or Facebook.

For these reasons, and not just as a Luddite, I don’t see email going away any time soon. It may be that the second factor will be tackled with some new code that produces easier wide dissemination in IMs or Facebook, but the company server vs. outside servers issue isn’t going to change.