By John Feehery
01/22/10 published in The Hill
Last night, I said something on “The Ed Schultz Show” on MSNBC that caused unbearable consternation among the left wing of this great nation: “What is so bad about corporate America?” I asked quizzically. “They do employ the vast majority of people in this country.”
For that simple little statement, the left wing has gone into a tizzy. One helpful and very respectful liberal e-mailed me and said that he hoped I would lose my healthcare and die. Another called me an “asshat” (not sure what that is). Still another said that I should be permanently banned from talking on television. One guy said that my statement defending corporate America was akin to trying to convince people that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (interesting, but stupid, as Arte Johnson used to say).
Corporations do employ the vast majority of people in this country. They provide the vast majority of people in this country with healthcare insurance. They make the products that we eat, that we watch, that we drink, that we wear. They make the products that defend us, that transport us, that cool us and warm us. People in corporations (and the corporations themselves) pay the vast majority of taxes that keep the government running, public schools teaching, and essential services at the state, local and federal level working. They help us to wake up with coffee in the morning, and they make the beds that we sleep in at night. Corporate profits help shareholders, most of whom are common folks who own 401(k)s and IRAs.
Without corporations, we would live in the splendor of Soviet Russia. Now, many on that left romanticize the anti-materialistic, frugal and brutal existence of life in Stalin’s USSR or Mao’s Red China, but I, for one, think that living that way is vastly overrated.
The Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance was common sense. Why should media corporations have First Amendment protections while other corporations do not? Well, the simple answer is that there should be a level playing field. If corporations want to engage in politics, that is their right, as protected under our Constitution.
The practical effect of this ruling, of course, is negligible. Corporate America doesn’t like to overtly engage in politics. General Mills wants both Democrats and Republicans to buy their Cheerios, so it is unlikely that they will be putting Barack Obama or Sarah Palin on their cereal boxes with a message “Vote for them” anytime soon.
It is ironic that the left feels compelled to attack corporate CEOs, because those CEOs tend to be the biggest proponents of political correctness in the world. They are the ones who push for diversity programs. They are the ones who fund the foundations that usually end up attacking capitalism. They are the ones who give the Human Resources Departments so much power to terrorize their employees over the slightest divergence from liberal orthodoxy.
The Chamber of Commerce, whose leader, Tom Donohue, actually believes in the free market, may be a beneficiary of this Supreme Court ruling. And other advocacy groups and associations will likely get more aggressive in soliciting support from the business community.
But the labor will also get to do legally what it has been doing anyway since McCain-Feingold passed. Labor will continue to shake down its members for money, and it will take that money to give to Democrats, who will continue to do all that they can to destroy corporate America, which then will not be able to create as many jobs as it might otherwise.
Big Ed asked me last night on his show, “Who will be looking out for the little guy” after this ruling? Any congressman of either party who is worth his salt should always be looking out for the little guy. In my view, the best way to help the little guy is to create the best possible conditions for the business sector so it can give more jobs and more healthcare to more little guys.
How did the little guy fare in Soviet Russia or Mao’s China? Not very well.
I am not overly sentimental about corporate America, but I recognize that without the corporations that create most of the jobs, most of the wealth, and most of the products that we use every day, this country would be screwed.