Skip to Content

Share

Robert Reich: A Corporate Pledge of Allegiance

November 8, 2011

Bookmark and Share


If corporations do not take the pledge, we should boycott them. (Occupiers—are you listening?)

By **Robert Reich**

By arrangement with RobertReich.org.

CorporationsarePeople575.jpgPhotograph via Wikimedia Commons by David Shankbone.

Despite what the Supreme Court and Mitt Romney say, corporations aren’t people. (I’ll believe they are when Georgia and Texas start executing them.)

The Court thinks corporations have First Amendment rights to spend as much as they want on politics, and Romney (and most of his fellow Regressives) think they need lower taxes and fewer regulations in order to be competitive.

These positions are absurd on their face. By flooding our democracy with their shareholders’ money, big corporations are violating their shareholders’ First Amendment rights because shareholders aren’t consulted. They’re simultaneously suppressing the First Amendment rights of the rest of us because, given how much money they’re throwing around, we don’t have enough money to be heard.

And they’re indirectly giving non-Americans (that is, all their foreign owners, investors, and executives) a say in how Americans are governed. Pardon me for being old-fashioned but I didn’t think foreign money was supposed to be funneled into American elections.

Romney’s belief big corporations need more money and lower costs in order to create jobs is equally baffling. Big corporations are now sitting on $2 trillion of cash and enjoying near-record profits. The ratio of profits to wages is higher than it’s been since before the Great Depression. And a larger and larger portion of those profits are going to top executives. (CEO pay was 40 times the typical worker in the 1980s; it’s now upwards of 300 times.)

But, hey, if the Supreme Court and regressive Republicans insist big corporations are people and want to treat them as American citizens, then why not demand big corporations take a pledge of allegiance to the United States?

And if they don’t take the pledge, we should boycott them. (OccupiersᾹare you listening?)

Here’s what a Corporate Pledge of Allegiance might look like:

**The Corporate Pledge of Allegiance to the United States**

The [fill in blank] company pledges allegiance to the United States of America. To that end:

We pledge to create more jobs in the United States than we create outside the United States, either directly or in our foreign subsidiaries and subcontractors.

If we have to lay off American workers, we will give them severance payments equal to their weekly wage times the number of weeks they’ve work for us.

We further pledge that no more than 20 percent of our total labor costs will be outsourced abroad.

We pledge to keep a lid on executive pay so no executive is paid more than 50 times the median pay of American workers. We define “pay” to include salary, bonuses, health benefits, pension benefits, deferred salary, stock options, and every other form of compensation.

We pledge to pay at least 30 percent of money earned in the United States in taxes to the United States. We won’t shift our money to offshore tax havens and won’t use accounting gimmicks to fake how much we earn.

We pledge not to use our money to influence elections.

Companies that make the pledge are free to use it in their ads over the Christmas shopping season.

________________________________________________________________________

This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

Robert Reich 60.jpgRobert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written eleven books (including his most recent, Supercapitalism, which is now out in paperback). Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine.

  Francis Fox Piven: How the 99% Could Stop the War Against the Poor: We desperately need a movement for a new kind of moral economy. Occupy Wall Street may well be its beginning. More
 
  Robert Reich: Washington, Pre-Occupied: Until we reverse the trend toward inequality, the economy can’t be revived. More
     
  Tom Engelhardt: Wall Street By the Book : A (self-)graduation speech for the occupiers of Zuccotti Park. More
 
  Duncan Murrell: Occupy Wall Street, Liberate America: “Occupy” fine and all, but #OccupyWallStreet should consider a new verb. More

SUBSCRIBE TO GUERNICA’S RSS FEED

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

Tagged with:

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterAdd to BufferShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUpon
Submit to redditShare on App.netShare via email

You might also like

One comment for Robert Reich: A Corporate Pledge of Allegiance

  1. Comment by John Perry on December 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I will believe corporations are people when one of them volunteers for the Marine Corps, is sent to Afghanistan, trips an IED, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Did you know that on June 7, 1944 (the day after the D-Day invasion of Normandy) the stock market tanked? The news of the invasion meant the war was on its way to being over. No more profiteering.

    In fact, the munitions manufacturers and bazooka makers all cut back, laid off workers, and reduced shipments. Which resulted six months later with the 101st Airborne running out of ammo during the Battle of the Bulge.

Leave a comment




Anti-Spam Quiz:

Subscribe without commenting