Most corporations provide quality products and services -- for a price. Some are unrepentant monsters. Exxon's oil spill in Alaska. Union Carbide's Bhopal tragedy. Monsanto's lawsuits against farmers over genetically modified seeds.
Corporations exist to maximize profits for their stockholders. So they often minimize worker pay and benefits, product quality and safety, and the taxes they pay.
Government is supposed to protect people against corporate evils. Now corporations dominate elections with huge campaign donations. Therefore, "justice" now bends toward corporations.
Today marks the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which essentially equated corporate campaign donations to free speech protected by the First Amendment. This is perverse: The interests of a profit-maximizing organization are not the same as the interests of We the People -- such as job security, health care, safety and environmental protection.
The travesty of Citizens United is possible only because of the concept of "corporate personhood," a part of U.S. law that gives corporations the same legal rights as human beings. They are not human beings.
Citizens United and related laws make it possible for corporations to buy elections and then pressure Congress on issues such as fracking, health care, banking and education. Congress is too beholden to corporations to take meaningful action.
A constitutional amendment could reverse Citizen's United and corporate personhood. The battle can be won because almost 80 percent of Americans are against Citizens United. Eleven states already have passed resolutions. Contact your state representatives to affirm We the People over Citizens United.
The writer is a member of Pittsburgh Move to Amend.