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Beyond Chron
July 24, 2007

Copyright © 2007 by Marc Norton

Tired already of the gaggle of candidates
vying to take over the Oval Office? Most of them can't decide which side of the bread to butter without a focus group. It's time to try something new. Why limit presidential candidates to mere human beings?
We should elect a corporation as our
Chief Executive. After all, the Supreme Court says that corporations are people too.

If you think this is a radical idea, you haven't been reading Forbes Magazine. Just last March, in the annual Forbes Billionaires issue, Eric Werker wrote that corporations should "get a shot at becoming candidates to run cities and districts with a history of corruption." Werker is an Assistant Professor in the Business, Government and International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School. They don't call these guys the "best and the brightest" for nothing.

Werker particularly targets "corrupt places in the developing world," but claims that "it could also work in the U.S." Washington D.C. is undoubtedly one of the most corrupt places in the world. Werker's description of Third World governments that deserve efficient, business-like corporate management easily applies to our nation's capital:

"Voters pick their leaders through the ballot box, but an entrenched system of kickbacks, bribes and graft means that citizens are cheated out of a fair government that operates efficiently and in the public interest."

Last year, according to Fortune Magazine, another periodical we should all be reading, the world's biggest corporations had their "moneymakingest year ever... a profit gusher of epic proportions." The 500 largest US corporations produced $785 billion in profit. Exxon Mobil made more profits last year than any company in history, $39.5 billion. Compare that to our federal government's endless budget deficits. Don't we deserve a piece of the pie?

The question really is why corporations haven't run for office before. After all, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees "equal protection" to all people. Way back in 1886, the Supreme Court declared that "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the 14th Amendment... applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does." That about settles it.

There are some thorny questions that do need to be settled. How do we decide if any particular corporation is Republican or Democratic, or does it matter? What about the requirement that the President be at least 35 years old -- does the age of a corporation change if there is a merger or a change in ownership? If there is foreign capital involved, is the corporation an immigrant rather than a natural-born citizen? Those are some questions that the Supreme Court may need to consider.

For those of you still not convinced, note that Werker takes pains to explain that "this is not a call for privatization of services... Unlike other privatizations, this would not be a one-off event. Every several years voters would get the chance to choose their administrator of choice." So, if Halliburton doesn't measure up, out with them, and in with... say, Bechtel.

Corporations run this country right now. Why not make it official?

 
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