A Reminder to Dear Hillary: Corporations Are Us | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Reminder to Dear Hillary: Corporations Are Us
Ben Stein
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At her fine speech at the DNC accepting the nomination, Mrs. Clinton listed some things she would give away free to her fans if and when she wins. They were paid leaves and medical care of various kinds and free tuition and forgiveness of student debt for millions of college students and grads. Standard politicians’ bribes. Where would the money come from? Well, of course we all know it really will come from adding to the already impossible national debt. But Hillary said that she would also raise taxes on the super-rich (fine with me) and go after the wicked “corporations.”

Cheers, cheers, cheers from the crowd. They HATE corporations.

But again, what is a corporation and why do the Democrats hate them? It’s not a creature of monsters from hell. A corporation is a group of men and women who organize to design, produce, and distribute goods and services ranging from airplanes to eggs to underwear to hemorrhoid relief.

Corporations take in money from investors, who then own stocks in the corporation. They share the reward when the corporations’ goods and services are profitable, and they get dividends or capital gains. They suffer losses when business is bad and they can — and often do — lose all of their investment.

Meanwhile, the consumers get air travel and breakfast and clothing and fast fast fast relief. That’s what a corporation is, and I suspect Hillary, no dope, knows that corporations are usually a historically uniquely efficient way to deliver goods and services. Competition among them tends to keep them efficient and lean and we all benefit.

What most of the corporate haters — especially the students — don’t seem to realize is that those corporations they execrate are very largely owned by them and their schools and their families.

Roughly half of all U.S. families own stock in corporations directly or indirectly. The dividends and capital gains from these stocks go to send the children of these families to school. They go to provide a retirement for hard-working men and women who have accumulated stock through their 401 K’s and other plans.

Yes, a disproportionate amount of stock is owned by the very rich. They give hundreds of millions if not billions to the Democratic Party, among other good causes. If citizens think rich people are too rich, Congress can raise rates on the rich and they often have. But why raise tax rates on corporations whose earnings benefit retired coal miners and school teachers? Where is the sense in attacking the entity that pays for retirement for the ordinary citizen after decades of dreary work?

As for the students who lust for the blood of the corporation, their “education” is paid for very largely by earnings from college and university endowments. Those endowments generally hold stock in corporations as their main asset. Gains on these investments pay a lot of the college freight. If Mrs. Clinton goes after corporations and university endowments are hit, Mr. Trump won’t suffer. The corporation and its stock are the geese that have laid the golden eggs for decades for education. Do the “feel the Bern” folks really want to go after them?

Soaking the rich has its points. I agree. We’re all envious. But soaking the legal form that benefits Americans of all kinds is nonsense. The corporations are not the enemy. The corporations are us.

Ben Stein
Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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