In the News: Frum Forum: If Corporations Can be Taxed, They Can Lobby

If Corporations Can be Taxed, They Can Lobby

By Joe Trotter

As long as the private sector is subject to government regulation, it will be involved in the political process. It is its constitutional right.

The Occupy Wall Street protestors disagree. Hoisting signs with slogans such as, “I’ll believe a corporation is a person when Georgia executes one,” protesters rail against the right of corporations to promote their views in the marketplace of ideas. This begs the question: is the problem that corporations have too much influence in politics, or that politicians and politics have too much influence on corporations?

Corporations pay lobbyists and fund SpeechNow PACs because corporations are subject to government regulations and laws. These regulations and laws dictate how corporations run their businesses—from the price of wages to the proper weight of worktables. Moreover, when politicians and regulators took it upon themselves to regulate the economy and pick winners and losers, it became necessary for the private sector to engage in politics. Thus, corporations have no choice but to spend the money necessary to play in the game that the politicians created.

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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.