Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Corporation’s a Corporation, No Matter How Small

Proposed Mississippi Personhood Amendment:

"The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."

But if we believe that a corporation is a person…

Mississippi Voters Reject Corporate Personhood Amendment

Special to MSRP
November 9, 2011

By a resounding majority, the proposed so-called Mississippi Corporate Personhood Amendment was defeated last night. The controversial amendment was designed to define corporate personhood as beginning at incorporation, regardless of its’ future viability. If the measure had passed, it would have conferred all corporate personhood rights onto a business entity from the conception of the idea through its natural demise in the economic cycle.

The amendment was seen by legislators as a way to circumvent laws that allow Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the state. Proponents argued that the new clarification of corporate personhood would prevent immoral regulators from closing down any company that it deemed “defective” or terminate the charter of any business it did not consider viable. They believed that as more businesses were allowed to incubate for a full 3 business quarters, the resulting corporate persons would be of tremendous benefit to the state over the long term.

“Most businesses in Mississippi die within the first 3 quarters after incorporation,” explained Richie Percenter, leading advocate for the pro-business measure. “It is a death by a thousand regulatory cuts.  These businesses are being indiscriminatingly snuffed out by overzealous regulators without regard for the unique corporate person.”

Proponents of the new law argued unsuccessfully that it would begin a new era of job creation and job protections in Mississippi that would be the envy of the world.

“Had this measure become law, Mississippi would have offered the strongest start up business protections in the nation. The jobs created in our great state would ignite an economic revival unseen in our history. It’s simple – we believe that every business model, no matter how flawed, deserves a chance. You never know. I mean, who could have predicted Silly Bandz?”

Opponents of corporate personhood said that the state could not support an unlimited number of new fledgling businesses, many of which it claimed would require far too much government support over their lifespan.

“It would be irresponsible to bring some of these business plans to full term. I mean, do we really need another home based jewelry design business? Those efforts are a drain on resources, resources better directed towards healthy, growing businesses.”

Defenders of the fight to defeat the measure warned of unintended consequences if the amendment had passed. “Look, home businesses are incorporated every day without the consent of the spouse. After several months, the impact of the business begins to show – boxes of inventory in the garage, refrigerator magnets with a website address, evenings away at ‘house parties’ – and then it’s too late. You are stuck caring for a multi-level business that you never planned for or wanted. Shouldn’t a reasonable spouse be able to stop that business in its tracks before real damage is done?”

Pro-business supporters vowed to continue the fight.

‘A business is a business, no matter how small,” mused Percenter.

John Marshall, the nation’s longest serving and arguably most influential chief justice, wrote that a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible…Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly, or as incidental to its very existence.”

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