Why do corporate "people" have their own Justice System?
Yesterday, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to criminal charges of dumping hazardous fertilizers and chemicals in California and Missouri. The retail giant will pay $81.6 million in fines for violating the Clean Water Act and other E.P.A. regulations. That fine is less than one tenth of one percent of the profits Wal-Mart made in 2012 alone. So, after criminally dumping chemicals in 16 California counties for years, Wal-Mart can simply write off the fine as a cost of doing business.
If you or I were caught illegally dumping these chemicals, we could face fines of $50,000 per day, and five years in jail. And, if we did so in a way that put other people at risk – the way Wal-Mart has done – our fine could be as much as $250,000 per day, along with 15 years behind bars.
According to the Supreme Court, Wal-Mart is a person, but they aren't subject to the same criminal justice system that natural people face. Wal-Mart can't be put on probation, or thrown in jail, they just pay fines for breaking the law, and go right back to screwing over workers and killing mom-and-pop businesses around the world. They don't care about fines... for them, it's like getting a parking ticket. And, if the price is right, they will just keep breaking the law, and paying fines, because it's cheaper or easier than doing what's right.
If a normal person would be thrown in jail for five years after illegally dumping toxic waste, Wal-Mart should be forced to shut its doors for an equal amount of time. If a corporation's action lead to someone's death, that corporation should be held to the same standard that a human being would be held – life in prison or the death penalty. That corporation should be forced to permanently shut down, or be broken up and never allowed to do business again.
If Wal-Mart wants the privileges of being a person, they should face the same responsibilities that real people face. That includes being punished for their crimes.