Government vs. Corporations: Who is Really on Your Side?

Updated on December 2, 2016
jeff61b profile image

Jeff is a computer professional who takes a great interest in politics and tries to always distinguish fact from opinion.

What Is The American Way?
What Is The American Way?

When it comes to political philosophy, it seems we can often divide people into two groups:

The first group sees the government as flawed, but an important force for the good of the people. This group believes the government has a vital role in keeping a close eye on powerful corporations who would quickly victimize the American people at any opportunity.

The second group takes the opposite view. They see the government as evil and corporations as good. They want all government regulations repealed so corporations can maximize their profits.

To put it bluntly, one side believes that corporations will always do the right thing for the American people if the government would just get out of the way.

The other side believes that corporations would disembowel you and sell your organs to the highest bidder if the government wasn't there to stop them.

The U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution

What is the Function of Government?

The preamble to the Constitution says our government exists to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”.

Our government is designed to exist of the people, by the people and for the people. It exists solely for the purpose of doing what is in our best interest even though some of if our elected officials don’t always live up to that high standard.

What's The Function of Corporations?

Corporations, on the other hand, do not have such lofty goals. Their objective is to maximize their profits. Period. They have no loyalty to the American people. They will ship American jobs to countries with cheaper labor and move their corporate headquarters to a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands just to avoid paying taxes.

Corporations exist to make a very small number of people extremely wealthy.

Take For Example...

Walmart is a good example of this. The Walton family is the richest family on Earth. It is hard to keep track of how many tens of billions of dollars each of them have from one year to the next. Yet they pay their employees such miserably low wages that they routinely instruct their employees how to apply for food stamps, Welfare and Medicaid.

Think about that. The multi-billionaires are paying their employees such appalling wages that they have to get government help from American taxpayers in order to make ends meet. All the taxpayer money that goes to Walmart employees amounts to a huge government subsidy for Walmart, one of the most profitable companies on Earth.

If Walmart would pay their employees a living wage, they would save taxpayers billions of dollars and still make a hefty profit.

If It Wasn't For the Government...

Forcing those companies to comply with health and safety standards, pollution standards, and consumer protection laws, we as consumers and employees would suffer great harm, either physically or financially. Big corporations often work tirelessly to get health and safety standards repealed and consumer protection laws weakened so they can maximize their profits.

They consider the lives saved by these regulations to be much less important than the profits they could be making.

Department of Commerce
Department of Commerce

The Relationship Between Government and Corporations

We, the American people, through our elected government, are supposed to exert regulatory power over corporations. But more and more lately, it seems corporations exert far more power over the government and therefore, over the American people.

Our government has an obligation to protect the American people from corporate abuses. This includes regulating the pollution of our air and drinking water, workplace health and safety, unfair business practices and fraud to name a few.

Image source: www.gothamgazette.com
Image source: www.gothamgazette.com

It's All About Money

Thanks to the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision, wealthy individuals and corporations can throw nearly unlimited amounts of money at political candidates who will work to benefit them.

Those politicians subsequently work to cut corporate taxes, give special subsidies to big businesses and repeal government regulations on corporations.


Corporations Are Becoming More Powerful as The Government Becomes Weaker

Corporations tend to get a very good return on their investment. The more money they spend on campaigns and lobbying the less they pay in taxes. This is why during some years many corporations like Exxon/Mobil, GE and Bank of America have made billions in profits and paid zero federal taxes.

Whenever you hear politicians complain about government regulations being too much of a burden on businesses you can be certain that they receive large amounts of campaign money from the same corporations they are supposed to regulate.

On those occasions when the government does apply some oversight or attempts to reign in big corporations, those corporations and their loyal minions in the media along with the politicians they own will react with outrage and tell us the government is overstepping its authority or becoming a “nanny state”.

Don't Vote Against Your Own Self Interests

By all means, be skeptical of what your government does. Question your elected officials and voice your strong disagreement with government policies when warranted. Without dissent, there is no freedom.

But don’t lose sight of the fact that government is an extension of the people. It exists for the purpose of working on your behalf. Government oversight of big corporations almost always benefits you.

Big corporations will do everything they can to try to make you hate your government because they want to maximize their profits without any responsibilities. They are already trying to make the government protect the corporations from you. It is supposed to be the other way around.

Don’t let a small number of powerful people trick you into voting against your own best interests by deceiving you into thinking all government regulations are evil.

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    • profile image

      cawbber 9 months ago

      Given the amount of campaign contributions business magnates pour into political campaigns, I have a hard time separating the two.

    • ChuckHuckaby profile image

      ChuckHuckaby 7 years ago from USA

      Basically I don't trust either big government or big corporations! Nice hub.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 7 years ago

      Yes. There is so much more I could say here, but it all boils down to "you've hit the nail on the head".

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      You are absolutely correct Jeff. There is much wrong with our government. But they are there to serve the people and usually do. Corporations are for profits and their shareholders. The corporations especially the Koch brothers are engineering a takeover of our government and democracy. We must put a stop to it now. Great Hub.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 7 years ago

      Excellent article. I trust government more than I trust corporations. In some small measure, at least the government represents the good of the people. Corporations seek only to enrich themselves at the expense of the people. This is a no-brainer to me. How people get confused is beyond me.

      voted up/useful

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