In the latest in a series of snipes from reporter Ashley Parker directed at Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a brief “Caucus” item in Thursday’s New York Times, “Romney Stands By Corporations Remarks,” suggested Romney’s remark to a heckler that “corporations are people, my friend” made him look like “an out-of-touch millionaire.” But isn't Romney right? (Parker’s article first appeared in a different form online Wednesday afternoon.) The print version opened:
Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts stirred a bit of a tempest when he said on the campaign trail in Iowa that “corporations are people, my friend.” Some called the remark tone deaf, saying it fed into the perception of him as an out-of-touch millionaire.
But on the campaign trail in Keene, N.H., Mr. Romney showed no signs of distancing himself from the remarks.
“I made the point the other day,” he said at a town-hall-style meeting, voluntarily alluding to his earlier remarks in response to a question about what he would do to fix the economy. “Corporations, they’re made up of people. They’re just groups of people who come together for work.”
He explained: “And when you say tax corporations, the steel and the vinyl and the concrete, those things don’t pay taxes. Only people do. So high taxes on corporations is high taxes on people, and people are going to go places where taxes aren’t too high.”
Why would Romney be obliged to “distance himself from the remarks”? His economic argument is sound, and as a philosophical matter, the Supreme Court agrees with Romney.
Last year the court ruled in the Citizens United case (a decision reviled by liberals) that corporations can spend money on political ads. Washington Post blogger Brad Plumer admitted: “For a long time, the courts have treated corporations like people in many respects. They can sue and be sued. They can enter contracts. They can own property. They have some free speech rights.”