You gotta love this country. If nothing else, we're original.
One on hand, the Supreme Court declares that, yes indeed, a corporation is, in fact, a person.
On the other, such as, -- oh, I don't know, choose any of the myriad of examples of fraud, mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty, and downright theft that occurred in hundreds, if not thousands, of instances that led to the '08 financial crisis, and, from which, not a single executive went to jail -- they're "just companies" and, in spite of thousands of pages of evidence to the contrary, can't be expected to be prosecuted like a person. Can they?
I don't know about you, but that sounds like special treatment under the law if you ask me, but what do I know? I'm just a "regular" person.
Let's be honest, if the initials "GM" stood for, say, "Garrett Morgan," and it was determined this person admitted to knowing about faulty ignition switches, which led to the deaths of at least six people, Mr. Morgan would no doubt be facing life in prison, several times over, as we speak.
Alas, as we all know, "GM" stands for General Motors, and as such, they were just handed down what amounts to a $35 million parking ticket for -- not only freely admitting to causing the deaths of half a dozen innocent people, but waiting over 10 years to do something about it.
The sad part is, if you left your car parked on 42nd Street for 10 years, you'd find a ticket for $40 million on your windshield.
Thus, I would like to personally congratulate the government for their incredible job on this one -- proudly stating, "GM will report safety issues faster in the future."
Bravo, guys. So, now their slogan can be, "Please Allows 6-8 years for Honesty." Has a nice ring to it, though.
If you're one of those dreamers, holding out hope that the fearless Justice Dept. will ride in on its white horse and, for the first time in history, actually hold one of these "corporate persons" criminally responsible, I would say it's time to wake up. Although, don't you think if the executives at BP thought they could go to prison for decades for drilling in unsafe conditions, they would have thought twice before allowing Deepwater Horizon to proceed despite all the warnings?
Logically speaking, if a company is treated like a person under finance laws, why shouldn't they be treated the same under criminal laws? Oh, wait. I forgot. That's what lobbyists are for. Nevermind.
Follow David Fagin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nikchapman