It lights up my natural life that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has once again proven itself to be above human beings, shareholders and other stakeholders in our society by proposing to destroy owners' free speech and protect the rights of authoritarian corporate management. It really goes to prove that Lord John Acton was right: "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely." Fortunately, however, he was wrong in that "Great men are almost always bad men," in that the folks that control corporations are neither "great" nor "bad" men.
The Chamber's petition to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requests the commission to make it more difficult for a shareholder or owner of a corporation to resubmit a shareholder proposal when it doesn't obtain a specific percentage of shareholder votes at an annual meeting. Currently, shareholders have to jump thirteen (13) different hurdles set up by the SEC just to have a chance to get on the corporate ballot. Shareholders are severely limited in not only what they can submit for an advisory vote (called "precatory" because it is almost like begging), but our corporate directors (who are self-nominated and set their own salaries) don't even have to obey, even when a majority of shareholders vote for a proposal. "Electing" directors is like it was in the USSR; there is only one slate of nominees and if plurality voting is the rule, only one "yes" vote elects the entire slate.
The purpose of this proposal by the upper wealthy elite running our most powerful social institutions, is to silence shareholder speech, that is, free speech that corporations have been granted, thanks to recent court cases, such as Citizens United and McCutcheon. So, it's okay for non-human corporations and those mostly men that run them to have free speech and spend loads of money to buy politicians and lobbyists, but not for natural human beings to have free speech who also happen to be shareholders.
Our democracy is already in great danger of being absorbed by, what has been identified as the corporate "supermanagers" who account for 70 percent of the top 0.1 percent of the income distribution in this country, or the elite of the elite. It is not surprising that rising income inequality is largely a corporate phenomenon, thanks to unbelievably oversized corporate pay.
You see, these mostly wealthy white supermanagers also control proxy solicitations from shareholders, run the annual meeting and call upon who they want to speak at such meetings. Frequently, some corporations have meetings overseas or online, because it's often distasteful for them to have to meet with the riff raff (owners) or have to be asked (but, not answer) embarrassing shareholder questions.
So, it's not enough to control director nominations, compensation, shareholder meetings, and the great wealth of corporations, but now they want to squash free speech and individual shareholder access to an advisory owner ballot. Absolute power does corrupt absolutely.
These men are not great men; they are only wealthy men. They are also not bad men; they are only selfish men. They care little for free speech or democracy, but they do believe in maximizing materialistic self-interest for themselves and enforcing authoritarian rule over shareholders. They are their own worst enemy and those who supermanaged large financial institutions almost destroyed our national economy in 2008. Next they and their unnatural corporate partners may try to run our country. Oh, my mistake; they already do.
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