What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to be an American corporation? An article in the Wall Street Journal the other day should trigger questions like these.
WSJ: Domestic-Based Multinationals Hiring Overseas,
Multinational companies based in the U.S. boosted their global work forces in 2011 almost entirely by hiring workers overseas, underscoring the slow growth in the U.S. job market.
... The paltry hiring at home reflects where multinational companies are focusing their attention. Stronger economic growth in overseas markets in Asia and Latin America is driving their expansion, reinforcing their shift toward cheaper labor or closer access to customers.
The U.S. parents of multinational firms account for about one-fifth of total private U.S. employment. Since 1999, employment by U.S. multinationals is down by 1.1 million inside the U.S., while it is up by 3.8 million overseas.
The hiring by American companies is not happening in the U.S. At the same time these companies are holding $1.7 trillion of profits outside of the country, away from their own shareholders and our economy to avoid their taxes, while pushing to dramatically lower the taxes they pay us – and even to get out of paying any taxes at all on money they make outside of the country!
Why Do We Have Corporations?
Why do We the People even have laws that allow corporations and give them special benefits? The answer obviously is for our common benefit -- why else would we do it? The corporate form of a business enables the company to easily obtain capital from investors, in order to accomplish large-scale projects that benefit us. To encourage this we give these entities special privileges. For example, we limit liability which means the investors are not held liable for the actions of the company – they won't lose more than their investment if the company gets sued for some reason. We provide a system that helps them obtain financing, insurance, market liquidity and all kinds of things to help those investors get a good return on their money.
Benefit: We the People want railroads, but it takes a lot of money to build and operate a railroad. And our system wants private companies to do the work of building and operating railroads instead us just doing it ourselves. So we set up a way for a private company to gather investment from lots of people.
Why Do We Want "American" Corporations?
Why don't we just contract with any old corporation that comes along to get things done for us? Who cares what country these entities are from? Why should we as a country want to encourage and support our American corporations? Because American corporations make money for us. That is the whole point.
Other countries see themselves as countries, and compete with us as a country, for their benefit and the benefit of their people. As much as some of us might want a world in which we all cooperate and share and have "free trade" and other ideals and dreams, the fact is that other countries understand themselves as countries. Companies and industries located in other countries are operated to benefit their people. Their governments give them special benefits to help them compete with our companies. And then they are taxed so their country can have good schools and infrastructure and all the rest of the benefits of the modern world, for them.
And if we do not respond in kind, then their people end up better off at the expense of our people.
As long as other countries operate for the benefit of their people, it is our job to keep up our end of the bargain as it exists and operate as a country for the benefit of our people. This means that we support our companies, and expect them to bring the money they make back here, and share the returns with us.
We The People Used To Understand Who Is The Boss
We the People (used to) understand that these companies exist for our common benefit and (used to) expect certain things back from these corporations. We (used to) expect them to provide high-quality products and services and not engage in fraud and trickery. We (used to) expect them to provide a safe and fair work environment with good wages and benefits. We (used to) expect them to be good citizens that benefit the communities where they operate. And our laws and enforcement (used to) make sure they operated that way – for our common benefit.
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