End Limited Liability!

Op-ed in the NY Times today, Reward but No Risk.

The public does not generally understand that the owners of corporations are not liable for the things that the corporations do, and the debts they run up. But corporations are granted limited liability by our government, which means that the owners shielded from responsibility for what the corporation does, and from its debts. This is a HUGE benefit, and is something that we the public are free to change.

Under current law, if I invest in an incorporated company, the only money I risk losing is that with which I bought the shares of stock. So if Exxon destroys a sizable section of Alaska’s coastline; if R. J. Reynolds directly contributes to the astronomical health care costs of smoking; or if Enron goes belly up, leaving many unpaid accounts, the most their victims can retrieve is the value of the corporation’s assets. Once the value of the company — and thus the shares — is driven down to zero, creditors and litigants are out of luck.

Fair is fair: let’s get rid of the dividend tax, but only in exchange for a real free market.

YES YES YES!!! Why should the shareholders be granted HUGE benefits through limited risk, at the same time as they are handed HUGE tax breaks, and the corporations are granted huge power? A corporation, under current law, is considered a “person” and has the rights of a “person,” including free speech – which is why it is so hard to change the campaign finance laws. But the owners of the corporation do NOT have the same responsibilities as a “person” when it comes to paying debts.

It is finally time someone is bringing this to the attention of the public! If the owners of corporations want all these financial benefits and power, then they should be asked to actually compete in a free market! YES! Why should they be shielded from the responsibilities the rest of us “persons” have while enjoying the benefits of being “persons?”

Learn about this, become active, write to your Congressional representatives asking that the benefit of corporate limited liability be ended.

Update – This op-ed was there this morning. I found it in the archives and updated the link here, but it is no longer linked from the online NYTimes Op-ed page. Can someone explain to me where it went?