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Conservatives frequently argue that liberals don’t take personal responsibility. For example, on Mitt Romney’s 47% tape, he argues Americans who paid into Medicare and Social Security are lacking personal responsibility when they receive benefits for their payments. He also argues that people without jobs are simply refusing to work. As Romney notes on the tape, he has an idea of how he would like to see people in this country work. He argues we need to bring slave labor back to this country. He doesn’t seem to mind that people in his Chinese factories sleep twelve to a room, only earn $1.99 or less per hour and work 84 hours per week.

In addition, conservative corporate executives such as Mitt Romney have engineered a legal system where they do not have to take responsibility for the problems they create. Romney like many other corporate executives refuse to take responsibility for treating others in a humane way. They’d rather roll back safety and human rights regulations so they can make even more money exploiting workers. That’s why Romney has worked hard moving factories from the U.S. to China in order to make drive down wages and human rights in the U.S.

At the same time conservative lobbyists were creating a legal system where U.S. corporate organization could profit from foreign slave labor, they created a legal system in this country where they could not be held personally responsible for crimes committed by their companies even if they made decisions which contributed to the crimes.

While Citizen’s United gave corporations the ability to influence elections, corporate law allows corporations to pay fines for corporate criminal behavior. Company officials do not go to jail, lose their jobs and their pay is not even reduced when their companies are found guilty of criminal behavior. For example, this system has allowed Transocean execs off the hook in two separate incidents over the past two years. The fines they pay are passed off as the costs of doing business which means the fines are passed off on the consumer.

For example, Transocean, a global provider of offshore oil drilling services and equipment based in Vernier, Switzerland, agreed to plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and entered a civil settlement to resolve claims from the Gulf Oil Deepwater Horizon Disaster that include paying a record $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal fines but no one at the company was held personally responsible. The pattern occurred after Transocean corporate convictions in a foreign bribery scandal.  Bribery led to know person serving any jail time.

People typically seem to blame law enforcement for this but that's a misperception.  The problem usually resides with judicial interpretation and with lawmakers.  Part of allowing the middle class to grow is to make corporate execs accountable.  If we don't it makes it too easy for the people who already have the money to keep it because they've become essentially above the law.

Originally posted to USSpinWatcher on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 01:53 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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