FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why I’m Incorporating Myself

by BRIAN J. FOLEY Inc.

I’m sick of being shoved around by big corporations. They get to pollute the air I breathe; fire my friends, depriving them of health care and retirement funds; pull out of the community I live in, “downsizing” the workforce and leaving the city it probably never paid taxes to in the first place in a shambles, leading to poverty and further job losses; bribe politicians legally and secretly; and get the best seats and best food and all the skyboxes at professional sports events I can’t even afford to watch on Pay-Per-View.

Worse, no one seems to care. “That’s how business works,” people say. That’s what a man said to me a few months after a large company “downsized” his wife and moved operations to India. The man, struggling with his own small business, had zero anger at the company that had crapped out his wife. He didn’t recognize that his falling-down house and living room ceiling-with-paint-peeling-off- were the direct result of the company’s prioritizing profits. When I offered that such conduct by corporations should be illegal, the man said, “If you regulate them, they will just locate in India,” an irony that was apparently lost on him.

Corporations aren’t our friends. State Farm – along with a host of other companies – “is there,” but it doesn’t really act like the “good neighbor” it purports to be. Most corporations are there to take your money and give you as little possible in return. These days, that’s called “business. “ Most Republicans and Democrats who talk of giving tax breaks to businesses and who proudly call themselves “business friendly” seem not to fathom that most corporations are legally obligated do whatever is necessary to maximize profits. (If don’t, shareholders can sue.)

So screw all else. If the law restricts profit making, some companies just break the law and convince the prosecutor or U.S. Attorney General that prosecuting them will harm America – we don’t want these businesses to fail! Or, companies will adhere to the law – until their paid lobbyists rewrite the law, and the companies bribe (read: make campaign donations to) politicians to get them to pass the new law.

You might have noticed that, over the years, it’s only gotten harder to regulate corporations. Regulate the very banks that drove us into the bailout? Yeah, right. Stop Monsanto from turning our food into Frankenstein’s monster? Give me a break. Stop companies from fracking up our groundwater? Good luck, and don’t get burned when you turn on your water faucet. It’s also only gotten harder to sue businesses. Congress, state legislatures, and our business-friendly U.S. Supreme Court have seen to that.

Look at global warming. Look at pollution. Everyone knows we’re on a bus, headed toward a cliff … But even this metaphor has changed. These days, the company that owns the bus doesn’t actually care if the bus roars over the cliff and kills the driver and passengers and anyone unlucky enough to be at the bottom of the cliff. The company cares only that: the bus is insured; the fuel was purchased at the lowest possible cost (and ideally the bus will go over the cliff when the needle hits Empty); the bus is reasonably fuel-efficient; and that there is some way to avoid paying out claims to the dead passengers’ families. (The company probably included a binding arbitration clause on the tickets, so that’s all set.) The driver? His family won’t sue, thanks to workers’ comp.

The company can be fairly sure that no one will demand too much from it – people will channel their anger by creating a victim compensation fund and hoping Ken Feinberg will manage it. Last, if the company’s reputation takes a dive as a result of all this, there’s a new company name and cool new logo waiting in the wings. (Remember ValueJet, the airline that crashed a jet into a Florida swamp in 1996? Think about it whenever you board AirTran.)

Anyway, I’m sick of being on the receiving end of all this, so I’ve incorporated myself. Now I do all I can legally to maximize my own profit – which we will here define as money and pleasure – and outsource my costs and pain.

Here’s how it will work. Invite me to your house for dinner. I’ll accept. When the appointed evening arrives, I’ll show up, bringing nothing, or at most a cheap-ass bottle of wine. You will see that I brought a bag of trash – better to dump it at your house and use your trash service. That old gasoline and leftover paint I’ve been stuck with? I’ll dump it in your yard, not mine.

You might catch me plugging in my iPhone to charge it up on your utilities bill. I will plug up your toilet, not mine – might even take a shower on your water bill and use your towels. I’ll make sure to fill the two water bottles I happen to have brought. When dinner arrives, I’ll eat as much as I can and fill a doggy bag or two for my non-existent dog. I’ll stay as long into the night as I can, to burn your electricity rather than mine. (“Let’s watch all 15 new episodes of Arrested Development! No, I’m not on Netflix – why don’t yousign up?”)

After telling you that I did all this for you, “like a good neighbor,” I’ll ask for a ride home, with a few detours (I have errands to run). If you get upset, I’ll cheerfully say, “That’s just how friendship works.” And you’re going to just have to accept that you need to put up with my crap if you don’t want me to go find some new friends I can mooch off of.

Walmart says, “Save money. Live better.” McDonald’s crows, “I’m lovin’ it.” Lockheed Martin claims: “We never forget who we’re working for.” Yes, Brian J. Foley, Inc. is saving money, living better, and never forgetting who (sic) it’s working for.

I’m lovin’ it, but are you loving your new incorporated friend? I hope “business friendly” Americans start to understand that this “friendship” is a one-way street that ends at the edge of a cliff.

Brian J. Foley is a law professor and humorist.  He’s the author of the satirical financial self-help book, A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan Email him at brianjfoleyinc@gmail.com

Brian J. Foley is a lawyer and the author of A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press). Contact him at brian_j_foley@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail