Regarding the June 18 editorial “Close the deal on payday loans,” the payday lending situation vividly illustrates the profitability of preying on vulnerable households that cannot afford rent, let alone attorneys. It also clearly illustrates the pay-to-play process of corporate money in our legislature. Too bad vulnerable payday borrowers, working for well below a living wage, do not have the spare cash to hire attorneys or donate to their representatives.
Ten years ago, when Ohio voters sided with restricting payday lending, we assumed the issue was corrected. It was not. Corporations can live forever, change names, hire attorneys to find loopholes, donate to political campaigns, woo their prey with tempting advertising and pop up like dandelions where you thought you just weeded.
This is not just a payday lender problem. This is a corporate personhood problem. As the Supreme Court has expanded personhood rights for corporations, individual persons, particularly the vulnerable who lack influence and financial power, have had their rights eroded. Corporate lobbyists regularly draft proposed legislation, meet with representatives, invest in campaigns to buy legislative friendship. The scales are severely tilted in favor of corporate powers.
It is time to get the dandelion at its root. End corporate personhood (not corporations) and return corporate charters to the oversight of the states as originally intended. Then states could determine whether individual corporations are acting in the best public interest, without harm to citizens or the environment. States could deny charters to corporations acting as bad citizens. Overturn the money-is-speech decision and allow ordinary citizens to have an equal voice.
The Akron affiliate chapter of the national Move to Amend organization welcomes all interested in the fundamental constitutional changes necessary to return our democracy to “we, the people.”