Editorial: Corporations keep trying to throw out progressive California laws. Do we need reforms?
Corporations are, of course, nothing new.
The only reason the current situation is different is because of our recent history of progressive governance.
During our formative years, corporations were not only allowed, but often encouraged, to sue the government — and our government — should they have an issue with the corporation’s policies.
For example, in the 1950’s, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, it also made it illegal to discriminate against minority citizens.
However, the Supreme Court subsequently ruled that corporations could be held liable under that same law — making them liable for discrimination on the part of their employees, as well.
However, this particular act was designed to help minority citizens, who are too often discriminated against.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act, as well as the subsequent Supreme Court case, has had the effect of allowing corporations over time to sue at will, with the government having to respond in kind — or go to court — should it have an issue with the corporation’s behavior.
The result is an increasing number of lawsuits against corporations.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has gone so far as to rule that even the president’s salary is subject to corporate taxation.
How did this all come about?
In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which, among other things, established a minimum wage. Because this law affected the working lives of millions of Americans, there was a tremendous effort to lobby for it. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce led the charge, along with many other groups.
Unfortunately, much of this effort was not as grassroots as it should have been.
Instead, many of us saw the fight over the minimum wage as an opportunity to take on a problem that, up until then, was solely ours to fix.
So we lobbied Congress and won.
However, in 1962, Congress repealed the minimum wage. At the time, it had been $1.50 per hour for employees, and $2.00 per hour for employers.
Instead, because of the efforts put forth by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the minimum wage was set at the federal level of $1.00. This meant that,