The first companies were comprised of people working in company with one another, corporations were originally defined as people associating for a common purpose and acting corporately. In our day we must come to grips with certain oxymorons and especially any hop-skippety-jump logic behind certain concepts, like that of a “shell corporation.” Of course the morphing definitions don’t end there. Our business landscape is replete with so-called corporations that are comprised of what investors view as “low level functionaries.” Their senior managers are also controlled by outside string pullers.
A shell corporation is defined as one without active business operations or significant assets. And our courts have displayed such a lack of intellectual rigor in dealing with such fraudulent corporate entities they have thereby corroded the democracy underpinnings of our constitutional republic. Shell corporations are often used by large well-known public companies, shady business dealers, and private individuals alike. Faux corporations act as tax avoidance vehicles for otherwise legitimate businesses, that are intent on privatizing gains while socializing losses.
Tax avoidance is seen, by integrity challenged individuals, as a loophole facilitating tax evasion. A variety of other conceptual and legal sophistries are often brought to bear in distorting the public discourse. The “Harry and Louise” advertising campaign was one clear example that ran in opposition to executive and legislative health care reform proposals in 1993 and 1994. It was a fourteen to twenty million dollar year-long television advertising campaign that was funded by the Health Insurance Association of America, the predecessor to a health insurance industry lobby group now known as America’s Health Insurance Plans or AHIP.
The industry then bludgeoned the public’s collective intellect with messaging that highlighted potential problems with government run healthcare. The dollar skewed media ignored the fact that a financial services industry run healthcare system would prove to be far worse. They created so much confusion that, during a pivotal interview, one CNN anchor mischaracterized the group’s executive director as representing the insured.
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