Monday, June 12, 2017

Corporatocracy


It's hard to imagine that anyone doesn't recognize the power that billion-dollar corporations have in our country.

All Powerful

They elect politicians, they write legislation, they install judges, they determine pay and benefits for their employees, they pay HUGE compensation to their top executives and they sometimes even do the right thing...when it's in their own self interest.

Taking a lesson from the people that helped get marriage equality in across all of the U.S., there are sometimes ways to leverage corporations to help us.  Here is the basic history of how corporations unwittingly pushed to allow me and Thaddeus to get married.

  • It started with local and State governments starting to do the right thing and giving protections against discrimination for LGBT citizens.
  • When States like California required anyone getting State money or contracting with the State to have an equal protection clause, companies started to implement policies protecting LGBT employees.
  • When some states and localities opted to allow domestic partnerships, and then further required that companies extend benefits to domestic partners, the companies wanted to continue to do business with governments, so they complied.
  • Finally, some of the more liberal States started offering marriage as an option.
  • This caused quite a problem for large companies who operated in multiple States.  Now some of their employees were considered married at the State level, but not federally. And if an employee lived in a State where marriage wasn't legal, but got married on a State where it was, this created a whole new classification.  Specifically where this became a huge problem was in payroll taxes and employee benefits.  
    • Which employee spouses were eligible for benefits and which weren't?
    • Does a quasi-legal spouse need to name that spouse as a beneficiary for 401(k) plans?
    • Are company-paid health plan benefits offered to quasi-legal spouses considered taxable imputed income?
  • The questions and number of classifications became so complex, it was blowing up payroll and employee benefit systems and it was constantly changing as States started allowing marriage, but had differing rules than other States.
  • Finally, the nightmare of administering all this became too much for most companies and even the CEO's were secretly telling Federal administrations that we needed to make marriage equal on a national basis.  While the courts finally decided marriage equality nationally, I doubt it would have happened without the support of our Corporatocracy. 
Other examples of leveraging corporate America continue to be seen with State hate bills, like Pence tried to do in Indiana as Governor and South Carolina's hate laws.  When we get big companies on our side by threatening boycotts and announcing social media campaigns against them, they have a LOT of sway in the States.

We're still learning how to best work the system we have, but equality continues to move forward slowly.  And fascinatingly enough, I just saw this blog entry on AmericaBlog on the same topic today!

Current Knitting

I started a new Bright Lizard Scarf using some sock yarn in my stash.


The crayon colors against the gray yarn are pooling a it more than I expected, but I'm still liking how lovely the pattern is knitting up.

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