Corporate power and influence in the American economy and policy-making process are evident on multiple fronts: from bankruptcy laws, to tax laws, to the failure to enforce antitrust laws that has led to huge, monopolistic corporations that drive “inflation” with price gouging. The bottom line of all this is that in 2022 corporations are realizing their highest profit margins in 70 years while consumers are coping with the highest “inflation” in 40 years. This is on top of the record corporate profits in 2021 of $2.8 trillion, up 25% from the previous year.
(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)
The U.S. bankruptcy system reflects a huge double standard with much more favorable rules for corporations than for individuals. Individuals who file for bankruptcy have their credit ruined and their economic security upended. They can’t get rid of student loans or mortgages. Credit card debt is very difficult to escape. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA), an expert in bankruptcy law and leader of the 1995 National Bankruptcy Review Commission, fought for years to keep the banks and credit card industry from toughening bankruptcy laws for individuals (but not for corporations). She lost that battle in 2005. 
On the corporate front, the current example is the bankruptcy of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. Its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (now ex-CEO) hired a top-notch team of bankruptcy lawyers (who will collect a small fortune in fees) who tried to get the bankruptcy judge to let FTX write off its debts (and cheat its customers), while allowing Bankman-Fried to retain control of the company. They argued to the judge that, although Bankman-Fried and his associates drove the company into bankruptcy, because of their knowledge of the company and what happened, they were best positioned to recover as much money as possible.
Bankruptcy judges often let corporate executives keep control of their bankrupt companies because of their knowledge of the company and its situation. Fortunately, the judge in the FTX case didn’t. However, this is a standard tactic that private equity and vulture capitalists have used in pillaging companies, including Sears Roebuck, for example. By the way, one of the goals of using the bankruptcy process is that it lets companies break union contracts and escape the debt that workers’ pension plans represent. So, current corporate bankruptcy laws treat corporate executives and owners much better than they treat workers.
Senator Warren has proposed a fundamental reform of U.S. bankruptcy laws in the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act. In the meantime, bankruptcy judges should stop letting executives keep control of companies that they have driven into bankruptcy.
On the tax law front, despite their record profits, corporations are asking Congress to renew and extend special tax loopholes that would cost the government about $60 billion a year. Despite the 40% federal income tax cut corporations got from the December 2017 tax cut bill that Trump and congressional Republicans rammed through, corporations are asking for tax cuts in a 2022 end-of-year budget bill. They want to be able to write-off as immediate expenses assets they purchase and research costs, both of which are more appropriately spread out over many years. They also want to be able to deduct a larger share of interest expenses. Deducting large interest expenses is a key factor in making leveraged buyouts by private equity and vulture capitalist firms financially viable. 
Instead of more tax cuts for wealthy corporations and vulture capitalists, corporate taxes should be increased (by repealing at least part of the 2017 tax cuts), the corporate minimum tax should be strengthened (so wealthy corporations can’t dodge paying income tax), and offshore corporate tax loopholes should be closed. Offshore loopholes incentivize corporations to shift jobs and profits to tax havens, which results in about $60 billion in lost U.S. tax revenue each year. Globally, it is estimated that $312 billion a year in government revenue is lost to cross-border tax abuse by multi-national corporations. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, made up of 38 rich countries, enables this by failing to require corporations to disclose profit-shifting to tax havens, despite a formal international request to do so. 
Some members of Congress and various advocacy groups are working to rein in the American corporatocracy, its power and influence, and the unfair policies that they have produced. For example, the economic justice advocacy organization, Fight Corporate Monopolies, recently released it Corporate Power Agenda, which consists of 19 policy recommendations including: 
- Strengthening antitrust enforcement to protect small businesses and consumers from monopolization, which has been evident in 75% of U.S. industries over the last 20 years,
- Banning stock buybacks, which enrich investors and executives while hurting workers and other stakeholders, and which were an illegal form of market manipulation until 1982,
- Reining in private equity and vulture capitalists by passing the Stop Wall Street Looting Act,
- Fixing tax laws to ensure that corporations pay their fair share of taxes,
- Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to support workers’ collective bargaining in the face of the growing power of huge corporate employers,
- Outlawing price fixing and price gouging, including passing the Ending Corporate Greed Act and instituting a windfall profits tax,
- Blocking employers from requiring employees to sign “non-compete” agreements that prevent many workers, including low-wage workers, from going to work for a competitor,
- Closing campaign finance law loopholes that effectively allow Political Action Committees (PACs), funded by wealthy corporations and individuals, to coordinate with candidates’ campaigns, and
- Stopping bailouts of huge corporations.
I urge you to contact President Biden and your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to take on the American corporatocracy, and to rein in corporate power and influence in our economy and politics. Ask them to pass a windfall profits tax and other tax laws to ensure corporations are paying their fair share of taxes and aren’t price gouging consumers. Ask them to make bankruptcy laws fairer so corporate executives don’t get a free pass while individuals have their economic security ruined. You can email President Biden at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments or you can call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 or the switchboard at 202-456-1414. You can find contact information for your US Representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and for your US Senators at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.
 Kuttner, R., 11/16/22, “Bankman and the bastardization of bankruptcy,” The American Prospect (https://prospect.org/blogs-and-newsletters/tap/bankman-and-the-bastardization-of-bankruptcy/)
 Americans for Tax Fairness, retrieved from the Internet 11/19/22, “Congress should raise, not cut, corporate taxes during the lame-duck session,” (https://americansfortaxfairness.org/wp-content/uploads/Lame-Duck-Corporate-Tax-Breaks-Fact-Sheet-1.pdf)
 Johnson, J., 11/15/22, “Secrecy enabled by rich countries lets corporations dodge $90 billion in taxes per year,” Common Dreams (https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/11/15/secrecy-enabled-rich-countries-lets-corporations-dodge-90-billion-taxes-year)
 Conley, J., 11/15/22, “Democrats urged to embrace agenda to combat crisis of ‘corporate power’ in US,” Common Dreams (https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/11/15/democrats-urged-embrace-agenda-combat-crisis-corporate-power-us)