In a segment on The Daily Show posted on Wednesday, Jon Stewart plumbed the whole absurd notion of “corporations are people.” One difference, he noted, is that corporations never admit any wrongdoing, even when they have been found to have committed wrongdoing, and are required to pay the government fines. Another major difference: They never go to jail, which is notable in a country that has the highest prison population in the world.
Take the recent fraud case against Johnson & Johnson, in which the giant conglomerate knowingly peddled faulty hip replacements, or, as Stewart says “bribed doctors and pharmacies to prescribe useless drugs to old people, the disabled and babies.” Looking flabbergasted, Stewart said: “You’re not even allowed to do that in Grand Theft Auto.”
And the penalty? They had to pay a small portion of their ill-gotten gains, $2 billion. The message: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the nominal fine.”
Stewart then wondered whether anyone would go to jail, given this country’s love of locking people up, for instance, the recent case where three teenagers who were waiting for their school bus, were arrested.
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