Are Corporations People Too?
The "corporations are people, my friend" line was quite the momement. But as bad as it sounded, Mitt had a theoretical point. People (as well as other corporations) own corporations and people work for corporations. The problem isn't that there aren't people at the end of the line behind corporations. The problem is that it's a minority of (primarily wealthier)people.
According to the Federal Reserve's 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, only 17.9% of families held stocks, 11.4% hold mutual funds, and 52.6% hold retirement accounts that likely hold a lot of stocks and mutual fund assets.
I haven't been able to find data on the percentage of people employed by corporations, but it's assuredly large. That said, it's hard to imagine that corporate tax breaks would generally result in higher salaries for most employees rather than higher dividends for shareholders. The competition to attract capital is likely fiercer than the competition to attract labor (and certainly for semi-skilled or unskilled labor), which would mean that corporate tax breaks would benefit shareholders (a minority of people) and highly skilled labor (again a minority that probably doesn't need a lot of help). So maybe a more accurate phrase for Mitt is "corporations are wealthy people, my friend".