SMYRNA, Delaware. This town of 10,000 straddles two counties, Kent and New Castle, but in politics there is no dividing line. “Just about everybody here voted for Joe Biden,” says Lem Goodman, whose family has lived here since it was known as “Duck Creek Cross Roads” in the 18th century. “If they didn’t, we shun ’em when we pass ’em on Main Street.”
Main Street, Smyrna, Delaware
Along with the feeling of pride that comes with a favorite son sitting in the White House comes hope; hope that the President can sway members of the Democratic Party to drop or at least soften their animus towards the principal cash crop of Delaware–corporations.
“They don’t realize a lot of folks make a darn good living off ’em down our way,” says Goodman, who rotates the crops in his fields on an annual basis, switching traditional corporations with newer hybrids such as LLCs to avoid soil depletion. “I’d hate to see my boy have to leave our farm for some crappy job in a cubicle writing software code and lose touch with the land,” he adds over a lump in his throat as he tousles the hair of his son, Lou, 10.
Delaware has been the leading producer of limited liability business entities since the late 19th century, when it leapfrogged over New Jersey with a sexy new General Corporation Law, or Title 8, Chapter 1 of the Delaware Code as it is known to its friends. “It had all the bells and whistles,” says Everett Morton, Professor Emeritus of Corporate Agriculture at the University of Delaware-Leipsic. “By-laws, shareholders, directors–you name it. They didn’t need all your fancy go-go accessories like ‘shareholders rights’ back in the pioneer days.”
Bumper crop of by-laws, ready for harvest.
Corporations frequently come under populist fire from Democrats, who view them as cold legal fortresses good only for political contributions in election cycles. “Can a corporation hug you and kiss you at night,” asks Washington, D.C. lobbyist Herman Wolder as he fiddles with a phone made by a corporation. “Obviously the answer is no, for that you need to hit on an intern.”
4-H auction of Subchapter S cow.
In addition to persistent attempts to raise taxes on corporations, Democrats threaten family farmers’ ability to pass their land on to their descendants with frequent proposals to increase the inheritance tax, which often forces farmers’ heirs to sell acreage that has been handed down through generations of yeomen who toil the land. “Lou here would make a good farmer, I know it,” Goodman says as he holds his son’s hair under a de-tousling machine. “He raised a little bitty start-up to an A-round of venture financing for his 4-H project.”