Corporate corruption is a reflection of human greed. Corporate misbehavior is the product of universal human moral failings, which exist just as much in any other highly organized institution, including government. There is nothing uniquely "evil" about corporations, and nothing uniquely "good" about government. Both are examples of human institutions, which contain plenty of examples of both good and bad behavior.
To believe that government should control corporations, you would have to assume one of four things.
1. That government is more competent than corporations.
2. That government is more representative than corporations are.
3. That government is more moral, incorruptible and ethical than corporations are.
4. That government is more trustworthy because it lacks a profit motive.
I think we can safely throw the idea of Number 1 out the window right off the bat. Most things the government does cost more, are less efficient and less likely to succeed. As much as corporations fail, the government fails more.
The average government office does less for more money, with less transparency, more overhead, worse customer service and no workable plan for the future. That applies to government in general as well. The only reason government survives is that it can do what corporations can't, forcibly tax businesses and the general public to keep funding its own ventures.
Furthermore many top government officials have washed out of the business world, e.g. Bush and Obama. That doesn't suggest a high standard of competence when the highest leaders in government are people who couldn't succeed in business.
So to argue that government control of business will be in any result in those businesses being better run, as Obama claims, is contradicted by the sheer weight of evidence and common sense. We can take a look at the results of Communism and Socialism, as well as a practical comparison of how well government agencies vs businesses operate to reach that conclusion.
On to Number 2 then, are governments more representative than corporations?
On the surface of it, the answer might be yes. After all we believe in one man, one vote. Corporations answer to their shareholders, the rich. Government is supposed to answer to the common man. Of course if you seriously believe that, you're either in elementary school or hopelessly naive. Governments and corporations both answer to much the same people. The odds of getting your Congressman or Senator's ear greatly improves with the amount of money you donate to his campaign. Don't have any money? Better hope he's feeling charitable or can use your case to promote himself. Which is much the same reason corporations help people.
Representative government depends on elections within a limited party system. Winning an election requires money. The money comes from many of the same people who run the corporations. Representative government turns out to be more representative to the rich than to the people they represent.
For that matter you can buy a few shares of stock and ask a question at a shareholder's meeting of a corporate CEO. Try getting into a Cabinet meeting and asking the President a question, without spending the next 48 hours in a jail cell.
In sum total, government is not particularly more representative than corporations are.
On to Number 3 then, are governments less subject to corruption and more ethical than corporations are?
The spectacle of CEO's being marched off to jail is counterbalanced with no shortage of Congressmen being marched off to jail as well. Corporate corruption is counterbalanced with no shortage of government corruption. Embezzlement, corruption, lies, fraud, deceit, abuse of power and all that grab bag of malevolence is just as present in government as in corporate life.
Even the most die hard liberal would have trouble denying that government is any more moral and ethical than the corporation.
With that we come to Number 4, that the structure of government makes it more ethical or moral than corporations, because its calling is nobler and it lacks a profit motive.
On the face of it this notion seems absurd. Government officials get paid hefty salaries, perhaps smaller ones than corporate executives, but at the higher levels far more than the average American can expect to see. The frequency with which bribes and kickbacks occur, makes the idea of confusing non-profit with the lack of a profit motive even more absurd.
But is profit motive itself a bad thing? That question underlies the left's preference for regulating businesses using government. For championing "non-profits" over privatization. And that comes from their knee jerk opposition to capitalism itself.
The underlying argument goes back a long way but it ties into the most basic questions of civil rights and human freedoms. And the most dangerous of those questions is, do we consider property to be individually owned or collectively owned?
That particular argument predates the French Revolution. It split some of the major Enlightenment philosophers as well as some key figures in the American Revolution. And it is at the heart of the question of whether Free Enterprise and commerce is a Natural Right, or a regulated activity. If commerce is a natural right like speech or religion or assembly, then not only can government have only a limited ability to regulate it at best, but it has no moral right to regulate it.
While the Constitution never went so far, the American experiment fell on the side of free enterprise and individual property ownership. That was not however the case in Europe, where ironically many of the same people working to liberate the common man from the state of peasantry and serfdom, did so by advancing collective theories of property. Rather than attacking monarchy by ending its monopolization of land and opening it up to individual use and exploitation, they instead viewed all land as being the common property of the people. Which meant that no individual could own it, and only a body of men who acted on "behalf of the people" could supervise its use. Namely the government.
Thus when Lenin spoke of giving land to the peasants, he meant it in the collective sense in which all Russians would own the land in a collective sense, without any of them actually owning a square inch of land. But you don't have to go as far as Lenin to see plenty of examples of this same view of collective property ownership in Europe and America. The utilitarian idea that property laws exist only to promote what the government decides is the general welfare is at the heart of virtually every Western political system today. It is at the heart of the UN's treaties about deep water mining or exploitation of the moon, which we have accepted as law.
Business and corporations from a Collectivist perspective are a form of robbery from the "collective", the people who actually own all of it in sum. Property is not a right, it's theft. Commerce is exploitation. Business is crime. And the victim is "the government" which should be collectively managing all that industry, as Obama did when he mandated changes to the boards and management of major banks and now General Motors.
This Collectivist perspective explains why many liberals insist on advancing the disproven position that government is in any way more fit to control corporations, than their own executives. It is at the heart of the long war against business in the West.
And so we come to the reason for the liberal preference for government and non-profits, the guardians of the "collective property" of the people, over for profit corporations. It is at the heart of it a debate about the nature of civil rights and natural law, over the question of whether we have a right to commerce, or only a "permission to commerce" under the thumb of the appropriate government official. That is the debate we should be having now. And as the Ninth or Tenth have not sufficed, it may be time to settle that debate with one more amendment.