Scott Walker: Despised by the Masses, But Still #1 With U.S. Chamber
Today, representatives from the U.S. Chamber and its Wisconsin look-alike, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), are meeting with Governor Scott Walker to discuss job creation and a new Chamber-sponsored report on how the state can improve its business climate to create jobs. According to WMC’s press release, over 200 executives are expected to attend the forum.
Get ready for an all-out lovefest for Walker and his war against unions and working people. In the wake of massive protests against Walker’s plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights among the state’s public employees, Chamber President Tom Donohue said Walker’s initiative “…was worth the cost.” The Chamber even applauded Walker’s “tough decisions about how to bring the budget into balance” and decried those who “mobbed the state capitol” but “were supposed to be working.” This past June, the Governor attended a U.S. Chamber roundtable discussion where, according to a Washington Post op-ed, he “boasted about passing tort reform, tax cuts, a ‘major regulatory reform’ and his celebrated fight against the public-sector unions. ‘That’s powerful for job creators out there,’ he said.” He neglected to put “job creators” in little air-quotes, but the Chamber reps knew what he meant: Walker’s agenda was a near-verbatim recitation of the Chamber’s own proposals.
Walker may have also been taking his cues from the Chamber earlier this year, when the Chamber gave Wisconsin a “poor” rating for its state employment policies in a (widely debunked) report on job creation. The Chamber explained its rating, noting that Wisconsin has “numerous labor and employment laws that exceed federal requirements” like “state discrimination laws in excess of federal requirements,” the fact that it is not a “right-to-work” state and that “more than 46 percent of public sector workers are unionized.” Too much unionization, you say? Well, the Governor will get right on that, then.
These days, as an investigation swirls over whether Walker used taxpayer money for political activity, and as the FBI raids the home of another aide while Walker himself faces an imminent recall election, both the Chamber and the Wisconsin governor may want to reconsider the wisdom of using brute force against teachers, firefighters, and cops– and consider some policies that actually create jobs, instead of just targeting political opponents.
U.S. Chamber Wins 2011 Rubber Dodo Award
Today, the Center for Biological Diversity gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the 2011 Rubber Dodo Award, an award they give out annully “to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.”
A picture’s worth 1,000 words.
Yahoo! Joins Apple, Other Tech Companies, Abandons U.S. Chamber
Joining a growing list of major corporations that are upset with the U.S. Chamber’s pay-to-play model, where the U.S. Chamber’s brand is for-sale to the highest bidder, Yahoo! Has abandoned the U.S. Chamber citing the business lobby’s active work against their interests. According to Politico’s Morning Tech:
Yahoo has quietly left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, MT has learned. For Yahoo’s part, a spokeswoman would only say to MT that the company “has memberships with numerous trade associations and belongs to a number of organizations that promote a free and fair marketplace which enable Yahoo! to innovate on behalf of our more than 700 million users. As our membership renewal time neared and we reviewed our membership, we decided not to renew.”
Yahoo didn’t elaborate any further, and the Chamber said it does not comment on membership changes. But we know one thing for sure: The two didn’t see eye to eye on at least one issue. That’s the PROTECT IP Act, which the Chamber strongly supports and Yahoo greatly opposes. We’re following.
More than fifty local Chamber of Commerce’s have quit the U.S. Chamber, citing their extreme and draconian positions on climate change, Wall Street and health care reform. In addition, nearly a dozen major corporations have abandoned or disavowed the U.S. Chamber for their radical positions and pay-to-play model.
Hundreds Protest the U.S. Chamber, Ask “Where are the Jobs?”
Following the organic activist momentum of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, over 500 protestors marched to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday. As CNN reported, “There, in front of a two-story banner in front of the building that reads ‘JOBS: Brought to you by American free enterprise,’ the demonstrators chanted, ‘Where are the jobs?’”
U.S. Chamber Watch’s spokeswoman Christy Setzer was on hand to make sure the public knew about the U.S. Chamber and how it only serves a handful of corporations– NOT small businesses or the middle class, as Fox News would have you believe.
“It’s no surprise that when a massive, organic movement comes together to protest the stranglehold that corporate power has on this country, they know exactly where to place the blame: At the steps of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. More than any other organization, the nation’s biggest lobbyist has provided reckless corporate giants like BP, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America with—as Chamber President Tom Donohue put it– ‘all the deniability they need’ to take positions and actions that damage America.”
We reminded the crowd that in 2009 just 16 contributors (aka: large corporations) gave 55% of the Chamber’s over $200 million budget. These corporations include Prudential, Dow Chemical and major health insurance companies through AHIP. In 2010, Fox News parent company NewsCorp was a million-dollar donor to the U.S. Chamber, perhaps why its coverage of yesterday’s protest was so grossly misleading.
In case the Chamber’s locked doors during the protest didn’t make this clear enough, the Chamber does NOT represent the 99% of hardworking Americans and small business owners. The Chamber stands instead with the 1% who’ve benefited in this economy.
The 99% are responding. Since 2009, over 50 local chambers of commerce have either formally cancelled their membership with the U.S. Chamber or publicly distanced themselves from the national organization. This week, the Newton-Needham (MA) Chamber of Commerce announced that it was cutting ties with the U.S. Chamber over its partisanship, saving $800 in annual membership fees. A few weeks ago, both the AP and NPR reported on the Homer Alaska Chamber of Commerce cutting ties with the U.S. Chamber for the same reasons.
Everywhere you look, Americans are peeling back the U.S. Chamber’s façade.
Photo Credit: CNN.com
U.S Chamber Partisanship on the Road Again in IL
Chamber Should Be Front and Center in Corporate Political Transparency Talks
Where is the talk about the U.S. Chamber’s lead role in opposing disclosure in the recent uptick of public interest groups and businesses who are advocating corporate political spending transparency and disclosure? This week, the Center for Economic Development (CED) held a luncheon where its leaders released three reports on political spending by corporations in a post-Citizens United world. According to CED, the reports “urge meaningful voluntary corporate action to resist the ‘pay to play’ business environment, the decision created by refusing to spend corporate resources on campaigns – or, at a minimum, to fully disclose political spending to shareholders and the public.”
Representatives from corporations like Pfizer, Merck and American Electric Power (AEP) sat on the dais discussing their companies’ respective political spending disclosure policies, many brought about by shareholder proposals. Some of the these companies mentioned disclose how much they give to trade associations, like the U.S. Chamber, and others do not, depending on their policy. Despite the tens of millions of dollars that the U.S. Chamber has spent on political activity, the only panelist that mentioned the U.S. Chamber – even though CED’s own report that noted that the U.S. Chamber spent $32.8 million during the 2010 election cycle – was longtime disclosure advocate and president of Democracy 21, Fred Wertheimer. Why did the other panelists ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room?
If so many corporations are jumping on the bandwagon of political spending transparency, we question why they still continue to give to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – the poster child for anti-disclosure policies? And why do some companies who are committing to transparency not disclose trade association contributions? The Chamber was a lead supporter of Citizens United, filing several friend-of-the-court briefs in the Supreme Court case. The Chamber has opposed the DISCLOSE Act as well as a proposed executive order to require political spending disclosure by companies that receive contracts from the federal government. In fact, in the Citizens United decision, the U.S. Chamber’s position on disclosure was more extreme than 8 of 9 Supreme Court justices who in a separate ruling, “upheld the constitutionality of disclosure requirements” according to Bloomberg. As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:
With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.
As the Chamber has said itself, disclosure would threaten the Chamber’s very operation. Trade associations, with the U.S. Chamber at the helm, are the last bastions of “deniability” for companies who want to leave disclosure at the door. Companies that are serious about sunlight and accountability to consumers and shareholders should be ready to explain their relationship to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Chamber: Stop Bullying on the Jobs Playground
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been touting its so-called jobs agenda for weeks now; but we have to wonder for whom these jobs are intended.
Not for the currently unemployed, apparently.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that President Obama’s jobs bill proposes to make it illegal for businesses to discriminate against unemployed individuals when hiring. The idea, of course, is to prevent employers from overlooking applicants that, through no fault of their own, have been out of work for weeks or even months; and to prevent the creation of a permanently unemployable class of workers.
Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not a fan. “We do not see a need for it,” said Michael J. Eastman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Pretty sure about 14 million unemployed Americans would disagree right about now; and as any childhood movie about bullies will tell you, there’s power in numbers!
Chamber’s Pro-Bribery Push Voted Top Corruption Story of the Year
Posted by Lauren Levenstein on September 27, 2011
Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal’s Corruption Currents blog asked readers to vote for the “top corruption story of the year.” Of the eight stories listed, the U.S. Chamber’s push to amend the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to make it easier for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials garnered an overwhelming 91.5% of the votes, as of this morning (11:27am, 9/27/11):
Clearly, news that the U.S. Chamber – backed by many of the large multinational companies who have been charged under the anti-bribery legislation – is trying, in the words of a recent report, to seemingly give “license to commit pervasive and intentional bribery” takes the cake for corruption.
You can still vote by clicking here.
Quitting U.S. Chamber Results in More Memberships, Income for Local AK Chamber
Posted by Lauren Levenstein on September 22, 2011
Yesterday, Homer AK’s local paper, the Homer News, published a detailed story on the Homer Chamber of Commerce’s decision to discontinue its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to the Homer News, part of the Homer Chamber’s decision to the ditch the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was a result of local business owners who refused to join the local chamber as long as it was a member of the U.S. Chamber. In fact, according to the story, by cutting ties with the national Chamber, the Homer Chamber is set to gain at least $600 in new members’ dues.
But don’t just take it from us. In the words of local business owners:
- “They [local business owners] felt very strongly about it, saying they would love to be a part of our chamber, but couldn’t as long as we tacitly supported the U.S. chamber by our membership.” – Monte Davis, Executive Director, Homer Chamber of Commerce, AK
- “In the small community that Homer is, the U.S. chamber just didn’t seem to satisfy us. It was a cold, clear look at benefits versus the cost.” –Holly Van Pelt, Board President, Homer Chamber of Commerce, AK
- “It was financial. Finances and not necessarily being in line with the positions they [the U.S. Chamber] were taking.” – Trevor Brown, Executive Director, Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, AK on why his Chamber quit the U.S. Chamber
- “…we’ve had informal discussions about making sure our membership in the [Alaska] state chamber doesn’t lead someone to think we agree with everything in the U.S. chamber.” – Ron Long, Board President, Seward Chamber of Commerce, AK
Read the full article here.
Notice to Chamber Employees: You Have No Rights
File this under “things the Chamber does instead of creating jobs and fixing the economy”:
This week, the U.S. Chamber filed a lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for simply instituting a rule that ensures employers are notifying workers of their already-established rights. The Department of Labor (DOL) already requires that employers post certain federal workplace rights and responsibilities for employees. Now, they’ll add a notice that, according to the Huffington Post, “requires private employers to display posters that tell workers about their right to form a union.” That right has been around since 1935, with the advent of the National Labor Relations Act; they’re just putting it on a poster. But then again, if the U.S. Chamber had its way, most of the worker protections posted by water coolers and break rooms around the country would look awfully different — because the U.S. Chamber has a long record of opposing many of the workplace protections and basic workers’ rights that the American people enjoy. We thought it would be (not so) fun to imagine what the DOL-required signs might look like if the U.S. Chamber had its way.
The Chamber Opposes Requirement that Employers Post Workers’ Rights to Form a Union, Opposes Employee Free Choice Act
- U.S. Chamber Sued the National Labor Relations Board to Block Rule Requiring Employers Post Employees’ Right to Unionize. According to Bloomberg, in September 2011, the U.S. Chamber and South Carolina Chamber of Commerce “sued the National Labor Relations Board to block a rule that will require businesses to post notices about employees’ rights to unionize.” [Bloomberg, 9/20/11]
- U.S. Chamber Put On “Full Court Press” to Oppose Employee Free Choice Act. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in March 2009, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been putting on a full-court press to defeat the measure, including newspaper and television advertisements, and efforts to have members write letters to their representatives in Washington, D.C., urging them to defeat the measure. Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Workforce Freedom Initiative, the chamber’s effort to defeat the legislation, said there have been breakfasts and speeches all across the country that all end with specific instructions on how to help defeat the bill.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/15/09]
The Chamber Opposes the Minimum Wage, Raises to the Minimum Wage
- U.S. Chamber Official: “We Don’t Think Government Ought to Be in the Business of Setting Wages.” In 2002, Chamber spokesman Randy Johnson said, “We don’t think the government ought to be in the business of setting wages.” [Washington Times, 5/6/02]
- The U.S. Chamber “Has Consistently Opposed Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage.” In July 2007, Marc Freedman, the labor law policy director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wrote, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently opposed increasing the federal minimum wage.” He added, “Increasing the minimum wage does not even help those it is intended to benefit.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/17/07]
The Chamber Opposed Key Parts of Equal Employment Opportunity Law
- U.S. Chamber Opposed 1998 Equal Pay Law for Women. In 1998, the Chamber opposed President Clinton’s call for legislation to strengthen laws reducing disparities in men and women’s earning power. Randel Johnson, vice president of labor policy at the chamber, said that wage disparities are due mainly to the interruption of many women’s job careers to raise families. “Work experience does tend to translate to greater wages,” Johnson said. [AP, 6/10/98]
- U.S. Chamber Opposed Family and Medical Leave, Saying it Set a “Dangerous Precedent.” Discussing the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1987, Virginia B. Lamp of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “Sometimes an issue is lobbyist-driven or Washington-driven, but this is absolutely grass roots,” adding that business sees the bill as creating a “dangerous precedent” of federally mandated employee benefits. [New York Times, 2/3/87]
- US Chamber Opposed Amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Cover Women From Discrimination Due to Pregnancy. The New York Times reported “Women’s rights groups and organized labor urged Congress today to counter a major Supreme Court ruling by amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to make the law clearly prohibit job discrimination because of pregnancy. But the United States Chamber of Commerce opposed the move…” [New York Times, 4/7/77]
The Chamber Led Fight Against Occupational Safety and Health Act
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vigorously Opposed Occupational Safety Regulations and “Led the Fight to Defeat the 1968 Bill.” In an article written between the initial bill supported by President Johnson and the second bill, that passed, supported by President Nixon, the New York Times reported: “The first legislation providing for a comprehensive nationwide system of health and safety standards was proposed last year by President Johnson. Strongly supported by labor, the bill ran into immediate and vigorous opposition from industry, led by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.” [New York Times, 12/10/69; New York Times, 3/19/70]
- U.S. Chamber Argued That OSHA Was a Failure. In 1979, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce charged “that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had failed to reduce worker injuries and illnesses significantly since its inception in 1970.” Mark De Bernardo of the Chamber wrote, “In the wake of piles of more O.S.H.A. rules and paperwork, fatal injuries on the job soared by more than 24 percent from 1976 to 1977.” [New York Times, 8/27/79]
From Alaska to Washington, DC, Backlash Against the Chamber Grows
Over the last ten days, the U.S. Chamber has faced backlash on two unlikely fronts: from anti-corruption advocates pushing back on the Chamber’s proposals to essentially gut the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and from a local chamber in Homer, Alaska– the latest local Chamber to officially cut ties with the U.S. Chamber over its partisan political activity and anti-climate agenda. That groups are challenging the Chamber isn’t new; that the backlash has reached as far as ruby-red Alaska, and with traditionally non-political groups, is new.
Anti-corruption and governmental transparency advocates caught wind of a Chamber report released almost a year ago suggesting major changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and have sprung into action with Open Society Foundations releasing a new report that refutes the Chamber’s ostensibly “pro-bribery” report almost line by line. The Chamber’s suggested amendments have not even been introduced yet in the halls of Congress and it seems like advocates hope to keep it that way, staying well ahead of the fray.
Similarly, the AP reported at length on a recent decision by the Homer Chamber of Commerce in Alaska to cut ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In the past, stories of local chambers ditching the U.S. Chamber have often arisen after the national Chamber plays partisan politics in localities during election season or in reaction to unpopular, controversial U.S. Chamber agendas like when officials denied climate change science and called for a Scopes Monkey Trial.
The tides are clearly turning. Advocates and local chambers alike are getting out in front of the “Goliath” U.S. Chamber’s anticipated actions rather than waiting for a next move. We think this is only the beginning of a slurry of advocates, local chambers, local business leaders, and investors from around the United States, and maybe the world, who will realize that there is no better time to hold the secretly-funded U.S. Chamber accountable for its partisanship and its misleading, industry-driven agenda.
Since 2009, almost 60 local Chambers have distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. See and download a full list here.
Chamber’s Proposals to Gut FCPA: Key Coverage
Reuters: Fight brews over US anti-bribery law as fines jump 9/16/11 http://af.reuters.com/article/cameroonNews/idAFS1E78B1ZL20110916
WSJ:Friday Bout: Open Society Foundations Vs. US Chamber of Commerce By Joe Palazzolo 9/16/11 http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2011/09/16/friday-bout-open-society-foundations-vs-us-chamber-of-commerce/
IPS News: Changing Key Law Could Mean “License to Bribe” By Amanda Wilson 9/17/11 http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=105142
FCPA Reform Rhetoric Heats Up, FCPA Professor blog, 9/19/11 http://www.fcpaprofessor.com/fcpa-reform-rhetoric-heats-up
Homer, AK Chamber Makes National News Quitting the U.S. Chamber
AP: Local AK chamber joins departures from US Chamber 9/18/11 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/18/ap/business/main20107901.shtml
Alaska Native News: Homer Chamber of Commerce Cuts Ties with U.S. Chamber, By GW Rastopsoff, 9/19 http://www.alaska-native news.com/article/State_News/State_News/Homer_Chamber_of_Commerce_Cuts_Ties_With_US_Chamber/23296
The U.S. Chamber’s Push to Ease Corporate Bribery Overseas
Tomorrow morning (9/16/11), at 10am EST, professors from Harvard and Northeastern Law Schools will be launching a report they authored entitled, “Busting Bribery: Sustaining the Global Momentum of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” which “critiques the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s five proposed amendments to the FCPA.” (Flyer for the public, RSVP-required event linked here.)
While you’re still scratching your head over the Chamber’s (not) new plan to create jobs (that won’t create jobs), don’t forget that one of its other main priorities right now is making it easier for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials. Yes, you read that right. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, back in October 2010, the U.S. Chamber, and most likely its member companies, decided that it would urge Congress to roll back the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977.
According to the Department of Justice, the law was enacted after SEC investigations found that “over 400 U.S. companies admitted making questionable or illegal payments in excess of $300 million to foreign government officials, politicians, and political parties.” Following the United States’ example, many other countries have taken official steps to combat bribery or passed laws against it, including the United Kingdom and recently, China.
So why now, when jobs and the deficit have been at the top of everyone else’s “to-do” list, would the U.S. Chamber hire big-gun, former Attorney General under President Bush, Michael Mukasey and his lobbying firm to butter up Congress and convince it that there is no better time to ease corruption standards? Maybe it is because, as reported by the Huffington Post in August 2011, U.S. Chamber Watch research revealed that eight Chamber member companies have been charged under the FCPA including Siemens AG, Johnson and Johnson, Chevron, General Electric, AGCO Corporation, Schnitzer Steel, IBM, and El Paso Corporation.
U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue has repeatedly said that the U.S. Chamber exists to provide corporations “all the deniability they need” and allow them to push through their agendas without any fingerprints left on the process.
How long will it take lawmakers and citizens alike to realize that the Chamber’s push to reform the FCPA is not about clarifying provisions or quelling Department of Justice overreach? It is about the Chamber as corporate hit man, presumably taking cues and a sizable amount of cash from some corporation(s), to make it easier for them to bribe. And that’s what the U.S. Chamber is doing for you lately.
Partisan Author of U.S. Chamber Pro-Tax Repatriation Holiday Study Admits the Study Sucked
Today, the U.S. Chamber released a study it commissioned by Douglas Holtz-Eakin in support of a corporate tax holiday on overseas profits. We’ve been preparing to debunk the report, based on the Chamber’s history of commissioning questionable reports and Holtz-Easkin’s history of writing them – but alas, Holtz-Eakin himself beat us to the punch! According to the Hill, he admitted that the study was “more of anecdotal examination” and then said, “In trying to do the survey quickly, I don’t think we did it well.” But the Chamber didn’t seem to mind. It’s still touting the study’s “findings” and even included it as a plank in their (not) new jobs plan.
Back in June 2011, when it was reported that this study was underway, we did our homework on Mr. Holtz-Eakin and found he has a bit of a history with bogus studies. In 2009, he claimed that eliminating the estate tax would create 1.5 million jobs– a claim which was subsequently debunked and widely panned. We also knew of his partisan hackery background serving as President of the American Action Forum whose sister organization American Action Network runs partisan political ads (much like the Chamber). He also did a former stint as John McCain’s 2008 senior economic advisor.
In April 2011, we published our own report on how a tax repatriation holiday would do nothing but put cash back into the pockets of CEOs and shareholders in the form of stock buybacks – NOT create jobs. We’ve been ahead of the curve on this one.
Finally, note Holtz-Eakin’s odd disclaimer on the first page of the report:
“These views are mine alone and do not represent the position of…the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which commissioned this study.”
We’re not quite sure what that means other than the fact that neither the U.S. Chamber – nor the economist they paid to do the report – can stand by Chamber-bought research anymore because it’s BOGUS. But don’t take our word (or our credible research) for it, take Holtz-Eakins’.
The U.S. Chamber’s Jobs Plan? It’s the Closest These Guys Come to Recycling
“New” Jobs Plan Re-Hash of Corporate Funders’ Wish List
Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a six- point, seven page job creation plan in a letter to members of Congress. It looks like the Chamber took its same old, ineffective agenda, slapped it into one letter, and called it a “new” jobs plan. What a waste of paper. The U.S. Chamber’s “new” jobs plan is nothing more than its old plan to please CEOs by blatantly ignoring environmental concerns, cutting taxes on corporations – despite evidence that it won’t create jobs– and abolishing the regulations that keep workers safe and consumers healthy.
Hanging up a “J-O-B-S” poster on the front of its building did nothing to help the Chamber responsibly create jobs just as slapping “J-O-B-S” on its already existing, reckless, and profit-driven agenda is nothing but corporate window dressing. As Time Magazine blogged, “Mr. Donahue, I know this might sound crazy, but here’s my idea about job creation— why don’t you hire somebody? …The less you have to lay out for lobbying, the less your members have to pay into the Chamber, and the more they have available to hire labor. It’s a virtuous job circle!”
The U.S. Chamber’s Job-Killing Agenda
The Chamber Isn’t Terribly Concerned with Job Creation. Just Ask Them.
U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Martin Regalia Said There Isn’t Much More Government Can Do Now to Create Jobs but Wait for Economic Self Repair. “Martin Regalia, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thinks there isn’t much more government can do now, beyond promoting pro-growth policies that have a payback later. ‘We have focused way too much on these sorts of artificial respiration-type approaches … rather than getting the patient into a good environment where it would repair itself,’ he said.” [McClatchy News, 8/4/11]
Tom Donohue “Was Utterly Stumped” When Asked “What Corporate America Should Do” To Create Jobs. In a 2011 piece, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote: “Yet when asked by the Washington Post what corporate America should do to help bring about the ‘jobs recovery,’ Donohue was utterly stumped. ‘I got to think about this for a minute,’ he told the reporter, before recovering with, ‘I think the most important thing to tell a company is to return a reasonable return to their investors.’” [Washington Post, 1/12/11]
…Instead, Chamber Leaders Are Re-Packaging The Same Old Wish-List For Their Biggest Corporate Funders. Here’s a snapshot:
Produce More American Energy – to Create Environmental Ruin:
- U.S. Chamber Supports Mountaintop Mining. [MINGO LOGAN COAL CO, INC V. EPA, filed 6/3/11]
- U.S. Chamber Even Supports Development in Protected Lands. [“U.S. Chamber’s Open Letter to President and Congress Offers Plan to Put America Back to Work,” 7/14/10; Politico, 7/21/10]
- The U.S. Chamber Supports Taking Polar Bears off the Endangered Species List to Expand “Energy Development.” [RedOrbit.com, 8/30/11]
- The U.S. Chamber Challenged The Existence Of Man Made Global Warming. [Mother Jones, 10/2/09]
Tax Repatriation and Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate – to Create CEO Profits:
- The U.S. Chamber Supports Tax Repatriation, Which In 2005 Provided A $276 Billion Windfall For Corporate Shareholders, Not Jobs. [New York Times, 6/4/09; “The U.S. Chamber’s Tax Repatriation Holiday: A Report by U.S. Chamber Watch,” April 2011 ]
- The U.S. Chamber Supports Reducing the Corporate Capital Gains Tax, Which History Shows Doesn’t Create Jobs. [Fortune, 4/8/11; U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Open Letter to Congress and the President of the United States,” 9/5/11]
Provide Regulatory Certainty and Relief – to Create Unsafe Jobs and Products:
- U.S. Chamber Part of Astroturf Group Opposing Mine Safety and Health Act After WV Massey Mine Explosion. [U.S. Chamber Watch blog, 7/20/10]
- The U.S. Chamber Opposed EPA Regulations on Disposal of Toxic Coal Ash Which Physicians Say Cause Cancer, and Neurological Harm to Humans and Wildlife. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce statement, 11/19/10; Coal Tattoo, West Virginia Gazette blog, 5/4/10; “PSR calls on EPA for Tougher Regulation of Toxic Coal Ash,” Physicians for Social Responsibility, 9/3/10]
- The U.S. Chamber Opposes Regulation of BPA, “Extremely Toxic” Deformity Causing “Toxins in Consumer Plastics.” [ThinkProgress, 6/9/11]
Other Job-Killing Items on the Chamber’s Agenda…
Remaining Silent on the Debt Ceiling Raise – Jeopardizing American Jobs and the Economy
- While Washington Focused on Economy’s Possible Default, So-Called “Voice of Business,” U.S. Chamber, Was Instead Lobbying for Free Trade Agreements. [Bloomberg, 8/1/11]
- Chamber Spent Over $9 Million in 2010 Electing Members of Congress Who Voted Against Raising Debt Ceiling. [Center for Responsive Politics; New York Times, 8/1/11; U.S. Chamber Watch blog, 8/3/11]
Strongly Supporting the Outsourcing of American Jobs Overseas
- June 2011: U.S. Chamber Part of Group Urging Congress to “Strengthen Outsourcing.” [Washington Technology, 6/23/11]
- Donohue: “There Are Legitimate Values In Outsourcing.” [CNN, 2/10/04]
- Donohue Vowed To “Fight Attempts By Our Government To Restrict [Job] Outsourcing.” [Agence France Presse, 4/14/04]