The U.S. Chamber - Showing the Way

Oct 24, 2008

Eric posted on the card check aspect of two articles that appeared in the Wall Street Journal today, and Bruce Josten shed some light on Senator Schumer's comments earlier this month, but I just wanted to point out a few more things.

We need to take a hard look at where we are as a country. In ways both big and small there is painful evidence that we are becoming a society that has lowered its sights and that can’t get much of anything done. We were once a nation of doers and builders, but are rapidly becoming a nation of talkers and litigators.

Business takes a lot of hits but I find it odd that most of the time the people doing the swinging are the same ones that scream loudest when jobs are lost and growth is slow. Who do they think provides those jobs? I suppose government provides more and more, 22 million last time I checked, but who do they suppose provides the tax base to support those jobs?

Government has a role, but as they seek to take wealth to fulfill our national priorities they should not forget who creates that wealth in the first place. And they won't, because we won't let them. That's our role, and we embrace it with gusto. Now to the clips: 

"The whole caucus is upset at what the Chamber has done," New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who leads campaign operations for Senate Democrats, said in an interview this week. Last month, Mr. Schumer dialed up Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue to complain. A spokesman for Mr. Schumer confirmed the call.

Mr. Donohue didn't back down. Instead, he sent a letter to business leaders. "The fact that some senators are spending the time and energy to participate in a pressure campaign directed at the Chamber and its members demonstrates that our activities are proving effective," Mr. Donohue wrote. "We must not and will not let up."
The Washington-based Chamber represents three million U.S. business and most of the thousands of local chambers of commerce from around the country. The lobbying federation says it doesn't favor either party, but backs "pro-business candidates" from both. It has no legal obligation to be nonpartisan.

Overall, U.S. businesses tend to contribute similar amounts to Democrats and Republicans in their direct giving to candidates and political parties. Through Sept. 30, companies and their political action committees donated $129.6 million to Democrats and $132.6 million to Republicans.

The Chamber of Commerce is attempting to counteract another major font of funding and influence -- the $300 million that organized labor will spend on campaigns during this election cycle, most of it aimed at persuading unionized workers to vote Democratic. Much of that money has gone directly to campaigns: Through Sept. 30, labor unions and their political action committees have given $52.3 million to Democrats and $4.8 million to Republicans, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. (Wall Street Journal)

The Democratic Party once respected the need for a healthy U.S. business community. That was in part because business was ferocious enough to demand respect. But a resurgent labor movement has asserted control over the party. And business has been more concerned with PR than principle. This, and the recent financial crisis, has emboldened Democrats to pursue a pure antimarket agenda.

Their "card check" legislation means thuggish unionism. Their tax policies would squelch American capital. They'll reverse tort reform. Their anecdote for today's financial mess is a super-Sarbanes-Oxley. Trade? What's that? Energy? What's that? Henry Waxman will start so many witch hunts, he'll need a lottery to see who goes first.
The Chamber's real work starts Nov. 5. Senate supermajority or no, Democrats will be in control. The fights coming will demand that business take sides. If one outcome of this year's election is that the business community becomes the loudest voice in Washington for freer markets, so much the better. The Chamber is showing the way. (
Potomac Watch)

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