Taking Exception With Sen. DeMint

Apr 29, 2009

Our good friend Sen. Jim DeMint has made the odd accusation that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is no longer a champion of free enterprise. Just to be clear, our organization was founded nearly a century ago with the sole purpose of "advancing human progress through an economic, political, and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility." That sounds like free enterprise to us! We have never veered that from mission—not then, not now, not ever.
Sen. DeMint correctly points out that the U.S. Chamber supported extraordinary measures to prevent a systemic collapse of our economy. But he draws the wrong conclusion from that support. How is trying to save our open and free market economy from destruction a blow against free enterprise? Sen. DeMint may disagree that our economy needed such extraordinary help, but we’ll never know sure what would have happened had we done nothing. Further, our job is to protect the U.S. economic system—not any particular political party.

Sen. DeMint is also being a little bit facetious in his article. He knows we’re on the same side when it comes to defending and protecting free enterprise and strengthening our economy. That’s why the U.S. Chamber lent such remarkable support to his election, taking the rare step of endorsing him to our members in his primary fight. Many would argue that it was the Chamber’s support, through its vast federation of members, that helped tip the scales in his favor to win his general election campaign. The key issue in his race was his support for free and fair trade, a basic tenet of free enterprise.

With the free enterprise system under attack today like never before, now is not the time to form a circular firing squad. Sen. DeMint, let’s work together to remind all Americans that free enterprise offers the greatest opportunity to the greatest number of people to achieve the American Dream.

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