Watching the self-described booster of business, the Chamber of Commerce, lose membership because of its judgment errors on climate change is personally rather satisfying. The idiocy of its adamant opposition to global warming realities is only a small part of the errors it commits, errors that work against the business interests it is supposed to represent.
Working to pass public interest legislation, I have found that there is a constant drumbeat from the Chamber that opposes anything that helps the public – with the claim that it will be bad for business:
The master snake charmers over at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have unveiled their new, glitzy, multi-million dollar ad campaign to beat back financial services regulation, consumer protection, and other reform measures being proposed in Congress this fall. The campaign makes vague promises to create 20 million new jobs in the next 10 years. (This from a group that claimed on its website to have 3 million members, but shrunk that number by 90% when challenged this week by Mother Jones.)
Of course it was Chamber-backed deregulation of the financial markets that lost us 7.5 million jobs in the first place. So the Chamber has an uphill battle to convince us that anything it is peddling will do the trick.
Deregulation is only one of the anti-prosperity themes the Chamber has harped on over the years.
Arts, education, environment, and especially social support arouse in the Chamber’s lobbying persona a perceived threat that taxes would go up on business and the wealthy. That tax threat was sure to drive business from our shores, if you recall.
There is little that was achieved during the previous administration that was not on the list of goodies the lobbyists for the Chamber of Commerce’s ideology requested. Those policies did not save jobs. Jobs ran overseas while the Chamber inveighed against progressive policies that could have saved those jobs.
The primacy of oil was a particular pro-business attitude. Making it easy to drill by easing environmental restrictions and removing taxes from the product needed to transport our wares was touted as a fix to produce lower prices. With that insistence, the Bush administration put oil interests on the throne for eight years.
Just in case no one noticed, the price of oil skyrocketed. Gasoline went over $4, heating oil skyrocketed to a ruinous price, plastics (manufactured from oil products) and building materials of every sort all assumed luxury prices overnight. The cost inherent in transportation industries, along with the costs of shipping absolutely everything, went off the charts.
This was about as bad for business as it could possibly have been. Where were your pro-business lobbies during the oil price hikes’ heyday? Insisting that we had to knock off environmental considerations and drill, baby, drill.
My congressman, Ralph Hall, stood on the floor of the House declaring that we would have to go to war to get more oil if we couldn’t drill in places that had been off limits. The wingers of the Chamber continued after promoted devastating policies as "pro-business" to strip away wealth from the consumers who are the soul of U.S. business.
Of course, all of this insanity will not keep the country’s businesses operating; what is needed isn’t those polluting fossil fuels that are in finite supply. Developing alternate power sources should have begun some time back, when other countries started solid development of solar, wind and tidal energies. Now the country is faced with serious catch-up work to do, and an oil industry that has only more economic demands to make on the economy – while it gives no quarter and destroys its own base.
There is more from the pro-business approach that threatens the economic base of our business community. Regulations on financial industries, claim the Chamber, were strangling innovation and growth and prosperity until the worst administration ever arrived. No use pointing out how much the business sector has gained from the deregulation that threw the country into the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Amazingly, the Chamber is still hard at work insisting that regulations will destroy that innovative Wall Street crew, protesting forward movement in hearing after hearing bent on resolving the crisis that the right wing brought down on us all.
And another area, health care, would be a huge boon to business. By easing the burden of providing health care to our employee class, the country could take a huge step toward a better business climate. Anyone think that the trusty Chamber might be hard at work promoting this for the business community? You guessed right, it’s just the opposite.
The line that the Chamber of Commerce has fed its member businesses over the years has been, and is still, that it will promote business interests. Quite to the contrary, the stands it has taken have hurt business horribly. In actuality, a real representative of business interests can be found on the left. There, real prosperity, real soundness of economic interests, real safeguarding of energy needs and supply, and real public (consumer) well-being is promoted.
Progressives are doing the work for business that its self-proclaimed representatives will not do, and are dead set against. It’s past time to declare that right wing ideology has proved irrevocably opposed to prosperity and harmful to business.
Progressive goals are desperately needed if this country is to regain its footing. Business sense demands that for the sake of our economy, the right wing, its Chamber of Commerce toady, and their destruction of prosperity must be overridden.