Category Archives: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Death Of Another Right-Wing Meme

Uh-oh:

Regulations, taxes aren’t killing small business, owners say

By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation.

“Government regulations are not ‘choking’ our business, the hospitality business,” Bernard Wolfson, the president of Hospitality Operations in Miami, told The Miami Herald. “In order to do business in today’s environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order.”

What’s that, you say? Surely this person must be some kind of Dirty Fucking Hippie or a big Democratic Party donor or something. Just an isolated case, right?! Nope:

McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.

Their response was surprising.

None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.

Wolfson’s firm is readying to open a Hampton Inn this year in Miami on land purchased from a condo developer during the housing downturn. His business could be in line for higher taxes if President Barack Obama allows the current, lower rates on the richest Americans to expire in 2012 and return to previous levels.

That didn’t seem to bother Wolfson, who through his partnership declares profit and loss as a pass-through on his personal income taxes, as many small businesses do.

“Higher taxes are not good for business, but some of the loopholes and deductions should be looked at,” he said.

The answer from Rick Douglas — the owner of Minit Maids, a cleaning service with 17 employees in Charlotte, N.C. — was more blunt.

“I think the rich have to be taxed, sorry,” Douglas said. He added that he isn’t facing a sea of new regulations but that he does struggle with an old issue, workers’ compensation claims.

Douglas told The Charlotte Observer that he’s hired more workers this year, citing pent-up demand from customers.

“My theory is that the people that do have jobs are working harder and they have less time to clean. People were holding back for such a long time, and then they started spending a little more,” he said.

Then there’s Rip Daniels. He owns four businesses in Gulfport, Miss.: real estate ventures, a radio station and a boutique hotel/bistro. He said his problem wasn’t regulation.

“Absolutely, positively not. What is choking my business is insurance. What’s choking all business is insurance. You cannot go into business, any business — small business or large business — unless you can afford insurance,” he told Biloxi’s Sun Herald.

To look at how this “regulations and taxes are choking small businesses” meme has taken off in the national discourse, we need to look at who’s spreading it: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And they don’t represent small businesses, they represent large corporations, as does the Republican Party in general.

In fact, McClatchy asked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which specific regulations are choking small businesses:

When it’s asked what specific regulations harm small businesses – which account for about 65 percent of U.S. jobs — the Chamber of Commerce points to health care, banking and national labor. Yet all these issues weigh much more heavily on big corporations than on small business.

It’s a good story; go read it. Clearly one of the biggest problems this country is facing is the tyranny of multinational corporations, who rule our politics and our discourse. Perhaps we can all get together and tackle that issue together, whaddya think?

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Filed under corporations, economy, taxes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

>Today’s IOKIYAR

>George Soros has finally donated $1 million to Media Matters and right-wing heads are exploding:

George Soros announced today that he was making his first-ever contribution to Media Matters, in the amount of $1 million.  Rush Limbaugh denounced this as “foreign money in American politics” and called Soros “a foreigner.”  Right-wing bloggers echoed this claim (“Foreign Money in Politics: Soros Donates $1 Million to Media Matters”), and the comment section of right-wing blogs discussing this donation are filled with accusations that this constitutes “foreign money in politics.”

Problem is, Soros is an American citizen — has been since 1961. Ooops.

Yeah, I know: they were probably thrown by the funny accent.

Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, became a U.S. citizen in 1985. I don’t recall any of these right-wing blowhards decrying Murdoch’s “foreign money” donations to the Republican Governors Assn. and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

IOKIYAR.

So, am I the only one who thinks the Democrats’ slamming the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its foreign donors has struck a raw nerve? Yeah, I thought so, too.

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Filed under conservatives, George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

>Mirror Politics

>[UPDATE]:

I just saw an ad for Stephen Fincher (TN-8) where he blasts the Obama stimulus for spending money on windmill parts in China. “Jobs for China but not here,” it says. Can’t find the link right now but I can’t impress on Democrats enough the importance of the job outsourcing issue. Clearly it’s polling well for Republicans or we wouldn’t keep hearing the stimulus slammed for creating jobs overseas.

I realize this isn’t the same issue as the U.S. Chamber foreign funds deal, but in a way it is: Republicans are using the words “foreign corporations” as a pejorative. And the GOP is the party who has always been all “free markets” and “free trade”! They fight any hint of protectionism — until election time, when it’s convenient to exploit so they can send their free-trade loving Republicans to Washington D.C.

Wake up, Tennessee and America … you’re being played!

—————————————–

Anyone who doubts the wisdom of Democrats hammering Republicans on the foreign money issue need only watch this NRCC ad attacking Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Lincoln Davis, in the fight of his life to keep his seat.

Watch it here and tell me what you notice. Is that the Republican Party attacking a Democrat by alleging the stimulus “sent your tax dollars to foreign corporations who ship jobs overseas”? That’s the Republicans saying that, right?

If the Republican Party thinks this message resonates with voters, then by all means the Democrats should, too.

This is typical Republican Party political strategy: try to tar your opponent with the very horrible thing you yourself have been doing for years. Republicans do everything with mirrors, it’s the root of the IOKIYAR meme, and they are very, very good at it. They are thinking you won’t remember the shit storm they kicked up about the “Buy American” clause in the economic stimulus. Whaah it’s just a sap to unions, whaaah it’s going to spark a trade war, whaaah it’s going to cause the price of everything to go up, whaah it violates our trade treaties, whaah whaah whaah. Cranky John McCain tried to strip the clause from the bill completely. Here’s that pinnacle of patriotism, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the “Buy American” clause:

Thomas Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, added, “If we refuse to buy foreign-made goods, then our trading partners will refuse to buy from us. And since we are the world’s largest exporter, who will be hurt more?”

Got that? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce thinks “Buy American” is bad for America.

So yeah, that’s another thing the Democrats caved on. And fat lot of good it did you because now the NRCC is running ads against Democrats for not doing it. Fucking maroons, you got played. Again.

So yeah. Keep hammering them with this, Democrats. You’re on the right side on this one. Don’t cave.

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Filed under economic stimulus, midterm elections, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

>The Culprits

>Via the Economic Populist blog I discovered this handy-dandy tool where you can punch in your zip code and find out exactly who is exporting jobs from your community.

It appears Nashville’s top five employment villains are AFL Dixiewire, Bridgestone Americas Tire, Cummins Business Services, Dollar General Corp., and Ford Motor Credit Corp.

So thank you very fucking much.

Today in the car I caught the last part of Ed Schultz’s interview with Virg Bernero, Democratic candidate for governor of Michigan. Bernero is a pants-on-fire economic populist if I ever heard one and I wish I could share clips of his interview with you, it was amazing. He talked about how there is an economic war going on, which you can see in all the shuttered businesses and foreclosures all across the country, and America is losing big-time because we aren’t even fighting it. Hell we don’t even talk about it. And he’s right!

My question is, is this by design? I have to wonder if so much of our crazy discourse in this country — Christine O’Donnell is a witch! Sharron Angle says Sharia law has taken hold in Texas! — isn’t designed to distract from this important discussion. And I think it’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been so threatened by attacks from the left about its support of Republican candidates because it puts the focus exactly where the corporatists don’t want it. “Please,” I can hear them all saying, “let’s talk about the crazy people some more!”

The Chamber’s tagline is “Fighting For Your Business.” Once upon a time that implied “fighting for your jobs, your communities, your country.” Those days are long gone. Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fighting for your business’ right to ship manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China, make those workplaces that remain in the U.S. unsafe, pollute our air and water, all to benefit a few overpaid CEOs at the top of the heap.

Again: thank you very fucking much.

Pay attention, people. You’re being played.

Hungarian authorities arrested Zoltan Bakonyi for unleashing an ecological hell on the Danube. The CEOs of Massey Energy, British Petroleum and the Tennessee Valley Authority all walk free. The U.S. Chamber philosophy is: mistakes were made! Bygones!

So yes, it’s an economic war, and there are turncoats in our midst who are aiding and abetting the enemy. Strong words? Yes of course. But I don’t know how else to wake folks up.

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Filed under economy, outsourcing, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

>U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Gets Punked

>Hey, Koch Industries! We libs can lie about who we are in front of the media, too! Except when we do it, we have way more panache:

Will the real U.S. Chamber of Commerce please stand up?

Environmental activists held a hoax press conference Monday morning, pretending to be the business group — and pretending to announce that the chamber was dropping its opposition to climate-change legislation now in Congress.

The event, complete with fake handouts on chamber letterhead, at least a couple of fake reporters, and a podium adorned with the chamber logo, broke up when a spokesman from the real chamber burst in.

Oh, noes! Who are these merry pranksters? Why the Yes Men, of course. They’ve punked all sorts of high-falutin’ folks, like the World Trade Organization, Dow Chemical, GO-EXPO, and more.

But Monday’s prank nearly errupted in fisticuffs as someone with the real Chamber of Commerce showed up to confront the imposters. But when reporters asked him the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change, and if they believed it did not exist, he dodged the questions.

Watch the video:

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Filed under climate change bill, the yes men, U.S. Chamber of Commerce