Chamber of Commerce Bids “Campaign for Free Enterprise” to Attack the Bailouts It Doesn’t Like

Josh is right–Jeanne Cummings’ report that the Chamber of Commerce is launching a "Campaign for Free Enterprise" seems to have regurgitated the Chamber’s press release uncritically:

The Politico has a report on a proposed plan from the US Chamber of Commerce to spend up to $100 million on opposing President Obama’s various economic, energy and health care reforms. But it’s a bit hard to distinguish the Politico article from a Chamber press release. Here are some nuggets from the article itself …

As the Obama administration encroaches deeper into the private sector and Congress contemplates more regulations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a multimillion-dollar campaign to defend the free market system.

Taken together, the government could soon determine who gets a mortgage, which cars
consumers can buy, the type of treatments patients will get and how many credit cards a person can carry.

The government won’t let me buy a Toyota? Do I have to buy a GM car? Really?

 I’m guessing this claim came right from the press release, too:

The administration’s aggressive action on so many fronts has put the business community on defense in a way not seen in more than a decade — and it’s losing more often than it’s winning.

But in addition to questioning whether the business community is losing more than it’s winning–and whether we’ll still be able to buy Toyotas–I’d have liked Cummings to ask one more critical question: about timing. The Chamber of Commerce did not launch this campaign when Bush took an even bigger stake in AIG. It did not launch this campaign when the Federal Government dumped billions of TARP dollars to keep the banking system afloat. In fact, the Chamber’s Tom Donohue all but admits he’s happy that the bankers got to suck at the federal teat for the last nine months.

“Dire economic circumstances have certainly justified some out-of-the-ordinary remedial actions by government,” said Chamber President Tom Donohue, referring to the bank bailouts and the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

What bugs Donohue, apparently, is not the possibility that corporations can be massive recipients of federal welfare. What appears to bother him is that the federal government would ask something else in exchange or–shockers!!–compete with the private sector in something like health care (buzz me when Donohue starts complaining that FedEx has to compete against the postal service). 

This is a campaign to paper over the federal welfare corporations have been sucking up for the last nine months, an attempt re-set the narrative as if capitalism hadn’t almost completely collapsed.

“We have got to go out in a big-time way and remind all Americans that it was a free enterprise system based on the values of individual initiative, hard work, risk innovation and profit which built our great country,” he’s expected to tell Chamber board members Wednesday in a speech unveiling the program.

 And apparently, Cummings didn’t notice the whole corporations on welfare bit. 

12 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    What, the Politico regurgitated some horsengoggle from business interests??

    Were you consciously paging Captain Renault, or was that just a by-product?

  2. ApacheTrout says:

    I suspect what really bothers the COC is that a Democratic-led government is distributing taxpayer funds into the hands of his business memberships. If McCain were president, the COC silence would continue. This is one reason among many that my business is not part of any chamber of commerce.

  3. TarheelDem says:

    Interesting that you should mention the postal service.

    During the Nixon administration it was changed from a government department, which it had been since its inception, to a quasi-government corporation with a mandate to make a profit.

    Who pushed behind the scenes for this (besides the anti-government ideological types). It was the parcel delivery services, such as UPS.

    Guess when the myth that the postal service was inept started? About the time of a Postal Workers Union strike in 1970.

    US Postal Strike of 1970 (yes, I know it’s Wikipedia–usual disclaimers)

  4. DeadLast says:

    I sure wish Obama would tell my employer not to force its workers to take a 20% paycut. I sure would like to see some of this socialism the business lobby is bitching about.

  5. fatster says:

    Overseer to Set Executive Pay at Rescued Companies

    Published: June 10, 2009

    WASHINGTON—”The Obama administration on Wednesday appointed a compensation overseer with broad discretion to set the pay for 175 top executives at seven of the nation’s largest companies, which have received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance to survive.

    “The mandate given to the new compensation official, Kenneth R. Feinberg, a well-known Washington lawyer, reflects the federal government’s increasingly intrusive role in the corporate affairs of deeply troubled companies. From his nondescript office in Room 1310 of the Treasury building, Mr. Feinberg will set the salaries and bonuses of some of the top financiers and industrialists in America, including Kenneth D. Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America; Vikram S. Pandit, the head of Citigroup, and Fritz Henderson, the chief executive of General Motors.”……html?_r=1

  6. fatster says:

    The CIA’s secret history of psychological torture
    Throughout the Cold War, the agency outsourced abuse to other nations. Will Obama put us back on this path?

    Editor’s note: This article has also appeared on
    By Alfred W. McCoy

    “Despite dozens of official inquiries in the five years since the Abu Ghraib photos first exposed our abuse of Iraqi detainees, the torture scandal continues to spread like a virus, infecting all who touch it, including now Obama himself. By embracing a specific methodology of torture, covertly developed by the CIA over decades using countless millions of taxpayer dollars and graphically revealed in those Iraqi prison photos, we have condemned ourselves to retreat from whatever promises might be made to end this sort of abuse and are instead already returning to a bipartisan consensus that made torture America’s secret weapon throughout the Cold War.

    . . .

    “To most Americans, whether they supported the Bush administration torture policy or opposed it, all of this seemed shocking and very new. Not so, unfortunately. Concealed from Congress and the public, the CIA had spent the previous half-century developing and propagating a sophisticated form of psychological torture meant to defy investigation, prosecution, or prohibition — and so far it has proved remarkably successful on all these counts. Even now, since many of the leading psychologists who worked to advance the CIA’s torture skills have remained silent, we understand surprisingly little about the psychopathology of the program of mental torture that the Bush administration applied so globally.”…../11/mccoy/

  7. PJEvans says:

    The US CoC is a big-business tax writeoff, or at least a big-business organization, unlike your local CoC, which is your local (mostly small) businesses.
    I’d bet that every one of its members would love to have Federal money coming in, as long as they didn’t have to actually do anything to get the money.

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