You are hereLA Progressive: Obama’s Deal with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

LA Progressive: Obama’s Deal with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

February 9, 2011- “We can, and we must, work together,” the President told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today. “Whatever differences we may have, I know that all of us share a deep, abiding belief in this country, a belief in our people, a belief in the principles that have made America’s economy the envy of the world.”

Really? I’ve been watching (and occasionally trying to deal with) the Chamber for years, and all I know is it has a deep, abiding belief in cutting taxes on the wealthy, eroding regulations that constrain Wall Street, cutting back on rules that promote worker health and safety, getting rid of the minimum wage, repealing the new health-care law, fighting unions, cutting back Medicare and Social Security, reducing or eliminating corporate taxes, and, in general, taking the nation back to the days before the New Deal.

So what, exactly, is the deal Obama is pitching to the Chamber?
He said his administration will “help lay the foundation for you to grow and innovate,” by eliminating “barriers that make it harder for you to compete – from the tax code to the regulatory system,” and by completing more trade deals.

In return, the President said he wants businesses to hire more Americans. “Many of your own economists and salespeople are now forecasting a healthy increase in demand. So I want to encourage you to get in the game,” he said. “And as you hire, you know that more Americans working means more sales, greater demand and higher profits for your companies. We can create a virtuous cycle.”

Virtuous cycle? American businesses are doing quite nicely as it is. Their profits are soaring. And one reason they’re doing so well is they’re holding down costs, especially payrolls. So why would they ever agree to add more workers now?

From the standpoint of the nation as a whole more Americans working may mean even higher profits overall. But publicly-traded companies aren’t in the business of spending money to help other companies. To the contrary, they’re competing with one another to show high quarterly earnings in order to boost their share prices. They’ll “get in the game” and begin to hire large numbers of Americans only when it helps their own bottom lines.



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