Sunday, 4 October 2009

Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public

There's a revealing article on the AFL-CIO Blog entitled: Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public. To paraphrase, the policies and actions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and hence, most other Chambers of Commerce) have destroyed our economies, our societies, and our democracies.

The article is reproduced below:

"Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public

Here’s a proposal that makes sense: The Obama administration wants to set up a consumer financial protection agency to oversee the financial markets and make sure working families aren’t the victims of predatory lending, abusive credit card practices and the kind of irresponsibility and greed that have caused our economic crisis.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is putting its big bucks into preventing creation of any agency that would hold financial institutions accountable.

Earlier this month, the Chamber announced it would spend $2 million on an ad campaign opposing a consumer protection agency, and it has taken the lead in lobbying Congress to prevent new rules for our financial system.

Tough new rules—and an agency with the authority to enforce them—would protect families, their communities, the housing market and the entire economy. But the agency might make a small dent in the profits of a handful of huge banks and Wall Street corporations and the salaries and bonuses of CEOs. So the Chamber of Commerce is opposed to it.

The Chamber is paying a price for being out of touch with the country’s priorities. Take energy, for example. While unions, businesses and families across the country are looking for ways to build a new energy economy and solve the climate crisis, the Chamber is virulently supporting the status quo. As a result, three of the country’s biggest energy companies—Exelon, PG&E and PNM—have left the Chamber over the issue, and Nike announced today that it will no longer sit on the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The Chamber also stands out as a key opponent of a public insurance option for health care—a broadly popular proposal that would offer working families a real choice in health care coverage and ensure that the insurance industry is competitive.

The Chamber also has put millions of dollars into opposing the Employee Free Choice Act and workers’ freedom to form a union and bargain—while taking money from bailed-out banks. That is, the Chamber is using our taxpayer dollars to fight a bill that would give workers more choice when they’re deciding whether to form unions. What is it about giving Americans “choice” that the Chamber doesn’t like?)

And strangely enough for an organization with “U.S.” in its name, the Chamber is hostile to Buy American provisions that would create good jobs for America’s workers.

Even as broad coalitions are trying to turn our economy around, the Chamber of Commerce is leading the movement to maintain the broken status quo that has benefited a few corporations and left everyone else behind."

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