The Chamber of Commerce: Without Shame or Sense
September 12, 2010, 1:00am

Robert L. Borosage.President, Institute for America’s Future
Huffington Post.

The Chamber of Commerce is rolling out its “jobs and economy” political initiative today. As Politico reports, the blitz is “designed to drive voters toward ‘5 Questions to Ask Your Candidates’, to be distributed by mail and online to millions of voters.”

Here are the five, accompanied by five alternatives tied to reality rather than the Chamber’s ideological phantasmagoria:

1. Do you believe that our free enterprise system is currently threatened?

Do you believe that entrenched corporate interests are blocking reforms vital to our country’s future?

2. Do you believe that tax increases hurt job creation?

Do you believe that tax cuts to businesses already awash in cash and excess capacity will create jobs or waste money?

3. Do you think that the growth of government at all levels and the deficits that follow negatively impact job creation?

Do you think that deregulation of corporations and banks and the financial high that followed, crashing the economy, and doubling the national debt negatively impacted job creation?

4. Would you deal with the debt and deficit issues through increasing government revenue or decreasing government spending?

Would you deal with debt and deficit issues by building a new foundation for the economy so we can grow our way out of the hole we are in, or with austerity, cutting spending on education, energy, infrastructure, Medicare and Social Security to balance our budget?

5. Do you believe that the uncertainty resulting from pending tax increases, higher government deficits, and more government regulations will hurt the economy?

Do you believe businesses aren’t hiring because they don’t have customers, or that they are foregoing profitable expansion, fretting about deficits, and possible increases in taxes and regulations?

This country is struggling to respond to the worst downturn since the Great Depression, a direct result of the failed conservative policies that the Chamber of Commerce has advocated for decades. Over the last decade, we lost one in three manufacturing jobs. Inequality reached gilded age levels. CEOs and bankers pocketed million dollar bonuses while cooking the books and gambling on exotic securities, inflating the housing bubble until it burst. Health insurance companies kept a strangle hold on a health care system that costs twice as much as those in other industrial countries, leaves millions uninsured and provides worse health care. Catastrophic climate change went unaddressed. Big Oil and big coal insured that the US would forfeit the lead in the new green industrial revolution that is sweeping the world. Conservatives removed the cop on the corporate beat leading directly to the financial wilding and collapse, the horrors of Massey in West Virginia and BP in the Gulf, the risks of poisoned toys and infected eggs.

One would think that in the ruins, the Chamber of Commerce would have the common decency to reconsider its ideological positions. After all, they have not only been ruinous to workers and the country, they led directly to the economic free fall that devastated businesses. But no. Not one comma has been changed. Not a line changed in the stump speech. Mindless, without shame or sense, blind to the world around it, the Chamber gathers new millions from companies and peddles its poisonous nostrums.

Follow Robert L. Borosage on Twitter: