The U.S. Chamber’s Jobs Plan? It’s the Closest These Guys Come to Recycling

“New” Jobs Plan Re-Hash of Corporate Funders’ Wish List

Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a six- point, seven page job creation plan in a letter to members of Congress. It looks like the Chamber took its same old, ineffective agenda, slapped it into one letter, and called it a “new” jobs plan.  What a waste of paper.  The U.S. Chamber’s “new” jobs plan is nothing more than its old plan to please CEOs by blatantly ignoring environmental concerns, cutting taxes on corporations - despite evidence that it won’t create jobs-- and abolishing the regulations that keep workers safe and consumers healthy.

Hanging up a “J-O-B-S” poster on the front of its building did nothing to help the Chamber responsibly create jobs just as slapping “J-O-B-S” on its already existing, reckless, and profit-driven agenda is nothing but corporate window dressing.  As Time Magazine blogged, “Mr. Donahue, I know this might sound crazy, but here's my idea about job creation— why don't you hire somebody? …The less you have to lay out for lobbying, the less your members have to pay into the Chamber, and the more they have available to hire labor. It's a virtuous job circle!”

The U.S. Chamber’s Job-Killing Agenda

The Chamber Isn’t Terribly Concerned with Job Creation. Just Ask Them.

U.S. Chamber Chief Economist Martin Regalia Said There Isn’t Much More Government Can Do Now to Create Jobs but Wait for Economic Self Repair. “Martin Regalia, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thinks there isn't much more government can do now, beyond promoting pro-growth policies that have a payback later. ‘We have focused way too much on these sorts of artificial respiration-type approaches ... rather than getting the patient into a good environment where it would repair itself,’ he said.” [McClatchy News, 8/4/11]

Tom Donohue “Was Utterly Stumped” When Asked “What Corporate America Should Do” To Create Jobs. In a 2011 piece, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote: “Yet when asked by the Washington Post what corporate America should do to help bring about the ‘jobs recovery,’ Donohue was utterly stumped. ‘I got to think about this for a minute,’ he told the reporter, before recovering with, ‘I think the most important thing to tell a company is to return a reasonable return to their investors.’” [Washington Post, 1/12/11]

…Instead, Chamber Leaders Are Re-Packaging The Same Old Wish-List For Their Biggest Corporate Funders. Here’s a snapshot:

Produce More American Energy – to Create Environmental Ruin:

  • U.S. Chamber Supports Mountaintop Mining. [MINGO LOGAN COAL CO, INC V. EPA, filed 6/3/11]
  • U.S. Chamber Even Supports Development in Protected Lands. [“U.S. Chamber's Open Letter to President and Congress Offers Plan to Put America Back to Work,” 7/14/10; Politico, 7/21/10]
  • The U.S. Chamber Supports Taking Polar Bears off the Endangered Species List to Expand “Energy Development.” [RedOrbit.com, 8/30/11]        
  • The U.S. Chamber Challenged The Existence Of Man Made Global Warming. [Mother Jones, 10/2/09]

Tax Repatriation and Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate – to Create CEO Profits:

  • The U.S. Chamber Supports Tax Repatriation, Which In 2005 Provided A $276 Billion Windfall For Corporate Shareholders, Not Jobs. [New York Times, 6/4/09; “The U.S. Chamber’s Tax Repatriation Holiday: A Report by U.S. Chamber Watch,” April 2011 ]
  • The U.S. Chamber Supports Reducing the Corporate Capital Gains Tax, Which History Shows Doesn’t Create Jobs.  [Fortune, 4/8/11; U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Open Letter to Congress and the President of the United States,” 9/5/11]

Provide Regulatory Certainty and Relief – to Create Unsafe Jobs and Products:

  • U.S. Chamber Part of Astroturf Group Opposing Mine Safety and Health Act After WV Massey Mine Explosion. [U.S. Chamber Watch blog, 7/20/10]
  • The U.S. Chamber Opposed EPA Regulations on Disposal of Toxic Coal Ash Which Physicians Say Cause Cancer, and Neurological Harm to Humans and Wildlife.  [U.S. Chamber of Commerce statement, 11/19/10; Coal Tattoo, West Virginia Gazette blog, 5/4/10; “PSR calls on EPA for Tougher Regulation of Toxic Coal Ash,” Physicians for Social Responsibility, 9/3/10]
  • The U.S. Chamber Opposes Regulation of BPA, “Extremely Toxic” Deformity Causing “Toxins in Consumer Plastics.” [ThinkProgress, 6/9/11]

Other Job-Killing Items on the Chamber’s Agenda…

Remaining Silent on the Debt Ceiling Raise – Jeopardizing American Jobs and the Economy

  • While Washington Focused on Economy’s Possible Default, So-Called “Voice of Business,” U.S. Chamber, Was Instead Lobbying for Free Trade Agreements.  [Bloomberg, 8/1/11]           
  • Chamber Spent Over $9 Million in 2010 Electing Members of Congress Who Voted Against Raising Debt Ceiling. [Center for Responsive Politics; New York Times, 8/1/11; U.S. Chamber Watch blog, 8/3/11]

Strongly Supporting the Outsourcing of American Jobs Overseas

  • June 2011: U.S. Chamber Part of Group Urging Congress to “Strengthen Outsourcing.” [Washington Technology, 6/23/11]
  • Donohue: “There Are Legitimate Values In Outsourcing.” [CNN, 2/10/04]
  • Donohue Vowed To “Fight Attempts By Our Government To Restrict [Job] Outsourcing.” [Agence France Presse, 4/14/04]

Just In

Whose opportunity does U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue talk about when he talks about opportunity?

The Chamber’s policies might give the largest corporations the opportunity to grow, but that is often not the same thing as growth and opportunity for the American people. After-tax corporate profits in the third quarter topped 11 percent of GDP for the first time since the records started in 1947. But everyday Americans aren’t doing so well, with real median household income declining 4.4 percent since 2009.

When the Chamber opposes increasing minimum wages to coincide with growth in productivity and the economy overall, one must ask whose growth and opportunity the Chamber is pushing for.