Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Unveils New Plan to Destroy the 99%

The US Chamber of Commerce has announced their plan to restore America's economy and create jobs via it's recently issued 2013 American Jobs and Growth Agenda, a series of key policy measures. Their claim is it will stimulate the economy and lower unemployment, lets take a look. They have broken it down to several key categories: energy, free trade, regulatory reform, immigration, and the fiscal crisis.

Energy: The Chamber believes fossil fuels that big oil and coal provide are the only real sources of energy that matter. They claim there is more the nation can do to achieve energy independence, such as boosting domestic production of fossil fuels and allowing construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Energy independence is an admirable goal, however when it comes non-fossil fuel based energy Thomas J. Donohue , president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said:

'We should waste no time pursuing research to develop alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, and that the government should not select “winners” through federal funds investment. The federal government shouldn’t pick the winners and losers or subject energy projects to endless and duplicative reviews.'

Translation: 'Tax incentives and gov sponsored research and development is great for big oil just don't waste it on clean energy that competes with us, doesn't require a world wide military empire, and doesn't destroy the planet. Also get off our case about global warming and oil spills, if we spill something you can pay to clean it up, that's why we bribe you.'

Free Trade: The U.S. should eliminate trade barriers, the Chamber says, noting that 95 percent of [U.S. businesses] potential customers live outside of the United States and we need to go sell them something. Specifically, the Chamber believes that the U.S. must get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement passed as quickly and quietly as possible then fight for a trade agreement with the European Union.

Translation: 'Costs are rising in China so make sure you cut some deals with countries with even lower wage levels like Viet Nam. Also we need to bribe people to get the sweetheart monopoly deals like we have in America, so again get it done then buzz off.'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (copyrights, patents, etc) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement to comply with America law. Simply put, it has 'NOTHING TO DO WITH FREE TRADE' and everything to do with extending monopoly status to other countries. If you liked SOPA then you will go just giddy over TPP.

Regulatory Reform: The Chamber believes the government needs to stem the flood of business regulations focused on trade laws, healthcare, and the environment.
'On the environmental front, major EPA rules imposed over the last decade cost more than $23 billion and its new ozone regulation could cost up to $90 billion. If EPA moves forward with rules on greenhouse gas emissions…it could ensnare roughly 6 million facilities in burdensome permitting requirements.'
Translation: 'Let the taxpayers pay for our pollution and the damage it causes. Socialize the costs, and privatize the profits we always say. If you let us dump toxic waste in public water ways and school yards then maybe we might bring back some jobs from China... if you pay us to that is.'

Immigration: Donohue noted that the U.S. 'needs immigrants,' even given the nation’s high unemployment rate.
'Given our changing demographics, we need more workers to sustain our economy, support our retired population and to stay competitive.'
Translation: 'There some jobs we can't outsource to China and India so we would like to bring as many people here as we want for the jobs and then hold them hostage to their H1B Visas so they can't demand America level wages and benefits.'

The Programmers Guild has extensively documented this scam. Currently there is a requirement that companies attempt to hire Americans first before they request an H1B substitute. So what companies will do is make the requirements for the job completely beyond the scope of the real world. Two Congressional-sponsored studies have found that use of H-1B for cheap labor is commonplace. However even this charade is too much of a bother for the Chamber, so they would like to eliminate the need to prove they couldn't find an American for the job first.

Fiscal Crisis: The Chamber says its goal is to “slow the growth of spending, reform entitlements, and overhaul the tax code,” and it blames the crisis on runaway deficit spending, changing demographics, and unsustainable entitlements.
'We must address the fundamental reality that, due to our aging society and increased life expectancy, the entitlement programs…must be revised.'
Translation: 'Cut spending on things that help the 99% so you don't get any funny ideas about raising our taxes, Lear Jets don't pay for themselves you know.'

The super rich like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein don't care about the chump change he will get from Social Security, but he does care if we actually wanted them to pay the same rate on FICA taxes that the 99% pays. Currently only the first $107,000 of income is subject to FICA taxes, if you make $20,000,000 a year it means that only 0.535% of your income is subject to FICA taxes. If the cap was removed and brought in line with what the 99% pay, that would be a huge tax increase for them. So rather than them pay the same rate as the average person their solution is raise the retirement age, and thereby cut benefits for 300+ million Americans.

About the US Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobbying group in the United States that "has become a fully functional part of the partisan Republican machine" since CEO and president Thomas J. Donohue took office in 1997. Prior to Donohue's tenure, the Chamber "used to be a trade association that advocated in a bipartisan manner for narrowly tailored policies to benefit its members." The Chamber's 2010 budget is approximately $200 million, but as a trade organization, its donors can remain anonymous.

The Chamber claims on its website that its mission is to "advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility." It describes itself as "the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

Despite these claims, the New York Times reported in October 2010 that half of the Chamber's $140 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 big-money donors, many of whom enlisted the Chamber's help to fight political and public opinion battles on their behalf (such as opposing financial or healthcare reforms, or other regulations). The Chamber is 'dominated by oil companies, pharmaceutical giants, automakers and other polluting industries,' according to James Carter, executive director of the Green Chamber of Commerce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. It is a member of the Civil Justice Task Force, the Education Task Force, the International Relations Task Force and the Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force, according to 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting materials.

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