Chamber’s “Threats” Are Counterproductive

During a recent visit to the Rotary Club of Atlanta, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue fired a warning shot across the bow of recently elected House Republicans. Donohue explained that if they continue to oppose an increase in the debt limit, “We’ll get rid of you.”

To be clear, many Republicans in Congress do not necessarily oppose an increase in the debt ceiling. They oppose an increase without much needed reforms in spending and corresponding spending cuts to match the increase in the debt ceiling. This is hardly an unreasonable demand. In fact, Republicans seem to have a public opinion in their corner as most polls show opposition to allowing the government to keep borrowing more and more money.

The spin from the U.S. Chamber to cover for these arrogant, unnecessary and likely counterproductive comments is that Donohue was joking. But as the AJC’s Jim Galloway noted last week, the Chamber is pushing hard for an increase in the debt limit, and warned of severe consequences to the country’s economy if Congress did not do so.

Perception is often reality in politics. A member of Congress in a competitive district never wants to hear the Chamber say, “we’ll get rid of you” due to a disagreement on a policy issue, even if it subsequently is said to be a joke.

The Chamber of Commerce and tea party groups may have worked towards the same goal during last year’s mid-term election, perhaps a good example of the old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” There was agreement that the policies pushed by President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress – most notably the so-called health care reform law passed in March of last year, which has become known as “ObamaCare” – were imposing substantial and destructive regulatory burdens on businesses, large and small.

However, the differences between the two groups can easily be seen now that the Republicans, many of whom were elected with tea party support, are in control of the House or Representatives.

Many Republicans operate under the belief that whatever the Chamber of Commerce wants is good policy. But what is seen as being “good for business” is not always good for taxpayers. After all, the Chamber supported fiscally irresponsible spending like the TARP bailout and the so-called “stimulus” package, that has proved less than successful at achieving its touted objectives. The Chamber is also backing an increase in the federal gas tax even though fuel prices are already extremely high and volatile; one of the factors that have economists say could continue the slow pace of economic growth.

Would Chamber members rather elect more Democrats to the Congress — Representatives who favor raising the debt ceiling so government can spend more, which reduces value of the dollar, sops up credit in the marketplace that otherwise could be used for productive, private sector uses? Perhaps they should decide also then to support President Obama’s reelection; I’m sure he would welcome the endorsement.

by Bob Barr — The Barr Code

59 comments Add your comment

hsn

June 22nd, 2011
7:24 am

Barr –

He was giving the “House” Republicans, a dose of their own medicine — and yes, it is productive. The “House” Republicans’ rogue, bellicose, and “my way or the highway” attitudes have reached a nadir, and it is high-time someone talked sense into their ears.

They have opposed the executive branch on every single issue, because working with the Dems for the success of this country will make Obama be seen as “succeeding,” which they don’t want. They vote in lock-step with the party leadership, REGARDLESS. Newt Gingrinch couldn’t even dare disagree with the “honorable” Ryan’s plan without them landing on him like a swarm of bees — that they are! They are dictators, and need to be voted out!

“It was best of times, it was the wor- I say worse of times!
And by worse, I’m talking as bad, I say as bad as my Aunt Jenny’s Corn Pudding!
That stuff will sink ya like a stone…”

Yes, we will get rid of them come 2012 !!! Chamber had it right!!!!

Mongo

June 22nd, 2011
7:30 am

Maybe the Chamber of Commerce would rather just support politicians who saved the economy from collapse over those that would destroy it to score political points with the kooks on the fringe.

J. Wellington Wimpy

June 22nd, 2011
7:59 am

Bob Barr what part of ” We will get rid of you” don’t you understand? You should be very familiar with constituents getting rid of lazy do-nothing elected officials…….after all………..didn’t that happen to you?

J. Wellington Wimpy

June 22nd, 2011
8:02 am

Would Chamber members rather elect more Democrats to the Congress — Representatives who favor raising the debt ceiling so government can spend more, which reduces value of the dollar, sops up credit in the marketplace that otherwise could be used for productive, private sector uses?

I see why you don’t have a job anywhere…….you’re too stoooopid to have a job. Maybe you can go into the fields and pick some tomatoes or something…..

Carlosgvv

June 22nd, 2011
8:12 am

The Republican leadership has made it abundantly clear their number one goal is to “get rid of” Obama. So, Bob, do you have a problem with that? If not, then are you saying it’s ok for the Republicans to threaten to “get rid of” Democrats but not ok for Democrats to do the same to Republicans?

Steven G. Poyzer

June 22nd, 2011
8:47 am

Note to Chamber President Tom Donahue, you keep threatening those newly elected officials that are trying to do what is right and the entire Chamber of Commerce will be relegated to the dustbin of history along with many other self-serving organizations. You see Mr. Donahue the taxpayers, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, need lower taxes, less spending and we approve of lowering the debit and deficit. We most certainly Don’t need the US Chamber of Commerce or any other organization that stands in the was of actual fiscal responsibility.

jconservative

June 22nd, 2011
8:53 am

The Chamber has always buttered its slice of bread and will continue to do so.

Government business is an important part of American business and the debt ceiling not being raised will hurt the ability to do business with the US government.

Hillbilly D

June 22nd, 2011
10:15 am

In my county, the majority of funds for the Chamber of Commerce come from the local hotel/motel tax. They’re a publically funded, private club and part of the problem, not the solution.

Insider

June 22nd, 2011
10:30 am

The Chamber only likes politicians it can buy.

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
11:26 am

Bad bad bad news for the Obama cult followers.

Obama Gets 30% of Americans Certain to Support Re-Election in Economy Poll

Americans are growing more dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and say it will be hard to vote to re-elect him without seeing significant progress over the next year and a half.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-22/obama-gets-30-of-americans-certain-to-support-re-election-in-economy-poll.html

Trapped in a Red state

June 22nd, 2011
12:14 pm

Bob

What we are witnessing is the a GOP trying to reestablish it’s credibility. Many VERY conservative Republicans lost to Tea Party candidates because they would not support their irresponsible agenda. The Chamber knows if the GOP allows them to dominate the party…they will lead it right off the political “cliff”. This will ultimately “split” the GOP and you can thank Right wing talk radio for that split. Personally, I am enjoying the show…

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
12:30 pm

“This will ultimately “split” the GOP and you can thank Right wing talk radio for that split. Personally, I am enjoying the show”

Then enjoy watching your cult leader get his ass kicked next year.

Also, you’re no more trapped in a red state than anyone else, dork. Delta is ready when you are.

Portly Pepperpot

June 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

Trapped in a Red state

Where in the world do you get your information from? The GOP is split?????? Last time I looked, the Democrats got their butts kicked like never before.

Logical Dude

June 22nd, 2011
12:48 pm

They oppose an increase without much needed reforms in spending and corresponding spending cuts to match the increase in the debt ceiling. This is hardly an unreasonable demand.

It is unreasonable if you exclude tax hikes, or more formally- repeal the previous tax cuts. Spending cuts only get you so far, we have got to use EVERY option to balance the budget and pay off the debt.

Portly Pepperpot

June 22nd, 2011
12:57 pm

“Spending cuts only get you so far, we have got to use EVERY option to balance the budget and pay off the debt.”

End all entitlements.

Tyler Durden

June 22nd, 2011
1:35 pm

While I agree that the Chamber has been self-serving in the past, which has often put it’s stances are odds with each other, I agree 100% with their current position. The vast majority of the GOP in Congress who are whining about fiscal responsibility today were singing MUCH different tunes in the previous administration. In fact, these same folks strong-armed and fear-mongering us into a voluntary war in Iraq (at $100 billion per year). Funny how their principles have changed once a new President took office. Ditto for their ‘pro business’ actions like the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, yet they’re completely SHOCKED when banks run themselves into the ground and then need a handout from the Gov’t.

No wonder so little of mainstream America takes the GOP seriously anymore. It’s all hypocrisy and ultra right-wing rhetoric and NO substance.

Portly Pepperpot

June 22nd, 2011
1:46 pm

“In fact, these same folks strong-armed and fear-mongering us into a voluntary war in Iraq”

Guess you missed the 2010 election, Tyler Tarden. Every single new GOP member of congress didn’t vote on any of the wars.

Besides, Obozo is carrying on ALL of Bush’s policies.

Patriot Act – CHECK

Iraq War – CHECK

Afghan War – CHECK

Gitmo – CHECK

Bush tax cuts – CHECK

“No wonder so little of mainstream America takes the GOP seriously anymore. ”

You must have missed Nov 2, 2010, dumb ass.

Tim

June 22nd, 2011
1:53 pm

I’ll bet WOW posts under a different name after Obama’s re elected. And you can thank the T party for that.

Barack

June 22nd, 2011
1:57 pm

Dang…now that Weiner’s Weiner is out of the news, all everyone wants to talk about is the economy.

Civilian

June 22nd, 2011
1:59 pm

Tim I think you are right. Just look at what happened when Ross Perot ran for president. By splitting votes, the Tea PArty may just be responsible for another 4 years of our country and economy swirling down the drain.

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

“I’ll bet WOW posts under a different name after Obama’s re elected. And you can thank the T party for that.”

The only thing you have to bet is your inbred mom’s double wide trailer.

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
2:13 pm

“By splitting votes, the Tea PArty may just be responsible for another 4 years of our country and economy swirling down the drain.”

Who would run as a third party candidate to take that many votes away?

Crickets…chirp….chirp….

marc

June 22nd, 2011
2:16 pm

Our elected “leadership” on both sides….stay busy working the “other” personality…instead of working the actual problems (2gether)….. politics as usual?..maybe….but today’s “problems” (economical and social) get big fast n a global environment….that we are still bickering years after the near financial meltdown (as many families suffer) is more than just politics…and not the media’s fault…..we just are’nt very good Americans anymore…..none of us. If we were..we would’nt support the partisan politics nor tolerate the people getting off on it…..we suck.

Pie Chart

June 22nd, 2011
2:24 pm

“……raising the debt ceiling so government can spend more, which reduces value of the dollar, sops up credit in the marketplace that otherwise could be used for productive, private sector uses?”

I never knew economic analysis like that was possible.

Ezra

June 22nd, 2011
2:34 pm

The AJC’s Jim Galloway is a censorist if he does not like your comments do do not take him seriously. He is a typical progressive liberal and has a personal agenda.

Ezra

June 22nd, 2011
2:39 pm

I am conservative and I say tax the rich. If a company can make one man a millionaire for doing his job then companies should be taxed. If it is a corporation and they do the same do not lower the tax rate for corporations. Stop spending. Do not allow everyone to get on social security or disability simply because they do not want to work a little. Tax social security on all the income. Why is there a limit anyway.

BULLSEYE

June 22nd, 2011
3:00 pm

WOW smears another commode as he is flushed.

Tyler Durden

June 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

“You must have missed Nov 2, 2010, dumb ass”

Keep living in the past! Us progressives are REALLY looking forward to 2012.

Have a nice day!!! :-)

Civilian

June 22nd, 2011
3:42 pm

Who would run as a third party candidate to take that many votes away?

There is not a viable presidential candidate that has emerged anywhere as far as I am concerned. The present holder of the office has proven his lack of qualifications, at best being totally inept. The Tea party may put someone out there, hopefully not someone as unqualified as Sarah Palin, that will only have a snowball’s chance. The problem with the Tea Party in an incumbent election, is that Obama will benefit from a split vote. WOW…maybe you can get the folks in your trailer park to stick with one party vote or 4 more years of the same political and economic rotting. Just think, you can get all your toothless friends to rally and save the country.

Velma

June 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

The Chamber is just like the NRA… so single focused that they are unable to bend or negotiate even when what they are doing is not in the best interest of this nation.

John

June 22nd, 2011
3:55 pm

Enter your comments here

John

June 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

“They oppose an increase without much needed reforms in spending and corresponding spending cuts to match the increase in the debt ceiling. This is hardly an unreasonable demand. In fact, Republicans seem to have a public opinion in their corner as most polls show opposition to allowing the government to keep borrowing more and more money.”

While talking about public opinion, you left out some important polls. Most polls also show opposition to the Ryan plan to privatize Medicare which Republican leadership forced their members to vote for. Also most polls show majority of Americans support tax increase for the those earning over $250,000. Democrats and Republicans alike believe we need to cut spending but the difference is Democrats believe we also need to look at increasing revenue as well, which Republicans oppose. Thing is, everyone claim to be for spending cuts as long as it does not affect them. Ask tea party members is they’re willing to cut medicare or social security. Ask the chamber if they support eliminating corporate subsidies and corporate welfare.

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
4:24 pm

Just cause I live in a double wide trailer don’t mean I should have been cut off from my food stamps and welfare. Now I can’t afford to buy gas to cruise for boys. Obozo really messed me up.

Civilian

June 22nd, 2011
5:04 pm

Alas…this is our America! Hope and Change Baby!!!!

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Why do brain dead left wingers keep stealing blog handles?

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
5:44 pm

“The Tea party may put someone out there, hopefully not someone as unqualified as Sarah Palin”

How is she unqualified, Gump?

“WOW…maybe you can get the folks in your trailer park ”

Oh dip$hit, I’m not inbred like you are.

“Just think, you can get all your toothless friends to rally and save the country.”

But I’m not apart of your hillbilly family, troglodyte.

Civilian

June 22nd, 2011
5:44 pm

Anyone know where I can get my herpes treated?

BULLSEYE

June 22nd, 2011
5:45 pm

Civilian, I usually just go to the free clinic for shots and medicine. You see, I lost my job as a trash collector a few years ago and my crabs and herpes are run amok.

Tyler Durden

June 22nd, 2011
5:47 pm

BULLSEYE

I can’t even put on underwear anymore due to the fact that I have so many diseases on my anus. As a matter of fact I can’t even sit down and I’m typing on my stomach in my mom’s double wide as we speak.

WOW

June 22nd, 2011
5:55 pm

Please forgive me for being a brain dead worm. Going through life as a gump and being married to a woman that won’t shave her mustache makes me irritable. Our kids look like trolls and are the laughing stock of our trailer park. They get picked on more than I did when my cousins gave birth to me. I lost my job at Wendy’s after 23 years when I asked for a raise. Thank you Presbo for my unemployment benefits. I needed the raise.

LibsRIdiots

June 22nd, 2011
5:59 pm

Well, I see the left wingers have stunk up the place as usual.

Tyler Durden, Civilian and BULLSEYE need to get a life and get a job.

LA

June 22nd, 2011
6:05 pm

Please give my cousin WOW a break. Since I taught him how to spell troglodyte he thinks he is a genius

LA

June 22nd, 2011
6:08 pm

LibsRIdiots…that last pizza you delivered was missing the extra cheese.

Granny Godzilla

June 22nd, 2011
6:10 pm

I have posters of Cynthia Tucker in my section 8 housing.

DebbieDoRight

June 22nd, 2011
6:10 pm

I need more food stamps now!!!!!!

KeepUpTheGoodFight

June 22nd, 2011
6:12 pm

I have a secret meeting at the Waffle House with my state senator Cynthia McKinny.

Jefferson

June 23rd, 2011
6:53 am

The COC has never done anything for the working man, just a puppet of the GOP. The debt limit needs to be raised because of bad decisions in the past, and plans to lower debt can be implemented with the limits raised as part of a plan. While rich folks do “business”, working people have long known the value of credit and make “arrangements”.

[...] see that former Congressman Bob Barr has addressed Mr. Donohue’s comments in a column titled Chamber’s “Threats” Are Counterproductive on his blog The Barr Code over at AJC.com. I suggest you read the whole thing but below are some of [...]

Mudfoot

June 23rd, 2011
1:09 pm

This is dead-on target, true and realistic… and for those reasons it will be ignored… sad

“Our elected “leadership” on both sides….stay busy working the “other” personality…instead of working the actual problems (2gether)….. politics as usual?..maybe….but today’s “problems” (economical and social) get big fast n a global environment….that we are still bickering years after the near financial meltdown (as many families suffer) is more than just politics…and not the media’s fault…..we just are’nt very good Americans anymore…..none of us. If we were..we would’nt support the partisan politics nor tolerate the people getting off on it…..we suck”

Rob Woodall's mommy and daddy bought his healthcare, now his Uncle Sam pays for it.

June 23rd, 2011
2:18 pm

Kudos to Tom Donahue!

The Tea Party is not representative of the values and ideals of the business community. The COC is.

If the Tea Party and its representatives wishes to act in a manner that is viewed as counterproductive to the business community they SHOULD be targeted (and defeated) by the Chamber.

It’s all well and good to be obstinate about policy without consideration to overall impact. Just don’t get all whiny when you’re sent packing to your home district after one term because you don’t have the intellectual depth to connect the dots.