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

Pie Chart

June 23rd, 2011
3:00 pm


Buck Crosby

June 23rd, 2011
3:42 pm

The only acceptable reason to raise the debt limit would be world war three . As long as we meet our current debt obligations by cutting elsewhere any repercussions would be minimal and just MIGHT save our country.


June 23rd, 2011
4:19 pm


Well, at least Pie Chart admits what she really is.


June 23rd, 2011
4:45 pm

I used to think that the C.O.C. was pro constitution and anti big government.
Their email to me will be now be trash.


June 23rd, 2011
5:40 pm

the repubs had better stick to no more spending to hell with T.D.


June 23rd, 2011
6:05 pm

Morons are cool


June 24th, 2011
2:28 am

You are unfortunately missing the reality of the situation. Your comments to Barr Code reveal your political bias and lack of understanding. You apparently like to analyze economics in terms of “saving Obama’s image” or interms of attacking Obama. Like it or not Obama,s policies have been an economic disaster; an order of magnitude worse that anyone could have predicted. It is unreasonable to expect those in touch with reality to worry about Obama’s image one way or another. For those of us like Barr Code, it is not about Obama; it isabout the policies and ideological fervor driving them rather than responsible economic considerations. Obama sees everything in terms of Marxist doctrine and analysis and neo Hegelianism. He is a pseudo intellectual with enough revolutionary information to be dangerous and we can certainly see now just how much danger he has put the nation and its people in. You talk about lock step but you fsail to realize that a united opposition to the vast power Obama weilds with the media that is in lock step with his policies regardless of their adverse impact on the nation and its people. The Medici in the 15th century controlled the politics of Florence because almost everyone worked for the Medici family. The Obama stategy is similar in that the more people on the dole and owing their livlihood to the government the more political influence he can have over them. His policies to kill massive numbers of jobs does just that for him. The Chamber needs to know what the long term effects are not just the politics du jour. I support the Tea Party. I want to see irresponsible politicians voted out.

Joseph C Moore, USN Ret

June 24th, 2011
10:29 am

So, the Chamber of Commerce is now part of the “Thugocrasy”.


June 25th, 2011
10:59 am

When have spending cuts coupled with tax hikes ever worked? It doesn’t higher taxes leads to decreased economic output resulting in less taxes collected.

But hay borrow borrow borrow tax tax tax spend spend spend what could ever go wrong. And since this is working so fabulously lets throw in a bunch of new regulations nothing like a little uncertanity to make the economy flourish. But if it doesn’t work we can always blame those irresponsible tea party nut jobs and their knuckle dragging sub intellectual followers.