Elliot Spitzer Lays Out Game Plan to Get Rid of the Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a massive corporate lobbyist group and characterized by Elliot Spitzer as a Chamber of Horrors. I couldn't agree more. Bad policies, bad legislation putting the entire nation, economy at risk is the history of this lobbying group.

Spitzer outlines a game plan to rid ourselves of this vile organization. Spitzer suggests public pension funds put pressure on companies to stop their membership to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for once starving the lobbyist beast by cutting off membership fees. Spitzer argues that these publicly traded companies which public pension funds often invest in, are paying the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to block legislation which is against these very state pension funds interests.

The elected comptrollers and treasurers who agree—as a vast majority will—that the Chamber of Commerce has a distorted view of both economic and political policy should demand that each company in which they own stock drop its membership in the chamber. If the CEO doesn't agree, the public pension funds should pressure the board to drop the chamber membership. If one activist state comptroller begins to build this coalition, the other state pension funds will follow.

I honestly do not know if it would work but Spitzer does at least bring to light a method to Democratize at least slightly, corporate governance, by a large group, that being public pension funds.

Meanwhile, Baseline Scenario is also noting the folly of this organization. The policies the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied for recently killed small business.

Somewhere, the Chamber’s senior leadership missed the plot. What brought on the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s? What has hurt, directly and indirectly, small business of all kinds to an unprecedented degree over the past 12 months? What is killing small and medium-sized banks at a rate not seen in nearly 80 years?

It’s the behavior of the financial sector, particularly big banks and their close allies – by consistently mistreating consumers. And the letter and spirit of the regulatory regime let them get away with it.

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Fantasies abound, unfortunately!

I hate to be a naysayer, but the US Chamber of Commerce behaves and functions more like a multinational anti-free enterprise, pro-corporate fascism outfit.

Back in the early '00s, monies funneled through Bush's Dept. of Commerce, to individual Chamber of Commerces in major cities throughout America, were used to give seminars to local corporations on the most efficient ways of offshoring American jobs. Although I believe this program was finally ended (what better use for taxpayer funds could be found, one wonders????), it demonstrates the primary purpose of city chambers as well as the ruling US Chamber of Commerce.

This is one of the dominant organizations in a list of 20 or so (e.g., Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers [first president of NAM was George W. Bush's great-grandfather], Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, Peterson Institute, etc., with the dominant two appearing to be the Bretton Woods Committee and the American Securitization Forum), and nothing conspiratorial about this; all pretty much in the open with accessible bios, to anyone paying close attention.

So I think Spitzer, who has backtracked somewhat lately, much to my chagrin, is pretty much urinating into the wind on this one. The US Chamber of Commerce is part of the power elite, and it will take more than any political suggestions to alter their behaviors.

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I agree he's pissing in the wind

Yet one needs to "piss out there" to get people thinking "outside the box".

He notes that Apple and a few others withdrew their membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over their anti-environmental lobbyist activities.

I think there is something to hate for most businesses from that organization, not just regular middle class.

They have also promoted some serious job killing agendas, which gravely affects smaller businesses, who are not in the business of labor arbitrage so much, they are just trying to turn a profit on their business model....
and in terms of trade on that one, that too has killed off many a manufacturing business, esp. the smaller ones.

So, there are many reasons a business might consider withdrawing their membership...literally from a business perspective.

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Critical Mass.

James, your comments have become almost an automatic 5 rating for me. Your mention of "Pappy Bush" makes me wonder whether you have read Russ Baker's excellent book, "Family of Secrets". If you haven't you should do. You won't be disappointed.

As far as Spitzer is concerned, I was deeply disappointed that his transgressions short circuited the large amount of good he could have done as Governor of NY. However, we should all realize it was just "payback" for his tireless efforts to uncover, and prosecute corruption on Wall Street as NY's Attorney General. He is a very smart guy who understands how the investment bank crooks think. And he knows how to connect the dots.

To this end, I would mention that Matt Taibbi's latest article for Rolling Stone, Wall Street's Naked Swindle is now available online. I read it last night and it is extremely enlightening. Not that we haven't discussed naked short selling here at EP, but this puts it into a real life perspective: The Assassination of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. It is an absolute must read and I GUARANTEE that there will be things in there that you haven't heard or considered before.

But I digress somewhat. There are others around the blogoshpere that are doing the hard work of muckraking and shouting out the truth. Yves Smith has become increasingly more critical of the Washington/Wall Street cabal. Simon Johnson, William Black, Michael Hudson, Paul Craig Roberts, and others have been and are increasingly being more vociferous in their condemnation of the status quo. Next Tuesday, October 20th, PBS's Frontline is offering "The Warning", which reportedly will look at the financial meltdown, why it happened and who might have prevented it. I am very much interested in this piece because Frontline usually does a superb investigative job and I think it might dovetail nicely with Taibbi's article.

Full disclosure, I am in the "salted and barren" on this site's poll. I think major damage has been done to the US society and nothing is going to make that better in the short, or even medium term. But I am also of a vindictive nature and it will soothe my misery to witness the utter demise and devastation of our current ruling classes.

I think that every effort of the Elliot Spitzer's, Paul Craig Roberts, Simon Johnson's, Yves Smith's, Alexander Cockburn's, Midtowng's, RebelCapitalist's, Matt Taibbi's, Ian Welsh's, Karl Denninger's, Bill Bonners', James Kwak's, Joe Stiglitz's, Satyajit Das', Bill Moyers', Robert Oak's and, yes, the James Woolley's of our time, to identify and expose the corruption in our government is to be lauded. If nothing else, it keeps us all sane.

I have long been a "junkie" for econ, finance, political blogs. I enjoy the fine writing and investigative talents. And, I love to read the comments sections on the well read blogs. To this end, I am sensing lately that the level of understanding of just how much we, the public, have been screwed is gaining. I am seeing less "hope" for change "we can believe in", and more resignation and outrage as to how corrupt the whole financial and political system is.

Perhaps it is a fantasy, that this not only can't be changed but, that it will go unpunished. To that I ask, what is the alternative? Are we going to just let the fucking bastards get away with their scam?

Not me. I may go down, but I'm taking as many of these cheating, conniving assholes with me as possible.

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