President Obama gave a speech today to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a conciliatory message, why he even offered up a symbolic fruit cake. But the gifts Obama is bearing ain't no house warmers, they are more offshore outsourcing, bad trade deals, corporate tax reduction wish lists and key multinational corporate players in the White House.
Would the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suddenly wake up and consider being interested in the nation that bears their name? Not from history. Remember when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce demanded Stimulus funds not be used to hire Americans or buy American? Or how foreign companies and nations are trying to buy our elections through them? Their list of egregious horrors against the American workforce is as long as their forked tongues.
Imagine this was 1904 and Teddy Roosevelt was in Office. There is no doubt instead of promising more bad trade deals and to rewrite the corporate tax code per lobbyists' demands, we would see some sort of requirement these companies hire Americans and contribute to America. Unfortunately, this is not 1904 it's 2011 and Obama sir, is no Teddy Roosevelt.
There would be no pretense of a cold war, Obama and big business have been pals since day one. Face it, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has more money than God, can sway Presidential elections, more power than nation-states and no one, not even the President of the United States will take them on. Hell, without them, politicians never would have even got there.
Trade Reform has published the text of the speech with no comments. I will assume they were horrified.
Some of what President Obama said was useful, such as businesses are sitting on top of $2 trillion in cash and not hiring Americans and not investing in America.
Think Progress notes the futility of trying to get a lobbyist organization, front loaded with offshore outsourcing interests, to create jobs in the U.S. and hire Americans. In the article, Leaders Of US Chamber Awarded Themselves Record Compensation While Slashing American Jobs , Think Progress just touts a few items from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's labor arbitrage laundry list:
– In 2010, Naivstar CEO Daniel Ustian increased his total compensation by 27%, from $6.64 million in FY 2009 to $8.43 million in the year that ended October 31. The company has enjoyed healthy profits: in 2009, it earned $320 million, or $4.46 a share, and in 2010, it made $223 million, or $3.11 a share.
– Navistar has slashed jobs at factories across the country. In Springfield, Ohio, Navistar laid off 250 workers from a truck assembly plant. At its plant in Arkansas, the company laid off 477 in 2009 after letting 300 workers go in 2008. Amid the layoffs and plant closures, Navistar, a major military contractor, opened a new factory in Mexico last year.
Telecommunications Giant AT&T Is On The US Chamber’s Board Of Directors:
– AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was awarded a compensation package valued at $20.3 million in 2009, a jump of 35% from 2008. Last year, AT&T devoted an extra $8.99 million into Stephenson’s pension plan, ensuring that his retirement will include a pension “equal to 60 percent of his highest average salary and bonus in three of his last 10 years at the company. Although he’s not currently eligible for retirement, his pension is valued at an estimated $31 million today.”
– In recent years, AT&T has aggressively downsized its American workforce. In 2008, the company killed over 16,000 jobs as the recession hit. But in the last two years as AT&T enjoyed record profits, the company announced layoffs of “hundreds” in Kansas, 96 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 150 in Connecticut, 525 technicians in California, and 140 jobs in Oklahoma.
Agricultural Manufacturer Deere And Co. (John Deere Company) Is On The US Chamber’s Board Of Directors:
– Samuel Allen, the CEO and Chairman of Deere and Co., was awarded a compensation package in 2010 three times the size of his pay in 2009. Allen’s compensation was $12.29 million in 2010.
Health Insurance Company WellPoint Is On The US Chamber’s Board Of Directors:
– In recent years, WellPoint has reported record profits and extraordinary executive compensation. In 2009, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly was awarded a 51% compensation boost from $8.7 million in 2008 to $13.1 million.
– During the same period of high profits and highly compensated executives, WellPoint shed thousands of jobs. In 2009, WellPoint laid off 1,500 employees across the nation. Following the first round of layoffs, the company got rid of an additional 136 jobs in Missouri and 111 in Wisconsin. Notably, during this same period WellPoint’s trade association secretly transfered $86 million to the Chamber to fight health reform.
Public Citizen points out Obama is getting it wrong on trade and jobs:
It’s unclear what is more mortifying: President Barack Obama choosing the club of America’s notorious job-offshorers to talk about the importance of creating American jobs, or his rallying of his fiercest political opponents to help him overcome the majority of Americans who oppose more-of-the-same job-killing trade agreements and pass a NAFTA-style deal with Korea that the government’s own analysis shows will increase our trade deficit.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce audience must have been thrilled to have Obama push more of the trade agreements that both help them offshore American jobs and, given that most Americans oppose more of these job-killing trade pacts, can help them achieve their political goal of replacing Obama in 2012.
After winning key swing states by pledging to reform America’s job-killing trade policy, I suppose the Chamber is about the only place that President Obama could go to rally for more-of-the-same trade policies as if these had not resulted in a huge trade deficit and the net loss of 5.1 million manufacturing jobs and 43,000 factories since America started its experiment with the current trade model in the 1990s.
Not to leave all references, left, the Washington Examiner really blasts this speech with Why is Obama meeting with group that launders Chinese money?
This visit will spur a slew of articles on how Obama is "tacking to the center," becoming more "pro-business," and "mending relationships." This will mostly be bunk. The president is still selling the same Big Government product he's been peddling since the stimulus, and the Chamber is still buying the same corporatist product it's been buying since, well, the stimulus.
The worst of it is, these multinational corporations have no intention of creating jobs to hire Americans or investing in America. These are the same people who demanded TARP, no reform on executive compensation, more derivatives, FIRE, financial institutions, even larger, love TBTF, demand corporate welfare, breath systemic risk, demand China is allowed to currency manipulate and generally attack anything that could help the U.S. workforce, the U.S. middle class that has been proposed over the last 30 years. You can kiss their ass 'til doomsday and all you will get is some seriously puckered lips.
Where O where is that big stick?