U.S. Chamber: Jobs Argument a Little Leaky

August 26, 2010 - 3:51pm
job cutting

By Samantha Brown. U.S. Chamber Watch. August 26, 2010.

Drilling Down on the U.S. Chamber’s Weak Jobs Arguments

Once again, the U.S. Chamber cries "job-killer!" and once again, the Chamber is found to be crying wolf.

This summer, the Chamber lobbied heavily against the post-BP disaster deepwater drilling moratorium, arguing that it would “continue to cost the Gulf much-needed jobs.”  Turns out the Chamber’s arguments rang a little hollow. In an article titled “Job Losses Over Drilling Ban Fail to Materialize,” New York Times journalists John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss write:

…oil executives, economists and local officials complained that the six-month [deepwater drilling] moratorium would cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue…the worst of those forecasts has failed to materialize…it now appears that the direst predictions about the moratorium will not be borne out.

The Chamber is also offering up its empty argument on jobs this week. It says that extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will save jobs and small businesses.  But the Chamber clearly missed the memo that only 3 percent of small business owners would be affected by the extension.  And if the Chamber still wants to complain that White House policies “vilify” business and kill jobs, the CBO reported this week that the White House’s stimulus is largely responsible for job growth this year. 

For at least twenty years, the Chamber has reached for its tried and true “jobs” argument when it wants an excuse for espousing its big-business, big-CEO policies. Here’s a look at some greatest hits:

Top 10 Policies U.S. Chamber Opposed Using the “Job Killing” Argument.

Healthcare Reform Law: U.S. Chamber Said Congress Must Repeal “Job-Killing Requirement” In Healthcare Reform Law.  In August 2010, U.S. Chamber official James Gelfand wrote in an op-ed on the healthcare reform bill: “The next piece that needs to be repealed is the job-killing requirement that businesses purchase government-approved health insurance or pay crippling fines. At $2,000 to $3,000 per employee, these fines will destroy countless businesses, especially those with low profit margins.” [Chamber Post Blog, 8/3/10]

Deepwater Drilling Moratorium: U.S. Chamber Said Post-BP Deepwater Drilling Moratorium Would “Cost the Gulf Much-Needed Jobs.”In July 2010, as the Obama Administration renewed its “ban on deepwater drilling, imposed after the BP oil spill, Karen Harbert, President of the chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy stated, “The blanket moratorium will continue to cost the Gulf much-needed jobs.” [Financial Times, 7/13/10]

Financial Reform: U.S. Chamber President Said Final Financial Reform Bill “Exacerbated Uncertainties For…America’s Job Creators,” Bill’s Passage Was “Sad Day” For Jobs. Commenting on the “final conference report of the financial regulatory reform legislation,” U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue said the bill “exacerbates uncertainties for Main Street and America’s job creators, and consumers will pay the ultimate price in higher fees, less choice, and fewer opportunities to responsibly access credit. Today is a sad day for the U.S. economy, for jobs…” [Press Release, US Chamber of Commerce, 6/25/10]

Clean Air Act Provisions: U.S. Chamber Said Measure Curbing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Through Clean Air Act “Would Kills Jobs and Stifle Growth.” According to the Wall Street Journal, in June 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported Senator Lisa Murkowski’s “proposal to block the administration from curbing greenhouse-gas emissions using its power under the Clean Air Act…Ms. Murkowski's measure has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Automobile Dealers Association and other business groups that say EPA regulation would kill jobs and stifle growth.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/10/10]

Unemployment Benefits Extender: U.S. Chamber Said Unemployment Benefits Extender Bill Was A “Job Killer,” “Would Do More Harm Than Good.” “Despite supporting the tax measures resuscitated in legislation extending several measures, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the extender bill because of the tax increases it would inflict on businesses. ‘Ultimately, we have no choice but to oppose this legislation as drafted because it is a job killer,’ said Bruce Josten, the Chamber's chief government affairs person, in prepared remarks. ‘While the Chamber believes the economy needs an extension of expired provisions, we believe that this legislation will do more harm than good.’” [The Hill, 5/24/10]

Healthcare Reform Bill: U.S. Chamber Sought Funds to Commission Study Presenting Health Reform as a “Job Killer.” The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups were “collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation's economy, according to an e-mail solicitation from a top Chamber official.” [Washington Post, 11/16/09]

Consumer Financial Protection Agency: U.S. Chamber Said CFPA Was “Wrong Way” To “Enhance Consumer Protection,” Would Harm Business Community. “On September 30, 2009, the [U.S.] Chamber…testifying before the Committee on Financial Services stated, ‘The Chamber opposes the CFPA legislation in its current form because it believes the current bill is the wrong way to enhance consumer protection, and it will have significant and harmful unintended consequences for consumers, for the business community and for the overall economy.’” [Press Release, Republicans In Congress, 10/13/09]

Children’s Healthcare: U.S. Chamber Said Expanding Children’s Healthcare Was “Unfair, Burdensome” To Businesses. In a January 2009 letter to Congress, R. Bruce Josten of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged members to vote against the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, writing that the bill “raises taxes on a narrow sector of the U.S. economy with the aim of funding a broad-based entitlement program, which is grossly unfair and burdensome to American businesses and consumers.” [Chamber Letter, 1/14/09]

A Living Wage: U.S. Chamber: “Wage Mandates…Prevent Businesses from Making Profits, Growing and Hiring More Workers. ” In an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote, “Living wage proposals are economically unfair because they change the basis on which our economy operates. Instead of allowing the market forces to determine pay, living wages put the interests of employees above all other consideration…and they base wages on what the worker wants instead of on the value of work performed.” [The Pantagraph, 11/21/04]

Americans With Disabilities Act: U.S. Chamber Said Small Businesses “Simply” Did Not “Have Money in the Bank” for the Americans With Disabilities Act. Discussing the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1989, U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Nancy Fulco said, “"Small businesses simply do not have the money in the bank.” Fulco “also complained that the wording of the bill was so vague it would encourage an explosion of lawsuits.” [Newsday, 9/9/89]

Originally Posted on U.S. Chamber Watch, August 26, 2011

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