Commentary

Dishonest Attacks on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

MoveOn.org is joining the attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) today, sending out an email asking its members to lobby against businesses who believe the health care and energy bills being discussed in Congress will damage their ability to do business. MoveOn writes:

Anheuser-Busch is helping fund a $100 million campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to kill clean energy and health care in Congress. Other companies, such as Apple, have quit the Chamber in protest, but Anheuser-Busch is still a dues-paying member. Can you call Anheuser-Busch and urge them to quit the Chamber of Commerce?

How terrible of Anheuser-Busch to want to avoid increased operations costs that would likely require them to fire employees. Do health care and energy bill advocates seriously not understand that the legislation as written today will increase unemployment?

As for MoveOn’s note of Apple. This is especially dishonest. Al Gore sits on the board of Apple. Yep, Mr. Inconvenient Truth himself, who is a proponent of the energy bill and is also personally invested in the alternative energy products that the Cap & Trade bill would force firms to use. Do energy advocates seriously not see the rent seeking behavior going on here? This is the kind of crony capitalism that progressives should be livid about.

And that’s not the only reason Apple backed away from the USCC on this issue. Where are most of Apple’s products created? In East Asia. So who would get hurt most by the operations costs increases of the energy and health care bills? Apple’s competitors. No one can fault Apple for supporting legislation that would hurt its opponents more than its costs would go up. In fact it is good business. But passing the bills would be bad politics.

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research for Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. His research portfolio is regularly evolving, and he maintains a wide interest in economic policy at both a domestic and international level.

Randazzo is also managing director of the Pension Integrity Project, which provides technical assistance to public sector retirement system stakeholders who are seeking to prevent pension plan insolvency. His research focus on the national public sector pension crisis has a dual focus of identifying the systemic factors that cause public officials to underfund pension obligations as well as studying the processes by which meaningful pension reform can be accomplished. Within the Project he leads the analytics team that develops independent, third party actuarial analysis to stakeholders considering changes to public sector retirement systems.

In addition, Randazzo writes about the moral foundations of economic theory, and is currently developing research on the ways that the moral intuitions of economists influence their substantive findings on topics like income inequality, immigration, or labor policy.

Randazzo's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Barron's, Bloomberg View, The Washington Times, The Detroit News, Chicago Sun-Times, Orange-County Register, RealClearMarkets, Reason magazine and various other online and print publications.

During his tenure at Reason he has published substantive research on housing finance, financial services regulation, and various other aspects of economic policy at the federal level. And he has written regularly on labor economics, tax policy, privatization, and Turkish-U.S. political and economic issues.

Randazzo has also testified before numerous state and local legislative bodies on pension policy matters, as well as before the House Financial Services Committee on topics related to housing policy and government-sponsored enterprises.

He holds a multidisciplinary M.A. in behavioral political economy from New York University.

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