Posted by: Rational Voice | October 18, 2010

The Chamber of Commerce, the Left, and the Demonization of “Special Interests”

This is going to be a long piece. First I want to go over an issue from last week regarding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and then get into the issue of special-interest groups. I started writing both parts separately but decided to combine them because I believe the first part flows directly into the second. And sorry if there are errors in it. I’ll try to continue polishing it over the next couple of days. It’s a long piece that I’ve written over several days that I just wanted to finish and get published before this issue passed us by.

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Last week President Obama made a bold and yet completely baseless statement regarding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said:

“Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations, so groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.”

It is an out and out lie and even the New York Times, a medium which is behind the president nearly every step of the way and from which I pulled this quote, said there is absolutely nothing to back up this claim. What I think is worse is that his top advisor, David Axelrod had the balls to say this last week, when confronted on such an allegation, that it’s up to the Chamber of Commerce to prove they’re not taking foreign money. Read more here.

Such a statement, coming from someone so close to the President of the United States should scare you. It is an affront to our very system, the system where you are innocent until proven guilty. Axelrod, on the other hand, believes you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. And with someone like him, I doubt you could ever prove yourself innocent. They could keep twisting this or that to prove your guilt, like the fact that indeed the Chamber of Commerce does receive money (back to the New York Times piece), some $100,000 from foreign affiliates out of its total budget of $200 million, or 0.05%. To someone like Axelrod, that’d probably be more than enough to prove them guilty. Never mind the Democrats’s own issues with campaign money, some of which could have come from foreign donors, or other entities who are restricted in their donations, including money possibly coming from the Hamas controlled West Bank. Should we just turn a blind eye to their problems?

Axelrod, along with the rest of the Left, are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. This current smear campaign stems from the historic Citizens United v. FEC case. When the Supreme Court made its ruling, they opened up the floodgates to accusations by the Left that corporations and “special-interests” would overthrow our democracy by being able to spend whatever they wanted in our elections. And, surprise, the Left seems to think that these groups only work with the Right.

This old tactic is once again reemerging from the Left: demonizing conservatives for being buddy-buddy with the so-called “special-interest” groups. I take a few issues with this. First, I want to show that the term “special-interest” is very nebulous and a rather general term, not an evil one. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Second, I want to show that both the Left and Right have special interests that support them, so to try to cast one side as the side of “special-interests” is utterly ignorant. Right now President Obama and his advisors are trying to paint all conservatives as not having the peoples’ best interests in mind but rather the “special-interests”: foreign entities, big business, Wall Street, oil companies, etc.

What this tactic shows is that they are absolutely desperate right now. They are pulling out all the stops to try to mitigate the damage this administration and Congress have inflicted on their party. They can’t run on their own record, despite all the “successes” they’ve had. If they’ve really done such great things, why not run on them? What are they afraid of? Oh yea, they don’t want to remind the people that they’ve ignored them time and again, governing against their collective will, and imposed new taxes and regulations that will doom this once great nation. That’s why they have to resort to this tired tactic. But it’s not working.

Getting back to the two points I wanted to make about special-interest groups. The term “special-interest” is used to demonize any group that falls into that category. Really though, the term is nebulous and neutral. “Special-interest,” at least to me, seems to define any group that has any narrowly tailored interest that seeks to achieve its goals through the political system. You’d have to look at each individual organization to see if they’re good or evil, and even that would be subjective and based on how you feel about the topic. So for the Left to paint “special-interests” as evil is wholly disingenuous.

My second point in regards to “special-interests” is that they exist on each side of the political aisle, so for liberals to claim Republicans are the party of special interests is an utter lie. Each side has special interests which try to push their agendas by funding political campaigns and politicians. Let’s take a look at some of them and try to see which ones are actually harmful.

Liberal special-interests

Green movement–The green movement is probably one of the largest Liberal special-interest groups. They keep pushing for more and more green energy, despite it yet not being a viable alternative. What you probably don’t know is that this group, which the media and politicians love to make look so pure, actually stand to make billions off of the trading of carbon credits. So much for being pure, huh? They’re in it to make a profit, but yet you’ll never hear them talked about in the same sentence as greedy capitalists. Also, under Cap-and-Trade, this noble plan to save us from global warming, then candidate Obama claimed that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” Translation, your energy costs for heating your home, electricity, gas, etc., would go way up. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Unions–As I’ve outlined again and again on here, unions are friends of the Left. They donate huge amounts to liberal candidates every year and in turn they get kickbacks in the forms of contracts, benefits, and pensions. It’s a continuous cycle. Public sector unions are especially bad. Private sector tax dollars fund their pensions. Even during a time like this, these unions demand more while the private sector employees suffer, losing their jobs or having their own wages or pensions cut. Translation: Politicians help their union buddies at your expense, and in regards to the public sector unions, your hard-earned money goes to fund them, meaning you have less in your wallet as a result.

Teachers unions-In a time where school spending is at all-time highs, we constantly hear stories about how we keep falling behind the rest of the world in education. Teachers unions are a huge part of the problem here. They keep shielding under-performing teachers from being fired, which is exactly what we need to do in order to start fixing our education system. Why would they be against firing bad teachers? I thought they wanted to educate kids and if they’re not being educated properly, then evidently the problem lies within those doing the educating. To me, it seems their number one goal then is not educating but something else, but I’m still not sure what that is. And any time you start to delve into teacher effectiveness, they get pissed and boycott, like they did to the LA Times when the LA Times started analyzing effectiveness. And even when meaningful reform is made, providing competition in the education market, such as with the now dead DC Voucher program, the teachers unions worked to destroy the program. So much for caring about the kids. Translation: Your taxes keep going up to fund schools while the whole education system gets worse and worse. Talk about a good investment!

I could go on here but since this piece is already getting to be pretty long, I’ll flip sides and examine conservative special-interests

Conservative Special-Interests

In the last section I used a lot of links to point out how liberal special-interests do more harm than good. I really don’t have many links to support my views on conservative ones. This is mainly because I’ve never actually heard many people step up and defend them. This isn’t to say these groups are always good, they do things I disagree with from time to time. Much of what I’m about to go over are my own thoughts since, like I said, I’ve never really heard anyone try to defend them before.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce–Let’s start with this one, since this is the issue that finally made me sit down and write on this subject. They are supporting Republicans because they want to help keep our economy going. They support tax cuts, the repeal of the healthcare bill, and decreased regulation because they know that this will help create jobs. If this current liberal agenda isn’t stopped, the Chamber knows we’ll see more job loss and the economy continue to be lethargic, if not tank again. They know, like President Reagan said, government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Translation: They decreased regulation because it will help create jobs, not kill them, and want lower taxes so corporations will have an incentive to hire and/or keep jobs here. Also, lower taxes equals more money in your wallet.

Energy–Energy companies have a vested interested in decreased regulation. Decreased regulation helps them to keep more or make more money. Doing so allows them to invest in new technologies (many of which are green) or to hire more workers. Allowing them to keep more of their profits benefits us all. If their cost of doing business or conforming to all sorts of regulations goes up, they’ll pass that along to you, the consumer in terms of higher energy costs. Also, they are not out to destroy mother nature like liberals would have you believe. They know how easily public opinion turns against them when anything happens (ie the BP oil spill) so they really have a vested interest in being good to mother nature. Translation: Energy companies, through their own profit motivation (which is good, just see my piece on “Are Profits Bad?” from a while ago), help keep energy costs down, help create jobs, and help find renewable energy sources. This means you’ll have cheaper energy and a cleaner planet.

Healthcare industry–The healthcare industry has been at the top of the liberal’s most wanted list since President Obama took office, despite, from what I’ve heard, a lot of them actually supported the Democrats. Conservatives are always demonized as being supported by them so I’ve put it here. Ever since the passage of the healthcare bill though we’ve only heard about costs going up. While they’re demonized, they really shouldn’t be. They don’t want increased regulations because it will put many of them out of business. Also, if regulations cut into their profits, they have less to invest in new drugs or technologies which will decrease the overall quality of our healthcare or hamper research in solving problems like curing cancer. They need to be able to make a profit because their products cost them a lot of money to develop. If they can’t make a profit, they can’t develop new drugs or technologies. And if they can’t do that, you suffer. Translation: They have vested interest in less regulation because it will ultimately help keep your medical costs lower and help you to live a longer, healthier life.

Tax groups–There are plenty of groups which back conservatives who want tax reform. Most advocate either a flat tax or a fair tax. Either way, they want the current system which allows for politicians on both sides to create tax laws which benefit their backers or unfairly distributes the tax burden reformed. Also, most advocate lower taxes which undoubtedly will help our economy recover. Translation: They want to reform a corrupt system and help you keep more of your money.

There are special interests everywhere but looking at this short list but after looking at this short list, which special interests do you think are influencing our political system for the worse and which ones actually have your best interests in mind? From this quick look, it seems that all these lauded liberal interest groups do nothing but cost you money while the “evil” conservative special-interests will actually help you keep more of your money, give you more economic freedom, and overall benefit you in a positive matter.

Overall though, I believe that if the government stayed within its Constitutional bounds, special-interests would die off because the government wouldn’t be enacting policies which breed special interests. It’s these extra-Constitutional laws and policies which helped to create special-interests in the first place, at least in my opinion.

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