By Farron Cousins
Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned listeners at the Chamber’s annual “State of American Business” address that the national debt is going to cripple the economy. In his address, Donohue said that both parties in Washington need to put an end to the partisan bickering and come up with a plan that works to reduce our deficit.
The Hill quotes Donohue as saying: “As a nation and a people, we must finally face up to the single biggest threat to our economic future — and that is our exploding national debt, driven by runaway deficit spending, changing demographics and unsustainable entitlements. Congress and the administration must focus their attention on this critical priority. Economic growth cannot solve all of our problems, but without growth, we will not be able to solve any of them.”
The U.S. Chamber is one of the largest political spenders in Washington, with the vast majority of their donations going to Republicans. In the last election cycle (2012), the Chamber pledged to spend $50 million on ads, on top of the $66 million that the group spent in lobbying efforts in 2011.
The spending patterns of the group are very important for one reason – They give money to Republicans, and Republicans are, historically, bigger deficit spenders than Democrats. In fact, of the last 5 U.S. presidents, Reagan and Bush increased the national debt by 189% and 115%, respectively, with Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama raising the national debt by 37% and 16%, respectively. If debt reduction is the group’s concern, then they need to rethink their political donations.
But Donohue and his buddies at the U.S. Chamber have a plan to reduce the deficit – take money away from the largest anti-poverty programs in America. Specifically, they want the federal government to decimate spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other so-called “entitlement” programs. Tax increases to raise revenue? Not on Donohue’s watch.
The Chamber’s solution to the debt problem is the same as the solution of elected Republicans in Washington: Steal from the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Not only would this tactic increase the national debt (as the expenses for the needy would ultimately fall back on the government, i.e. taxpayers), but it also shows that Donohue, the U.S. Chamber, and the Republican Party have absolutely no empathy for other human beings.
Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer Magazine, and contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com, and the producer of Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.