Today, the Chamber of Commerce weighed in with its State of American Business 2009 report. While the Chamber is correct to say that a stimulus package should be enacted “immediately,” — and rightly notes the benefits of infrastructure investment — its plan is essentially a pro-corporation, anti-worker grab bag.
The Chamber’s proposals include:
- Cutting corporate income taxes and making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
- Reducing the corporate capital gains tax and extending the corporate tax refund period from two to five years.
- Defeating the Employee Free Choice Act and maintaining the anti-worker status quo.
Cutting corporate taxes is one of the worst ways to stimulate economic activity. The Chamber’s ideas are simply “time-honored business tax breaks that have never done anything to jump-start the economy.” As the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams opined, maybe “businesses are just trying to profit from the government rescue.”
Meanwhile, the Chamber has already been throwing millions of dollars into opposing Employee Free Choice, which it called a “firestorm bordering on Armageddon.” But as the Washington Post’s Harold Myerson wrote today, “The one great period of broadly shared prosperity in U.S. history remains the three decades following World War II, which, anything but coincidentally, is the one period in which America had high levels of unionization.” “There is no historic precedent for mass prosperity absent mass collective bargaining,” he noted. “The model cannot be constructed.”
Of course, unionization is not a form of stimulus, but after the (immensely necessary) stimulus plan has been enacted, there needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure longer-term recovery and growth. Unionization can help by fostering “a competitive high-wage, high-productivity economic strategy.” The Chamber, though, wants to rely on corporations to get America out of this downturn. That’s not a framework for stimulus or recovery that will be successful.