The Boehner Agenda

Tim Carney and a few other hardy souls have spent the past 18 months trying to convince the world that not only is Barack Obama’s agenda influenced by business interests and corporate lobbyists, it’s actually the agenda of big business, which is presumably sitting on the sidelines weeping over the GOP’s defense of the little guy. The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, didn’t get the message and “plans to spend at least $50 million on political races and related activities this year, a 40 percent increase from 2008” in order to “target vulnerable Democrats in up to two dozen states with ads, get-out-the-vote operations and other grass-roots efforts.”

Today, Brian Beutler reports a bit on what they’re trying to buy:

As promised, House Minority Leader John Boehner, along with Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), huddled this morning with representatives of the most powerful conservative business and trade groups in the country to field policy ideas and build a legislative agenda ahead of the November elections, when Republicans could retake the House. If what they discussed in any way resembles the coming GOP platform (and, of course, it does), then get ready for more tax cuts and deregulation.

I always find big business’ focus on tax cuts to be a telling and under-discussed element of American politics. Businessmen’s hatred of OSHA rules isn’t something I personally share, but I see why businesses want the right to treat their workers as unsafely and unhealthily as they feel like. Personal income tax cuts, by contrast, just aren’t essential for business qua business. Indeed, as you’ll recall business was booming in the high-tax 1990s. But of course rich businessmen want to pay less in taxes so this invariably has pride of place on the “business” agenda.