HUFFINGTON POST: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is soliciting funds to pay an economist $50,000 to study health care reform legislation and issue (what the lobby presumes) will be a negative review, providing ammunition to shoot down health care reform in the Senate, according to The Washington Post. The Newspaper obtained an e-mail from James P. Gelfand, the senior manager of health policy at the Chamber of Commerce detailing how the plan would work:
“The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document.
According to The National Journal’s Under The Influence Blog, The Chamber of Commerce has spent $17.5 million in just three months (July-September), lobbying to shape health policy. The Chamber of Commerce spent more money on health care lobbying than any other group during the third business quarter. MORE
ELLIOTT SPITZER: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce—the self-proclaimed voice of business in Washington—has been wrong on virtually every major public-policy issue of the past decade: financial deregulation, tax and fiscal policy, global warming and environmental enforcement, consumer protection, health care reform. The chamber remains an unabashed voice for the libertarian worldview that caused the most catastrophic economic meltdown since the Great Depression. And the chamber’s view of social justice would warm Scrooge’s heart. It is the chamber’s right to be wrong, and its right to argue its preposterous ideas aggressively, as it does through vast expenditures on lobbyists and litigation. Last year alone, the chamber spent more than $91 million on lobbying, and, according to lobby tracker Opensecrets.org, it has spent more than twice as much on lobbying during the past 12 years as any other corporation or group. The problem is, the chamber is doing all this with our money. The chamber survives financially on the dues and support of its members, which are most of America’s major corporations listed on the stock exchange. The chamber derives its political clout from the fact that its membership includes these corporations. Yet we—you and I—own the companies that support the chamber and permit it to propagate its views. Our passive, permissive attitude toward the management of the companies we own has enabled the chamber to be one of the primary impediments to the reform of markets, health care, energy policy, and politics that we have all been calling for. It is time for that to change. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: The Yes Men Punk The Chamber Of Commerce
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