Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Greg Sargent writes:
GOP-aligned business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and others played a key role in helping elect dozens of conservatives to the House and Senate. Now that these conservatives are trying to drag Congress into multiple confrontations that could do untold economic damage, however, the groups that played such a big role in shaping this Congress are none too happy with the forces they helped unleash.

National Journal's Jill Lawrence has a good piece in which she interviews some of the top officials at these organizations, and finds they are shocked and dismayed by what they have wrought....
... businesses ... don't like brinkmanship on budget and debt issues, or the more routine dysfunction that has stalled transportation and agriculture legislation important to both parties and much of the private sector.

... there is little to no business support for the latest tea-party-driven crusade to block any funding bill that includes money for the health care law, even if it means the government would shut down when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, calls that "not the politically astute thing to do."...
What this means is that businesses backed the Republicans, including the craziest, most intransigent Republicans, the same way businesses regularly pursue strategies that promise a massive payoff, regardless of the possible huge pitfalls. This is how our businesses always operate. Cautious consideration of potential risk is for losers. Winners go for the big kill, whether it's selling AAA-rated housing securities made up of nothing but toxic loans, or backing lunatic teabaggers who are unfazed at the prospect of driving the country into default. And then our plutocrat overlords seem shocked when the strategy leads to a bad outcome.

Matt Yglesias doesn't buy the notion that business groups are upset by what's going on in the GOP:
... I think the evidence says otherwise. The chamber obviously isn't thrilled with each and every thing that each and every Republican member of Congress has said or done, but the fact is that they are deeply in love with the Republican Party and desperately want to see it gain more political power in the United States. Greg Sargent reminds us that we've seen this before and "[a]fter business groups helped bankroll the Tea Party insurgency in the 2010 midterms, the Congressional GOP staged a debt ceiling crisis in 2011 that those same groups saw as reckless and dangerous." So how mad was the chamber about that? So mad that they spent $24 million to try to help Republicans win Senate races....
Well, yeah, but that's how big business reacts whenever a favorite strategy gets them in trouble -- as soon as they can, they pursue the same damn strategy again. Aren't Wall Streeters engaging in housing speculation again? Haven't they relentlessly fought to prevent regulators from limiting their ability to crash the economy in exactly the same way they crashed it five years ago?

It's hard for the business community to have a normal human response to risk because there is absolutely no possibility that top executives will find themselves genuinely broke and unsure where their next meal is coming from, no matter what they do. As long as they stay out of prison, they will live luxurious lives forever, regardless of how catastrophic their decisions are or what economic destruction those decisions result in for millions of other people. So the possibility that big-kill thinking will lead to disaster inspires no fear. What's the worst that can happen to them?

To sum up: yes, the fat cats don't like what the craziest Republicans in Congress are threatening to do. But they'll keep backing the Republicans, because they always want the huge payoff, risk be damned.


Victor said...

When the stakes are this high, of course they won't fold their cards.

They're just an election cycle or two away from Republicans, if they win the Presidency and both houses of Congress, turning this countries citizens into wage-slaves, happy to take any job at any wage from their Randian Plutocratic Uber-Menschen!!!

So, no, a few short-term losses - like further ruining this countries credit rating, or causing another major rece/depre-ssion - is likely to stifle their support of the Republican Party.

Besides, THOSE things might help to achieve their goals, faster!

What WILL hurt them, is if the Republican Party splinters, and 3rd Party candidates decide to run as Teabaggers at the local, district, state, and national level.

Ten Bears said...

no fear. What's the worst that can happen?

Sounds like something once seen hanging in g'ma's kitchen.

I think you're getting it. When you been there done that, when you've lost it all and have nothing left to lose...

No fear.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Voters and contributors are always forced to buy package deals.

One guy offers A and B and the opponent offers C and D.

You go for the first guy because you like A a whole lot, though you hate B, C, and D.

So when the first guy gets around to supporting B you complain.

Welcome to politics.

Nothing short sighted or imprudent about not.

Not even a gamble.

Just the way things are.

Unknown said...

Back in the 30's the German corporate elites supported the Nazis because it served their economic interests, all the while believing that they still held the reins of power. Little did they know.

On the other hand, those same economic elites did emerge relatively unscathed from the war. A corporate charter and a pile of dough seem to confer a certain level of immunity.

Ron said...

When Bush and Cheney are in jail with no possibility of parol, I'll believe things can change. Throw in a few dozen Wall Street executives while you are at it!