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U.S. Chamber of Commerce President to Teapublicans: Raise Debt Ceiling or “We’ll get rid of you”


I’m certainly no fan of the anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-progressive U.S. Chamber of Commerce or its right-wingnut president Tom Donohue. But I definitely enjoyed this one, in a warped sorta way:

In one of the funnier moments during his Rotary talk, Donohue was asked if Congress was going to raise the debt ceiling.

Yes, it will be raised, Donohue answered, mainly because the country can not afford to not pay its bills. To those newly-elected representatives who say they aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling and will shut down government, Donohue said the U.S. Chamber has its own message: “We’ll get rid of you.”

OK, just for the moment, let’s leave aside the issue of how powerful corporations can “get rid of” representatives who are theoretically elected “by the people” and “for the people.”  Let’s also leave aside Donohue’s breathtaking arrogance in general. Other than that, he’s right on this one: there shouldn’t even be a question, not two seconds of debate, on whether we raise the debt ceiling limit. The fact that there has been question and debate over this, and for far longer than two seconds, demonstrates wild recklessness, woeful ignorance, and crazed ideological extremism, among its many miserable qualities. In the real world, of course, raising the debt ceiling is a simple, but extremely important, technical matter, essential so that the United States of America stays fiscally solvent. It has nothing whatsoever to do with causing the rising national debt, or with solving the problem of deficits and debt, and anyone who thinks it has anything to do with those things is absolutely, wildly wrong. Sad to say, based on the polling I’ve seen, that’s the majority of the American people, in its infinite wisdom. Sigh…

Anyway, back to Donohue’s remarks about how he’ll “get rid of” any Teapublican member who fails to raise the debt ceiling or attempts to shut down the government. Again, I find this level of corporate power to be disturbing, disgusting, deplorable — possibly worse than the infamous Robber Baron era in our history. Having said that, I guess I have to (sadly) agree with this commenter at the Atlanta Business Chronicle who writes, “If Donohue’s checkbook can bully know-nothing far-right congressmen into avoiding a US default, I guess he’s good for something.” Now, if only Democrats would call these people out for who and what they are, demand that we deal with the deficit by repealing the $4-trillion-per-decade Bush tax cuts, add on a carbon tax, wind down our two unpaid-for wars (or pay for them!), get spiraling healthcare costs in check (preferably by instituting a public option or, even better, single payer system), etc., we’d be in great shape. The chances of that happening, unfortunately, are not high, as courage is in short supply in Washington, DC today, as it always has been. But we can always hope things will change, right?

h/t Brad DeLong

  • Glen Tomkins

    The conventional wisdom on Citizens United was that it meant that the wealthy were going to be freed of all restrictions on political spending, therefore the interests of the wealthy were going to be served even more slavishly by our politicos than before.

    But actually, back when we had restrictions on the size of individual donations, that meant that you needed to please a whole lot of wealthy people to amass a whole lot of campaign contributions.  Politicians needed to support policies that were wealth-accumulation friendly, because that was the only stable basis of consensus among the wealthy, and you used to need a consensus of bunches of them to fund your campaign.

    But now, post Citizens United, you just need a single rich nut as your patron, and you can fund a camapign whose ideology thumbs its nose at the consensus of the wealthy.  Maybe your rich nut patron has holdings that would actually do better in a financial crisis, or maybe he’s rich enough to not care too much about immediate bad economic consequences, and is a simple nut who values some nutbar ideology over exactly how much excess weatlh he possesses.  In any case, you just need one billionaire in your corner, because buying politicians is so incredibly cheap at that level of purchasing power.

    The Chamber of Commerce is no longer in any position to “get rid of” anyone politically.  The idiots signed their own political death warrant when their politicoes on the bench destroyed campaign finance contribution limits.