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Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

The Anti-Business Party

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Anyone who believes that what’s going on politically in America right now is simply politics as usual really doesn’t have a clue what’s going on politically in America right now.

We could be witnessing the destruction of one of the most ironclad, fundamental truths about American party politics of our lifetime.

It’s summed up in a headline in Bloomberg Businessweek, formerly simply Businessweek, which, along with Forbes and Fortune magazines, has been the voice of American business for more than 80 years.

The astonishing headline: “Republicans Are No Longer the Party of Business.”

That is the vehement reaction of corporate America to the shutdown of the federal government by House Republicans and the party’s threat to destroy the economic recovery under President Barack Obama by refusing to raise the U.S. debt ceiling to allow the country to pay its bills.

Corporate donors, who’ve poured hundreds of millions of dollars into electing Republicans to represent them in Washington, have lost control of the party to far-right tea party Republicans who consider wrecking their own country’s economy an excellent political tactic to try to get their way.

The legitimate alarm of corporate America is rising in the business press, but you haven’t heard much about it in popular media, which prefers to cover a totally unnecessary, economically perilous, Republican-manufactured national crisis as if it were a sporting event without taking either side.

Before the House vote that shut down the government at what business analysts estimate is a cost of $300 million a day to the U.S. economy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter signed by 250 business groups across the country urging Congress not to do it. It warned similar tactics over the debt ceiling would be economically catastrophic.

This was the same U.S. Chamber of Commerce that in 2012 poured $35,657,029 into federal elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Of that, only $305,044 went to Democrats. And the Republican extremists thumbed their noses at them.

In the Businessweek story, Robert Shapiro, chairman of an economic advisory firm, says: “Republicans are not the party of business any more. They’re the party of antigovernment.”

 

Held Hostage By Republican Terrorists

It’s tempting to say business is getting exactly what it deserves, except nobody struggling to climb out of the historic economic crisis created under the last Republican president deserves to have the country’s recovery held hostage by Republican terrorists. 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attempted to use the crisis created by his party in Washington to promote his own presidential prospects. Walker said Washington should be run the way he runs government in Madison, making the absurd claim he sits down with legislative leaders and brings them together.

That’s news to Democratic leaders, who are totally ignored in one of the most ruthlessly one-sided, partisan legislatures in the country.

But the supreme irony is Walker was one of the first Republican governors to openly sacrifice jobs for his own citizens and business expansion in his state on the altar of the tea party’s extreme antigovernment ideology.

He rejected $810 million in federal funds for high-speed rail in Wisconsin that was bipartisanly engineered by his predecessors, Democrat Jim Doyle and Republican Tommy Thompson.

It was a cruel blow to the state construction industry and the businesses denied higher profits that result from economic expansion along modern, improved transportation corridors now being built in other states.

For years, as long as big business got what it wanted from the Republican Party, it didn’t seem to care what dim-witted incompetents or googly-eyed extremists it helped elect.

And business leaders got plenty. Their taxes were slashed so CEOs now pay lower rates than their secretaries. They got rid of expensive regulations, including worrisome environmental protections and health inspections. In Wisconsin, a mining company even got to write its own regulations.

But the other day big business woke up and realized the loons had taken over the Republican asylum. Not-very-bright zealots were shutting down the government and risking the entire economy to pursue their own extreme, antigovernment agenda.

The tea party, which arose as a backlash to the election of America’s first African American president, so hates that president that ever since its victories in 2010 its entire focus has been on preventing a successful economic recovery under President Obama.

Clearly, that’s not in the best interest of American business. And it’s not in the best interests of the American people. Heck, it’s not even in the best interests of Republican American people.

If Republicans are no longer the party of business, corporate America has just joined the fastest-growing club in America.

The party’s last presidential candidate estimated Republicans weren’t the party of 47% of the American people. That includes black people, brown people, women, the unemployed, teachers, students, gay people, people on Social Security or Medicare, people who need health care, people who are hungry and anybody who cares.