Monday, November 22, 2010

The Chamber of Commerce talks the talk, almost

For certain the Chamber of Commerce has earned the scorn directed toward it for trying to dispute climate science and reflexively opposing action to decrease greenhouse gas emissions with complaints that doing so would cripple business and destroy the economy.

Imagine then my reaction when I read a statement from the Chamber in a McClatchy Newspapers story in the Herald today.
The U.S. Chamber is encouraging the entire business community not just to calculate the cost of specific ... reduction proposals to their individual companies, but to weigh the long-term costs to our country, our economy, and future generations if we fail to act. All solutions will require shared sacrifices and we must be prepared to make them.


Except you may have noticed the ellipsis in the quote above. As much as I might like it to have been "greenhouse gas emissions", what has been removed is the word "deficit", as in the difference between budget expenditures and collections. The quote is in reaction to the deficit reduction commission chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which in many quarters is being viewed as mostly a sop to business interests and supply-side economics supporters.

The Chamber is still not showing any genuine signs of interest in weighing long-term costs nor shared sacrifices. The Bowles-Simpson plan talks about lowering corporate tax rates, so the Chamber is interested since that may mean a relatively quick buck. There are initial costs to transitioning away from dirty energy, and the Chamber fears losing a buck. If the Chamber cared about investing in the long-term they would support efforts to build a sustainable, green energy economy. So how about it, Chamber?

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