Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No corporate pledge of allegiance from the Chamber

President Obama's walk across the park yesterday to ask the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create American jobs was a nice gesture. It may even quell some criticism that he's anti-business.

The U.S. Chamber, however, is not a patriotic American organization. Members of its board of directors represent companies headquartered in the Netherlands, the U.K., France, Ireland, Bermuda and Belgium.

The Chamber claimed to share the president's priority of creating American jobs. The Chamber is not telling the truth. There's no way the Chamber's biggest supporters will sign a "corporate pledge of allegiance" to create jobs in the U.S., as Teamsters President Hoffa has suggested.

Teamster friend Bob Kuttner, an economist, explained it nicely in a recent Huffington Post, "Business doesn't need the American worker." Writes Kuttner,
...our most admired corporations -- GE, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Intel -- are creating ever more jobs overseas and relatively fewer at home. This has the double benefit of taking advantage of cheap labor abroad and disciplining workers to accept low wages at home. Along with the high unemployment rates have come declining earnings...
Kuttner in turn quotes Harold Meyerson, who writes,
In 2001, 32 percent of the income of the firms on Standard & Poor's index of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies came from abroad. By 2008, that figure had grown to 48 percent.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans are blind to the fact that American industry is competing against companies in China that operate in a radically different (and more successful, we might add) system, Kuttner says. 
In the past two decades, company after company concluded that the U.S. government didn't really care if we lost our manufacturing base. The Chinese government was making them an offer they couldn't refuse, so one by one they made a separate peace with Beijing.
It's a great piece. Read it here.