Boogeyman Frightens Big Business. Oh My!

Yesterday the U.S. Chamber announced its three part plan for encouraging job growth.  First, deregulate business (meaning stop financial industry reform legislation).  Second, continue the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy that are scheduled to be eliminated soon.  Third, repeal health reform.  Their main complaint in the news snippets I heard and read had to do with the uncertainty that has been thrust into the market place because of these three things, and uncertainty, they claimed, is the boogeyman of investment that scares big business and inhibits the creation of new jobs.
Uncertainty about markets is, of course, the bedrock of private enterprise competitiveness.  In fact, uncertainty is the bedrock of any form of competition.  Consider, for instance, any ball game where rules establish the core structure and limits of the game but uncertainty about what the other team will do is what makes competition possible.  What is important is that the rules be known and understood.  When it comes to major reforms of the financial and health care industries, that will take a while, particularly since these industries have become expert at manipulating the existing set of arcane rules to their benefit with little regard for the welfare of the nation as a whole.  Now they have to work at figuring out how to do the same with a new set of rules that are not yet promulgated, only legislatively authorized in general terms.  It would be so much easier for them to just keep things the way they are.
What kind of uncertainty is bothering the Chamber’s big business clients the most?  They way I figure it, they are most uncertain about how and where to find the loopholes and opportunities for a quick killing in a newly regulated financial industry, a more competitive and efficient health care system, and a way for wealthier people to legally avoid paying taxes.  They do not want to change the way they do business, and they may not know how, so the trick is to figure out ways to weasel through new rules with as little change as possible.  What a pain!  Why not just leave well enough alone?
The U.S. Chamber is supposed to be an organization promoting the health of a strong private enterprise economy, with an emphasis on smaller businesses, local communities, and open, fair competition.  They can do better than mouthing the same old ‘no regulation is good regulation’ nonsense that only benefits would be monopolists and oligarchs.

9 thoughts on “Boogeyman Frightens Big Business. Oh My!”

  1. AllanIt's a typical response that will resonate well with some because it's the same old bugaboo stuff about unions, women, and minorities that has been used for decades. I have no doubt that the bill got stuffed with some provisions of doubtful value, but regulation of derivatives in all forms is on target. The mart gage debacle was only in part about mortgages and much more about packaging of debt in any form.CP

  2. PSTheir complaint that Freddy and Fannie were left out of the bill ignores the fact that they were placed in conservancy their practices changed and placed under stricter supervision a couple of years ago.CP

  3. I have long noticed, usually without commenting, that your blogs on the subject of business, economics, and the ethics thereof have been among the most valuable and best-informed you have written, due to your business teaching back-ground!Keep it up! Dr B

  4. Religion (Christianity) vs \”practicality\” (conservatism)Interesting post CP, but more because of where it leads me on my thoughts about the place of religion in our culture. This thought process is birthed from my wondering what is \”a Christian\” or rather who owns the brand name? What is the place of a Bishop, a religious house, a parish community, a priest, deacon in \”ministering\” to the world in which they exist? Especially following so closely on your previous post on heritage in the church, and I would dare say \”heritage\” or \”tradition\” in society or culture.Comfort and the desire to have things remain the way one perceives them: this may be practical but is it the \”way\” to which we are called to live? Is it to be the way of the \”church\” to example this type of living? Or is the church to example an other sort of living, more \”idealistic\” and egalitarian, dare I say \”socialist\”? If we can live in the purely Gnostic sense that the physical and spiritual are separated is there no relational action that crosses the divide. If the term socialist is frightening then perhaps the teaching of personal responsibility can apply to more than sexual ethics and extend to economic ethics with the same level of debate about who is and who is not \”christian\”.sorry about the fragmented structure, I will try to be more coherent later.Bruno

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  6. CP:Thanks for your thoughts.One of the things that must be remembered is that this whole mess started with government intervention. Freddie and Fannie are government creations and Wall Street's packaging of debt to make a quick buck was made possible by the government's strong-armed tactics against banks forcing them into giving sub-prime mortgage loans.There is no doubt that Wall Street has looked like an obscene video of Girls Gone Wild, but the same can be said of the federal government. What is disturbing to me is that while most \”pro-business\” people I know clearly admit that the private sector bears much of the blame, my \”pro-government\” friends refuse to acknowledge the government's culpability in starting this whole mess, except to blame Bush, even though this nonsense started under the Clinton Administration (Bush did indeed hop on board with it, so I am not excusing him).By the way, fyi… the reform bill that was just signed allows for trial laywers to write off their contingency fees, which will end up being paid by the American people.

  7. Allan,If we are going to recover balance then we need to get away from \”the government is the enemy\” kind of thinking. Whatever problems it may have, it is not the enemy. Neither are unions. Often bullheaded and short sighted (especially the Boeing unions as the moment), but they are not the enemy. CP

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