“Adding profits, subtracting workers” – Pearlstein on the new business dynamic

The national Chamber of Commerce (unlike the smaller, local groups who share that name) is the embodiment of everything wrong with a special interest group. It advocates policies that benefit only a small handful of people while hurting most Americans, and pours millions into fighting legislation to help American families, workers, and small businesses.

Clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

This is a particularly Orwellian bit of political theater, given that it is the private businesses the Chamber purports to represent that eliminated 8 million jobs in 2008 and 2009 and have managed to add a scant 600,000 since then. If Chamber President Tom Donohue wants to round up those responsible for the lack of job growth in this country, all he has to do is call a meeting of his board of directors.

Although the jobs haven’t returned, corporate profits surely have and, at $1.2 trillion annually, are now higher than they were at the height of the bubble. It turns out that companies have found ways to produce as much as they ever did, but with fewer workers.

The only surprise is that anyone is surprised by the lack of private-sector hiring. It is only in the world of Chamber of Commerce propaganda that businesses exist to create jobs. In the real world, businesses exist to create profits for shareholders, not jobs for workers.

By the same token, however, it is more than a bit hypocritical for business leaders to pin the blame on the Obama administration for their own failure to create private-sector jobs, as they have been doing lately.

There was a time, not long ago, when real business leaders encouraged these kind of public-private partnerships. If the Chamber of Commerce were as interested in creating jobs as it is in promoting its free-market ideology, it would hang a new message on its columned facade for the president to see: