On Monday afternoon, as President Obama announced his support for a tax increase that would affect nearly 900,000 small businesses, the Associated Press tweeted the following tweet and story to implicate Republicans as “roadblocks” to business:
Republicans often tout themselves as ‘pro-business.’ Yet conservatives have often put up roadblocks for business: apne.ws/NVlnJ3 -PP
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 9, 2012
The story begins: “Conservative Republicans have roughed up the business community this year – and it’s not over yet.”
Really? Apparently, the Associated Press has ignored that Democrats’ opposition to the job-creating Keystone Pipeline or the Supreme Court upholding the $500 billion Obamatax law will destroy jobs, among other examples. However, those oversights are only part of the media’s bias on display in this piece.
The article then goes on to assert that conservative Republicans’ supposed opposition to recent transportation bills, antipathy towards the Law of the Sea Convention, and resistance to re-authorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank are to blame for putting “roadblocks” to business.
The author, Donna Cassata, notes some conservatives preferred that the transportation projects be funded at a state level, going on to state, “[n]ine short-term extensions later – and almost three years after the last transportation bill expired – businesses finally prevailed last month.” Cassata fails to mention that in 2009 and 2010, both Houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats, and during the last year, President Obama threatened to veto any transportation bill that included approval of the job-creating Keystone Pipeline. Democrats had ample opportunity to approve a transportation bill for two years but failed, and President Obama’s anti-energy development agenda prevented the bill from passing quickly since Republicans took over the House following the 2010 elections.
Cassata also indicates that conservatives have stymied the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, which supporters claim would “open a new path to oil, gas and other resources and produce thousands of jobs”. Cassata ignores that the most recent version Treaty was first adopted by the UN in 1982–thirty years ago– and blames Republicans for action that the Democratic controlled Senate had the opportunity to take when they had a filibuster-proof majority in 2009.
Current conservative opposition to the treaty is not to blame; poor, socialist policy is. She also fails to note that the reason conservatives oppose it as a threat to national sovereignty is that the treaty imposes a worldwide bureaucracy and energy companies would be required to pay worldwide royalties (i.e. global redistribution of wealth) that would be in the trillions of dollars. Such extreme global taxation is hardly business-friendly.
Cassata rounds out her “blame conservatives” op-ed by making two errors far too common in the media–using the words “conservatives” and “Republicans” interchangeably and assuming the “pro business” policies are true free-market policies, in particular reference to the Ex-Im Bank:
Republicans like to tout themselves as the best friends of business, and the rhetoric only grows louder in an election year. They talk forcefully about their job-creation agenda and determination to undo the burdensome regulations they say arise out of President Barack Obama’s policies.
Yet when it comes to many of industry’s top legislative priorities, conservative Republican lawmakers and like-minded groups including the Club for Growth and Heritage Action have thrown up roadblocks to tasks that had been easy before the 2010 elections sent a large class of conservative tea party insurgents to Congress.
“What we find now is this cronyism and this corporate welfare, it’s corrupting the politics because there’s nothing now that goes through that doesn’t have a corporate interest,” Republican Sen. Jim DeMint told The Associated Press in an interview. “It’s not just the Ex-Im Bank. It’s the transportation bill that has huge entities involved. The farm bill basically guarantees large corporate farmers.”
Conservatives have not thrown up roadblocks to business but to corporate welfare and big government. Establishment Republicans have supported re-authorization of the Ex-Im (a bank that provides taxpayer backed loan guarantees to American companies who sell their products abroad) as a pro-business gesture, but conservatives have opposed it because it is not pro-market. As Senator DeMint is quoted in the article, “[w]hen Washington picks winners and losers, the taxpayers lose.” Conservative leader Sarah Palin has called for an end to corporate welfare, as have both Congressman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Jim Demint. Demint’s opposition to the Ex-Im Bank is not a roadblock to business but a protection of taxpayer money, as the Ex-Im Bank puts the American people on the hook for loan guarantees if companies net losses.
Nowhere does the author delineate how conservative opposition to government spending, expansion, or collusion with big business has truly been a roadblock to business. The only roadblock Cassata makes the clear case for is the one she placed between the media and their shrinking integrity.