Even as Republicans whip themselves up into a balanced budget frenzy, one of their most important constitutencies, the business community, isn’t fishing in. In fact, as Kevin Bogardus of The Hill reports, business lobbyists, who perhaps see a collapsing economy as a bigger concern than Fidelity to Conservative Principles, are cheerleading for a big economic stimulus effort:
Big business is lining up to support President-elect Obama’s plan to stimulate the economy with the biggest spending spree on roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects since the Eisenhower administration.
Business groups believe injecting funds into rebuilding America’s roads and highways could put thousands back to work at a time of rising unemployment. As a result, lobbyists from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are asking lawmakers and Obama’s transition team to funnel federal funds to “shovel-ready” projects as the best way to stimulate the flagging economy.
“Our view is we need significant investments in the nation’s infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Aric Newhouse, NAM’s senior vice president of policy and government relations.
“Most important to us is that President-elect Obama is focused on putting money into real projects that are ready to go,” said Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation infrastructure at the Chamber.
Support from business groups that generally are aligned with Republicans could help move Obama’s stimulus legislation forward. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week voiced opposition to public spending projects, arguing that “now is not the time to make matters even worse by asking taxpayers to pay for a slate of new government spending in the name of ‘economic stimulus.’ ” He argued for tax cuts to stimulate the economy.
In assessing Barack Obama’s pledges to govern in a bipartisan or post-partisan way, I’ve always assumed that he intended to appeal to rank-and-file Republicans rather than their supposed representatives in the GOP Caucuses of Congress. But it never occurred to me that business lobbyists would join the subversive effort to neutralize congressional Republicans and the conservative movement. Looks like that could be happening if the GOP continues its bizarre drift into aggressive Hooverism.