Massive government intervention in the economy has spurred the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch an unprecedented campaign to promote a basic American principle: capitalism.
As much as $100 million will go toward public education, lobbying, grassroots organizing and a high-profile advertising campaign over an unspecified number of years.
“Dire economic circumstances have certainly justified some out-of-the-ordinary remedial actions by government,” said Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the Chamber. “But enough is enough. If we don’t stop the rapidly growing influence of government over private sector activity, we will squander America’s unmatched capacity to innovate and create a standard of living and free society that are the envy of the world.”
Called the Campaign for Free Enterprise, the campaign is a critical reaction to the recent involvement of many industries in advocating for more government intervention, as with automotives, health care and finance. Energy companies have latched on to the cause of global warming to petition for public dollars, and unions are exerting more and more influence.
These trends, combined with a belief that the time to change this trend is now or never, has led to a pressing need for action, said the Chamber. Both critics and advocates of free market principles believe that “capitalism is at a crossroads.”
“We’re launching this campaign because those who make or influence economic policy must understand that a productive, competitive private sector is not something they can take for granted,” added Donohue. “It is built on a system of incentives that offers opportunity and rewards for those who work hard and take risks. Take away those incentives through an avalanche of new rules, restrictions, mandates, and taxes and you will seriously undermine the wealth and job-creating capacity of the nation.”
Though specifics have not been released, a focus of the initial campaign seems to be energy policy. The Chamber will hold meetings on Capitol Hill Friday with business leaders to discuss upcoming health policy, just as Obama and the Democrats gear up for major legislative action.
The Chamber is the largest trade organization in the world, representing over 3 million businesses and organizations. It said the Campaign for Free Enterprise is one of the most important projects in its 100 year history.