You know me. I’m not inclined to agree with the world view of many publication with “business” in the title. And I’m even less inclined to agree with anything that related to Michael Bloomberg. Still, I read Bloomberg Businessweek all the time and often find it informative. Yesterday, Joshua Green wrote an interesting article, Republicans Are No Longer the Party of Business. But as you may have guessed based upon the bullshit title, I don’t much agree with it.
The title is a gut buster, ain’t it? I could count the ways, but I won’t. The Republicans have never been the party of business. They’ve been the party of big business. But actual small businesses like the doughnut shop across the street from Grocery Outlet? No way! What’s always been sad is that the Republicans are really good at the kind of rhetoric that appeals to small business owners. I know! I’m one now and I’ve been one many times throughout my life. But what I’m not is naive enough to think that Republican rhetoric has anything to do with how they govern.
But it’s worse than that. Even for big business, the Republican Party has not been especially good for at least two decades. What the Republican Party has been good for—now and forever more—is the rich. Because the one thing you can count on is that the Republicans will cut the taxes of the rich. The last two Democratic presidents have been very pro-business and indeed, very pro-big business. All Obama and Clinton did was raise taxes a couple of percentage points on the rich. Oh my God!
Last year, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $35,657,029 on federal elections. And how much of that was spent on Democrats? A great big $305,044. That’s 0.86%. Bill Clinton was president during a huge economic boom. Obama has been president during a “recovery” that has seen 95% of it go to the top 1%. Yet the Chamber decided that that the Democrats deserved 0.86% of its largess. In fact, this was after the Republicans in 2011 created a Debt Ceiling crisis that everyone agrees greatly hurt economic growth. Yet the Chamber of Commerce decided that the Democrats deserved 0.86% of its federal political donations.
So sure: the Chamber is angry with the Republican for shutting down the government. And if the Republicans cause a government default, the Chamber will be apoplectic. But in 2014 and 2016, you can bet that the Chamber will spend the vast majority of their money on the Republicans. Because the Chamber—and big business in general—doesn’t care so much about a good economy so much as they do that their taxes stay as low as possible. The Democrats might raise taxes by a percent or two. The Republicans might crash the world economy. On balance, big business thinks the Democrats are the bigger risk to them.