Jay Stevens over at Left in the Western Part of Pennsylvania continues his knee-jerk dislike for all things Chamber by promoting a diary entry from John Firehammer of "Montana Change that Works", a political advocacy arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Firehammer doesn't always identify which Chamber he's talking about, but in this case it doesn't matter because every Chamber I've run into is opposed to the issue he discusses.
I read with some amusement as Firehammer claims to be representing Main Street businesses who want to see the federal government spend billions of new taxpayer dollars on a new federal government bureaucracy as proposed in the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). Apparently small businesses are just clamoring for this federal financial savior to ward off the evil bankers and Wall Street firms, and chambers of commerce around the state are just not listening to Main Street.
So which specific small businesses are Firehammer and SEIU claiming to represent? Which Montana businesses did Firehammer or Stevens personally talk to that are demanding this new government agency? When was the last time either of them actually talked to a real Montana small business owner who is actually employing people (yes, Jay, a MONTANA small business owner)? How do they know that a majority of small businesses even want this bill passed? Don't forget, these are the same people that oppose small businesses that are organized as a corporation from having free speech rights when it comes to campaign contributions as laid out in recent the Citizens United case.
As a staff member at the Chamber of Commerce, I have the privilege of hearing from Montana small businesses on a daily basis. Our membership has a higher ratio of small businesses than the statewide average. Our board is made up of all kinds of businesses, both large and small. I don't think I've received a single call, email or message from any Montana business asking for the Consumer Financial Protection Act to pass. Even if I did get one, two or three, should we ignore the hundreds of other members who are opposed to the bill, including small business that are mad about how much the government is spending, or worried this may further dry up credit, or concerned this will end up putting more regulation on their backs?
Coincidently, when I went to find out what "Montana Change That Works" actually was, it brought me to the SEIU homepage where I also saw a nice ad to get the "SEIU for You" Credit Card through Visa. But wait, aren't those credit card companies and Wall Street firms bad news? I suppose not if you get kickbacks from them through credit cards you promote to your membership. Classy.