'The state of American business is improving'
That's the bottom line that Tom Donahue, president of the Chamber of Commerce, delivered in his "State of American Business" address this morning. A double-dip is unlikely. The recovery seems to be picking up steam. "Overall, we believe the economy will expand by 3.2 percent in 2011 and create 2.4 to 2.6 million net new jobs by the end of the year." That would bring down unemployment by about one percentage point. "Improving" is not the same as "strong."
To help us get to strong, the Chamber of Commerce is "doing what any smart coach or political candidate would do before a big game or important campaign — and that is to learn everything there is to know about their own strengths and weaknesses and those of their competitors." Their new comparative-policy project will release its conclusions in the spring. It'll be interesting to see what the report says about government-run health-care systems, which hold down costs and cover everyone in other developed nations, but which have been opposed by, among others, the Chamber of Commerce in this country.
From there, the speech gets into the chamber's agenda for the year. They're against regulations of any and all sorts, and for infrastructure investment, tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform and trade deals. They will also "support efforts by Republican and Democratic governors to challenge public employee unions and their excessive payroll, health, and retirement demands."
The Chamber of Commerce is as powerful an interest group as exists right now, so you can expect that the White House and others are looking at this speech very carefully.
| January 11, 2011; 2:49 PM ET
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