Watchdog: U.S. Chamber just looking out for CEOs
A union-backed watchdog group says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts largely to protect the salaries of its chief executive members.
The group, U.S. Chamber Watch, singles out News Corps' Rupert Murdoch, Massey's Don Blankenship and the Chamber's own president Thomas Donohue as some of the chief beneficiaries of the lower tax rates that are set to expire at the end of the year.
Chamber Watch calculated that Murdoch stands to lose $1.3 million, Blankenship $700,000 and Donohue $200,000 if the tax cuts are not extended. The group also found that for Wall Street chief executives whose companies benefited from the financial bailout, between $700,000 and $1.6 million is on the line for each executive.
"Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Chamber does not highlight the personal benefits the Bush tax cuts provide for these millionaire executives, but as demonstrated in press reports last week and in the U.S. Chamber's own tax filings, these are the CEOs who fund and determine the U.S. Chamber's agenda," the group said in a statement. "And the Chamber is spearheading this CEO-driven effort despite clear evidence that the tax cuts would actually hurt the American business community it claims to represent."
In response the Chamber insisted that raising anyone's taxes, including those for high earners, damages the economy.
"The Chamber believes that no one should have their taxes raised during a time of economic weakness -- not individuals, not small businesses, not large businesses," said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the Chamber. "Job creators are especially sensitive to tax rates and any tax increase right now would only hinder the already too weak recovery."
Jia Lynn Yang
| November 29, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
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