The US Chamber of Commerce is a business lobbying group that fights against paid family leave, increases in the minimum wage, rules protecting sick time and guaranteeing predictable work-times and hours.
There's only one problem: according to its own polls, 80% of its members disagree with the organization and want to bring these humane policies to their employees and workplaces.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz conducted a survey of 1,000 business-owners and found overwhelming support for progressive policies. In a webinar leaked to the Center for Media and Democracy, Luntz addresses a group of state chamber execs about how to convince their members to support the policies the lobbying organization favors, rather than being responsive to the views of those members.
His analysis starts with the obvious truth: these policies are grounded in empathy. Employers want these policies for their workers, because if they were in those workers' shoes, their lives would be intolerable without them.
So he advises the chamber to trick their members into deflecting their support for these policies into support for other policies: instead of supporting state minimum wage increases, get them to put the blame on the federal government's lack of coordinated labor policies across the country (something the Chamber of Commerce also lobbies against).
The big lie of late-stage capitalism is that we're all Homo Economicus, guided by our "rational" greed and untouched by our empathy and fellow feeling. The reality is that it's just a handful of powerful, manipulative shkrelic sociopaths who feel this way, and they manipulate and suppress the rest of us to make their views seem like "human nature," rather than a pathological condition that would have excluded them from civilized company in virtually every time and place in human history.
Increasing the minimum wage: 80% support, 8% oppose
Increasing maternity leave time: 72% support, 9% oppose
Increasing or mandating paternity leave: 82% support, 7% oppose
Increasing paid sick time: 73% support, 16% oppose
Ending “on-call” scheduling practices and giving workers sufficient advance notice about their schedules: 78% support, 11% oppose
“What do these results all have in common?” the pollster asks rhetorically in the leaked webinar. “They are all empathetic.” He then proceeds to offer tips as to “how to actually combat these in your states.” (In case you are curious: “If you are fighting those fights, the best way to fight it is to not talk about the minimum wage.”)
Here we have as clear an example as you can possibly get of America’s business lobby overriding the preferences of its own members in order to better stomp on the head of the working class, in search of greater profits. This is how it works, right here.
Business Execs Support Progressive Policies, but The Chamber of Commerce Fights Them [Hamilton Nolan/Gawker]