President Obama’s new “grand bargain for middle-class workers” should more accurately be called the “grand bargain for corporate America.” Even the administration’s fact sheet makes it clear the proposal would be a big win for Big Business.
Corporations would get some form of tax repatriation, which they have been seeking for year. It also seems that part of this “new revenue” would be used to reduce their tax rate while simplifying the tax code.
In addition, even the part of the deal that is supposed to be for the middle-class workers -the big one time investment in infrastructure spending- would be a real boon for many companies. It will mean lots of new government contracts and purchase orders.
This could potentially be such a good deal for corporate America that if big business can’t convince Republicans to sign off on this bargain it should bring into question the real extent of their political power.
If I were being incredibly generous to Obama, I might even think that he is actively trolling the business community. Throughout his tenure Obama has banked on the business community being the key to bringing Congressional Republicans on board, and the strategy has been an object failure.
During the health care reform fight the administration thought if they cut deals with the top industry players they would help deliver Republicans votes, yet it still faced total GOP opposition.
During Obama’s repeated pushes for a fiscal grand bargain, top corporate leaders spent massively on public campaigns, signed letters, funded think tanks and wrote op-eds. None of this got Republicans to move an inch.
Finally, the Senate immigration reform bill was loaded down with pro-business provisions. It not only gave massive amounts to defense contractors to militarize the border. but it also delivered many visa changes sought by companies ranging from apple farmers to Apple computers. Yet despite the broad range of corporate support, they can’t even convince John Boehner to bring the bill to the floor.
If Big Business can’t even get Republicans to sign on to this new proposal it will be a damning statement about the true extent of their influence over the GOP. It would be ironic if the explosion in big money spending in politics actually made Republicans less dependent on the business community as a whole, because simply being very close to just a handful of industries and/or ideologically driven CEO’s can now provide all the financial support necessary.
Photo by Sven Seiler under Creative Commons license