There's at least one issue the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can agree on -- government spending. And the unlikely allies are reportedly now working together to lobby congress. But as the Heritage Foundation notes, this unorthodox partnership will be quite costly for the American taxpayers if it succeeds:
On the surface it looks like a story of right and left uniting for the common good. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the Chamber’s board of directors: “We’re pretty strange bedfellows. There have been many times we haven’t agreed, and I’m sure there will be many more. But in the end, I think we all want the same thing: productive and profitable businesses, prosperous families and thriving communities.” What else could unite America’s leading business lobby and America’s largest labor federation?
Self-interest. Both the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO will gain tremendously if Congress goes on a transportation spending spree.
The Chamber of Commerce is a business lobby, not a conservative lobby. The Chamber has no principled opposition to government spending. It happily lobbies for government spending—such as the stimulus—when that spending goes to its members. Many corporations in the Chamber build infrastructure or the machines necessary to build infrastructure. The president of Caterpiller, for example, sits on the Chamber’s board of directors. The more Congress spends on transportation projects, the more these companies profit—whether or not those projects provide value to the taxpayer.