A recent post on the U.S Chamber of Commerce website titled, “Business United or Business Divided – What’s at Stake?” is one of the best examples you could find of typical U.S. Chamber propaganda. As he did in our heated exchange on CNBC, Chamber spokesman Giovanni Coratolo struggles to piece together a series of outright lies, blatant fabrications and misdirection to try and attack me and cover up the U.S Chamber’s actual pro-Fortune 500 and anti-small business track record. (http://www.chamberpost.com/2009/06/business-united-or-business-divided-whats-at-stake.html)
If you haven’t seen our debate on CNBC, you can find it on YouTube under, “ASBL President Lloyd Chapman spars with U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” I hope
I get a chance to finish our debate on national television sometime soon. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtLshGVEss)
Let me focus on Giovanni’s statement referring to the annual diversion of over $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts to corporate giants as a “niche issue” that will “impact only a small sliver of the business community.”
The truth is, no issue affecting American small businesses has been the subject of more federal investigations and more stories in the mainstream media than the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses.
Since 2003 there have been over a dozen federal investigations on the issue and hundreds of stories. Every major newspaper in the country has reported on the problem along with major television networks like ABC, CBS and CNN.
In Report 5-15, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General stated, “One of the biggest challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today is that large businesses are receiving federal small business awards…” (http://www.asbl.com/documents/05-15.pdf)
In February of 2008, President Obama acknowledged the magnitude of the problem when he released the statement, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
As opposed to the U.S. Chamber’s position that this is a “niche issue” that will impact “only a small sliver of the business community,” this issue has negatively impacted every man, woman and child in America. You don’t have to be an economist to understand the diversion of over $100 billion a year from the middle class, year after year will have a devastating negative impact on the national economy.
The U.S Chamber claims to have 3 million members, 96% with less than 100 employees and 5% of those firms do business with the government. That comes out to 144,000 U.S Chamber members that are small businesses being negatively impacted by this issue.
Now let’s look at what the U.S. Chamber has done over the last seven years to address what the SBA Inspector General referred to as one of the largest challenges facing the SBA and “the entire federal government today.”
No lobbying, no press conference, no press releases, no blog posts, no legislation, no lawsuits, no newspaper stories, no radio interviews, nothing on their website!
Why wouldn’t the organization that claims to be the most powerful voice for small business in American lift a finger to address a problem that is impacting millions of small businesses, including 144,000 of their own members?
Because the Fortune 500 firms that are receiving the lion’s share of all federal small business contracts are some of the most powerful members of the U.S. Chamber. Dozens of Fortune 500 firms that are currently receiving billions of dollars in federal small business contracts serve on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber.
Take a look at stories on this issue from the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Take a look at the investigative stories by ABC, CBS and CNN. (AP, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/07/politics/main552758.shtml; NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/06/business/06sba.html; WaPo, http://www.asbl.com/showmedia.php?id=1179; ABC, http://www.asbl.com/abc_evening_news.wmv; CBS, http://www.asbl.com/cbs.wmv; CNN, http://www.asbl.com/showmedia.php?id=1170)
Now take a look at the list of firms that belong to the U.S. Chamber and serve on their board. Over fifteen Fortune 500 firms on the U.S. Chamber board have received federal small business contracts. (http://www.uschamber.com/about/board/all.htm)
Small businesses in America need to quit listening to what the U.S Chamber says and start to watch what they do. If you do that, you will quickly realize they are no friend to American’s 27 million small businesses.