Save your local butcher from Obama's clutches!

The Chamber of Commerce's new ad campaign says more regulation will hurt even your favorite cleaver-wielder

Published September 8, 2009 5:07PM (EDT)

So here's what I want to know: Why isn't the U.S. Chamber of Commerce campaigning for the abolition of the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service?

All I'm asking for is a little consistency. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published the kind of story that is guaranteed to get the pulse racing, detailing the Chamber of Commerce's new $2 million advertising campaign aimed at stopping the Obama administration's proposed Consumer Financial Products Agency. If you can't get through to the Journal, just check out the Chamber's new Web site, where you can learn from the likes of the Heritage Foundation how the CFPA's "burdensome" regulation will make a tough economy tougher.

Wall Street, naturally, hates the idea of the government attempting to prevent financial institutions from screwing over regular citizens. But the Chamber of Commerce is aware that an ad campaign talking about how rough new regulation might be for banks is unlikely to find a receptive audience right now.

From the Journal:

But there won't be any mention of banks or Wall Street or insurance companies.

The first ads running in Washington-area newspapers feature a picture of a butcher with the line: "Virtually every business that extends credit to American consumers would be affected -- even the local butcher and the credit he extends to his customers."

The local butcher. Never mind that Americans make at least 90 percent of their meat purchases from supermarkets. Or that it is simply preposterous to think that the attention of the CFPA will be directed at independent local merchants. I just wish the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would demonstrate the purity of its anti-regulatory stance by advocating an end to all food safety regulation. Because everything the Chamber says about the CFPA -- that it will increase the cost of doing business -- can be said about safety regulations aimed at preventing food-borne illnesses.

The Chamber is banking on the theory that $2 million worth of glitzy ads will somehow make Americans forget that Wall Street played a huge role in precipitating the current recession by pushing mortgage products on would-be homeowners that were every bit as toxic to our economy as E. coli can be to the human body. Sadly, the Chamber is probably correct in this assumption. But that doesn't make it any less outrageous that it would have the chutzpah to declare that CFPA would be "a recipe for disaster for our economy and consumers" when we haven't yet escaped the disaster that the members of the Chamber of Commerce already cooked up.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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