Mark Dobbins

But keep a steady eye on your back

The Congress of the United States and the White House have collectively amazed and frustrated the American public over their many weeks of gridlock related to the national debt ceiling. Every eye has been drawn to today’s debate and tomorrow’s reversal. The news media is fixated on every angle of the story and its potential catastrophic impact on the economy.

When the main event is playing out daily in America’s living rooms, it is easy to see how many people might think the rest of Washington is perhaps just hanging back and waiting for the outcome. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the administration continuously delivers its appeal to the television cameras to do no harm to our fragile economy, its federal agencies are busy sowing the seeds of further destructive standards and practices which will cost tens of thousands of American jobs.

Let me give just two examples: First, the administration’s close ties to organized labor leadership led to its support of the American Free Choice Act. Voters responded overwhelmingly to their representatives that to take away an American’s right to a secret ballot election in a union-organizing campaign is unacceptable. The bill failed. End of story, right? Wrong.

The president then used a recess appointment to name a major union official to head the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). While we watch the debt ceiling debates, the NLRB is now quietly moving to reduce from 38 days to 10-14 days the median time between labor unions’ petitioning a business for an election to become the employees’ bargaining agent. The current median time has been in place for nearly half a century and is intended to allow both sides to present their case to employees and let the employees make a clear and fair decision.

The proposed shorter-time election has been nicknamed a “Snap Election.” Ask yourself, in a struggling U.S. economy, do we really need union bosses pressing employees at work and in their homes to make a “snap” decision to pay the union dues? Based on the fact that union membership in the U.S. private sector continues to move down toward zero, it makes you think Americans want jobs, Mr. President, not failed systems of the past.

The other example comes from our business friends at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is a tale of truly throwing the baby out with the bath water. The current EPA ambient air standard is 75 parts per billion for allowable ozone. The EPA wants to cut that standard to 60 to 70 parts per billion. Now remember where we are in this “recovery” from the recession. American families need jobs. The proposed new standard, if implemented, will cause thousands of communities across the country to be out of compliance and kill an estimated 7.3 million jobs over the next 10 years, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

So, do keep a watch on where we are going, America, but keep a steady eye on your back. When leadership in Washington puts job-killing, anti-business, ideological agendas on the table through the back door while publicly calling for more jobs to the public, be aware and get involved.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the voice of Arizona business. Join us and be heard. There has never been a more important time for the clear voice of American business reason to be heard.