This past week, the Chamber of Commerce tried to kill a proposed New Jersey law that would give employees up to six (6) weeks of paid emergency leave for family emergencies. Under the law, the money for the program would come from employees, not employers. Nevertheless, the Chamber of Commerce opposed the measure because it would create an inconvenience to businesses that may temporarily be without the services of an employee who is home caring for a sick child, spouse or parent. The Chamber’s lobbying efforts come as no surprise, as it has a long history of showing little sympathy for workers, consumers, and accident victims and are huge financial supporters of pro-business and anti-consumer legislation.
For example, the Center for Responsible Politics shows that in 2006 the Chamber of Commerce spent over $72,000,000 lobbying Congress in order to keep ordinary citizens and consumers out of the courthouse, and to prevent juries from deciding cases against big business. The Chamber of Commerce routinely spends millions of dollars and uses slick marketing to impugn trial lawyers by claiming they are responsible for the problems of the health care system while refusing to acknowledge that medical malpractice cases are caused by the few doctors who do not follow safety rules.
Each election, the Chamber funds “tort reform” political candidates (i.e. Rick Santorum) whose only agenda is to protect the interest of big business. Despite campaign finance reforms, big business and insurance companies contribute millions of dollars to organizations like the Chamber of Commerce who then use this cash to support tort reform candidates. In many countries, the giving of cash by lobbyists to candidates would be considered corruption. But in our society today, the practice is legal and called “politics.”
The Chamber of Commerce and insurance company lobbyists will spend billions of dollars to change our court system and pollute the minds of the ordinary citizens who make up our jury pool. They spend cash lobbying for politician to put “Caps” on the amount a jury can give for pain and suffering for victims of negligent doctors, companies that make defective products, pharmaceutical companies that give us defective drugs and chemical companies that pollute our waters. The Chamber insists that $250,000 is enough for a child who was killed by a negligent doctor; $250,000 is enough for a family whose father was killed by a drug company that makes billions of dollars selling defective drugs; and $250,000 is enough for a woman to go through life disfigured because a negligent doctor failed to diagnose breast cancer.
Although the Chamber continues to use clever marketing and lobbyists who push their “pro-business’ message, the lobbying in Trenton shows they are ‘anti-consumer.’ Why would an organization spend its considerable resources trying to kill a plan that would offer New Jersey workers paid leave at their own expense? Because insurance companies and big business pay them millions of dollars to do so. Keep this in mind the next time you see an advertisement sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
Click on the following link: Medical Malpractice