Today’s Wichita Eagle has a story wondering if economic conditions have affected local chambers of commerce. (Has economy affected area chambers?)
The context of this, besides the current economic conditions, is the shift of the local chamber of commerce away from promoting free markets, limited government, and capitalism. But today, as Stephen Moore wrote two years ago in the Wall Street Journal, “chambers of commerce deploy their financial resources and lobbying clout to expand the taxing, spending and regulatory authorities of government.”
In other words, local chambers now support big-government crony capitalism. See The Decline of Local Chambers of Commerce.
Recently I asked Derreberry a question based on Moore’s assertion. In an noncommittal response, he disputed that this transformation has taken place in the Wichita Chamber. (See Wichita Chamber of Commerce makes case for interventionism.)
An illustration of this shift is last year’s election for the third district Sedgwick County Commission seat. One candidate, Karl Peterjohn, had a long and proven record of supporting free markets, limited government, and capitalism. His opponent had no such record, and in fact, had recently presided over a large tax increase in the small town she served as mayor.
So what did the Wichita Chamber do? Support the proven fiscal conservative?
No. Its political action committee spent some $19,000 — 44% of all it spent on campaigns — on Peterjohn’s opponent.
What should the Chamber do? Abandon its present course of supporting government interventionism. Instead, support policies that will generate prosperity for everyone, which are free markets, limited government, and capitalism.