Release Date: Jun 10, 2009Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Announces Campaign to Support Free Enterprise
'One of the most important and necessary initiatives in our nearly 100-year history,' Donohue declares
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced that it would develop a sweeping national advocacy campaign encompassing advertising, education, political activities, new media, and grassroots organizing to defend and advance America's free enterprise values in the face of rapid government growth and attacks by anti-business activists.
"Supporters and critics alike agree that capitalism is at a crossroads," said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. "It's time to remind all Americans that it was a free enterprise system based on the values of individual initiative, hard work, risk, innovation, and profit that built our great country. We must take immediate action to reaffirm the spirit of enterprise in America."
The Chamber-led Campaign for Free Enterprise, announced at the Chamber's board meeting today in Washington, will be a sustained, multiyear effort, including:
- A grassroots campaign that will deeply engage the Chamber's broad network of business and professional associations, state and local chambers, small business members, and local advocates.
- A vigorous media, new media, and public education campaign in support of free enterprise, with a special focus on the economic literacy of younger Americans.
- A highly visible national paid advertising campaign to include TV, radio, online, print, and other outlets.
- An aggressive issue advocacy program, leading up to the 2010 elections, to educate citizens on the critical economic issues facing our country.
- Active and effective lobbying to defend free enterprise values, advance pro-growth legislation and, where necessary, legal action to challenge unconstitutional and unlawful government regulations.
The campaign's elements will be rolled out in stages and will be budgeted at tens of millions of dollars annually.
"Many union leaders, some environmentalists, and a growing force of anti-business activists are pushing governments at all levels to close trading markets, lock down capital markets, expand entitlements, and raise taxes and debt to unsustainable levels," Donohue said. "We are going to activate free enterprise supporters, educate the public, and hold politicians accountable as we defend and advance economic freedom."
"We're launching this campaign because those who make or influence economic policy must understand that a productive, competitive private sector is not something they can take for granted," added Donohue. "It is built on a system of incentives that offers opportunity and rewards for those who work hard and take risks. Take away those incentives through an avalanche of new rules, restrictions, mandates, and taxes and you will seriously undermine the wealth and job-creating capacity of the nation."
"Dire economic circumstances have certainly justified some out-of-the-ordinary remedial actions by government," he explained. "But enough is enough. If we don't stop the rapidly growing influence of government over private sector activity, we will squander America's unmatched capacity to innovate and create a standard of living and free society that are the envy of the world."
"Free enterprise is not a perfect system, but it is the best system," Donohue continued. "Through the Chamber's work, we are continually striving to improve it and expand its benefits to all Americans. Through this new campaign, we will seek to preserve an entrepreneurial system that is still the envy of the world and make sure it survives for future generations."
"Given the unprecedented challenges facing our economy, the Campaign for Free Enterprise is one of the most important and necessary initiatives in the Chamber's nearly 100-year history," Donohue said.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.
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