By Joseph Lawler
The head of the country's biggest business group issued a dire warning Thursday about the future of the country's finances and economic stewardship, saying that the "whole house of cards can collapse" if government debt isn't brought under control.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tom Donohue, speaking at the group's Washington headquarters, warned that the government's spending, overregulation, and harrassment of business were now at unsustainable levels.
"Governments at all levels are accumulating massive levels of debt and unfunded pensions and entitlement liabilies," he said, in a fashion that will lead to collapse without reform.
His group will "bang the drum loudly" for entitlement reform in 2016, he added.
The Chamber is the largest business lobby in Washington, backing candidates, mostly Republicans, who favor policies that aid large and small businesses.
In his "State of Business" address, Donohue sketched out a gloomy scenario for businesses, despite the relatively favorable headlines relating to economic output and job growth. The private sector, he claimed, is being "milked unmercifully" by government.
He warned specifically of the Obama administration's "regulatory tear" that business expects to continue through the last day of his tenure. He gave particular attention to the "runaway EPA that its stretching the law and, in some cases, breaking it."
Turning to the financial sector, he complained that "so many regulators have been turned loose on our financial sector that banks have been distracted from their principal purpose to provide credit and services that enable our businesses to grow and our entrepreneurs to thrive."