Many conservatives have mocked Presdident Obama's talk of increasing "investments" in stuff like electric cars, high-speed rail, biotechnology, education, and even "our future." Obama is just using a business buzzword to talk about good ol' government spending.
But it's not just Keynesian liberals and Big Labor applauding Obama's talk of infrastructure "investements" these days. It's also the largest business lobby in the country. Here's a statement from Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue and AFL-CIO honcho Richard Trumka:
America's working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama's call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nation's infrastructure.
"Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy.
"With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America's infrastructure."
This should be completely unsurprising: The Chamber endorsed the stimulus. The Chamber's members include the companies that will get the contracts to build the roads, lay the transmission wire, build the bridges, lay the broadband wire, and build the schools. The Chamber's members will also be prime beneficiaries of the infrastructure. In a free market, this would be an argument for making these businesses -- rather than taxpayers -- pay for it.
Greg Sargent, a liberal blogger at the Washington Post, notes this as a sign of consensus behind Obama, calling it a "Strange bedfellows" story:
Some Republicans and conservative commentators have had a grand old time mocking Obama's call for infrastructure "investment" in last night's speech as just more government spending, but now Obama's proposal has picked up the support of a staunch pro-business GOP ally: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce....
What's the "but now" for? Does Chamber support somehow refute the notion this is "just more government spending," or does it mean Republicans and conservatives will have to stop mocking Obama's "investment."
Sometimes I think we all look alike to liberals. Yes, Republicans are too friendly to business, but the business lobby and the Right are not the same thing, as evidenced by the Chamber's voting scorecards, and the fact that the Chamber and, say, the Club for Growth were regularly on opposite sides of GOP primaries.