Be your own pundit. The US. Chamber of Commerce, an explainer

I started digging into ‘trade’ after spending several days in meetings with a money manager who was coming into our family office syndicate. He brought a large team that is devoted to tech investments in China, Japan, India, and I kept them on their toes with my endless inquisitions about trade, currency, surpluses, autos and getting a cultural system view.
Afterwards, some two weeks later, I took many of those chats and distilled them into a few posts so that I could better remember the essence of the thing, and so that others might also.
To understand the China dual currency system, you gotta read this gem Be your own pundit. Explaining our Chinese trade imbalance
To understand the auto tariffs, you gotta read this gem Be your own pundit. Explaining Auto tariffs and our trade imbalance
To understand the people operating system of China, is this precious bit of writing The Apology. We’ve got Facebook. China has Toutiao
As a disclaimer (although I am not obligated to offer one) I am recently short many Chinese technology stocks, including Alibaba.
Bow tie punditry likes to draw authority from the US. Chamber of Commerce…
…while as my earlier posts were  forensics, this one is just primal scream.
WTF is the US. Chamber of Commerce?
What the US Chamber of Commerce isn’t
The US. Chamber of Commerce has been inflating its membership numbers by 900 percent. They claim 3 million businesses even thought the real number is closer to 300,000. And, that number gets tricky too…
Those 300,000 real’ish businesses the Chamber claims as members…
subscribers to their various free email bulletins/updates
attendees at their events both in person and via webinars
people who joined local chambers thru the US chamber website portal
people who have taken a chamber survey
If it ever breathed, US Chamber will say it’s a member. So while the U.S. Chamber claims to represent millions of small businesses, from a financial standpoint that’s not true.
The Chamber also claims that 96% of its members are small businesses, yet its self-selected board includes just 6 representatives from small businesses, 1 from a local chamber, and 111 from large corporations.
What the US Chamber of Commerce is
The Chamber is a trade association under 501 (c)(6), which allows it to remain tax exempt and not disclose who provides the funds they use to lobby and promote candidates in elections. As long as the association does not have politics as its primary purpose, it can continue to spend freely on elections
It is the largest lobbying organization in the U.S. (ranked by budget) and mostly represents the interests of a handful of  legacy industries such as tobacco, banking and fossil fuels.
The entire business model of the U.S. Chamber is premised on providing secret support for lobbying and campaigns,
Over the past fifteen years, they have spent over $1 billion on lobbyists, more than any other group or company. Oh, and some of whom are their own staff members, some of whom are hired from top Washington law firms.
Instead of saying “I’m from evil company xyz” the lobbyists can cloak themselves in the esteemed Chamber of Commerce and therefore get distance from controversial public stands.
What if…RJ Reynolds went to a member of Congress and said “pass/block this bill” That member would not necessarily be responsive, risking that their voters might see adverse political, legislative and/or headline risk. But by hiring the Chamber to do the lobbying, R.J Reynolds can surf that same congressperson anonymously. In this real world instance, they hire the Chamber because they need to be able to argue for things they could not win on their own
Don’t hate the playa, hate the game
The US. Chamber of Commerce is also a great conduit to pour money unto thirsty politicians. Members of Congress are expected to, in addition to constantly raising funds for their own re-election campaigns, also raise six-figure sums as dues to their party campaign committees in order to secure good committee assignments, and more if they hope to become committee chairs.
Lesser committee spots, such as the Judiciary panel, will set a freshman lawmaker back $220,000, Ways and Means, require dues of $450,000.
The point of least resistance, and minimal effort, are for the money and status starved politicians to acquiesce to the apparatus of the US Chamber of Commerce.
My primal scream is over, I feel better now

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