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WTF is NFIB
This week Capital Hill hosted the NFIB 2012 Summit. For those of you not in the know, the NFIB, or "the voice of small business," is a lobbying group with offices in all 50 state capitals as well as in the District of Columbia. On its website, the National Federation of Independent Business, claims to be "a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization" that "represents the consensus views of its members." Unfortunately for the 350,000 small business members of NFIB, the lobbying group seems to be most interested in using the clout of the United States' small business community to manipulate legislation on behalf of de-regulation for large corporate interests and the republican conservative agenda. Make no mistake, the considerable clout wielded by NFIB comes from the fact that small business is an acknowledged powerhouse of the U.S. economy, producing 50% of Gross Domestic Product, and employing 60% of the american workforce.
A major sponsor of 2012's NFIB summit, was Sam's Club, owned and operated by Walmart, a trojan horse of the U.S. economy. It is ironic that this corporate giant was a major corporate sponsor of the summit (along with American Express, Bloomfied Government, ALGA, Intuit and others). Sam Walton grew his business upon the principle "american made goods for the american public." It is general public knowledge that the Walmart Corporation and its subsidiaries now summarily force small businesses into closure and bankruptcy by moving into small towns with their super stores undercutting prices of local business with their shelves stocked in chinese manufactured goods, which local business can not compete with. Sure, NFIB is "the voice of of small business," and perhaps having the Walmart corporation visibly present via Sam's Club, during the NFIB 2012 summit in Washington, was just to add a dash of irony to the event?
Non-partisanship generally means, that there is no set affiliation with a specific political party. Clearly, NFIB has no qualms when it comes to making public statement of facts that are bold faced lies. One need only take a look at SAFE (Save America's Free Enterprise) Trust, NFIB's PAC public record of campaign funding to see the truth shine through. In the 2010, 99.9 of the funded candidates were republicans. In the 2008 election cycle, $245,925 was disbursed. 50 candidates were funded, one of them, Joseph Shuler (NC), running for congress as a blue dog democrat, recieved $315. Clearly, the token democrats that receive funding from SAFE Trust, serve to establish ipso facto the falsity of the claim of non-partisanship. Furthermore, in the 112th congress, 25 members of NFIB now hold seats on the floor, all of whom are also members of the republican party and 19 out 25 of them were alloted funds through NFIB's SAFE Trust.
When one looks at the recent record of the NFIB's lobbying efforts, it is also evident that, campaigning to end EPA regulations is testimony to the special interests of big business, as most mom & pop small businesses across the nation are not being stifled by clean air regulations, due to the massive amounts of polluting they are involved in, whether it be a corner cafe, or a local undertaker. Also fighting against Family Medical Leave is most assuredly an important undertaking, on behalf of big business, as only a business that has 50 or more employees must abide by the act. I would like to ask how in good conscience NFIB can claim these to be priority issues determined by consensus of NFIB members, when president, Dan Danner himself states, "The vast majority of our members have fewer than 10 employees."
Meanwhile the coffers of NFIB have been fattened through the auspices of Karl Rove, a keynote speaker at the NFIB summit this year. Rove awarded 3.7 million dollars, to the NFIB in 2010, through his non-profit political foundation, Crossroads GPS (Grassroots Policy Strategies). Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, recently invested $25 million in anti-Obama ad campaigns. Karl Rove, a republican heavy hitter and political player, is using his foundation and super PAC to carry on his 40 year tenure of dirty tricks in a bid to keep oligarchs and big business in power, while playing the big money of his foundation and super PAC in a fierce gambit for de-regulation. No wonder there is such a good rapport with NFIB who is a current major player in the suit against "Obamacare," birds of a feather flock together. That, my friends should seal, for any doubters, the audacity of NFIB's claim to non-partisanship.
The matter of consensus as the method by which NFIB determines which issues to fight for or against, is hereby debunked with the truth: members of NFIB reach "consensus" by answering a questionnaire on topics of interest determined and presented by the officials of NFIB. 14% of these questionnaires are initially returned by the membership and a smaller percentage responds to follow-up questionnaires. Based on the collective tabulated responses to these questionnaires, the officials of NFIB determine what to lobby for or against. They stuff the ballot, so to speak. Members are given a false sense of control over the issues, when in fact, the issues are crafted by the cunning manipulators of NFIB, and the membership gets to circle "yes," "no," or "undecided."
Who is in who's pocket here? Is the NFIB a big player working for the interest of small mom & pop businesses, or has one of Washington's most powerful lobbying organizations pulled the wool over the eyes of their membership, who's dues are a primary source of funding? In 1982, when the NFIB was still a for profit business association, it was credited with a workforce of 700 employess, 600 of which comprised a comissioned sales force, peddling memberships to small businesses across the nation. During this period, 76% of each revenue dollar taken in by NFIB went toward paying sales commissions and sales overhead, while 20% was alloted for research, public affairs and lobbying at state and federal levels. A quick look at the current public record of salaries at NFIB shows that its employees enjoy the benefits of higher salaries than most non-profit organizations, and a quick look at the public records available on the revenue of NFIB, and it's sister organizations is an interesting perusal of the way capital works in NFIB organizations. While membership of NFIB has dropped considerably since it's peak of 600,000 members in 2006, most of its existing members are probably unaware of the manipulations and machinations of the NFIB, who are decidely partisan, and most assuredly using the collective power of small business to sway government policy in favor of the republican blue bloods and the industrial giants.
just for fun: here's a pretty informative and scathing thread about NFIB on AS MAINE GOES
and this very informative excellent piece about the ins and outs of NFIB on Sourcewatch.org