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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Parks and Trails Bond - Information
Letter Opposing Bond In this letter, Larry Mulcock asks "If the [School] District needs additional playing fields why are they selling the land? If th..
Argument Aginst the Bountiful Park & Trails Bond
Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Citizens for Tax Fairness; When deciding whether to support the proposed bond and..
Talking Points - Park & Trails Bond Hearing 9-22-20
Ronald Mortensen, Co-Founder,  It is unfortunate that $27,700 has already been paid to an outside firm which touts its..
Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D. Co-Founder, Citizens for Tax Fairness August 28, 2020   Note: On August 25, 2020, Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D. and c..


Salt Lake Chamber – Socializing Costs and Privatizing Profits

In a 2019 column, Derek Miller, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, expressed deep concern about “the assault on free enterprise from the far right and the far left, from the halls of government to the sidewalks of Main Street.”  He then noted that while “Utah makes free market principles work better than almost anywhere else….We already see anti-growth, anti-job sentiments creeping in.”  He concluded by commending Governor Herbert for “calling for financial literacy courses in high schools” in order to “combat fascination with socialism.”

What Miller fails to grasp is that the “fascination with socialism” is fueled, at least in part, by the U.S. and Salt Lake Chambers of Commerce as they go about socializing business costs while privatizing profits.  In fact, the Salt Lake Chamber, along with the Utah Taxpayers Association and other corporate groups, has worked to socialize costs while privatizing profits for decades.

The Salt Lake Chamber was recognized in 2006 by Americans for Tax Reform as an “Enemy of the Taxpayer.”  Since then, it has stepped up its efforts to socialize costs and privatize profits by exempting large businesses from taxes while supporting tax increases that fall most heavily on low and middle-income Utahns and on small businesses.  An example of this is the leadership role the Chamber took in pushing for a sales tax on services and restoring the full state sales tax on food.

The Chamber relies heavily on front groups and fellow-travelers to drive public opinion in favor of its efforts to socialize costs—Utah Transportation Coalition, Housing Gap Coalition, Utah Tax Modernization, Prosperity Project, Our Schools Now, Kem C. Gardner Public Policy Institute, Envision Utah, etc.

And it uses its committee structure to push its agenda.  For example, as reported by the Deseret News, the Chamber offered a national rail business a spot on its “influential and ‘exclusive International/Inland Port Committee’ in exchange for $10,000.”

The Salt Lake Chamber created the Utah Jobs PAC.  The PAC provides financial support to candidates running for city, county and statewide offices who “recognize the importance of economic and community prosperity and champion business success” or, in other words, who will support the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to socialize costs while privatizing profits.

During the 2019 legislative session, the Chamber supported an affordable housing bill that encouraged local governments to socialize developers’ costs by waiving construction related fees and covering the costs with taxpayer funded subsidies.  It also supported mandatory water metering in order to free up water for developers even though it would cost low and middle-income homeowners a whopping $286 million dollars to install the meters. 

And, like the U.S. Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber supports unlimited free trade and open-borders since these allow U.S. businesses to socialize their costs by replacing American workers, who are forced onto taxpayer funded public assistance, with low-cost, easily exploitable foreign labor.

Unfortunately, low and middle-income families are the collateral damage of the Salt Lake Chamber’s unrestrained growth initiatives as their quality of life declines and their standard of living drops.  At the same time, the Chamber’s crony capitalist/socialist elites become even richer.

So, if the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber really wants to know what this “fascination with socialism” is all about, he has only to look at his organization’s efforts to socialize costs while privatizing profits.  After all, if socialism is good for the Chamber and its big business members, then why wouldn’t others think it is good for them as well?  All of the financial literacy courses in the world are not going to change this perception.

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