Tim Carney has a blog post at the Examiner that’s worth quoting in full:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued its 2009 congressional scorecard, and once again, Rep. Ron Paul, R‑Tex. — certainly one of the two most free‐market politicians in Washington — gets the lowest score of any Republican.
Paul was one of a handful of GOP lawmakers not to win the Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise Award.” He scored only a 67%, bucking the Chamber on five votes, including:
- Paul opposed the “Solar Technology Roadmap Act,” which boosted subsidies for unprofitable solar energy technology.
- Paul opposed the “Travel Promotion Act,” which subsidizes the tourism industry with a new fee on international visitors.
- Paul opposed the largest spending bill in history, Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.
(Rep John Duncan, R‑Tenn., tied Ron Paul with 67%. John McHugh, R‑N.Y., scored a 40%, but he missed most of the year because he went off to the Obama administration.)
I wrote about this phenomenon last year, when the divergence was even greater between the Chamber’s agenda and the free‐market agenda:
Similarly, Texas libertarian GOPer Rep. Ron Paul—the most steadfast congressional opponent of regulation, taxation, and any sort of government intervention in business—scored lower than 90% of Democrats last year on the Chamber’s scorecard.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R‑S.C., had the most conservative voting record in 2008 according to the American Conservative Union (ACU), and was a “taxpayer hero” according to the National Taxpayer’s Union (NTU), but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says his 2008 record was less pro‐business than Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.
This year’s picture was less glaring, but it’s still more evidence that “pro‐business” is not the same as “pro‐freedom.” The U.S. Chamber is the former. Ron Paul, and the libertarian position, is the latter.
I suspect that on issues such as free trade agreements and immigration reform, I might be closer to the Chamber’s position than to Ron Paul’s. But to suggest that Paul is wrong to vote against business subsidies — or that DeMint was wrong to vote against Bush’s 2008 stimulus package and the $700 billion TARP bailout — certainly does illustrate how much difference there can be between “pro‐business” and “pro‐market.” Instead of “Spirit of Enterprise,” the Chamber should call these the “Spirit of Subsidy Awards.”