Who does Thomas Donahue really represent?
Thomas Donahue is the President of the US Chamber of Commerce and is coordinating a multimillion dollar campaign against health care reform. He is also is on the board of Sunrise Senior Living, a nursing home. Should single payer become law nursing homes would be hit by a double whammy of forced increase of quality, specifically they would have to hire more staff, and receive lower payments. No more funneling all the money to the top and cheat old people and workers.
But is that really in the interest of members of the US Chamber of Commerce? Most of them would benefit from a single payer system, their health costs would plummet and their employees would not longer have to worry about health care.
I would encourage you to read this article by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum on the power of the Chamber of Commerce, and the revolution in business lobbying that Donahue helped to usher in. Long story short, the Chamber of Commerce used to be a trade association that advocated in a bipartisan manner for narrowly tailored policies to benefit its members. Since 1997 or so, it has become a fully functional part of the partisan Republican machine, with Donahue raising its budget to $150M a year from corporate chiefs satisfied with his ability to move policy through a Republican Congress.
Thomas Donahue plays extreme hardball; he has called investigations by New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer "the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation that we have seen in this country in modern time." He creates a climate of fear and intimidation in DC, and along with the 'Gang of Six' trade associations - the "Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Restaurant Association, NFIB and NAW" - pushes for extreme right-wing policies that don't make any sense unless you look through the lens of a greedy and unaccountable management class.
Check out the Birnbaum article:
How many of the companies who contributed to that $90 million pile are currently facing bankruptcy or are hanging on by their finger nails?
The big money has become commonplace in day-to-day lobbying, and few people are more responsible for that than the outspoken Donohue. When he became the group's president in 1997, the chamber took in only about $600,000 from its largest corporate members. Last year, collections for that category, called the President's Advisory Group, totaled $90 million.
See also Alternet's article