Forecasting unemployment rates as high as 9 percent this year, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive Thomas J. Donohue today called on state and federal governments to fully fund programs for the jobless and pass a "significant" economic stimulus package.
While the U.S. Chamber, which represents 3 million businesses and engages one of the best-funded lobbying forces on Capitol Hill, typically advocates for less government spending and regulation, the extraordinary economic stress in the United States -- which he likened to a heart attack -- demands extraordinary measures, he said.
"What we are talking about is a defibrillator," Donohue said. "We are trying to shock the economy."
At a meeting to announce its annual "State of American Business" report, Chamber officials said the reported magnitude and composition of president-elect Obama's stimulus package are roughly in line with what they think appropriate. They said they like the fact that about 40 percent of the stimulus package is aimed at reducing the tax burden.