You’d think that if you wanted to find an organization dedicated to free markets, free enterprise and the tremendous benefits of capitalism to a country and its people, your local Chamber of Commerce would be the place to look. After all, the members of a local Chamber of Commerce simply wouldn’t exist without all of these things. Hardly any other group has such a vested interest in defending and promoting these specific values and ideals.
I don’t think anyone could then blame me for the shock and surprise I felt when the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce started organizing trips to Cuba, of all places. Not just a bunch of places including Cuba, but Cuba, exclusively.
The Prince William Chamber must have gone off the rails some time ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I began to take notice of how it, along with other local Chambers, started agitating in Richmond this session for a tax hike in order to pour more money into the state transportation budget. Governor McDonnell’s budget proposal this year included a significant hike in sales taxes, which have a distinctly negative impact on retail sales, and retail sales comprise a disproportionately large sector of the economy in Prince William County. If one would look objectively at the legislative initiatives the local Chamber was supporting this year you’d swear some decidedly anti-business entity was responsible for this utterly self-defeating effort.
So now we have the Chamber working at showcasing a place where private enterprise is against the law, the few markets that exist are entirely operated by the government with strict controls over who can participate, and the state owns nearly every business from the local coffee shop right up to the largest sugarcane plantations. Until Castro stepped back due to health reasons in order to pass the baton to his brother in true Democratic fashion, people were not even allowed to have an ownership interest in the homes in which they lived, and housing assignments were handed out by the government. Individuals are prohibited, under penalty of death, from participating in the economic activities that foreign tourists engage in, and strict controls govern who is legally allowed to leave the island gulag for any reason.
What a perfect place for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce to select as their sole vacation destination. When I noted as much on twitter last week, saying “After pushing so hard to raise our taxes for transportation I guess it is no surprise @pwchamber is organizing vacations to communist Cuba” the response of the Chamber was to mark my tweet as a favorite. I gather, given this response, that this observation doesn’t exactly make the leadership of the Prince William Chamber uncomfortable in any way. At the same time, there is nothing on the Chamber’s page that actually seems to promote any Prince William County businesses to members of the public. Local businesses, meh. Communist Cuba, well Viva la Revolucion and let’s go spend some capitalist dollars there!
Are Chamber members comfortable with this leftward, and anti-business lurch from the local Chamber? I suppose we’ll find out at some point. They’ll either try to book North Korea as the next travel destination, or there’s going to be a different revolution in the Chamber that actually starts promoting the interests of local business instead of communist dictatorships, and advocating free enterprise rather than socialist ideologies.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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