ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-About two dozen demonstrators welcomed US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue to the RCGA headquarters downtown this morning, with chants and signs.
While Donohue was inside calling for more deregulation, demonstrator Johnathan McFarland was outside calling for more regulations on business and banking, “We came to where we are at right now, because of the lack of government regulation and we need to put safeguards on things like derivatives.”
Tony Pecinovsky carried a sign reading, ‘stop corporate greed’, “The Chamber of Commerce and other big business interests have tried to continually whittle away at worker rights at the cost of increasing their bonuses and CEO pay.”
Demonstrator Dave Hilliard says he came to the demonstration, because he’s concerned about what’s happening in Wisconsin, “They’re trying to break up unions. You wouldn’t have a lot of the rights you have as a worker if it weren’t for unions.”
Hillard says no matter which side you’re on, you need to get involved, “You just can’t sit around these days and be on the sidelines, you’re going to get run over.”
When a reporter informed U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue that protestors were planning to demonstrate against his visit to St. Louis, he questioned their intelligence.
“Do you think they even know what a derivative is?” Donohue said.
Donohue was seated on the 13th floor of the Met Square building, at RCGA headquarters, sharing with reporters his belief that protestors in Washington get paid ten-dollars an hour to show up and don’t know what they’re marching about.
“When you start doing complex, financial instruments by protesting in the front yard, the point is you’re not going to get there,” Donohue said. “The point is that’s what people told them they should be concerned about.”
While the protestors support more regulation of banks, Donohue says the current proposal before Congress would only clog the banking system with too many new rules and hurt consumers.
“If what we’re going to do is have five-hundred or two-hundred new sets of regulations, everybody’s going to sit on their money,” Donohue said, “Who’s going to lend you money? If you haven’t got a lot of money, they’re not going to lend you money. Those are the new rules.”
Donohue turned truculent when asked whether events in Wisconsin are weakening unions and the right of workers to collective bargaining.
“I absolutely don’t look at it as a way to weaken unions,” Donohue said, “I look at it as a way to say we have to have a system that supports this, or this city, this state and eventually this country will go bankrupt.”
He went on to express his concerns that public sector pensions are “out of control” and that public workers compensation is “over bloated .”