Businesses, Workers, Goods, and Services

Over at Dan Shafer’s Recombobulation Area, guest columnist Shawn Phetteplace reminds us that WMC Doesn’t Speak for All Businesses. Phetteplace, the state manager for the Main Street Alliance, writes that

When former Gov. Scott Walker declared Wisconsin “Open for Business,” what he meant was it was open for deregulation, tax cuts, and special deals to companies like Foxconn.

Throughout the ensuing decade, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business lobbying group, helped further entrench gerrymandered incumbents, supported measures to limit voting rights, and pushed policies that privileged larger employers over Main Street.

There are countless examples of when WMC supported policies pushed by members of the legislature that were actually bad for business.

Phetteplace offers WMC opposition to BadgerCare expansion (an expansion that would extend healthcare to some part-time employees on whom small businesses often depend) as one example of the differing views of large and small business owners.

While Phetteplace, himself, advocates for smaller businesses, his point that there’s more than one business view is sound, no matter how loud and persistent WMC has been. For some in the legislature, it’s as though there were only one voice not merely for all businesses but for all the economy.

To believe that there’s only one voice (or more precisely to persuade others that there’s only one voice) is as deceptive as it is false.

Perhaps someday, a few residents of Whitewater, Wisconsin will lawfully establish a 501(c)(6) business advocacy group as a low-thread-count version of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and call it the something like the ‘Greater Whitewater Committee.’


Should that happen, that business league would simply be one faction among many. There would be no reason to see – or treat – it otherwise.

Of markets: businesses big or small, workers many or few, offering goods or services of myriad kinds.

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