Standing up for philanthropy

When even local charities are not immune from harm, the protests have gone too far.

Business boycott, dateline Madison: Some are boycotting businesses that refuse to capitulate to demands that they denounce Gov. Scott Walker. Being neutral is not good enough, you have to give in to these tactics and threats. But they don’t understand basic economics – punishing businesses is only going to hurt the public employees who will be laid off due to lower sales and other tax revenue. Hello!

And besides, not a single business donated to any candidate (that’s illegal). Only individuals donated, and yes, many of those individuals own businesses whose employees might be more sympathetic to public employee unions. But what really cracks me up is how they also are punishing businesses whose owners have donated to the Democrats.

Now they’re trying to damage Brat Fest, so it’s apparently not good enough to hurt businesses (Johnsonville) that donate food, some are trying to harm the charities that Brat Fest supports! I wonder if they realize how counterproductive these tactics are?

And what happened to our "liberal" open society that believes in free speech and public debate? Not in Madison. Free speech is not allowed if you’re a businessperson.

Tax policy impacts biz decisions

Wisconsin received some terrific news when decided to move its business to Wisconsin due to our state’s lower tax rates. Illinois passed a new law that taxes online retailers (they call it the Amazon tax) and forces them to collect sales tax from customers. (Just try to imagine being a retailer and being forced to collect sales taxes from customers in more than 1,000 different taxing jurisdictions, each with a different sales tax rate!)

The point is that tax policies have a direct impact on the decision-making of business owners. Take Detroit – decades of high taxes and other ill-conceived policies caused the city to lose half of its population. Politicians fail to understand the fundamental rule of capitalism: The free transport of capital and labor can get up and walk away at any time.

Obama’s business impacts

When President Obama recently said in response to Paul Ryan’s budget plan, "There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires," I wanted to send him a letter. It would read as follows:

Dear Mr. President,

Nice try, but cutting government spending and reducing taxes is not "spending money." It’s our money, remember? And something else, Mr. President. Would you mind weighing the impact of your comments on business activity? Business owners were ready to hire and start reinvesting in their businesses following the November election, but sometimes when you speak, you create more uncertainty and more risk for businesses.

Business owners then hold back on their expansion and investment plans, thereby holding back the economy. And you know that those so-called millionaires are really small business owners who declare their business income on their personal tax return, so any tax increase on the "rich" is just a tax increase on small businesses. So please consider not saying anything for awhile.

Yours truly,

A business owner.

Sen. Johnson AWOL

Love Russ Feingold or hate him, he could always be counted on to be there in a pinch, leading the charge, and rallying his operatives. Unfortunately, the business owners and Tea Party types who supported Ron Johnson have yet to see his face anywhere. Was he at the Tea Party rally at the State Capitol? No. Is he publicly backing Paul Ryan, who is taking on the debt crisis? No. Johnson appears to be AWOL.

Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here.