We all hold stereotypes about people. Hopefully, as time goes by we learn and we grow so that we are not the prisoner of limited and narrow views.
Writing for the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, George Lightbourn expresses disbelief that a prominent business owner lacks appreciation for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's (WMC) effort to defeat Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler in the April, 2008 spring election, Epic Systems Should be WMC's Biggest Fan.
He writes, "...WMC put Justice Louis Butler in its sights simply because he had demonstrated a taste for judicial activism, particularly aimed at the business liability." He argues that by electing Gableman to the Supreme Court, WMC helped Epic, freeing the company from taxes and regulation.
Nowhere does Lighbourn recognize that a business owner might share other values than low taxes and and the errant WMC-Gableman-Lightbourne judicial philosophy that the only thing business cares about is making sure that plaintiffs cannot sue.
When I was in my early twenties, I assumed that all Republican business leaders cared about was low taxes, making money and being free of government regulation. Then I met Madison businessman Dan Neviaser.
Dan was an exceptional man. He made a lot of money in real estate, housing, and hotels. Actually what made him exceptional was that he had other values that he placed ahead of the lowest taxes possible. Time after time I saw him place community, education, the arts, and the environment ahead of profits. Dan went out of his way to combat racism.
Fortunately there are many business leaders who share Dan's values when it comes to evaluating competing priorities.
There are business owners of all kinds of political views and values in this state. I happen to think that those who do not appreciate spending public money on infrastructure and human development are shortsighted and wrong. I know many business leaders who will say, "I think my taxes are high, but as long as I feel the money us spent wisely, I do not mind paying them."
I also recognize that not every business leader shares my viewpoint.