Doing business in America is not without its challenges. High taxes and a complex, virtually impenetrable tax code. Thousands upon thousands of regulations affecting every aspect of a company’s ability to compete in the open market. Predatory litigation subjecting businesses to lawsuits that sometimes result in layoffs or even closures. Environmental rules that make simply constructing a small building a multi-year process.
Fortunately, corporate America has not traversed this economic minefield alone. The business community has long found a friend in conservative policy makers. I know this from experience. As a Louisiana legislator, I had a consistent pro-business voting record with the state’s top business organization. As true conservatives we fought for lower and simpler tax structures, a sane regulatory process, and liability reform. We sought to expand opportunity, rather than penalize success. We were committed to policies that incentivized risk-taking, innovation, and advances in technology. The reason is that conservatives believe economic liberty leads to human empowerment and economic prosperity for all. As President John F. Kennedy famously said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
So it is puzzling to see so many companies, which have benefited from the business-friendly policies championed by conservatives, attack those very conservatives who have aided them in states like Mississippi and North Carolina.
Why has Big Business gone on the attack?
In North Carolina, it was over the right of grown men to use bathrooms and locker rooms with women and little girls. Gov. Pat McCrory and an overwhelming majority of both the State House and Senate enacted legislation to prevent persons of one sex from using the bathrooms of the other. The measure they passed was called the Privacy and Security Act for a reason. Privacy is intrinsic to human dignity. And at a time when the sexual exploitation of children is at an all-time high, little girls should not have to share a bathroom with adult men.
In Mississippi, it was over the freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs that turned business against conservative lawmakers. Gov. Phil Bryant signed a measure that allows vendors – whose deeply-held faith prevents them from participating in same-sex weddings by hosting the ceremony, photographing the event, serving the cake or providing the flowers – the protection of not being prosecuted by the state or any of its entities.
For taking these commonsense initiatives, wholly consistent with both the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of their states, and for codifying things that reflect core American values – religious liberty, personal dignity, and public safety – these lawmakers have been vilified by editorial pages, the media, and some of America’s premier corporations.
The first two of these don’t surprise anyone. It’s the latter – the businesses that employ millions of hard-working Americans whose values are reflected in the laws North Carolina and Mississippi passed – that is troubling.
According to the homosexual activist group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), “more than 120 major CEOs and business leaders (are) urging North Carolina to repeal (its) discriminatory anti-LGBT law.” And HRC also notes that in Mississippi, “some of the state’s largest employers, including Nissan Group of North America, Tyson Food Inc., MGM Resorts International, and Toyota publicly voiced their opposition to the appalling legislation, joining national corporations such as AT&T, IBM, Levi Strauss & Co, MassMutual, General Electric, and Hyatt Hotel Corporations.”
The corporate leaders have bought into the narrative that the right to practice one’s faith must be subordinate to the LGBT activist agenda.
No one is denying the sale of anything to anyone because the client is gay or lesbian or transgender. What the Mississippi law recognizes is that for some believers, facilitating a same-sex wedding is tantamount to endorsing it – and that no one should be forced to endorse something they believe God forbids under the threat of state punishment.
These same business titans fear the reaction of the transgender movement’s most vociferous and hostile advocates more than they do the will of the people of North Carolina, a will shaped not by bigotry or homophobia but by a rightful desire for “privacy and security.”
Their fear of sexual activists is shortsighted. What Big Business should fear is the logical outcome of this alliance with those who see business as nothing more than a source of tax revenue to feed the ever-growing beast of government.
Does General Electric’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, really think Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE and his supporters will be sympathetic to the plight of one of the nation’s largest corporations?
The political Left has no compassion or concern for the plight of manufacturers, technology companies, the financial industry, homebuilders, or any of the other economic sectors that are at the heart of economic growth. Just read the speeches and policy proposals of not just Sen. Sanders but of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE.
The only people who stand between America’s corporation and the tentacles of Big Government Leftists are conservative policy makers. Did American Airlines, which has threatened economic harm to North Carolina, find solace in Democratic members of the U.S. Senate last week when Senator Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.) attempted to pass legislation instructing the Federal Aviation Administration to order airlines to expand the legroom of travelers on their commercial fleets? No, they found solace in Republicans who opposed this proposal.
It is these Republicans, especially the conservatives, the same ones Big Business is now attacking, who have been the staunch defenders of the job-creators and their employees from government overreach and excessive regulation.
But that profitable and universally beneficial coalition between conservatives and business may soon come to an end, which will eventually be reflected in a less than profitable bottom line for business.
Perkins is President of the Family Research Council.