Photo Credit: tn.gov
By Gary Humble –
Have you heard the mantra regurgitated in almost every press release of GOP establishment leaders? Or take a look at their Twitter feed lately?
You’ll find the phrase, “we are pro-business.” And honestly, that sounds good, right? I mean, what conservative would be against business growth or want to see businesses stifled under burdensome government regulation? So, in those terms, pro-business makes sense.
But lately, that phrase is beginning to take on a whole new meaning for me, and not in a good way. Why? Because we are witnessing the ever-increasing power of large global corporations that influence policy in our state that do not necessarily align with Tennessee values. Additionally, we saw during COVID lockdowns how executive orders and mandates favored the large corporate stores causing the demise of many small businesses throughout our state and our country.
And now, we are watching as brands take on the role of cultural icons who are shaping popular opinion and using their influence to weigh heavily on policymaking at every level of state government. Businesses are now being used to push medical mandates that governments themselves know they could not yet push on the American population without steep resistance. And the White House seeks to further cement its use of corporations pushing these Orwellian healthcare policies by using OSHA regulations to instill fear and coax compliance.
In Tennessee, we are celebrating the new Megasite installation in West Tennessee which is said to bring 6,000 jobs and over 21,000 indirect jobs to the area. The project is led by the Ford Motor Company and is the single largest investment Ford has ever made and the largest capital investment in Tennessee’s history. Businesses are moving to Tennessee at a record pace. Why? Well supposedly, because we are pro-business.
Is it a fact that the investments into Tennessee by companies like Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, and now Ford are going to equate to a better quality of life for Tennesseans? We are consistently fighting against Marxist agendas that are designed to tear at the fabric of everything it means to be an American. And the companies just mentioned along with many others are the economic engines that fuel these agendas that creep into every sector of our society, including our schools.
Oracle had not even signed the deal yet much less breaking ground before they had already forayed into Tennessee politics by speaking out against a bill passed this year that would protect female athletes in schools from having to compete against males in sports. Their first neighborly act was to partner with the Nashville LGBT Chamber in this effort to influence public policy in our state.
And now, we are going to celebrate the over $5 Billion investment by Ford into the Tennessee Megasite and, of course, top that off with a $500 Million dollar tax subsidy. Why? Because we support small businesses here in Tennessee (sarcasm). But should we at all be concerned about the political activism of the Ford Motor Company and how that might impact Tennessee long-term?
In April 2021, Ford joined with GM in opposing election integrity efforts in Michigan. Here are the inequitable and dangerous attempts at election reform that Ford opposed.
- Require identification to obtain an absentee ballot
- Drop boxes for absentee ballots must be approved by the Secretary of State
- Prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes after 5 pm prior to a general Election Day
- Bar the Secretary of State from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications
To me, these seem like pretty reasonable efforts by the GOP in the state of Michigan to secure their elections and maintain the integrity of the ballot. But apparently, Ford disagreed with these efforts claiming they were inequitable. But Ford did not just stop in Michigan. They also signed on to national efforts against election integrity with the likes of Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon, BlackRock, Google, and Berkshire Hathaway.
Check out Ford’s 2021 mini-site, Minding the Gap. Ford is clearly committed to political activism and here’s a hint, they probably won’t be supporting any Tennessee Stands efforts. On their site, you will find statements like “I expect brands to take a stand on social issues,” “Companies have a responsibility to address social injustice,” and “I think more brands today are trying to do the right thing.”
Here is the point. Should we support businesses in Tennessee and work to see that they succeed? Yes. Should taxpayers be on the hook for a Half Billion dollars to lure corporations into Tennessee regardless of the proposed economic impact? No.
I don’t know about you. But I am not willing to sacrifice my values and the kind of Tennessee that I want to hand off to my children, on the altar of corporate welfare. If being pro-business means that values no longer matter and that our liberties are sold off to the highest bidder, then count me out.
If we put honoring God first and work hard to ensure that liberty is secured and that government is held accountable to the confines of its constitutional duties, then businesses will succeed and families will thrive.
I am not pro-business. I am pro-Tennessee.
About the Author: Gary Humble is the founder and executive director of Tennessee Stands, an organization working to secure liberty and hold elected officials accountable to the Constitution through legislation, litigation, and education. Follow Gary @garyhumble and visit www.tennesseestands.org.