Next time you hear Republicans are pro-business

We hear all the time that Republicans are pro-business. But Republicans in our legislature are putting ideology first – letting what’s good for right-wing politics trump what’s good for Tennessee’s economy and jobs for Tennesseans.

Take Medicaid expansion. Not only would it make over 300,000 people eligible for health insurance, it would also protect our local businesses from paying millions in federal tax dollars to fund other states' health care. Thanks to conservative ideologues, our businesses will pay more taxes, our people won't get health care, and our hospitals will run the risk of being put out of business. We'll lose jobs while increasing health care costs. How is that pro-business?

Just today, Republican lawmakers did everything short of blackmailing Volkswagen - one of the world’s most successful automakers and one of Tennessee’s largest employers - by threatening not to promote Volkswagen's job expansion if workers there form a UAW Works Council. Legislators even labeled Volkswagen's conduct "un-American."  

Since when did conservatives support government interference with a private employer’s decisions about contracting with its own employees? When Lamar Alexander was governor, he recruited Bridgestone and GM to the state even though they were unionized. When Democrats were in power, they didn’t require new employers to be unionized. But this Tennessee legislature wants job growth only when it meets their ideological test.

Responsible Tennesseans cannot tolerate divisive name-calling and the threatening of private employers to conform with the legislature's views. Fighting back against such extremism should be all of our business.

Jeff