Wisconsin Catches Boycott Fever

by Christian Schneider

Still in shock that their protest tactics were unable to stop Scott Walker’s new public-sector collective-bargaining restrictions from becoming law, the Wisconsin Left now believes retroactive protesting will do the trick. They will likely find out that protesting a law after it is signed is about as effective as collecting NCAA bracket entry fees after the championship game has already been played.

In order to show their strength, or something, public-employee-union supporters have released an extensive “boycott list,” urging like-minded union sympathizers to cease doing business with Scott Walker contributors. The list is so extensive that merely walking out your front door could be seen as an assault on “Wisconsin’s middle class.”

Want to use a urinal at a building constructed by a member of the Wisconsin Builders’ Association? Some guy is likely to jump out of a stall and start yelling “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” (Hopefully, this is the first time someone has yelled these words at you with your pants down.) Want to clear your driveway of snow with a Briggs and Stratton snowblower? You’re callously plowing over the rights of your union brothers and sisters. Perhaps most important to Wisconsin residents, eating a Johnsonville bratwurst is no longer simply an attack on your arteries — it is an assault on Wisconsin’s middle class. (And your pants.) The boycott list even extends to the members of the Wisconsin Dental Association. Go to any dentist in Wisconsin, and you’re delivering a root canal to the rights of working people everywhere.

What the boycotters don’t realize is that many of these businesses will actually gain business as a result of their Scott Walker contributions. One supermarket in suburban Milwaukee has indicated that their customers have shown overwhelming support for their political activities. (To show my solidarity with Scott Walker, I began supporting the MillerCoors company about two hours before writing this column. It has led to me tearfully e-mailing three ex-girlfriends in the last half hour.)

What’s dumbfounding is how liberals think their boycotts are going to make any difference. Many of the companies on the list do very little business with the public. Will it make a dent in the economy if your average Madison bohemian stops ordering concrete and pallets? Hard-core liberals are going to end their ongoing love affair with Walmart? They’re going to throw out their “I Heart the Koch Brothers” coffee mugs?

Perhaps most ironically, investments in many of these companies are held by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board — the very same retirement system upon which these government employees will draw their pensions. (For instance, the fund holds $7.2 million in stock of Miller Brewing.) Kill those companies, and you’re hurting your own investments — and eliminating a lot of family-supporting union jobs. Bring those capitalist pigs to their knees at your own risk.

— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.

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