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West Michigan Policy Forum fought to end the Stay at Home order, now they want people to wear masks and keep shopping!

January 7, 2021

The great scientist Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”

The same could be said for how some group that are connected to the local power structure are responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Ever since the COVID 19 pandemic began, there have been numerous groups who have outright denied the existence of the virus and the public  health risks involved. These people, like the American Patriot Council, refuse to wear masks and believe that it is some sort of government conspiracy. 

Then there are groups that have fought Governor Whitmer’s Stay at Home orders from the get go, thinking it was bad business. Groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the Acton Institute and the West Michigan Policy Forum. All of these groups have resisted the Stay at Home orders, primarily out of economic interests. These groups have mostly worked to lobby Michigan legislators to oppose the Stay at Home orders and to allow the business community to make their own decisions about how to respond to the pandemic.

The West Michigan Policy Forum (WMPF) was particularly aggressive when it came to pushing against the Stay at Home orders. In April we reported on an online forum that the WMPF hosted, where CEOs were talking about getting Michigan business open again.

In May, the WMPF took out paid ads on MLive to promote their views on the Stay at Home order in Michigan, primarily that it was an infringement on their rights to engage in commerce.

After ongoing lobbying by the WMPF to get the GOP-controlled State Legislature to vote against the Stay at Home order, we then saw a spike in COVID cases and deaths across the state, particularly in November and December. We made the point in an article we wrote in November, that many of the members of the WMPF had also contributed significant amounts of campaign funds to State House leader Lee Chatfield and Senate leader Mike Shirkey.

In the past fews days, the West Michigan Policy Forum has been posting videos on their Facebook page, with the CEO of Spectrum Health, the President of the Small Business Association of Michigan and Grand Rapids Mayor Bliss, all imploring people to mask up and support local businesses. Again, the videos primarily push the idea that profit making should continue, despite the public health risks of the COVID crisis.

It’s hard to know the real motivations behind posting these recent videos, but we do know that the West Michigan Policy Forum has been one of the leading voices of the business community that fought Gov. Whitmer’s Stay at Home order and financed the politicians who got the Stay at Home order overturned. 

We would argue that the spike in new COVID cases and COVID deaths is a direct result of the efforts of groups like the West Michigan Policy Forum. It seems that their call for people to mask up is primarily motivated by profit making, NOT the well being of the general population and particularly the most marginalized in our community that have been most impacted by the COVID 19 crisis. You cannot simultaneously make massive profits and call for an end to the pandemic by simply asking people to wear masks. 

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