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November 01, 1999
Name the three most erroneous claims from Washington this year:

"I created the Internet.''

"I did not have sex with that woman.''

"The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. should stay in Washington.''

Everyone knows the motives behind claims No. 1 and No. 2. But what sort of claim is behind No. 3?

Other than for national legislative matters, which Keller and Heckman LLP has handled professionally, effectively and superbly for decades, what begs SPI's Washington presence?

The American Plastics Council is moving out -- to the Virginia offices of CMA, where inevitably the APC will be subsumed by the Chemical Manufacturers Association, permanently stigmatizing plastics as ``chemicals'' in many minds.

Not smart, from an image-management standpoint, short- or long-term, where plastics are viewed as just another outlet for chemicals, not as value-added materials and products that improve the quality of life.

SPI members will not benefit from the society remaining within the beltway.

SPI can retain Washington counsel anywhere.

Here's why to go: Most of what happens to affect the plastics industry doesn't happen in Washington. It happens in state legislative arenas, markets and business venues.

Mold-retention legislation, workers' compensation, employee education, mold taxes, electric utility rates, economic development incentives, new product development, new customer applications and all the other pressures and opportunities for plastics -- they're all local and state phenomena.

Washington is a government center, not a business center. It has a stigma that affects sound business thinking.

Chicago or New York are closer to SPI members, markets and business partners than Washington. And, the ethereal world of Washington wonking adds only costs, not results, to SPI doing business for the benefit of its members.

SPI's staying in Washington makes as much sense as saying, ``That woman created the Internet in Washington.''

George A. Makrauer
ComAd Management Group Inc.
Treasure Island, Fla.

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