By Louise Albright Neyhart
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The public possesses enough information to form opinions on the provisions ofsome legislation, and at other times policymakers can make educated guesses about what will and will not attract public support. Even on unifying issues, though, public opinion cannot possibly cover all contingencies. The closer one moves to the specific and technical provisions within legislation, the less likely that public opinion either has crystallized on a preference or can be accurately estimated (Weissberg 1976).
Instead, trade associations and individual corporations wage their own political battles on particularistic issues. This distinction in respective goals leads to a convenient division of labor, with trade associations and corporations using many of their resources on narrow issues while the Chamber mobilizes the business community on wide-ranging issues. Belonging to the Chamber allows 2. Interview with Stephen A. S. Chamber of Commerce, 18 December 1997 (hereafter Bokat interview). 42 C HAP T E R T H R E E segments of business to contribute to joint efforts for the cases marked by shared preferences.
For example, the Texaco Corporation might seek a tax break for itself, join a battle waged between fellow fossil-fuel extractors and renewable energy producers, and contribute to a business-wide effort to reform product liability laws, all at the same time. Similarly, diverse companies share desires for lower marginal tax rates even as they divide on more specific provisions of the tax code such as exemptions for various kinds of capital. The coexistence of all three kinds of issues does not imply, though, that they occur in equal proportions.