Ron Johnson’s Class Warfare Comments Spark Widespread Condemnation From Across Political Spectrum (8/4/10)

Aug 03, 2010

Republican Johnson Who Opposed Tax Cuts for Working Families and Unemployment Aid, Now Hails
Job-Killing Trade Policies as “Creative Destruction”

MADISON —  Multimillionaire Senate Candidate Ron Johnson’s class warfare continues unabated with a strong defense of unfair trade policies that have shipped thousands of Wisconsin jobs overseas. Johnson’s comments have drawn condemnation across the political spectrum.
Last week, Johnson told Wisconsin Public Radio that: “[T]he fact of the matter is NAFTA and CAFTA have actually been successful for our economy.” [WPR – Here and Now, 7/26/10]
Johnson doubled-down later that day when pressed by the moderator of a WisPolitics Luncheon to defend his support for free trade agreements, even though according to the moderator, “…some manufacturers here, they blame those free trade agreements somewhat for hurting their business.”  

Johnson coldly dismissed the moderator’s comment and said:

“Well in a free market capitalist system there are always winners and losers. It’s creative destruction. That just happens. It’s unfortunate. But lets face it, if it weren’t for that we’d still have buggy whip companies.” [WisPolitics Luncheon at the Madison Club on 7/26/10]

Fellow Republican Primary opponent Dave Westlake condemned Johnson’s remarks saying, “I’m appalled he said that.” Westlake also called for Johnson to apologize:
“I think he should apologize for being so insensitive and for using such a ridiculous claim that this is simply going to happen and that we should somehow say that this is OK. It’s not.” [WTDY Radio, 7/29/10]
United Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard said Johnson’s remarks were “insulting” and thatIt’s clear that maybe physically he lives in the State of Wisconsin but he’s intellectually in the state of confusion.”  [United Steelworkers Release, 7/28/10]
“Ron Johnson has made it clear he fights for big corporations who ship our jobs overseas, not working families,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Ron Johnson’s cold dismissal of eight years of job-killing trade policies as “creative destruction” shows just how out of touch he is.”
Johnson has also opposed emergency aid to the jobless, saying:  “When you continue to extend unemployment benefits, people really don’t have the incentive to go take other jobs, you know, they’ll just wait the system out until their benefits run out. [Wisconsin Public Television Here and Now, 6/11/10]
Johnson has opposed the Recovery Act, which has provided tax cuts to 95 percent of working families because Johnson somehow believes  “We would have been far better off not spending any of the money and let the recovery happen as it was going to happen.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/15/10]