Wisconsin Workers Speak Out Against Ron Johnson's Support for Middle Class Job Loss

Aug 10, 2010

Republican Candidate says Unfair Trade Deals are “Creative Destruction”
and “Successful for our Economy”

MADISON — Republican Senate Candidate Ron Johnson faced renewed controversy today as members of the Wisconsin Steelworkers spoke out at Johnson’s campaign office against his embrace of unfair trade policies that have shipped thousands of Wisconsin jobs overseas.

“Ron Johnson wants the people of Wisconsin to give him a new job but the fact is he supports unfair trade policies that have put thousands of Wisconsin people out of work. Ron Johnson has made it clear he will fight for global corporations who ship our jobs overseas, not hard-working Wisconsin families,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. 

Johnson has also opposed Recovery funding for emergency aid to the jobless and supports cutting off unemployment insurance for people still looking for work, 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 gone on the record supporting the extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent that are not paid for, while opposing tax cuts for 95 percent of working families in the Recovery Act.

Johnson has said, “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]

Several weeks ago, 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 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 that, “It’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]