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Friday, August 20, 2010

Johnson: Wisconsin Jobs Creatively Destroyed

Capital Times Excerpt: (By John Nichols)

Johnson has staked out a particularly bizarre position on the question of whether U.S. economic and trade policies should be stacked against American workers -- especially in traditional manufacturing states such as Wisconsin.

Several weeks ago, Johnson claimed on Wisconsin Public Radio that “the fact of the matter is NAFTA and CAFTA have actually been successful for our economy.” The multimillionaire was then asked if it wasn’t true that Wisconsin businesses blamed free-trade deals “for hurting their business.” That is, of course, the case -- as has been well documented by state and federal analyses of the impact of the trade agreements.

Confronted with reality, Johnson adopted the belligerent approach of the ideologue who says “don’t confuse me with the facts.”

“Well, in a free-market capitalist system, there are always winners and losers,” preached Johnson. “It’s creative destruction. That just happens. It’s unfortunate. But let’s face it, if it weren’t for that we’d still have buggy whip companies.”

It does not bother Johnson that the people he describes as “losers” are Wisconsin workers.
Sure, instead of buggy whip companies, we have steering wheel companies. But obsolescence through technological progress doesn't explain why Wisconsin workers and factories ended up on the short end of the stick while Chinese factories got the steering wheels. Johnson's "creative destruction" is just another way of saying "you were legislated out of your job by the so-called "free" market trade agreements. Tough shit, deal with it."
Economic Policy Institute Excerpt:

NAFTA is a free trade and investment agreement that provided investors with a unique set of guarantees designed to stimulate foreign direct investment and the movement of factories within the hemisphere, especially from the United States to Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, no protections were contained in the core of the agreement to maintain labor or environmental standards. As a result, NAFTA tilted the economic playing field in favor of investors, and against workers and the environment, resulting in a hemispheric "race to the bottom" in wages and environmental quality.

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