Ron Johnson discusses jobs & Iraq during visit to Hsu Ginseng in Wausau

Creating jobs, managing the ongoing situation in Iraq, and making sure Congress is functional were some of the topics addressed by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson during a stop at a Marathon County business on Tuesday.

Johnson, who visited Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises on Highway W north of Wausau to tour the facility and discuss the state of the country, said one obstacle in the way of creating more and higher-paying jobs in Wisconsin or nationwide is a business tax that he says is too high.

“You need to make America or Wisconsin a more attractive place for the type of business risk-taking investment that provides those good-paying jobs,” Johnson said. “And right now we don’t have a competitive tax system. We have the highest business tax rate in the developed world.

“If you’re a manufacturer … are you going to site your plant in Toronto with a 15 percent top tax rate, or Detroit with 35 percent?”

Johnson also addressed the “perilous” situation in Iraq, calling it a “gathering storm.”

“These are evil people,” Johnson said of ISIS, an insurgent group in Iraq. “They’re going to have to be defeated. They’ve been very patient, very strategic setting up this caliphate. Their long-term goals they’ve made very well known; that they’re going to use the space of operation to attack the West. It makes no sense to me. I don’t know why they want to destroy Western civilization, but that’s what they’re bent on.”

Johnson said one thing Congress can do is have a continuing discussion with the White House to find out what kind of authorization President Obama has for the use of military force to address the threat.

“Right now what this president is operating on, these are pretty old authorizations, and they’re finding they’ve got a pretty tenuous connection to presidential use of power right now,” Johnson said.

The Wisconsin Republican blamed the Islamic militant uprising in Iraq on the U.S. military policy.

“It’s tragic that we bugged out of Iraq, that we didn’t leave that stabilizing force like we did after World War II in Germany, Japan, or at the end of Korea,” Johnson said. “Because of that and the direct result of not leaving a stabilizing force, we allowed this storm to gather.”

During his prepared presentation, Johnson spoke out against the growing size of the federal government, the mounting U.S. debt — now north of $17 trillion — and Congress’s poor approval rating among the American people, a sentiment he doesn’t disagree with.

But Johnson said he’s optimistic about the future, due in large part to the American people.

“I think Americans can turn this country around and that’s what we have to rely on — individual citizens demanding their freedoms back, demanding their power back, so that they can utilize their drive, their initiative, their innovation and their brainpower to make this country really achieve great heights and new heights.”