I was surprised to learn that October is Manufacturing Month here in Wisconsin and nationally. Accounting for 17 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics, manufacturing is the driver of Wisconsin’s economy. Unfortunately, important issues, including how we grow manufacturing jobs, have taken the backseat in this fall’s election to the latest ‘gotcha’ story.
Manufacturing issues such as: trade deficit, foreign government’s subsidizing or outright owning what should be private industries, foreign product dumping, over regulation, a burdensome tax code, currency manipulation and our skills gap have not gotten the attention they deserve from the candidates and the media.
In the U.S. Senate race here in Wisconsin, we have a choice between a text book career politician and a Wisconsin manufacturer who went to Washington D.C. to shake things up. Our current senator has signed the front of thousands if not tens of thousands of paychecks as an employer. His challenger is a lawyer who has done nothing his entire career but cashed checks from his government jobs that date back to the 80s.
Our federal government is overwhelmed with lawyers, there are currently 53 elected to our U.S. Senate.
We seriously lack experienced business owners who have actually produced something. In the next decade, American manufacturing will face even tougher challenges than in the past decade. China has increasingly taken over failing industries, like their steel industry, and created “make work” government programs to keep their citizens employed.
These government propped up industries then flood international markets with below cost goods. Without fair trade deals, our manufacturers are left helpless competing against countries that use unfair product dumping.
While Feingold has attempted to take his isolationist trade policies to the campaign trail, nobody can take him seriously, being he’s a career politician, with zero business trade experience.
On the other hand, Johnson manufactured goods here in Wisconsin and sold them to China. Far superior experience to lead Wisconsin on manufacturing issues.
Johnson is an accountant who spent more than 30 years working as an Oshkosh manufacturer before going to Washington, Russ Feingold got his first job in government three years after graduating law school and has turned against what he championed while he was elected, campaign finance reform.
Now, Feingold is under scrutiny over his PAC, Progressives United, for using the donations his PAC received to fund himself. He used the Governor recall and Act 10 to collect hard earned dollars from Democrats and kept all of the money that was donated to his PAC to fund his campaign staff.
While blasting out emails, to solicit donations, to supposedly fund fellow Wisconsin Democrats in their campaign races, he was paying his top staffer more than $300,000.
Simultaneously, while both Feingold and his top staffer were employed by the U.S. State Department, an appointment made by Barack Obama in 2013, he was still working on his political comeback, which violates the federal Hatch Act.
Federal law prohibits executive branch officials from pursuing elected offices, while serving in the executive branch. Like the Clinton’s, Feingold is refusing to cooperate and release copies of the emails that would prove his innocence, or guilt, until after the November election.
This is directly the opposite of what Feingold championed while serving as a Senator.
Manufacturing month of October means we celebrate things made in the U.S. But, when left with a choice between a senate candidate whose only accomplishment is making deposits of his taxpayer-funded paychecks and one that has produced American jobs and American products, the choice couldn’t be any clearer.