Monday, October 4, 2010

Reject Ron Johnson's "Creative Destruction"

The Russ Feingold campaign is airing a thought-provoking television ad exposing Republican opponent Ron Johnson's support for NAFTA, and other international trade deals Johnson says are virtuous examples of "creative destruction."

That's Gordon Gekkoesque shorthand suitable for framing as a job-well-done plaque and company picnic door prize for Layoff Manager of the Month.

"Creative Destruction" is laudable, says the Oshkosh accountant and plastics manufacturer, because it's the essence of Capitalism's Great Churn, the engine that displaces the old with the new.

So change the tools and tear up the assembly lines: buggy whips and telephone switchboards are out, hybrids and iPhones are in, and so on.

And in the long run, "more jobs," claim the free market sloganeers, waving their Creative Destruction Econ 101 textbooks from the rarefied air of corner offices (golden parachutes at the ready, of course).

Businesses these days, as the Feingold ad points out, are indeed tearing up their assembly lines - - not to retool for new Made in America products - - but rather to stamp them out across the border or the ocean where labor is cheaper.

Way cheaper.

In low-cost profit centers enabled by the very same unfair international trade deals that Feingold has opposed, and which Johnson has endorsed - - with the whole shooting match sponsored by The Federal Government In Washington, DC,  which free enterprising, tea partying Republican conservatives say they love to hate...except when it carries their water and subsidizes the bottom line.

By some estimates, there have been 64,000 such trade-deal fueled job losses in Wisconsin in recent years, according to this report.

Johnson is cynical and calculating to mask the impact in real world Wisconsin of his board room jargon.

"Creative Destruction."

It has the sincerity of a grunge band title song, or cage fighter tattoo.

"Creative Destruction" expects workers to take a long view, to be understanding, actually to support in the name of the greater good having their laid-off lives converted into assets on the company accountant's balance sheet.

"Creative Destruction."

The phrase even degrades the language.

Wisconsin doesn't need a US Senator who would use it as a directive to weigh public policy, write laws, and ratify trade agreements.

Whatever happened to "let your conscience be your guide?"

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