Saturday, October 5, 2019

Johnson, Trump & Sonny Perdue sing from same cold, corporate hymnal

You'd had to be deep sea diving in Tahiti this week to miss the furor unleashed in the Dairy State when US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue dropped in representing The Tariff King and told small dairy farmers it was time to go away.
Though the Trump White House ID's Perdue as "born into a farming family," you'd never know it - - or that he gave a fig about family farming in Wisconsin - - as he opined that dairy farmers in Wisconsin needed to 'get bigger or go out.'
Perdue laid that political egg while milk prices are at a five-year low, Wisconsin leads the nation in farm bankruptcies, and about 40% of the state's dairies have shut down in the last decade (a/k/a 'the Walker era'), as this recent report notes.
Not to mention that as dairy farms in Wisconsin morph into sprawling factories - - and Walker used state programs and money to boost milk production into a crushing oversupply - -  we also have more manure overflows and reports of polluted drinking water. 
This rural version of standard Republican big business favoritism - - seen in the Trump/Ryan more-tax- breaks-for-corporate-America, or Walker's record-breaking subsidies-and-environmental-shortcuts-for Foxconn - - reminded me of two things central to Johnson and his politics:

Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg 

1. Johnson withheld his key vote on the 2017 Trump/Ryan 'tax breaks for the rich' bill until he was assured that a provision tailored for the kind of business Johnson's family runs in Oshkosh was included in the legislation.

Talk about the privilege of self-interested leverage, as the Washington Post noted: 

Sen. Johnson is a ‘no’ on the tax bill. He says it hurts businesses (like his own).
2. More to the point, Johnson would be fine with Perdue's easy sacrifice of Wisconsin's family dairies because Johnson believes in the disposability of businesses through the cold-hearted law of economics of "creative destruction."

Throw in some creative use of 'blight' for a corporation's need or the bulldozing of state park land and public employee credibility to these power equations, too.

Of course, it's easier being on the surviving side of 'creative destruction' if the business you've married also got a boost in its early days from a public agency loan and government-built freight shipping line, too - - before Johnson's tax law access works its magic.

But if you're a salt-of-the-earth Wisconsin dairy operator and not a government-enabled CAFO, the creative destroyers and their corporate welfare cronies have sealed your fateas The New York Times puts it:

Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction

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