Excerpt from an interview in Plastics Today with Senator Ron Johnson, one of the few people in Washington with real experience in creating jobs and building wealth:
In the November 2010 midterm elections, Ron Johnson, owner and president of Pacur Inc. and a Republican politician, beat out Wisconsin’s three-term Democratic senator, Russ Feingold. Until he was elected, there were no manufacturers sitting in the Senate, but Sen. Johnson hopes to use his experience running a plastic sheet and roll stock extrusion business to drive change in the federal government.
MPW: What was the driving force behind your decision to run for the Senate against a seasoned and popular politician such as Russ Feingold?
Ron Johnson: The final straw for me was the passing of the healthcare bill. My own personal story is that my first child was born with a pretty serious congenital heart defect. At the age of eight months she had surgery—the upper chamber of her heart was totally reconstructed. Her heart is backwards right now, but she’s 27 years old and is a nurse at a neonatal intensive care unit. That gave me first-hand experience of how phenomenal our healthcare system is.
I believe the [recently passed] healthcare bill is designed to lead to a government takeover of the healthcare sector—one-sixth of our economy. I certainly didn’t run into anybody on the campaign trail that felt that the federal government had the capability of efficiently running one-sixth of our economy.
MPW: There is discontent among CEOs of some manufacturing companies with respect to the regulatory and economic climate in the United States. Emerson Electric’s CEO David Farr even told a meeting of CEOs that “the government is our worst enemy” and vowed not to build another manufacturing plant in the U.S. As a small-business person, do you believe that there’s anything that the government can do—or will do—to help boost manufacturing in the U.S.?
RJ: Unfortunately, I think the uncertainty that permeates our entire economy is a very predictable result of too much government that really produces misguided and very ineffective over-regulation. The primary uncertainty comes from the government hugely overspending—$1.3 trillion year after year as far as the eye can see. Spending has gone from 20% of GDP to 25% and it continues moving north. What our federal government needs to do is to restore confidence in the economy. Consumers need to be more confident that their jobs are secure. Businesses need to be more confident that politicians are not going to continue to demonize them or lay claim to a greater share of the fruits of their effort.
The first step to this is limiting the size and scope of the federal government. I believe that can be done with a proposal like Congressman Mike Pence’s constitutional amendment to limit spending to 20% of GDP. If we show a credible plan for capping spending, we will show the American people that the government is able to live within its means. I believe that’s the type of confidence boost the economy needs.
Wisconsin now has Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Ron Johnson AND a Super Bowl trophy. We have Keith Ellison, Mark Dayton, Al Franken, and a deflated dome. I sense a reverse migration in the making.