Saturday, April 26, 2008

McCain & Milwaukee CEOs play bumper sticker politics with trade

When John McCain visited with Milwaukee's business leaders at Bucyrus Erie's South Milwaukee headquarters, he declared his unconditional support for NAFTA and "free trade."

Jim Haney, president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), enthusiastically supported McCain, claiming: "There are 250,000 people in this state who owe their livelihood to exports."

The WMC which has earned a reputation for stretching the truth in Wisconsin's elections was at it again.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that Wisconsin had a total of 164,000 export related jobs, including 82,000 in manufacturing in 2005, not the 250,000 Haney claimed.

These jobs represented 17.4% of Wisconsin's manufacturing jobs and 5.6% of the state's civilian employment.

Critics of these trade agreements who note that Wisconsin has lost 25,403 jobs because of NAFTA were labeled "protectionists" at this meeting.

Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown, was referring to exactly this type of slander when he wrote: "It's easy to play bumper-sticker politics with trade. But it gets us nowhere...Our country deserves a real debate on trade, not a debate where labeling one side protectionist is game, set and match."

Read his entire Wall Street Journal piece.

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