Sen. Johnson sounds alarm on deficit
Sen. Ron Johnson talks politics during stop in Taylor County on Saturday
Worries over the nation’s debt and the legacy it will leave for future generations are at the top of Sen. Ron Johnson’s list of concerns facing America at the current time.
Johnson took time during a visit to Stetsonville on Saturday while attending the Taylor County Republican Party dinner to talk about the issues he sees facing the country and what can be done to help manufacturers impacted by rising prices due to tariffs. Johnson, who originally ran as a deficit hawk, has maintained his concerns over the country’s defi cit spending. He said recent measures such as last year’s CARES Act and the recently passed stimulus package have only increased his concerns about deficit spending.
Johnson said he supported the CARES Act which provided the first round of stimulus payments and assistance during the start of the pandemic last year because he felt something needed to be done quickly. He said he questioned recent efforts as not being targeted enough and instead providing a blanket approach to dealing with the pandemic’s economic fallout. He questioned the value of extending additional unemployment payments because they are in some cases actually paying people more to stay home than they would be getting if they were working. He noted that at a time when employers across the state and country were desperate for workers they needed to get people back into the labor force.
Referencing the criticism he has received for being against the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, Johnson said that he is not anti-infrastructure. Johnson said that much needs to be done to improve the roads, bridges and ports which have been allowed to decay. He said he feels the way to pay for these would be to scale back the portions of the recent stimulus package that are to be spent after 2022 and instead put those funds toward infrastructure needs.
As far as trade, while Johnson said he supported former president Donald Trump’s efforts in dealing with China and felt that it was the right course of action, he did not agree with Trump when it came to the use of tariffs. Particularly tariffs on materials such as aluminum have driven up costs for Wisconsin manufacturers across many industry areas. Johnson noted that as much as the tariffs are a tax on imports, they are ultimately paid by the consumers. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch also spoke at Saturday’s Republican Party event sharing the work being done by her 1848 Project (1848project.org). She explained that the organization is currently going around the state asking people about the issues they feel impact Wisconsin’s future and ways to improve the state. She said the group will then use that input in the development of policy goals and the creation of the “Forward Agenda” which she said would be a conservative plan for Wisconsin’s future.
Kleefisch cited concerns over the election process as one of the biggest issues people have raised as she has traveled around the state. She cited concerns about absentee ballots and the use of drop boxes, canvassing for absentee ballots and rules that prohibit counting absentee ballots as they arrive.
Kleefisch served as lieutenant governor for Wisconsin under Gov. Scott Walker from 2011 to 2019 before losing in the 2018 election.
Kleefisch is eyed as one of the Republicans likely to launch a challenge to incumbent Gov. Tony Evers in the 2022 gubernatorial race.
According to Taylor County Republican Party chairman Mike Bub, Saturday’s event had one of the largest turnouts in recent memory with 116 people in attendance for the dinner. In addition to Johnson and Kleefisch, 7th Congressional District Rep. Tom Tiffany also was in attendance as well as state representative James Edming, state senator Jerry Petrowski and local elected officials.
While the event was going on indoors, a handful of area residents picketed in the parking lot with signs supporting president Joe Biden and critical of Johnson and Tiffany.