Libertarian business exec: Walker doesn't create jobs, I do. | WisCommunity

Libertarian business exec: Walker doesn't create jobs, I do.

[img_assist|nid=128874|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=155|height=262]Down in the ranks, the followers of modern right-wing political ideology really do feel like victims. But the leaders of today's authoritarian movement in Wisconsin and across America are more cynical than that. Mostly, they portray themselves and their followers as victims because it's a proven, useful tool to incite the base while promoting a return to this country's disastrous era of laissez-faire regulation.

A solid example of this kind of thinking was thoughtfully provided today by Tim Nerenz, president of the Oldenburg Group, a Wisconsin-based defense contracting, mining, and lighting equipment firm. He spoke at Saturday's Americans For Prosperity-sponsored "It's Working Wisconsin Town Hall" in Waukesha. [See my previous post here for details on the event.]

Nerenz has been involved in Republican politics and ran in 2010 on the Libertarian Party ticket against Democrat Tammy Baldwin for Wisconsin's second congressional seat. A prolific blogger, he lists Ayn Rand's uber-libertarian novel, "Atlas Shrugged," as his favorite book. He makes his firm's workers attend sessions to read "Prosperity 101," a nationally concocted, right-wing screed against unions and progressive policies, with the not-so-subtle implication that workers had best get busy supporting conservative political causes or face the consequences. Closed shop, anyone?

Nerenz has some other strong views on American society and government, and he was not shy listing them in his remarks to the Waukesha assembled. 

Go to the URL below for the full transcript. Me, I was most intrigued by Nerenz's political slip in saying Gov. Scott Walker has, and should have, just about bupkiss to do with job creation in this state. Because, you see, in the Nerenz view of the world, government is incapable of doing anything but interfere with private business, not ever helping it except by standing aside in a regulatory-free stance and letting the titans of industry battle it out for fun, profit, and maybe even a job here or there. Which view may be just in time to help save Walker's butt as it becomes increasingly clear his pledge to create 250,000 jobs is not going to happen.

The highlighting is mine. Nerenz:

You may have read about the Wisconsin company that just signed a 5-year deal to build Chinese products here. Man bites dog.

That is our company; those are our factories and our employees; I’m just the guy who did the deal.

Do you know what Governor Walker and the State of Wisconsin did to help us get that deal done? Nothing. Perfect. Thank you, Scott Walker.

In fact, there was no government participation on either side. It took only two days to work out the details – amazing what you can get done without lawyers and bureaucrats helping.

He adds:

And yet, there are those in this state that don’t want Wisconsin to be open for business; they want to go right back to the way it was.  At least I think that is what they want – I don’t speak drum. 

Uh, I'm not sure you speak English, either, sir. Because if you did, you'd have heard in plain words (and not just drum beats) the complaints that many tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens have with the way Walker is doing things, and with the comcomitant idea that businesses should be allowed to do pretty much what they want -- whether that's trampling our wetlands, digging multi-mile-long pit mines in our pristine forests, shipping jobs overseas or even just low-balling and mistreating the help.

Nerenz's parting shot: 

You can’t be for jobs and against the corporations that create them. 

But of course you can. You can be for good jobs, family-supporting jobs and for community-engaged and sensitive employers. You can be for all that and still be against corporations that do bad things. You can even run a business and be against business misdeeds, and in fact some business owners have spoken out in that very way. This simply is not a zero-sum game.

Indeed, it's even easier to be against corporations that only create jobs overseas while destroying them here. And it's easier still to be against financial investment firms, like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, which exist purely to buy up companies, milk their cash flow, and then discard them into bankruptcy, killing the jobs they once provided in communities across this country.

So, congratulations to Oldenburg Group for bringing some new work to Wisconsin. But, as Ronald Reagan said about another brand of dealmakers, we must not just trust, we must verify. Corporations aren't persons. Corporations use persons. Until that changes for the better, it's government's role to see that the use doesn't become abuse.


January 8, 2012 - 12:28pm