Ron Johnson, in slow start, has authored only one bill; We should all give thanks | WisCommunity

Ron Johnson, in slow start, has authored only one bill; We should all give thanks

Joe Tarr, writing for Isthmus, says our favorite senator, Ron Johnson, is off to a slow start.

He's been in office almost eight months now, but has only introduced one bill.

But it turns out that's a good thing. If his first bill is any indication, we should hope RoJo limits himself to one a year -- or one a term. We'll let Tarr tell the story:

The bill Johnson introduced would forbid U.S. agencies from implementing any new regulations until the unemployment rates drops to 7.7%.


In a press release announcing the legislation, Johnson's office wrote: "According to the White House, we're now into the third year of the Obama 'recovery.' But job growth is anemic, and companies are still laying off workers. You would think that Washington would be focused on job creation. Instead, the White House is intent on adding new layers of job -killing regulation."


Andrew Reschovsky, an economist at the UW-Madison's Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, says that idea "comes out of left field."

Actually, it comes out of extreme right field, but whatever.

"I'm stunned," he says. Reschovsky says the measure is bizarre given that the recession followed a financial meltdown that happened largely because of a lack of market regulation. "It shouldn't take a lot to convince people that an untethered financial system can be a disaster."


He says the bill is also disconnected from basic economics. While some regulations might make the cost of business more expensive, they don't affect whether there is a demand for a product or service.


"There have clearly been some silly regulations that make it harder to start a new business," Reschovsky adds. "But most of the regulations that might affect you and I starting up a business in Madison have to do with Madison and are not federal regulations anyway."

Then there's this: Johnson hides from the media -- and with good reason, judging from his recent performance on Fox 6 in Milwaukee, where he squirmed and sweated and talked a mile a minute, while answering a few simple questions.

Johnson's office declined repeated requests from Isthmus to speak with the senator about his goals and impressions of Washington, a city he'd never been to before being elected...


Johnson's efforts to avoid the press continued during his visit last week to Madison. Not only did the senator's office not announce his visit, but staff members at each of his three offices (in D.C., Milwaukee and Oshkosh) wouldn't or couldn't say where he was going to be on the trip.


It turns out he made three official stops. One was an appearance on Vicki McKenna's conservative radio talk show. Another was a fundraiser with the Young Republicans of Dane County at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Donations were $50 and up, and the event was closed to the media.


Isthmus caught up with Johnson at Access Community Health Center on Park Street, where the senator read to about a dozen children to highlight the Reach Out and Read program. Cornered by two reporters after the event, Johnson reluctantly answered a few questions outside the clinic.


He defended his call for a moratorium on regulations, saying, "I'm not anti-government. We need regulations. But it gets to a point where it starts to strangle the economy."

Apparently that is somehow tied to the unemployment rate. Who knew?


August 27, 2011 - 2:25pm