We have heard a lot about Ron Johnson, from Ron Johnson, since the Tea Party People backed him as the surprise Republican Candidate, opposing Russ Feingold for one of Wisconsin’s US Senate seats.
Following I have tried to verify what Mr Johnson has been saying about himself and the policies he supports, and to correct the record if he has been a little less than forthright in his statements. RJ is what Mr Johnson says or portrays, while FC are conflicting fact checks.
RJ --A message that Ron Johnson continues to pound out is that he is a “self made entrepreneur”, who made his millions of dollars with his company, Pacur, the old fashion way – with hard work.
FC – Actually, Mr Johnson made his fortune in an even more old fashion way – he “Married Right” !!
Research on the web found this excerpted information by Jud Lounsbury .
“Pacur was actually a spin-off company of another plastics company called Curwood, which was co-founded by Howard Curler (Ron Johnson’s father-in-law) in 1958.
Howard Curler a giant in the plastics industry, led a merger with the Bemis Company, but stayed on as president of Curwood. From 1978 to the early 1990s, Howard Curler would be CEO of Bemis. (Today, Howard Curler’s son, Jeffrey Curler is president and CEO of the Bemis Company.)
Howard Curler’s other son, Pat Curler, headed-up the spin-off company, which started in 1977 and was named PACUR, as a shortening of Pat Curler’s name. For many years PACUR’s only “client” was “selling” plastic products to parent company, Curwood.
In 1979, when Ron Johnson was 24, he accepted an offer to join his wife’s family’s plastic business, moved to Wisconsin, and worked in the PACUR company under his brother-in-law, Pat Curler.
The reality is that Ron Johnson lucked-out by marrying Howard Curler’s daughter, but that doesn’t make him an entrepreneur and a business-dynamo, that makes him lucky.
So here’s two incontrovertible facts about Ron Johnson and PACUR:
- PACUR was founded in 1977 in Wisconsin by Pat Curley
- Ron Johnson and his wife (Pat Curley’s sister) didn’t move to Wisconsin until 1979
So if PACUR was founded in 1977 in Wisconsin and Ron Johnson didn’t move to Wisconsin until 1979, how could Ron Johnson have “founded” PACUR ??? “
RJ – Ron Johnson has said in debates with Russ Feingold that he doesn’t need a 2600 page document on providing Health Care for his Pacur employees, and that his employees have the same coverage he has.
FC – But according to Lisa Kaiser, Mr Johnson must have forgotten that some of his employees and their families are actually on the State Run Badger Care, and that the coverage Pacur supplies to its employees may have deductibles and co-pays too high for those who work there and don’t make the millions that Mr Johnson makes, as a number of the employees have had their wages garnisheed for health care bills they could not afford, and obviously their policies did not cover.
Excerpted from Ms Kaiser’s article:
“Wow. For an allegedly self-made multimillionaire plastics manufacturer who worships the free market, Ron Johnson really knows how to use government programs to his advantage.
Now I’ve just found out from the state Department of Health Services that PACUR has five adults with ten children on BadgerCare, the state-subsidized health insurance plan for low-income workers.
But I thought that Johnson had the same insurance as all PACUR employees?
And I thought that Johnson doesn’t want the government to intervene in the free market, because that would mean the government is picking winners and losers?
And that Johnson wants to repeal health care reform because free market solutions are so superior to reforms that involve the government? “
Also on the same Health Care topic, Scott Bauer wrote ….. (excerpts)
“Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson, who has campaigned against government subsidies to business, employs up to nine prison inmates at his plastics factories whose health care costs are paid by the state, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.
Public records show that Pacur Inc. and Dynamic Drinkware LLC, two companies run by Johnson, employ up to nine inmates at a time through a state Corrections Department jobs program.
Johnson's companies offer private health insurance to the regular employees at the Oshkosh factories. But Melissa Roberts, an executive assistant with the Corrections Department, said the companies don't have to cover the inmate workers. "The benefit is that they don't have to pay health benefits," she said.
Health industry statistics indicate that companies spend an average of about $10,000 per worker a year for insurance.
"Instead of employing hardworking Wisconsinites he's employing prisoners," said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate. "It's another example of him taking advantage of government programs to help his bottom line. It's the height of hypocrisy for someone who claims to be a job creator." “
RJ – Ron Johnson has campaigned hard on a theme that government subsidies to business interferes with the free market. Portraying himself as the “self made millionaire”, he has maintained that he and his company has never been subsidized by the government.
FC – A little research by the Post Crescent has found that Mr Johnson’s memory on government aid for him and his company may be a little fuzzy. Following excerpts show that Ron Johnson’s company know how to use government help to raise money at discounted rates, and receive outright grants.
“But a plastics company co-founded by the Republican received its own form of aid decades ago, county documents show.
Pacur LLC received $4 million in low-interest loans in the 1980s to buy equipment and expand its plant, according to Winnebago County documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The loans were part of a state-run program in which tax-free bonds are sold to investors and the proceeds lent to a company at low-interest rates.
Pacur benefited from the program twice. The company, which makes plastic packaging materials, won approval in 1983 to receive $1.5 million through the sale of the special bonds. About two years later, the Oshkosh company was approved to receive another $2.5 million.
On the campaign trail, Johnson criticizes subsidies, saying it should be up to customers — not the government — to pick winners and losers in the business world. He also told WKOW-TV he never asked for government aid for his business.
Feingold's campaign said the bond documents call into question the integrity of Johnson's campaign, especially after Johnson opposed extending unemployment benefits and spoke out against the stimulus bill.
"What we learn through all this is, government assistance is great when it's for him and not for anybody else," said John Kraus, a spokesman for Feingold's campaign.
"Tax-free bonds allow a borrower to borrow at a lower rate," said Andrew Reschovsky, a professor of applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "That's a subsidy from normal borrowing."
Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies Inc. received the money in 1979 to build a railroad line to the company, which was renamed Pacur several months later.
It's hypocritical for Johnson to criticize government aid to private companies when his own company received federal help, said Deirdre Murphy a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “
SO HOW DO YOU RATE MR JOHNSON’S STATEMENTS AND POLICY POSITIONS?
B) KIND OF TRUE
C) SOME TRUTH
E) IF HE REALLY BELIEVES WHAT HE SAID --- JUST WHAT IS HE SMOKING
(NOTE TO READERS: IF THE FORMATTING OF SOME OF MY POSTINGS SEEM WEIRD, IT IS BECAUSE I HAVE TO WRITE IT OFF LINE AND POST IT TO THE BLOG SITE -- AND IT HAS ITS OWN MIND AS TO SPACING AND FORMATTING)