Wisconsin Primary Reveals Outsourcing as a Dominant Campaign Issue in 2016

Wisconsin: The campaign leading into Wisconsin’s pivotal presidential primary is revealing a remarkable agreement that global trade pacts negotiated over the last twenty years are one of the chief causes of declining economic opportunity for American workers. Only John Kasich, projected to come in last in the Republican primary, has campaigned in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Federal and state tax breaks and economic development policies which give public aid to companies engaged in outsourcing are also coming under fire.

The campaign dynamic in 2016, and a growing public backlash against the economic policies of the past twenty years, has pulled the four leading presidential aspirants in the same direction. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump led with outsourcing from the beginning of their campaigns, and have pounded away on the issue as they crisscrossed Wisconsin. In response, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz have taken stronger and stronger positions against TPP. Hillary Clinton has taken the most specific position on public aid to companies who outsource, proposing the “clawback” of tax benefits.

This implications of the striking rebuke of current American economic policy by candidates across the political spectrum is significant both for the fall elections and for future economic policy.

It is no surprise that outsourcing is a red-hot issue in a manufacturing state like Wisconsin, which according to state and federal data has lost a net of 111,000 manufacturing jobs since the passage of NAFTA.

The path to general election victory goes through industrial states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where voters of all political persuasions believe that the availability of good jobs has been devested by the rigging of the economy through global trade agreements that benefit multinational corporations at the expense of workers.

In Wisconsin, TPP is already a major issue in the U.S. Senate race. Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson, a long advocate for global trade deals, is under attack by challenger Russ Feingold for trying to remain neutral on TPP.  

In addition, state development policies which aid corporate outsourcing will likely become a major issue in Wisconsin state legislative races. There have been a series of outsourcing scandals involving Governor Walker’s privatized jobs agency, WEDC. In the State Senate and State Assembly Democrats introduced bills to limit economic development support to companies engaged in outsourcing which were defeated in party line votes.

“Outsourcing is a red-hot issue. Presidential candidates in the Wisconsin primary are tapping into a growing public anger at elected officials and corporate leaders who have conspired to rig the economy against average people by aiding and abetting the outsourcing of jobs,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The public is on to the fact that political and corporate establishment are committing economic treason against Wisconsin workers. The public is also increasingly realizing that if the economy can be rigged against workers, it can also be re-rigged in our favor through policies that expand economic opportunity.”

Media Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org



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  • commented 2016-04-05 16:48:31 -0500
    Thank you, Senator Sanders for bringing the American people into the light on how we’ve all been played by the ones we entrusted and elected to do us all right. Politics and chosen candidates aside, credit is solely due to Senator Sanders, his tireless truth-telling, outspoken, fearless commitment to his fellow American brothers and sisters.😆