On his Wednesday call with reporters when the U.S Senate is in session, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown had as his guest on the call, Richard Rogovin , chairman of U.S. Bridge, a steel bridge manufacturer and contractor in southeastern Ohio.

The purpose of the weekly call is to address a topic Brown is engaged on, and this call was to discuss the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Brown is calling on Congress to restore to full strength to the bank that provides financing to help American businesses and manufacturers export goods and services around the world. Ex-Im is the nation’s official Export Credit Agency. Every major exporting country, with few exceptions, has its own export credit facility, including China and most of Europe. Brown and Rogovin support a fully-functioning Ex-Im Bank, because without it they said, American businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.

Brown, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, had been in committee before the call to hear from President Donald Trump’s nominees to serve on the bank’s board of directors. Economic populism plays well in today’s Trump-charged political climate, and Brown and his allies who have deep interests in maintaining Ohio’s manufacturing base believe jobs and contracts will be lost to foreign competitors.

Rogovin outlined the advantages a fully operational Ex-Im Bank can make to an Ohio-based manufacturer like U.S. Bridge, located in Appalachia Ohio, a perennially struggling region whose businesses need credit help to compete with foreign competitors and create economic growth. The company can in turn help the community surrounding it with the kind of credit help Ex-Im can deliver, as any economic development professional worth their salt knows.

“We are now bidding jobs in South America and western Africa and providing technology for new bridges in India,” Rogovin said in a media release from Brown’s office. “If we are successful, we can grow our company, provide jobs for American workers, and bring dollars and tax revenues back to the United States instead of sending them abroad for the benefit of our foreign competitors.”

When Rogovin was asked by Plunderbund to explain why John Kasich voted for Ex-Im as a congressman, but as governor and presidential candidate last year flip-flopped and said he was against it, his answer was telling. Back in June of 2015, Kasich lumped the Ex-Im Bank into his view of what constitutes corporate welfare. His reasoning at the time, based on what he told one reporter, is “that he doesn’t think the woman who cleaned his hotel room would want to spend her money the way Ex-Im does.”

“I’m not a mind reader, I don’t understand the things he does,” Rogovin told me on his understanding of why Kasich does what he does. The bridge company CEO said he had attended a Kasich fundraiser to invite the governor to visit the plant. What was Kasich’s response the the CEOs kind invite?

“I don’t do plants,” Kasich said to a member of his most cherished crowd, CEOs. The real bridge builder, Rogovin – not the fake bridge builder Kasich plays on TV because that’s necessary to glamor his otherwise hard-right thinking to fool moderate voters into thinking they can live with him – is looking to create jobs in counties strewn across a region Kasich has been challenged to visit someday before his term is up.

Rogovin said Kasich does indeed do plants, but much larger plants, when its political advantageous to do so, to keep his image as a presidential hopeful in 2020 burning for another three long years after he wanders off the political radar screen next year.

“What’s his reasons, I have no idea,” Rogovin said.

Brown On SCHIP:

Congress isn’t doing its job; the program expired on Sept. 30 and Ohio’s funding will run out before the year is out. Hundreds of thousands who have reliable insurance now will be in jeopardy; support is there, but House tea party Republicans are fouling the lines, and could block final enactment.

Brown is always bothered by members of congress with great healthcare insurance who are so cavalier to mess with others insurance, especially health insurance for children.

“It bothers me when members of congress with health insurance are willing to play this game with these families,” he said, noting that upwards of 80,000 Ohio families are now living with anxiety and anguish over what the future holds for them. He vowed to continue to ask key House chairman to “move on it,” or as Republicans say about why voters put them in charge, “to get things done.” I guess it’s all about which things get done. Letting SCHIP grow colder by the day through inaction is not right or smart thing to get done.

Brown On Dem Debate:

Brown was a special guest at the Sunday evening meeting of Ohio Democrats in Columbus, featuring a keynote speech by outgoing Virginia Gov. Terry Mcauliffe. Asked what he learned from the event, he surprised no one on the call, even joking about it. All four “impressed” him. His takeaway was the “big gap” that exists between how Gov. Kasich and allied Republicans see Ohio’s economy and what it looks like in reality. Brown, maybe the Democrat candidates themselves, must have read Plunderbund back in January, because he characterized the difference between Kasich’s onetime view of the economy as an “economic miracle” and the “economic mirage” the candidates see today. The same observation was cast here long ago.

He said the scandal happening now regarding for-profit charter schools, where billions of state tax dollars have and continue to be wasted and/or misspent, is disturbing and needs more discussion.

 

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