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POLITIFACT: Josh Mandel Says Sherrod Brown is Responsible for Ohio Jobs Moving to China (PANTS ON FIRE)

PolitiFact Ohio – This is about Josh Mandel. But with your indulgence, we must tell you about Sherrod Brown first.

Brown is one of the U.S. Senate’s most ardent critics of this country’s foreign trade policies. An Ohio Democrat, he says he supports the ideal of free trade, but adds that poorly drafted trade agreements and weak enforcement of trade rules have let China and other foreign countries step all over American businesses and workers.

His backup? China’s lax labor, safety and environmental standards. It’s minuscule wages that make it attractive for manufacturers seeking cheap labor. It’s currency manipulation that keeps its export prices artificially low. All of these make it harder for American companies with a domestic workforce to compete, Brown says, yet make China attractive to companies that want to cut labor costs, especially for low-skilled hourly workers.

Trade is Brown’s signature issue. He has voted against trade deal after trade deal — with South Korea, Panama, Colombia, Central America, Mexico and Canada and, most importantly here, China. So anyone who follows Brown had to appreciate a recent political jab by Brown’s Republican opponent in this year’s Senate election, namely, Mandel. Mandel, currently Ohio’s state treasurer, said in a news release on March 1, when he announced he was actively campaigning for the Senate:

“Make no mistake — Sherrod Brown is one of the main D.C. politicians responsible for Ohio jobs moving to China.”

When making a time-for-change-in-Washington argument, Mandel shares a common gripe. But when saying Brown is one of the main Washington politicians responsible for Ohio jobs going to China, he relies on facts that fall apart and is left with generic rhetoric.

Mandel deserves a nod for his chops in trying to co-opt Brown’s signature issue. But to steal a competitor’s theme, you’ve got to be right. We find Mandel’s claim was overly broad; dead wrong in the case of his most concrete backup examples and, overall, just not accurate. It was bold. It was audacious. But put under a microscope, it turned out to be ridiculous, which is a requirement for heating up the Truth-O-Meter. Pants on Fire!

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