Friday, March 29, 2013

The Walker Agenda Is Imploding, Er, Still Working! Parts CLXXI, CLXXII And CLXXIII

Earlier in the week, Scott Walker sent his lackeys in front of the Joint Finance Committee to put a heavy spin on just how bad the job numbers really are.

Basically, what they did was use the same math that Teapublicans use to count people at their rallies to show that Walker's agenda is creating a lot of jobs.  If five people show up at a Tea Party Rally, they claim it was 20,000 people.  Likewise, Walker's people said that if the state created three part-time minimum wage jobs, they'll claim they created 100,000 jobs, all bringing in six figure salaries.

As if the desperate spin put on things by Walker and his henchmen was enough of an omen that things were going to be bad, the sheer hysteria exhibited by the usual apologists and propagandists was enough to make anyone afraid.

Sadly for Walker, a bit of reality hit the same day that he was trying to convince people things were on the upswing.  It was found that Wisconsin was not only 44th in private job creation, but was 48th in economic activity:

Believe it or not, this was Walker's good day too.

On Thursday, the bottom dropped out from under Walker's agenda of austerity.

Not only was it confirmed that Wisconsin did indeed drop to 44th in private job creation, but it was hammered home that this is down from being 11th during Jim Doyle's final year and from 42nd after Walker's first year.

Even more significant and more depressing is that wages also sunk like a rock:
But wages in Wisconsin fell faster and harder than most of the nation. When ranked by the percentage change in all private-sector employment, Wisconsin average wages had the 45th-worst ranking out of 50 states.

In the manufacturing economy, where Wisconsin has a disproportionate share of its employment, Wisconsin's wages also dropped more than national wages did, ranking 46th in terms of the change from September 2011 to September 2012.
But it was also reported that something did go up in Wisconsin thanks to Walker's agenda - the unemployment rate, to the tune of a full half a percent in the past two months:
Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 7.2 percent in February from 7.0 percent in January, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates released today by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
As to why Wisconsin's economic and job numbers are failing as much as they are, Walker of course had an excuse:
Asked Thursday about new numbers showing Wisconsin lagging in job growth, Gov. Scott Walker pointed to the uncertainty he said business owners felt because of the political tumult that rocked Wisconsin early in his term.

Meanwhile, his critics said the governor's policies had created a drag on growth.

"The first year we had a lot of protests in the state," Walker said, during an appearance in Milwaukee to promote business growth in the city. "We had two years', almost, worth of recalls. A lot of employers here I think can relate to the fact (that) uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges for employers big or small or anywhere in between. There was a lot of uncertainty. The good news is that's passed."

Shortly after he took office in 2011, Walker and the Legislature essentially ended collective bargaining for most public employees. That sparked heated reaction inside and outside the Capitol and led to an unsuccessful recall election challenge by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in June 2012.
Gee, the protests ended two years ago and the last recall election was ten months ago. That's plenty long enough for any effect that they might have had to have disappeared. Besides, Walker himself had said that the jobs would show a "dramatic turnaround" after the elections:
Walker blamed the state’s employment woes on the recalls, saying
employers are hesitant to add jobs during times of political uncertainty but that there would be a “dramatic turnaround” after June 5.

“There is a tremendous enthusiasm built up for additional jobs,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a tremendous takeoff.”
So what was the real cause of the steep nosedive for Wisconsin's economy and jobs?

For that, we can just go to the numbers like Michael Rosen did:
Wisconsin’s economy continues to be among the nation’s worst performing. A new report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that between 2011 and 2012 the state ranked 41st in nation in personal income growth.
The single largest contributor to this dismal performance was the dramatic decline in state and local government income, the direct result of Governor Walker’s austerity economic policies (See table 3).

Wisconsin’s state and local government employees’ incomes shrank by $529 million dollars, a 2.55% decline. Only Louisiana under the leadership of Tea Party favorite, Governor Booby Jindal, experienced as steep a decline according to the analysis.
Jack Norman put it even more succinctly:
"The only question is, 'Why are we doing so poorly?' " said Jack Norman, former research director of the left-leaning Institute for Wisconsin's Future. "The plunge in job growth, compared with other states, coincides exactly with Scott Walker's time in office. This is no mere coincidence. . . . Act 10 led to large cuts in public workers' take-home pay, which was a blow to the state's economy."
Gosh, now who'd have thunk that? Oh, wait, that's what we've been saying all along.  You take millions of dollars out of circulation and ensconce it in the bank accounts of a few already very rich people, and this is what is going to happen.

Sadly, the Democrats have continued to turn their back on Labor and not one response thus far has even mentioned Act 10, much less pointed out how that law has led to our economic woes and will have to be permanently revoked before the economy can be kick started again.

 Talk about blown opportunities.

Until they recognize the facts before their face and realize the importance of raising up the working class instead of just offering more corporate welfare, they will not be able to win and they will not be able to change the economy around.


  1. "You take millions of dollars out of circulation and ensconce it in the bank accounts of a few already very rich people, and this is what is going to happen."

    Not to nit-pick, but a billion+ would be more accurate. I was at a union meeting when I first heard about ACT 10. I turned to the guy next to me and asked how many public employees in the state. He wasn't sure, but we knew WEAC with just under 100K was second to AFSCME in number. Add in all the other various state unions and non-union public employees and you have to be close to 250,000 taking a hit of an estimated $6000/year resulting in $1.5 billion sliced out of the economy. My jaw dropped and I said something like the state will never recover from that. You can give all the corporate tax break and incentives in the world, but if folks don't have money to spend...

    It's about time the direct relationship between public employee's income cuts via Act 10 and Wisconsin's sinking economy are starting to receive the attention of the main stream press.

    1. If you're a teacher pulling in $75K+ with full benefits and you "don't have money to spend..." You have the problem. Not the taxpayers.

    2. It doesn't matter how much you make. a 6 to 10 percent cut in take home pay is significant. If you would like to experience that why don't you tithe or increase your donation 5 times your current rate to your church for a year and see how you do?

    3. If your a teacher pulling $75k then your one of about 4 in the state...and probably mave your Phd and about 30 years of experience and about 5 extra duties

  2. Maybe killing high speed rail wasn't such a good idea. Walker killed that for political reasons.

    When Wisconsin suffers from a governor who is an ideologue and makes decisions based on archaic ideology, we end up with an economy that goes Backward.

    1. Exactly! The problem has never been uncertainty -- it's been certainty of an out-of-control winner-take-all political agenda. Apart (maybe) from a few favored insiders, what business wants to deal with that? There's a reason dictatorships are also economic backwaters while true democracies thrive.

  3. Walker never goverend and is listening more to outside intrests that have bought his attention and has caused thousands to suffer while this slimy prick is floating around the country believeing he can become the leader of america.If the the left does nothing constructive wisconsin will become more the like the guntotting southern states that belive more in their rights to have fucking m16 and moonshine to run their cars.wake up wisconsin and vote alford e nueman out of office in 2014

  4. Tell the truth Walker. The massive protests (with more than a hundred thousand protestors on several days) had a positive economic impact and fueled the state's economy for you.

  5. Lacking a viable Third Party option, the Dem's better get started cranking up their game. The states near equal split politically, will choose 'same old - same old' if a new direction is not articulated. The oldsters need to be brought on board to a new idea and that takes persuasion to get them out of their lazi-boys - as retirees, they have very little skin in the game.

  6. Anonymous #1's slurs against teachers spotlighted the HATRED towards teachers in Wisconsin that has been the centerpiece of Scott Walker's tenure in Wisconsin. Congratulations to the 10 teachers in Wisconsin who are working 60+ hour weeks, coaching 3 sports, to earn $75,000 per year in Walker's Wisconsin. That same teacher can go to any of the midwestern states that surround Wisconsin and earn more $$$, and have a bright future for themselves and their children.

    No wonder thousands of top notch teachers won't even consider a teaching career in Walker's Wisconsin, joining the thousands of mid-career Wisconsin teachers who have already left Wisconsin. Friends don't let friends teach in Wisconsin.