Sunday, March 20, 2011

UW economist says 20,000 jobs will be lost because of Walker's budget

A University of Wisconsin economist projects that Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget will lose the state more than 20,000 jobs over the next two years (from
An estimated 21,843 jobs will be lost over the next year or two as public agencies and workers are able to spend less in their communities, said Steven Deller, a professor of applied economics who studied the ripple effects of Walker's budget-repair bill and two-year budget proposal.

"That's not just a bump in the road," Deller said. "That's a speed bump."
This projection comes as sad news, for both the state and Scott Walker. During his campaign and throughout his reign as governor, Walker has maintained he would create more than 250,000 jobs for the state through his radical budget proposals. A loss of 20,000 jobs is definitely a big jump in the wrong direction.

However, the goal of 250,000 jobs is also unrealistic -- it would effectively end unemployment completely in our state.

Still, if Walker wants to even strive for an unrealistic goal, he's going about it in a terrible way. By removing revenue and simultaneously giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations, state agencies won't be able to invest in Wisconsin communities -- and in turn, in Wisconsin workers.

But that's precisely Walker's plan: he doesn't want any government involvement to aide in the creation of jobs whatsoever. He isn't concerned with preserving jobs that already exist, especially if they're a result of government investment. No Republican is -- even GOP House Speaker John Boehner said "so be it" when it was suggested his national budget proposal might kill government jobs.

The answer to our economic and unemployment problems isn't for the government to create a slew of jobs -- doing so comes with creating an artificial economic recovery, one that might stave off real recovery longer. But investing in communities, putting capital where it might help municipalities to create long-term opportunities that go beyond the original investment, is a viable option for fixing the economic mess we're living in.

Budget cuts are necessary, but cutting the budget while slashing your source of revenue is dangerous (as Walker did with $140 million in tax giveaways to wealthy corporations). It won't do anything to lessen your deficits. Try likening it to a personal credit card -- to properly cut your bill, you need to stop spending as much but also continue paying your bills (indeed, stopping the flow of "revenue" towards your credit card bill will result in a higher balance). You can still spend with your credit card as well, if you do so responsibly; but you still need to pay into your bills to make things work, to lower your personal "deficits."

Scott Walker isn't spending Wisconsin's "credit card" wisely. He's cutting services, spending, and investment into our state's economy, which would bring the deficits down...if he wasn't so dedicated to bringing down revenue as well, again in the form of tax breaks for wealthy businesses. Walker needs to rethink his economic initiatives, consider who it is who needs to benefit from them, and be open to more options that increase revenue to the state of Wisconsin.

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