Monday, March 5, 2012

It's difficult to see how January's jobs report will be positive

Conditions for turning Wisconsin's economy around haven't been created under Walker's watch

The much anticipated January jobs numbers for Wisconsin are set to come out this week. Given the six months of continuous losses, many are hoping that January will signal a turnaround for the state, that we will finally see a change that will be congruent with the positive news on jobs seen at the national level.

Yet, given the path Gov. Scott Walker and state Republican legislators have carved out for us thus far, there's reason to be skeptical.

Don't misunderstand what I mean to say here: I'd LOVE to be wrong. If being wrong on my prediction means that more people and more jobs come into our state, then I'd gladly deflate my own ego and have egg on my face later on this week.

But the fact of the matter is that Walker & Co. has done zilch in producing the conditions necessary to grow jobs in our state (much less grow jobs themselves) since his budget passed in June. In fact, his reforms have caused more damage than anything else, preventing Wisconsin from benefiting from any positive swings seen elsewhere across the country.

Consider the Walker tax cuts for corporations. These cuts, numbering in billions of dollars of lost state revenue, have been touted by many Walker supporters as necessary for growing jobs. Yet that logic is flawed -- how would giving more money to businesses, whose sole goal is a growth in capital, encourage them to spend that capital to make more hires? The answer is it won't -- only demand will spur job creation, a factor Walker has failed to promote through either of his special sessions on jobs.

In fact, Walker has actually hindered demand through the most controversial bills he pushed early in his tenure. Though the major problem with Act 10 was that it removed collective bargaining rights for state workers, the economic portion of it (requiring said workers to contribute more of their income towards their pension and health care plans) reduced the amount of take-home pay they received.

That reduction in pay predictably diminished the purchasing power that these workers had in their communities, dwindling demand for products and services from businesses across the state.

Again, I'd prefer to be wrong here, would like jobs to increase in spite of basic economic models that show it's doubtful they will. But Gov. Walker is failing the state by removing incentives to create jobs and stifling demand.

Wisconsin needs more sound leadership to restore our values and get our economy back on track again.

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