Saturday, April 6, 2013

For Republicans, ignorance is bliss: Jobs grew at faster rate BEFORE Walker became governor

WISGOP celebrates slower job growth under Scott Walker's tenure

The Republican Party of Wisconsin released a statement this week that aimed to do some major damage control on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker’s track record.

Walker, who was named loser of the week by UW’s Badger Herald, is under immense criticism for his failure to produce significant job growth during his first couple of years in office.

Currently, our state is ranked 44th in terms of private sector job growth -- a significant drop from the end of 2010 when our ranking was 12th in the nation.

But that didn’t stop WISGOP from touting Walker’s record -- at least, his record as they see it, from the perspective of their rose-tinted glasses.
In the three years before Governor Walker took office, Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs. Excessive taxes, out-of-control spending, and a large regulatory burden on our job creators hurled our state down the wrong path.
According to the Republicans, it seems, the losses in jobs were due totally to Democratic proposals by then-Gov. Jim Doyle.

But one thing is missing from the Republican press release: any mention whatsoever of the economic recession that occurred during that time.

In fact, the word “recession” doesn’t even appear in the release.

Not once.

The press release goes on to say:
While the Left may not like the way that Governor Walker and the Republican-led Legislature has turned our state around from the doom-and-gloom past that they created, they cannot argue with the facts at hand. We are headed in the right direction and we are moving Wisconsin Forward.
Emphases added.

Characterizing the state’s jobs situation as a “doom-and-gloom” creation of Democratic Party policies once again misses the broader picture: the entire nation, and in fact the world, was encapsulated in a recession. 

But that “doom-and-gloom” description is wrong for a second reason -- things were on the upswing before Walker took office. The Wisconsin economy was better, in fact, in terms of job growth and take-home pay, during the year before Walker.

In the last year of Gov. Jim Doyle’s tenure, Wisconsin gained more than 33,600 private sector jobs. That’s 2,800 jobs per month under the previous administration.

Contrast that to the last year for which data is available, September 2011 to September 2012 (the third quarter data that Gov. Walker frequently cites as showing “progress”). During that time, with Scott Walker’s budget fully enacted, Wisconsin gained less than 20,500 jobs, amounting to about 1,700 jobs per month.

Yes, we gained more jobs -- but at a slower rate than the rest of the nation, and indeed a slower rate than what we had before Walker came into the governor’s office.

What’s more, the jobs we gained under Walker weren’t as good as the jobs we had before he took over. The average yearly salary in December 2010 for a Wisconsin worker (the month before Walker became governor) was $43,420. In September 2012, the average Wisconsin salary dropped by more than $3,300, suggesting that the new jobs created weren’t getting money back into the hands of hard-working Wisconsinites. 

Under WISGOP's policies, job growth has slowed and income has diminished
How this can be seen as an improvement is beyond comprehension. But the Republican Party of Wisconsin still totes these numbers as if things are working.

While jobs did increase, Walker’s policies likely had nothing to do with them. Job growth in the state was on the way up before he took office, and has slowed since he and the Republican-led legislature have taken control.

If anything, this indicates that Republican policies are making it harder to recover in Wisconsin. Indeed, if we had kept going at the rate of job growth that Gov. Doyle had produced at the end of his term, we’d reach the 250,000 jobs pledge more than a full year earlier than under the current rate that Walker’s policies have produced.

I’ll say that again because it bears repeating: the promise of 250,000 jobs that Scott Walker had made as a candidate for governor has been pushed back by more than a full year since he’s come to office. We would reach that goal a year faster under the rate of growth that had been produced under his predecessor.

The Wisconsin GOP is hoping that you don't notice the slowing trend under Walker. They're hoping that you see an increase in job numbers, and see that as being good enough. But the facts are there for anyone looking: jobs were growing faster before Walker took office than they are now.

Whether the Republican Party of Wisconsin chooses to acknowledge that or not is up for them to decide. But omitting that information is key to their battle plan. In other words, Republicans in Wisconsin are hoping that you are ignorant of the facts.

That's not leadership. And it's certainly nothing to be proud of.

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