Monday, September 16, 2013

How to "succeed" at job creation, the Scott Walker way

Job creation claims by the Walker administration are crafted to look better than they are

Scott Walker’s book, the upcoming “Unintimidated,” should be a magician’s manual.

With all the smoke and mirrors he and his lackeys throw around surrounding his supposed economic successes, Walker really is the king of illusion. Or maybe delusion.

There are three especially callous ways in which Gov. Walker tries to swindle the people of Wisconsin into believing his bogus claims on jobs.

The first: he showcases surveys that are meaningless.

Take, for example, a survey that Gov. Walker touted showing that Wisconsin had jumped from the 41st best state in the nation to do business in to 17th place. That’s a significant gain...but without the context of how the rankings are crafted, it doesn’t mean much.

It means even less when the context IS given. The rankings in that particular survey ask more than 500 CEOs across the nation to rank states based on perceptions of states’ business climates...not their actual empirical rankings measured by data, but rather attitudes of people running companies. While such rankings can have some importance to them, they typically mean nothing when it comes to measuring or ranking states in meaningful ways.

Because Walker had been in the news quite a bit for his work against public unions, Wisconsin got a big jump in the rankings -- not for actually creating more business opportunities, but for implementing policies that CEOs liked.

The second way that the governor showcases his falsified credentials is by taking advantage of his predecessor’s job gains and claiming them as his own. In the 2012 recall, Gov. Walker claimed that his “reforms” were responsible for creating over 20,000 jobs.

But a closer look at the year in its entirety reveals that a majority of those job gains occurred while Walker’s budget wasn’t in play, when Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget was still in effect, and that a net loss occurred when Walker’s budget was implemented:

Another example of Walker taking credit when it wasn’t due is revealed in his tricky wording on unemployment numbers. Walker once said, “We went from unemployment at 9.2 percent when I decided to run for governor four years ago to two points lower.”

While technically true, it places the start of Walker’s barometer on jobs at a time when he wasn’t even in charge of the state -- when he simply decided to run for office, not when he was actually in office.

As PolitiFact Wisconsin points out, Walker is again taking credit for numbers that happened under Doyle’s watch:
Here’s the timeline:
-- From its 9.2 percent peak in June-July 2009, the rate fell almost monthly during the late stages of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s second term, dropping 1.4 points to the 7.8 percent mark in December 2010 when Doyle left office.

So exactly two-thirds of the drop Walker mentions happened on his predecessor’s watch.

-- After Walker took office in January 2011, the rate ticked down but was essentially flat for nine months before falling slowly to 6.7. Then it reversed course early in 2013, taking some of the luster off the positive trend. That left the total drop during Walker’s time at 0.7 points.
Emphases mine.

Lastly, Walker uses a third method of manipulating economic statistics that is highly overlooked -- that of crediting himself with job gains after significant losses have already occurred under his watch.

Earlier today, Gov. Walker tweeted a new “success,” that teacher jobs in Wisconsin had gone up over the past year. Citing a story from the Fond du Lac Reporter, Walker stated the following:

A growth in the number of teachers makes it sound like Walker’s reforms haven’t had an effect on the quality of education. But there’s a few problems there.

First, the number of teachers being hired is quite minimal from this year to last. A total of 156 net positions were added over the entirety of the state, a net increase of just 0.26 percent.

Second, those gains still have a long ways to go to make up for the losses during the years prior. Looking at Gov. Walker’s tenure alone, there was a 2.38 percent loss in teachers (PDF) from when Act 10 was implemented to the following school year. In other words, the small gains in this year’s hiring covers just barely a tenth of those losses.

Image from
Whether we look at the private sector or the public sector, Walker’s claims on jobs are highly inflated. While there has been some minimal growth, he has yet to match or surpass the last year of his predecessor’s job gains in any of the single-year job growth numbers he has produced while in office.

What’s more, the rate of job creation for Wisconsin has slowed significantly under Walker’s watch. Where the state once surpassed the national rate of job growth, under Walker Wisconsin’s job growth is now slower than the country as a whole (PDF).

He can play his games all he wants, even having his lackeys creating exaggerated commercials “thanking” him for bringing supposedly better business conditions in the state. But the people aren’t falling for the act -- Wisconsinites will know, come 2014, that Scott Walker has failed to make things better.

1 comment:

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