Monday, January 6, 2014

Walker's policies leave us wondering: could we have done better without him?

Economy was improving at a far better rate under his predecessor; other economic indicators show we're lagging behind the rest of the nation

It’s not uncommon to hear a remark during an election period, especially in one seeking to oust an incumbent, that goes along these lines: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

That line won’t work in Wisconsin, however, because some improvements have been made economically. Yet, our state lags behind the rest of the nation in several economic factors.

The improvements that we HAVE seen aren’t necessarily due to a local policy or set of policies, but rather may have to do with the overall economic improvements seen nationwide.

So, while the state has improved, we need to consider whether it was due to any “reforms” that Gov. Scott Walker implemented or not. With that in mind, it’s clear to see that Walker’s “successes” have failed Wisconsin’s working and middle classes, and as a result, the state has lagged economically.

The question we have to ask ourselves with regards to Walker & Co. is this: could we have improved faster with him and his GOP colleagues out of office, with other lawmakers in the seats that they have held? In other words, could Democratic lawmakers have done a better job than Walker and legislative Republicans?

All of the signs show that, while improvements were made in the past three years, they were made at a much slower rate in the state than they were nationally. In the latest QCEW jobs survey -- the standard that Walker INSISTED we go by prior to the recall election -- Wisconsin ranked 37th in the nation in terms of private sector jobs created.

When his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, left office, Wisconsin ranked 11th in the nation in that same ranking. We were doing pretty well with the recovery at that point. What changed?

Walker implemented a series of cuts to tax packages that benefited the working poor. He implemented Act 10, which one UW economist predicted cost us more than 20,000 jobs from being created. He’s recently made it harder for nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites to get insurance under BadgerCare, and he’s considering a plan that will raise taxes on those earning the lowest of incomes.

It’s no wonder that Wisconsin is behind, and ultimately will continue to remain behind under Walker’s watch -- without strengthening the consumer base, there’s no demand created, and thus no need for a substantial increase in jobs in the state.

In that regard, Gov. Walker has failed the state of Wisconsin. No amount of tax cuts for corporations or the wealthiest of the wealthy will create jobs the same way that helping the working and middle classes will. Until Walker realizes that, the state will continue to fall behind the rest of the nation, and we’ll still be left wondering: could we have done better?

1 comment:

  1. I do not have to wonder! I know we could have done better!