Thursday, March 27, 2014

Walker won't reach his jobs pledge...or his 2010 opponent's goal, either

In spite of significant gains elsewhere, Wisconsin lags behind the nation, Midwest region, in job creation

Economists and political pundits alike all agree that Scott Walker will likely not reach his campaign pledge of 250,000 new jobs by the end of his term.

Since the release of the latest quarterly job numbers for the state, Wisconsin has seen a net gain of about 103,322 new private sector jobs since Walker took office. That represents a gain of about 4.5 percent over the past 2.75 years, which is second worst in the Midwest region.

Being unable to reach your own goal, which Walker previously called his “minimum,” is embarrassing enough. But if the current pace continues, Walker won’t even be able to reach the goal that his 2010 opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, had said he could have reached.

In 2010, while both were campaigning for governor, Walker made the promise to reach 250,000 jobs a pillar of his campaign. Tom Barrett, who had a more realistic approach to jobs, suggested that if he were elected he could generate 180,000 jobs in four years.

Currently, Wisconsin is on pace to reach 150,000 by next the end of Walker's term.

Gov. Walker’s jobs initiatives were such a failure that, not only did they fail to reach his own personal goal, but they also failed to reach the goal of his political opponent. 250,000 was the minimum Walker was going to accept going into his governorship. For Barrett, 180,000 was the bare minimum.

But Wisconsin, under Walker’s, won’t even reach THAT number. We’ll be lucky if we reach 85 percent of what was Barrett’s goal, or 60 percent of what was Walker’s promise.

There’s no way to tell if Barrett would have been more successful than Walker. His jobs pledge could have failed just as badly as Walker’s. Yet we do know this: Walker has failed miserably to bring about the jobs needed in the state. He’s the person who became governor, and it’s his policies that need to be held to account -- and he shouldn’t place blame where it doesn’t otherwise belong.

Yes, there have been some job gains, and we shouldn’t disregard that fact. But we should ask ourselves: did those gains come about because of Walker, or in spite of him? Wisconsin’s economy has only improved “at a rate considerably below the national average.”

That in itself should speak volumes about Walker’s leadership in our recovery, and about the possibility that while his statewide policies have hindered growth, national policies may have, ironically, allowed Walker to have some “cover” when it comes to his own jobs numbers.

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