Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rep. Gannon wrongly blames MKE Co for state's jobs woes in racially charged rant

Wisconsin Republican makes lofty claims based off of racist insinuations

State Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) is at it again.

Last month Gannon alleged that a gunshot in East Towne Mall could have been prevented if the area had allowed concealed carry on its premises.

“A gang banger in the mall with a gun is going to think twice if there could be a law abiding CCW holder standing behind them fully prepared to shoot center mass,” Gannon wrote in December.

He took it a step further, however, saying that because Wisconsin didn’t have the death penalty, it was up to citizens to arm themselves and “help clean our society of [the] scumbags” in our state.

Gannnon apparently has more controversy to dispense (beyond encouraging citizen gunslinging in Wisconsin). On Wednesday he published a press release (PDF) that alleges crime in Milwaukee County is responsible for the state’s jobs woes overall.

“Milwaukee is ranked the sixth highest city nationally in per capita murders by Forbes,” Gannon writes, “which makes it obvious that our largest urban center, is the anchor holding back the ship of state as far as jobs is concerned.”

If that logic doesn’t make much sense to you, don’t worry: Gannon explains himself.

“A large number of these crimes [occur] in mainly black neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods with the worst unemployment rates in the state,” he writes.

He adds:
What employer will build or expand when they fear muggings, carjackings, attempted murder, or other serious criminal threats to their employees? One cannot ignore the correlation between jobs and crime...
Gannon makes it explicitly clear that he’s blaming African Americans (and crime in Milwaukee neighborhoods) for the jobs shortfall in this state. His racist implications are on full display for everyone to see.

The statement is despicable enough on its own, but the facts also fly in the face of his assertions.

Milwaukee County is doing pretty well, all things considered, when it comes to private sector jobs growth. Could it do better? Yes, and Gannon is right on one aspect of his rantings -- the unemployment rate for black residents is appalling.

But it’s an appalling rate that’s seen statewide, not just in Milwaukee County as Gannon claims it is. The failures of black unemployment in Wisconsin are failures that exist everywhere, not just in the most populated city in the state. It is wrong to place the blame solely on Milwaukee.

What’s more, the violence in Milwaukee County, while a major problem that needs to be fixed right away, isn’t driving away jobs. The yearly rate of private sector jobs growth in Milwaukee County (1.2 percent) is similar to the rate seen statewide (1.3 percent), which places the county at the median for all counties Wisconsin.

In other words, while half the state’s counties are doing better than Milwaukee in producing a higher rate in jobs, half the state is doing worse than the county overall.

Additionally, Milwaukee County accounted for more than 16 percent of the net jobs growth in the state over the past year as well, a good rate to have considering that the county has 16 percent of the state’s population base.

More new businesses are being created in Milwaukee County. In fact, Milwaukee County saw 1,175 net new businesses spring up over the past year, an increase of total businesses in the county of about 4.9 percent.

Contrast that to Washington County, where Rep. Gannon is from. That county saw an additional 93 net new businesses from June 2014 to June 2015, a yearly rate increase of only 3.1 percent.

Here’s a statistic that Gannon also neglects to mention: when it comes to new business creation, Milwaukee County’s rate increase ranks sixth in the state. Washington County ranks 28th overall.

If you look at the total net number of new business establishments seen in the state of Wisconsin, you’ll also notice that Milwaukee County is responsible for most of them. More than a quarter of net new businesses in the state sprang up in Milwaukee County.

So it’s clear that Bob Gannon is wrong -- when it comes to jobs, Milwaukee County isn’t dragging the rest of the state down. If anything it’s propping it up more.

Crime is truly a problem in Milwaukee County. It needs to be seriously addressed, and soon. But blaming the rise in crime for the state’s jobs problems is diverting the problem away from what’s the true culprit: a failure by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, including Gov. Scott Walker, to drive demand in the state.

When individuals are more able to purchase products and services, then jobs growth will follow. But Walker and his GOP allies, including Rep. Bob Gannon, refuse to acknowledge how the laws of supply and demand actually work. Wisconsin, meanwhile, suffers more for it, and not just in Milwaukee County.


  1. Good catch. I added onto this to note that Dane County is belting Washington County around, while many overly white rural counties are losing jobs. Wonder why Gannon doesn't talk about that?

  2. Gannon is right Milwaukee is disaster of bad roads, heroin/fentanyl deaths, human trafficking, car theft, crime wave, worst schools. Run by white, liberal, male, racists that care little about central city.