UPDATE: Scott Walker, Wisconsin, And Unemployment…. Part 2

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From the Rush Limbaugh school of “Conservatism works every time it’s tried“… The Wisconsin files.

In August of last year, someone posted a critique of Republican / Conservative Scott Walker on facebook, and I wanted to check to see if the critique had merit or was just another silly politically inspired inaccurate talking point. As of August, the number of jobs created due to his Conservative policies did not match his target 250,000. This was my assessment at the time:

“When you go back to the beginning of the whole deal that put Scott Walker in the national spotlight in the first place, which would be the passage of the controversial “Budget Repair Bill” in March of 2011, the Wisconsin unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent. This chart shows the progress since. While there was some decrease in the first year, with march of 2012 hitting the 6.9 percent, there has been little improvement in the year and a half since. At this point, it’s easy to make the case that his policies are not matching the hype that surrounded them. “

While the state now sees an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, better than the 6.8 percent i noted back in August, Wisconsin’s pace of improvement has actually slipped a bit, going from 20th to 24th on the unemployment list. Wisconsin’s rate is only barely keeping track of the national average. If the Conservative policies that were put in place by Walker were making a real difference, they gap between the national averages and the Wisconsin averages should be increasing, not decreasing. The Walker experiment has been in operation since 2011. That is surly enough time for the effects to become apparent, if his policy changes were making a difference.

Yes, the state does show a balanced budget. But even that may not be a sure thing anymore, and the state may very well run right back into the red:

“””Madison — State tax collections are lagging both last year’s figures and expectations for this year, according to the latest state numbers.

The state Department of Revenue released tax collections for this fiscal year through April, showing that the state has collected $10.53 billion since July 1, down 0.2% from the same period in the previous year. The state budget has built in 1% growth for this year.

Falling short of that budget target could bring pain for the state, which is counting on its revenues continuing to grow at a modest rate….

The 2013-’15 budget remains balanced so far because year two of the budget is projected to begin on July 1 with a $724 million surplus in its primary account.

But because of the imbalance between the state’s expected tax revenues and its budgeted spending, the coming 2015-’17 budget has a projected shortfall, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports.

Estimates for the two-year shortfall come to $642 million. “””

So, once again, the idea that “Conservatism works every time it’s tried” just doesn’t hold water. Of course, the same is true if someone were to tell you “Liberalism works every time it’s tried”. How about we move away from absolutes, and find out which policies work, and which ones don’t.

NOTE: I didn’t notice this before, but I think it’s interesting that the first two states on the unemployment list are political polar opposites! Standing at number one is the very conservative state of North Dakota, with an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent. But lapping at its heals with a 3.3 % unemployment is Vermont, which is probably more liberal than lowly # 48 California.

UPDATE: Wisconsin is experiencing a nice increase in manufacturing. That said, the pay rate for those Wisconsin jobs is not keeping pace with the national average. That becomes a problem for the general economy and government revenue as the lower wages mean less money circulating in the economy, and less tax revenue generated for the public coffers.

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