By State Representative, Leon D. Young
There has been increasing talk in recent days from Scott Walker’s office about focusing on jobs training.
My first reaction to this 11th hour shift in strategy was … really?!!! Democrats have been harping about the need to create new jobs for 4 years, and have offered numerous job creation proposals during this session – to no avail.
After all, one of Scott Walker’s biggest (and perhaps most famous) campaign promises was his pledge to create 250,000 new private sector jobs during his first term.
Faced with yet another dismal jobs report for the state, Walker and the Legislature’s two top GOP leaders recently indicated that they will spend $8.5 million more in state money over the next year and a half to train state’s workers for in-demand jobs such as manufacturing.
Cognizant of his vulnerability on this issue, Walker continues to use a “shell game” strategy to deflect legitimate criticism. Instead of talking about job numbers, Walker is now working to call attention to an arcane economic index that puts the state in a better light than the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the gold standard for empirical data.
According to Walker: “Rankings that come out are typically based on quarterly numbers that come out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which are a six-month lag.
What we’re trying to look at is not six months ago … but where are we going to be in the next six months.”
What a bunch of malarkey and double talk!
Didn’t this governor promise to create 250,000 new private sector jobs and weren’t we supposed to reach this milestone in four years?
In truth, this governor has failed the vast majority of his constituents miserably.
Federal figures released within the last two weeks show Wisconsin has fallen to 34th in the nation in private-sector creation over the past year, and is 37th over the last two years.
In a separate set of economic data, the state Department of Revenue is now predicting Wisconsin will add about 31,000 jobs in 2013, calling economic growth in the state “moderate.”
Revenue I also predicting slightly faster growth in 2014, with Wisconsin adding about 40,000 jobs in that election year.
That would leave total jobs gains during the Walker’s first term at roughly 120,000 less than half of what Scott Walker had promised while campaigning in 2010.
Republicans never get tired of throwing President Barack Obama under the political bus, and constantly excoriate for his economic initiatives, which in their eyes, are responsible for slow recovery from the great recession.
But, in truth, President Obama’s stimulus package was the very medicine that helped to keep our economic house of cards afloat.
Moreover, one could argue that if it were not for the intransigence of House Republicans (a.k.a. – the Tea Party) the economy would be on the cusp of a complete recovery.
Scott Walker, on the other hand, has had no such impediments to reviving Wisconsin’s dormant economy.
His political party has controlled both houses of the Legislature since he assumed office; and yet our state continues to languish at or near the bottom in terms of new job creation.
There is no excuse for this sobering reality.