Walker’s Job Promises: A Campaign Pledge That Won’t Be Honored

By YeOldeScribe ~ February 14th, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

Political Progressives has always been a joy for us to write. There is nothing we love more than covering politic, especially politics close to home. However,creating daily blog posts is not the cakewalk many people believe it to be – especially on top of a more than full-time job, other obligations, and life in general. A few weeks ago, we had to make a decision on if we could even afford to keep the blog going- in terms of both time and money. That choice turned out to be a lot easier than we thought – turns out due to our love for both writing and politics, we couldn’t afford not to.

However, we do have to make some changes in order to keep our writer sane (and employed!). So, as we re-start our little piece of the internet, we regret to announce that Political Progressives will be updating the page semi-weekly – aka twice a week – instead of daily. Perhaps some weeks we will get adventurous and post more frequently, but we will promise to give you some political goodness at least twice during a week. We’d love to do this every day… but the blog won’t happen if that’s the production schedule. This way, we’ll still be updating frequently, and our writer won’t go crazier than he already is.

One other thing we wanted to clear up… or I guess I should say “I” wanted to clear up. I use impersonal pronouns when I write the blog (we, us, etc) because I think it builds credibility and makes Political Progressive sound less like the rambling thoughts of some drunken moron on the interwebs. However, I want all of you to know that Political Progressives is a one man show. I do all the writing, commenting, publicity, and site maintenance by myself, with the help of WordPress. Maybe in the future I’ll have a Web guy and an updated site to boot, but for now, it’s just me – the guy in that snazzy suit at the bottom of the page. Hopefully this helps to explain why I’m cutting back a bit on production. Now, back to the post…

Scott Walker continues to amaze us. It seems like every time he does something stupid, we think to ourselves “It can’t possibly get any worse.” And yet the next day, it’s worse. We all know the economy is in the crapper, and we’re not blaming Scott for that. Obviously, the economy lurching to a stop is a problem for the National Government, which currently can’t get anything done because Democrats and Republicans are busy playing a high-stakes game of chicken with our livelihood hanging in the balance.

However, for those of you who might have forgotten, Scott Walker’s central campaign promise was that he would create 250,000 jobs by the end of his four years in office. He is quoted as saying that the quarter-million promise “a minimum, not a maximum.” Once again, we’ll be relying a lot on PolitiFact for today’s post. If you still haven’t checked them out, please do. And download their new app. Now, when you need to check the validity of your politicians, there’s an app for that.

Before we look into if Walker has kept his promise to the public, let’s take a look at the circumstances surrounding it. First, keep in mind that our nation is coming off of the worst recession our country has faced in the last 75 years. Now economies – like most things in life – are generally cyclical: they go up, they go down, and the story repeats itself. So after such a huge crisis, one would expect the economy to rebound – meaning more jobs. One economist (Terry Ludeman) believes that the 250,000 goal should be “a fairly moderately easy goal to hit – That’s where we should be, anyway.” Ludeman also notes that Wisconsin shed about 200,000 jobs during the recession; a standard recovery should restore that naturally and take the state most of the way to the 250,000-job target.

Also, Walker originally took credit for job growth in his first couple months of office – before any of his policies (including the very controversial Budget Repair Bill) even were put into action. As PolitiFact notes, “For instance, it’s hard to imagine that Walker’s inauguration alone led businesses to hire 10,100 people in January [of 2011]. Indeed, many of the job-related provisions passed in the special session of the Legislature that month took effect later.”

So while it’s no cakewalk, we hope that analysis puts his pledge into perspective. Now, has Scott kept his promise?

Nope. He’s well short.

We understand that Scott has a long time left in his term (or so he thinks). We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s able to serve out his term. If he does, he’s about 1/3 of the way through it. So that means he should be about 1/3 of the way through his promise and he should have created about 83,333 jobs, right?

Well, that is what it means. The only problem is Scott is a little short. And by a little short, we mean almost 60,000 short.

We do have to be honest – Walker started off hot and posted some good numbers right out of the gate. As we indicated earlier, we don’t particularly feel like he can take credit for those numbers, but we understand that’s the way things work in politics. But after Walker’s policies and decisions began to kick in and his impact was felt on the state, what happened? Did our state’s economy continue to rebound as Walker promised it would?

Nope. We fell flat on our faces – as our neighbors continued to grow.

This little graphic (brought to you by the Journal Sentinel and PolitiFact) shows pretty clearly what’s happened to our state’s economy as Walker’s policies have taken root. That’s six straight months of job losses. Almost all of the supposed growth Walker “created” is now gone, and things don’t really look any better, either.

Okay, but maybe that’s just the way the economy is heading, right? After all, we said earlier that these things are cyclical – you might think the rest of the country is probably doing just as bad. And you’d be wrong. Very wrong. The country as a whole is starting to rebound, and there’s growth in almost every other state in the Union – especially in other Midwest states. Yes, even Detroit is growing faster economically (at least in recent months). Wisconsin is only in front of Alaska when it comes to economic growth. So if Walker’s looking for a campaign slogan, we suggest he use (for the moment) “Hey, at least we’re not dead last!”

While we’re not going to declare Scott’s promise as broken just yet, it seems like the State he’s supposedly leading is headed in the wrong direction, and Walker doesn’t have a plan for righting the ship. The lack of jobs has created a lack of revenue for the state, and since Walker was planning on people having more money and not less, then this recent development throws a wrench in his “finely crafted” budget plans.

Judging by what happened last year when the State Budget needed “repairing”, it’s going to be an interesting spring in the Badger State.

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