Steady job losses under Walker’s budget: predicted and predictable
Let’s take a little walk down Memory Lane. Last March 18, I said:
“Sucking money out of local economies all over the state is not an effective way to grow jobs. What it really does is diminish the capacity of those economies to create wealth for most of the players involved in them. It makes the pie smaller. The hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue cuts being absorbed by counties, municipalities, school districts and public employees across Wisconsin through smaller paychecks won’t be redirected to other purposes in those communities. They’re just going to be gone. Taking more out of employee paychecks isn’t going to make your taxes go down. The poor will be poorer, services will be diminished, college tuition will be higher and some of the money that used to recirculate around your community will have disappeared like a corporate bailout.”
Two days later on March 20, we saw the same thing repeated in a Wisconsin State Journal report, with a genuine economist doing the talking:
“Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to balance the state budget by cutting spending and public workers’ take-home pay will slow the state’s economic recovery, according to projections by a UW-Madison economist. An estimated 21,843 jobs will be lost over the next year or two as public agencies and workers are able to spend less in their communities, said Steven Deller, a professor of applied economics who studied the ripple effects of Walker’s budget-repair bill and two-year budget proposal.”
Fast forward to now and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Thursday that Wisconsin lost 11,700 private sector jobs last month:
The state lost an estimated 11,700 private-sector jobs in November from October, the deepest since April 2009 when the nation was in the throes of the recession, according to the Department of Workforce Development. The figures are based on a monthly government survey of employers and adjusted to smooth out recurring seasonal factors, such as winter-related slowdowns in construction or holiday hiring by retailers.
All told, the state lost an estimated 14,600 non-farm jobs when the losses in the private sector are combined with the losses in the public sector.
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Wisconsin has lost jobs every single month since the Walker budget began in July and we now know that Professor Deller may have been low on his estimate of job losses last March. In fairness, we can’t attribute every job lost to Walker’s policies any more than we could give him credit every time a net job is gained. But if I’m Scott Walker, I’m plenty concerned about nearly 35,000 Wisconsin jobs turning up AWOL in the first five months of the “It’s Working” budget. It’s working, alright — and tens of thousands more people aren’t.
The facts: Wisconsin’s job totals aren’t comparing favorably to what is going on in other states and around the nation. It’s been nothing but net job losses in the Badger State in every month since the Walker budget took effect in July. The supposed property tax bonanza of hundreds of dollars per homeowner isn’t showing up for most people. Keep in mind that Walker also had the advantage of a two percent cut on Social Security payroll taxes this year to counterbalance some of the negative impact of his policies. It’s a tax cut that his GOP friends on the Hill are having trouble supporting for the coming election year because they’re afraid that President Obama will get the credit for it. Here’s hoping that some wise men show up in the east by Christmas.
Facts are stubborn things and millions of dollars of advertising claiming that “it’s working” won’t change the impact of many hundreds of millions of dollars missing from Wisconsin’s local economies, along with tens of thousands of jobs. It won’t change the fact that in the face of an underperforming economy, the Walker administration had to press many more tens of millions of dollars in cuts less than four months into his first state budget. It’s no wonder that more than a half million people have already signed petitions for a chance to stuff a lump of coal into Governor Walker’s stocking barely more than 10 months into his term.
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Analysis shows how Walker budget is costing Wisconsin jobs: