Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) is a conservative hero with a record of taking progressives and unions in a state that went for Obama and beating them twice. He’s cut government, taken away worker protections, supported government-mandated ultrasounds and empowered the private sector, making him the Republican insiders’ favorite for the 2016 GOP nomination.
His only problem is, his economic policies continue to fail — miserably.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has ranked the Badger State 49th in its 50-state Leading Index report for April. With an index rank of -0.74 percent, Wisconsin was one of only five states to show contraction.
Experts do not read much into one month’s data. This index — which factors in average manufacturing hours, unemployment, wage trends and building permits — often shows a wide margin of error. The state has been especially rocked by the national decline in manufacturing.
However, Walker doesn’t really have any positive economic data to point to. Since he took office, his state has fallen from 11th to 44th in job creation. Wisconsin’s wages are also declining at twice the national level.
Walker’s new budget — which reads more like a campaign document than a plan to create jobs — offers a tax cut that mostly benefits the rich and sucks public funds into private ventures, in the form of school vouchers.
The governor is also rejecting Medicaid expansion and using the Affordable Care Act exchanges to kick 87,000 Wisconsinites off his state’s Badgercare program.
Meanwhile, his promise of creating 250,000 jobs looks less and less likely to happen.
Austerity seems to work about as well in America as it does in Greece. Maybe losing the recall was the best thing that could have happened for Wisconsin’s progressive movement. Walker’s job creation record is speaking volumes about attacking the institutions that helped create America’s middle class.
AP Photo/Seth Perlman