In the past year, Illinois added 40,300 jobs, Michigan added 32,300, Minnesota 22,700 and Iowa 11,900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And Wisconsin? It had 6,800 fewer non-farm jobs in April 2013 than April 2012.
That Scott Walker’s economic policies continue to fail is an intolerable fact to the right-wing machine, which hopes to export the governor’s anti-union, pro-corporate, public-service-slashing ways to other purple and blue states, until all 50 “laboratories of democracy” resemble Mississippi.
So what do you do when the numbers show that your Golden Calf may not be worth praying to?
The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which one-third of Wisconsin legislators belongs to, ranked the state 15th in private-sector job creation, even though official data shows it’s actually 44th.
Coming up with its own fudged numbers, the conservative MacIver Institute claims that Walker is more than halfway to his pledge of creating 250,000 jobs. “Wisconsin has 137,372 more private sector jobs than when Governor Scott Walker first took office in January 2011, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Institute president Brett Healy announced in April.
The Capital Times‘ Mike Ivey kindly calls that claim “statistically flawed.” How close is the Badger State to Walker’s pledge? Ivey reports that “Wisconsin has 64,500 more jobs in February 2013 than it did in January 2011.” Not even a quarter of the way to the promise, even though Walker has been in office for more than half of his term.
It’s impossible to hide the real data that shows the Wisconsin GOP’s economic plan just isn’t working. It’s in the bottom 10 percent in wage growth and last month it was 49th in job creation. But austerity isn’t the only destructive conservative policy that Walker’s Wisconsin is illuminating for the rest of America.
The state has become a petri dish where we can examine exactly how the right is perverting democracy on the state level to create a society where corporations write their own laws that keep workers isolated and dependent on the whims of their employers. The dangers of dark money groups, conservative manipulation of the media and gerrymandering should all be put under the microscope after the disaster for workers in Wisconsin.
Much is made of Scott Walker being able to easily defeat a recall despite directly assaulting the labor movement. However, his victory didn’t show the popularity of his policies, but instead the unpopularity of recalls and the power of out-of-state money funneled into the state by dark money “social welfare” non-profits like the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (AFP). The “non-political” group spent $700,000 supporting Walker.
The documentary Citizen Koch documented how AFP swept into Wisconsin to sway the election with ads, mailings and phone banking. It was supposed to be shown on PBS but was pulled after it reportedly offended David Koch, who had been a PBS donor.
And though Walker won his second statewide election just months later in November, Wisconsin supported President Obama over Mitt Romney by about 7 percent and state Democrats won 174,000 more votes than Republicans. Despite winning far fewer votes, Republicans held a 60-39 majority in the state assembly. This is the result of the sort of careful redistricting practiced by both parties and perfected by Republicans after the 2010 election.
What are Walker and his Republican cronies doing with this “mandate?”
Enacting a series of laws that push the state even further to the right. New tax cuts that go mostly to the rich, kicking more than 80,000 Wisconsinites off Medicaid and a law mandating transvaginal ultrasounds before a woman can end a pregnancy.
“I don’t have any problem with ultrasound,” Walker told reporters. “I think most people think ultrasounds are just fine.”
Walker has no problem with the government mandating the forced penetration of a woman with a wand. This is a guy whose whole message is to get big government out of your lives. But he’s just fine with it being in your vagina, since only women have those things.
But Walker isn’t just supporting legislation that targets his political opponents. And this is why conservatives love him so much that he’s a serious frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination: Walker doesn’t miss a chance to take revenge on his opponents.
This week Walker nominated Joshua Inglett, a University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering student, to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Two hours later he rescinded the nomination. Why?
Inglett signed the petition to recall Walker.
Of course, Walker didn’t admit that was the reason the nomination had been withdrawn. The governor’s chief of staff told Inglett that they believed the nomination couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation. Senate Republicans, including the majority leader, said they would have supported the governor’s nomination whomever it was.
“It’s really up to the governor,” Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) said. “If he wants him off, it’s not going to happen. If he wants him on, I’m sure it would have happened.”
Inglett says he didn’t vote in the recall and only signed the petition to support his mother, a teacher. The student has started his own businesses and is active in local Platteville civic activity. But he dared to challenge Scott Walker.
And what’s government for but to reward your friends and punish your enemies?
Photo: Ky_Olsen via Flickr.com