Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is an “enterprising state” according to the Chamber of Commerce. They even invited him to share his wisdom in DC last week at an event they call “America’s Small Business Summit”. An enterprising state is one that embracing right wing ideology, based on the premise that tax cuts will lead to growth, jobs, and general greatness. And no doubt, an “enterprising state” is led by a Governor who promised to create 250,000 jobs, as Gov. Walker did.
Given that these are their ideas, you’ll be shocked to know that the Chamber’s own study placed Wisconsin dead last for short term job growth from September 2010 and November 2012, exactly following Walker’s tenure.
Wisconsin is 44th for overall economic performance and 39th for business climate, which the Cap Times points out is “on par with the state’s ranking under Gov. Jim Doyle”.
You have to wonder why the Chamber invited Walker to DC to represent an “enterprising state”. On top of coming in dead last for job growth, there will be more job losses coming as Wisconsin companies are laying off large swaths of employees — totaling 1,000 anticipated job losses.
• Fidelity National Information Services Inc., the financial technology company that acquired Metavante Technologies Inc. in 2009, told state officials it plans to cut 301 employees when it permanently closes its operations in Milwaukee. The company closed its Madison offices in 2010, eliminating 157 jobs.
• Cleveland-based Eaton Corp. announced it will lay off 130 hourly production employees and 33 salaried employees at its Pewaukee Cooper Power Systems Division facility as it outsources production to Mexico.
• Baraboo-based Foremost Farms, one of the state’s largest dairy cooperatives, said it is closing a cheese plant and idling another plant indefinitely, resulting in more than 100 employee layoffs.
• BuySeasons Inc., an Internet costume retailer in New Berlin, laid off dozens of workers across various departments.
Those layoffs followed the news that Caterpillar is eliminating up to 300 positions at its Milwaukee-area factories by June. Combined, you’re looking at close to 1,000 job cuts over the past month, many in well-paying positions in financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and retailing.
Some of these companies are chasing even more tax cuts and cheaper labor in other countries.
There will always be another state/country offering cheaper labor and government handouts to corporations (see runaway film production as an example). And that’s just one reason why this model doesn’t work. It doesn’t encourage businesses to grow, put down roots, and compete in their markets – it encourages them to hop from state to state looking for handouts, and then hop from this country to another country looking for an even bigger handout. In effect, Republican ideology has turned American businesses into the “welfare moms” that the GOP demonize.
These exceptionally poor growth and job numbers are not an anomaly. We’ve been tracking Wisconsin’s consistent ranking as dead last country wide for jobs and poor business climate for years. Forbes named Wisconsin one of the “worst states” for business in December of 2012, while trying to claim that if only they were a right to work state, they would have performed better. Of course, Wisconsin was effectively operating as a right-to-work state at that time, so that excuse is intellectually dishonest.
In March of this year, Wisconsin plunged to 44th in private sector job growth (allegedly Walker’s area of “expertise”). Walker doesn’t like to use the standard measurement for jobs that would allow his state to compete without a handicap with the rest of the states, because his leadership is a proven failure under those measurements. Instead he wants to manipulate the standard measurements in order to mitigate his failure.
There will be no pulling himself up by his own bootstraps from Walker; instead, he continues to demand special treatment because his ideas can’t compete in a free market. The Chamber seems impressed with Walker’s “goals” for Wisconsin, which is sort of like saying it’s okay if someone never actually goes to work, so long as they keep talking about their dreams.
Walker’s relentless, consistent failure to bring and keep jobs and business in Wisconsin should serve as a deafening alarm bell for the country, because Republicans are selling nationally the exact same fix Walker enacted in Wisconsin.
If we allowed that to happen, American businesses would flee the country looking for the biggest handout, as they refuse to pay labor a decent, American wage because they feel entitled to get something for free.
That Republican policies are not good for state economic growth is no surprise. Tulane University economists James Alm and Janet Rogers of Nevada’s Department of Budget and Planning tracked 50 years of data on the impact of state tax and spending policies, from 1947-1997, and found that Republican governors are associated with lower rates of economic growth. Indeed, they found states that spend more have more economic growth than states than tighten their budgets.
The facts keep pouring in. The current Republican idea of “free enterprise” is a failure. It does not create jobs, in fact it kills American jobs. It does not create competition or incentivize big American businesses to grow. It has created a lazy, entitled class of welfare corporations, draining America dry with their demands for more freebies, while killing the mom and pops who are forced to “compete” with big businesses that are being subsidized by the government.
Republican ideology is imploding upon itself, revealing a greedy, lazy, entitled class of government dependent entities previously known as “big business” in America. These entities are so used to being given handouts that eventually can’t function in America any longer. They have to keep moving, chasing the biggest handout, until they end up in other countries, because they expect to get free “stuff” like cheap labor and welfare, aka, tax “subsidies”. Subsidizing big business to this degree is called “rewarding failure”.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.