The Republican Budget: Prosperity for whom? On Wisconsin — Walker’s wobbly job numbers
Part 1: Paul Ryan’s budget passes the House: Last week, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed Paul Ryan’s $3.53 trillion budget plan. The vote was 228-191 vote—no Democrats supported it and only ten Republicans voted against the measure.The bill has little chance of passing in the Democratically controlled Senate. Ryan is a Republican from the First District of Wisconsin located in the southeastern part of the state. He is now in his 7th term in the House despite his youthful appearance. Republicans must love this guy, he is now one of the front runners as the party’s Vice Presidential candidate. But as far as delivering jobs to his district, he looks .. vulnerable (see part 2 below).
What’s in the budget? Even though the Ryan budget is dead on arrival (DOA) at the Senate, it is critical to know the basics. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) touted the House-passed Ryan Plan as a “real vision” of what Republicans would do if they haled control of the federal government. Voters should be aware ofthis intention as Election Day 2012 approaches.
As the details of the budget emerged, it has become clear that the Ryan budget will not benefit the 99%, will not strengthen our nation’s economy, and will hurt the poor.
The Washington Post of March 20 editorial is entitled, ‘Paul Ryan’s dangerous, and intentionally vague budget plan.” “Mr. Ryan proposes a budget path that would leave government unable to fulfill essential functions. As Mr. Ryan wants to increase defense spending, there would be essentially nothing left for the rest of government — nothing for education, for highways, for veterans, for low-income families, for the FBI.” (underline added). “
A New York Times editorial on the same day puts it this way, the Ryan Budget “is one where the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened.”
The Center for American Progress adds: “The latest House Republican budget plan asks low-income and middle-class Americans to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while simultaneously delivering massive tax breaks to the richest 1 percent and preserving huge giveaways to Big Oil. It’s a recipe for repeating the mistakes of the Bush administration, during which middle-class incomes stagnated and only the privileged few enjoyed enormous gains.”
Part 2: The Wisconsin Connection: Paul Ryan is up for reelection in November. And Governor Scott Walker along with four Republican Senators will face a tough recall elections against Democratic challengers in June. It is important to draw the connection between Ryan and Walker because both have put forth budgets and that will throw safety net programs, education, public safety, and environmental regulation under the bus, while doling out tax breaks tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. According to the state’s non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (see recap), the tax cuts would diminish the state’s revenues by $2.3 billion over ten years, the reduction made up by reducing programs vital to the public.
Job Growth, Feeble: One of Walker’s campaign signs: “Wisconsin, Open for Business.” But does it work? As the following graph shows. The numbers in Wisconsin don’t look very good at all. Here are three graphs featured in an article by Wisconsin’s leading newspaper the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel — all of which belie Walker’s campaign pledge to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. The job loss shown for Wisconsin is especially lame when compared with other Midwestern states and the nation as a whole. As far as Ryan’s own job numbers — nothing to write home about. His home city of Janesville, has an unemployment rate of 10.3% and his county Rock, has an unemployment rate of 9.7. Moreover, the two other large cities in his District Racine and Kenosha have unemployment rate of 12.3 % and 9.9 % respectively (February 2012 data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally adjusted, See Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Press Release of March 28, 2012)
We note that a recent press release by the Walker Administration, touts a modest job gain for the state. However, don’t be fooled. The most recent data as revised by the Bureau Data (March 30, 2012) shows a job loss of more of 17,200 jobs from Feb. 2011 to Feb. 2012 for the state. (See Table). Not much to brag about, especially given the positive job growth for the U.S. as a whole during the same picture. Pretty nervy of Mitt Romney to come to Wisconsin and blast President Obama’s positive job growth as a failure. Apparently folks like Romney and Walker are not constrained by the facts.
Education and Jobs: Apparently folks like Walker and Ryan don’t understand the connection between education and quality jobs. Maybe they think that laying off teachers, increasing class size or cutting back on arts, etc. will make Wisconsin an attractive place for families with school-aged kids and companies that want to attract professionals? (Or is that the 1% don’t really need public schools?).