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The Republican Budget: Prosperity for whom? On Wisconsin — Walker’s wobbly job numbers

April 3, 2012

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).

GOP's Paul Ryan, Representative First District in southeast Wisconsin. Whose prosperity is he talking about?

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). “

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.”

Cartoon: Captain Walker throws public workers overboard. However, he may soon have to walk t (electoral) plank himself! Source:

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.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

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)

Wisconsin under Walker -- worst job performance in the nation. Losses in red at right. Click to enlarge. Source: Journal Sentinel, Craig Gilbert, March 15, 2012.

A comparison of job creation among Midwestern states during Walker's term.
Source: Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, March 15, 2012using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Click to enlarge.

Job growth comparison, Wisconsin versus U.S. as a whole. Source: Journal-Sentinel, Craig Gilbert, March 15, 2012, Revised U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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.


Employment data over past year using most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data (March 30, 2012 release):


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?).


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanne Kashansky permalink
    April 9, 2012 8:22 pm

    Are you kidding me!! At least the GOP has a budget proposal. Obama has failed to have his budget passed and in fact it was defeated unanimously with not one democrat voting for it. Progessives are dangerous and threaten the very core of our Constitutional existence. Socialized medicine and redistribution of wealth are socialist agendas that this president supports and embraces. I cannot believe that anyone can support that. Who is going to fund all the entitlement programs that we have in place now and the new ones we will have when he gets reelected. (Sad to say). Almost 50% of the people living in this country are not paying taxes now HELLO….America as we know it is gone and it will never come back. We are slipping and sliding towards socialism and 3rd worldism. It was not meant to be this way. Obama is a fraud on the American people and this is what happens when a dictator makes promises to the masses – they drink the kool-aid. I cannot believe that so many people don’t see it. It is so clear to me. Progessives are liars and say so many untruths. Liberals can say anything they want and they get away with it – Democrats can say horrible things about Repubican women and the biased media along with this president says nothing. If a Republican says something about a Democrat it is widely publicized and the Republican is taken to task for it. I am sick of the double standard. It is so obvious. My only hope is that this president is defeated in November and I will support whoever the Republican nominee is, It is our last hope for the preservation of this once beautiful country.

    We certainly disagree on what we want for our country!!!

    Take care Hank


    • Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
      April 10, 2012 10:42 pm

      I would agree with Joanne, that government is not doing what is should. Government unfortunately,has become the protectorate of the big corporations, big banks, big energy, big AGRI-bus
      and so forth. Basically we have a nation in which the majority subsidizes a wealthy elite. If you are so happy with the Republicans you might want to look back
      at the George W. Bush Wrecking ball–huge tax breaks for the wealthy, and a trumped up War. Even more serious the complete deregulation of the financial sector (started under Reagan) which led to the collapse in 2007-2008. Free enterprise is great; unfortunately we have a system owned and controlled by a relatively small number of corporations. The 6 largest banks collectively own assets the equivalent of 60% of the national GDP. No wonder they control the flow of capital. No wonder that small businesses find it hard to get a loan, while the biggest billion dollar crooks get bailed out. What do you think about a Supreme Court (GOP-nominated majority) that declares that corporations are people, and can donate unlimited amounts of cash to fund their candidates.

      Finally, i think we want the same thing. A prosperous country with a strong middle class and a vibrant democracy. Unfortunately, it is being stolen from us. Yes we have socialism, but its
      for corporate America.

      Joanne, do you know that I went to Rutgers and then the University of Wisconsin for a graduate degree. For Rutgers, I went on scholarship, no tuition. I was paid to be
      a graduate research and teaching assistant. Today’s aspiring young people are deeply in debt to loan shark companies for their college education. Tens of thousands of dollars
      in debt for an education.

      I could go on and on. But apparently, will not convince my old high school pal.

      But thanks for your continued efforts to convince me.

      Best, Hank

  2. Bonnie Lefkowitz permalink
    April 4, 2012 1:36 pm

    Excellent summary! Together with Obama’s April 3 speech provides lots of good ammunition to defeat Ryan’s Nearderthal plan.

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