Monday, August 10, 2015

The Kochs Have Chosen The GOP Nominee: Scott Walker


The Koch brothers have settled on their ultimate puppet for the GOP nomination, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (They seem to have made a deal with Adelson to put Rubio in as his running mate.) That's how a plutocracy works. The billionaire class Bernie Sanders has been railing against calls the shots and the rest is just bread and circuses for the masses. 

Last week, we saw how Walker's poor personal financial choices and his record of criminality have been completely overlooked by the Koch network, eager to get a craven lapdog of their own into the White House. They're also overlooking Walker's horrible record as governor-- not just the social divisiveness, but the failure on every economic front as well.

Walker's ideology-driven policies and agenda have put Wisconsin's GDP growth and personal income growth way below the national average, and job growth in Wisconsin has been anemic. In 2013 Walker's economic policies dragged his state down to 49th among the states in growth. Forbes, far from a progressive bastion, made it clear that Walker's Wisconsin is one of the worst states to do business in and projected that Wisconsin would be second worst in the country through 2016, and the cost of doing business is 0.7% above national average.
They based their ranking on the following criteria and ranked Wisconsin as follows:
#35 in Business Costs
#39 in Labor Supply
#30 in Regulatory Environment
#29 in Economic Climate
#43 in Growth Prospects
#10 in Quality of Life
So, according to Forbes, Wisconsin is at #43 for "growth" prospects... Walker gave $2.3 billion in new tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, while cutting the pay of teachers and union members because it would "create jobs."
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin's biggest newspaper, endorsed Walker and is often sympathetic to his policies and willing to overlook his failures. Back in March, though, a column in the paper by Marc Levine, a professor of history, economic development and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin, ripped Walker's economic dysfunction to shreds. The performance of the Wisconsin economy," he wrote, "has been the subject of some truly outrageous political spinning over the past four years."
Who can forget when Gov. Scott Walker deceptively claimed, on the basis of preliminary and ultimately revised data, that Wisconsin was responsible for half the entire nation's employment growth in a particular month-- an especially ironic episode since Wisconsin's rate of job growth significantly trailed the national rate during all four years of Walker's first term.

Wisconsin has consistently ranked in the 30s and 40s among states in the rate of annual employment growth since Scott Walker became governor in 2010, a major fall-off from the last year of the much-maligned Doyle administration, when Wisconsin ranked 14th. As I documented last year in a study, not only has Wisconsin's rate of employment growth consistently ranked toward the bottom of states since 2010, but all of the net job growth in Wisconsin since the end of the Great Recession has been in low-wage occupations, in jobs paying less than $12.50 an hour.

Over the past four years, the state's economy has consistently lagged behind the national economy on key economic indicators. Since 2010, both Wisconsin's GDP growth and personal income growth have trailed the national rate. And employment growth in Wisconsin has underperformed the national rate by a staggering 50%.

It has not always been this way. Between 1990 and 2010, employment growth in Wisconsin (19%) closely tracked the national rate (19.6%). In 2010, the year before Scott Walker took office, the rate of employment growth in Wisconsin was 40% higher than the national rate, thanks to an infusion of federal funds and the effects of the national macroeconomic stimulus.

And now, while the Wisconsin economy continues to stagnate, the national economy is accelerating, with job growth during the final months of 2014 and early 2015 approaching the impressive rates of the 1990s. Wisconsin's pace of job growth continues to lag far behind the national rate; in 2014, according to the latest BLS numbers, employment grew in Wisconsin at less than three-quarters of the national rate.

For Wisconsinites, the imperative is to rectify the policy mistakes of the past four years-- excessive tax cuts for corporations and the rich, massive cuts to K-12 and higher education, and cuts in middle class purchasing power-- that have precluded our full participation in the national recovery. Pretending that the Wisconsin economy is surging, when all evidence is to the contrary, will not help move the state forward.
There is virtually no sensible reason for the Koch Empire to back Walker, other than to get control of the reins of power. Walker's zombie-like agenda-- cutting taxes on the most wealthy, saying disingenuously that it would spur job creation and innovation, dismantling collective bargaining for public employees, opposing a minimum-wage increase and equal-pay legislation, refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and passing a scam right-to-work law-- has left Wisconsin with a $2 billion shortfall and a 5.2% unemployment rate.

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At 4:22 PM, Anonymous SadOldVet said...

The last paragraph explains precisely why the Koch brothers want Snotty Wanker to be president and do to the country what he has done to Wisconsin. Massive debts = excuse to cut services to the working classes, elderly, and poor. Higher unemployment = more desperate workers willing to work for less and take more abuse from their employing masters.


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