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  • An Inconvenient Wisconsin Truth

    A funny thing happened on the way to the recall. Government unions organized Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s (R) recall in retaliation for limiting their collective bargaining powers. But the Democratic candidate, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, barely mentions the collective bargaining law on the campaign trail. That is probably because—now that they have seen its benefits—most Wisconsin voters want to keep it. By a 53 percent to 38 percent margin, independent voters favor the limits on collective bargaining in government. It turns out that closing a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes or laying off teachers is popular after all.

    So Governor Walker’s opponents have instead attacked his handling of the Wisconsin economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts two surveys of the job market. One surveys households and measures unemployment; the other surveys employers and reports jobs losses and gains. Over the past year, these surveys have painted very different pictures of the Badger State’s economy.

    The household survey has shown a steadily improving Wisconsin economy. Since Walker took office, the state unemployment rate has fallen from 7.7 percent to 6.8 percent— well below the national average of 8.1 percent. The establishment survey has been much more pessimistic. It showed Wisconsin lost almost 34,000 jobs last year, more than any other state. Walker’s critics have used this statistic to argue that his reforms have failed.

    It turns out they were wrong. The Walker administration just released more accurate information from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). While the establishment survey samples 3 percent to 4 percent of employers in Wisconsin, the QCEW collects information on unemployment insurance (UI) taxes from almost every employer in the state. The Quarterly Census know exactly how many employees each business has, because they have to pay taxes on them.

    The QCEW is much more accurate than the initial establishment survey estimates. The BLS actually uses the QCEW to correct its initial establishment survey estimates. However, it takes about six months to compile the UI records for millions of employees, so everyone relies on the initial estimates until the revisions come out.

    Normally, the QCEW figures wouldn’t come out until June 28. The Walker administration released them early (as it is allowed to do). The revisions show that Wisconsin employers actually created 23,000 jobs last year. The Wisconsin economy is growing.

    Opponents of the collective bargaining reforms are howling that these numbers are cooked. They will have a tough time finding economists to back them up. As Brian Jacobsen, an economist with Wells Fargo Funds management, put it, “The quarterly (census) data is much more reliable. If that one’s showing job gains, that’s going to be tough to argue with.” And the civil servants producing these numbers are not exactly Walker fans. Dennis Winters, chief of the Office of Economic Advisors at the Wisconsin Department of Economic Development, signed the recall petition.

    Wisconsin’s economy has turned a corner. Both the household survey and employer surveys now agree: Wisconsin employment grew last year. The Badger State (and America) still has a long way to go. But opponents of limiting collective bargaining in government can no longer argue that these reforms are unsuccessful.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to An Inconvenient Wisconsin Truth

    1. Bobbie says:

      If people could just see the difference between a democratic governed state and republican run state! Then take note to the kind of people it takes to repair the damages democrats and unions cause.

      Martin Luther King wanted unions to protect the right to work, not compete against it to take it over. I don't believe he wanted time and energy fighting for the right to work without unions who've become so disgraceful and corrupt to the point of collapsing businesses thus resulting in unemployment. I believe he believed unions were there to protect the employee as government wasn't. Since then, government has drawn regulations in favor of the employee to which unions shouldn't be necessary in government and only by request in private businesses. I think he would be ashamed to witness the display of exploits through Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. If he were alive today, neither of these men would be so easily offended and wouldn't manipulate their weakness on the population of others. Hospital workers are going on strike. Gotta love those unions and pray for the patients who are compromised because of.

      God Bless the inner strength of America(ns!) God Bless the ability for those who stand weak to gain strength!!

      • Pragmatic says:

        "If people could just see the difference between a democratic governed state and republican run state! Then take note to the kind of people it takes to repair the damages democrats and unions cause. "

        Here is an article showing the amount of benefits received versus the amount of taxes paid by states. Notice that the democratic states are subsidizing the republican states.

        • Bobbie says:

          Come on Prago, if that were true the democrats would be screaming bloody murder to save face and irrelevant to my point…

        • Bobbie says:

          gee. I replied awhile ago. so sad it didn't post! But I do recall writing – if that were true, about democrats states subsidizing republicans states, we would have heard their screams long, long ago! Too late now! Anyone can take a bit of something and make it look like something it's not. It's become common in the over sensitive American government members of today. The truth is too hard for them to handle so they "change" it as the lesser of mankind would which leaves only the better of mankind uninfluenced by the lesser, the wiser…

    2. So Governor Walker was right and the progressive/liberal groups were wrong and that includes the media.

      Not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. Giving unions everything they ask for has never been a good idea and it never will.

    3. historianMI says:

      I have watched Governor Walker and his travails ever since the Dem/Union trashing of the Capital. The unions were bankrupting the state (and I believe they knew it). Walker had to step in and make changes, namely removing the prodigious fringe benefit packages, in order to prevent bankruptcy. He will survive the recall campaign, I believe, because the 2010 phenomenon is continuing. I have enough confidence in Gov. Walker and his policies that I have sent checks to his campaign committee twice even though I reside in Michigan. It is truly sad that the union institution has devolved, degenerated into Democratic political gangs, caring more about union policies and power than they do about the people of the state where they reside and even the workers they claim to represent.

      • gerry says:

        I'm a Democrat from the east coast. What I dont get is Walker's attempt to "get rid of" unions.

        Nothing wrong with negotiating fair benefits and if need be making them pay more for benefits but this is an assault on the existence of unions not merely a budget cutting program

        • saveamerica says:

          Government unions have become an insult to America. They manipulate minds to corrupt their purpose! Absolutely nothing wrong with negotiating benefits without the cost of the go between unions who make sure slackers are paid equally and without accountability…

          It's sad and deeply disappointing that anyone would look to pay unions while depriving themselves of what they can do on their own without unions' corruption and coercion through manipulation and all the expenses unions include…

    4. Nick says:

      In the past public servie employees were not allowed to form unions or strike, the sensible reeason being that it is harmful or even dangerous for e.g. teachers, police, firemen, subway drivers, passport and drivers license clerks, etc. to walk off the job. I believe it was that old socialist FDR who had the law changed.

      Time and again it has been shown that states by Republicans are more efficient and prosperous, and not subject to union blackmail. For example, according to the Wall St. Jl., when Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargainiong for state unions in 2005 the state became more efficient and responsive. The average pay for state workers actually went up and high-performing state employees were rewarded by pay increases and bonuses. The is of course anathema to unions, who want everyone to get the same pay irrespective of performance, the only exception being length of service. The teachers' unions, in particular, fight incentive pay for performance tooth and nail.

    5. Incredulous says:

      What is the statistical probability that the three to four percent sample size used to estimate the total employment results would get an estimate SO divergent from reality? The public sector employees (union members) who did the sampling should be fired for incompetence or (more likely) fraud. The statistical sampling and analysis work of the State of Wisconsin should be put out for bids from the private sector.

    6. EU news watch says:

      Wisconsin is a page out of the wish list schedule for the European Union member nations. They gave away the store to both private and government sector unions and now are paying the price for their inane Socialist underpinnings – whether via so-called Conservative, Socialist or of the Greenie stripe. The EU is headed for anarchy as the "stop the austerity" nut cases take to the streets. Will America take note of this eventual trauma coming to pass in Europe? I doubt it; as the lap-dog press feeds us the nonsense of our constantly improving economy taking center stage in their propaganda media pleadings.

    7. Guest says:

      Q. Why would any one in Wisconsin vote against TURN AROUND GOV. WALKER who in fact
      1) created 20,000 jobs as real census statistics show, who 2) fights for the secret ballot for workers and freedom of choice for workers to decide whether or not to join unions that automatically deduct from paychecks for whatever union bosses decide, 3) saved jobs, 4) created a surplus, and 5) generated extra funds that helped schools? Q. What percentage of union worker paychecks go to unions in Wis & can workers afford it today?

    8. Guest says:

      ALTERNATIVE Q. RE: WHY WOULD ANYONE IN WIS. VOTE vs. TURN AROUND GOVERNOR WALKER working diligently for worker rights, a surplus to improve conditions in the state, equal justice before the law?
      Q. If statistics prove he generated 20,000 jobs, preserved jobs, generated a surplus that benefits school and a rainy day fund, and promotes equal justice and opportunity under the law in Wisconsin, what other reason is there to vote against this 'just do it' governor who is not spending taxpayers in to oblivion and who is making it easier to do and attract businesses providing jobs to the state at no taxpayer expense?

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