Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why you should ignore Scott Walker’s rosy economic outlook


Underemployment remains a problem in Wisconsin — and that’s why jobs numbers matter


Scott Walker is making much ado about the unemployment rate in Wisconsin. And at first glance, it does look pretty great. Here’s his latest radio address spot, courtesy of the Capital Times’s Jessie Opoien:
A 3.1 percent unemployment rate, again, sounds great. But there’s important things to remember here...first, that the unemployment numbers count people as employed even if they’re working part time.

There isn’t a reliable measure of part time workers that we can look at. So, it’s important to look at the underemployment rate also when we look at how much things have improved.

That rate, also known as the U-6 rate, is actually hovering around 7.7 to 8.0 percent, meaning that nearly 4 to 5 percent of the workforce that Walker is touting as employed isn’t getting as much work as they wish they could (full time). In total, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 100,000 individuals were involuntary part time workers in the state of Wisconsin.

This leads into the next point. In order to fix that problem of underemployment, there has to be new jobs created in the state, and frequently. This is true with any economy: a certain percentage of people, at any given time, want to be able to change career paths or just get a different job with a new employer. So, new jobs have to be created to keep up.

That’s not possible when new jobs aren’t being created. And with less than 12,000 jobs being created for all of 2016, it’s clear that Wisconsin isn’t keeping up with the demand for fluidity in the job marketplace.

It’s no wonder that millennials are seeking work elsewhere, as I pointed out earlier this month. Job opportunities are low, wages are dropping, and what job opportunities do exist are on many occasions part time jobs.

Scott Walker should be proud of the 3.1 percent unemployment rate. But that rate is hardly indicative of the overall economic picture. Voters should remind him of where the state really stands when 2018 rolls around.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Randy Bryce’s announcement ad is a powerful message — and Dems nationwide should echo it


Ironworker and activist hopes to win Paul Ryan’s seat


Ironworker and activist Randy Bryce has announced his intention to run for Congress. He faces a daunting task: running against the current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

But if any candidate is going to be able to put up a fight worth writing home about, it’s Bryce. His no-nonsense style of wit, along with his lifelong connection to southeastern Wisconsin, will make him a formidable opponent for Ryan, who has held the district since 1999.

And Bryce, in announcing his bid for the seat, has come out swinging. He released his first campaign ad to great fanfare yesterday (just search “Bryce” on Twitter to see the people who have lauded this ad). One noteworthy message of praise simply states that Bryce was “genetically engineered from Bruce Springsteen songs.”

But you should really see the ad for yourself. And then you should share it with whoever you can, especially if they live in the First Congressional District of Wisconsin.
Bryce’s ad is a moving and powerful example of what the Democratic Party should be moving toward. If that message ran in every district across the country, there’d be a gain in seats for Democrats in Congress, no question about it.

I look forward to seeing who comes out ahead on the Democratic Party’s primary in Wisconsin’s First District. But Bryce’s ad has me pumped up about the possibilities.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rename the City-County Building in Madison after Barack Obama


The building, which sits on MLK Blvd, would be incredibly symbolic of the 44th president’s importance


The City-County Building in downtown Madison should absolutely, without any reservation whatsoever, be named after the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Local leaders from both the city of Madison and Dane County are hoping to do just that, Madison.com reports.

Important names of presidents frequently adorn schools, buildings, and other monuments, and it makes perfect sense that the first African-American president should have his name on an official building in Madison — especially given its location. The City-County Building sits on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Madison.

It was King who spoke of “his dream” in 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. that justice would one day become “a reality for all of God's children.”

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal,’ King also said.

Contrast those words with Obama's 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, and it makes perfect sense to name the building after him.
[T]he greatness of our nation [is] not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 
For many people Obama is the embodiment of King's dream, though by no means is he the fulfillment of it. For too many, justice is not yet a reality; for too many, the color of their skin dictates how others judge them. The dream lives on, but we're closer to fulfilling it because of great Americans like President Obama.

We need to continue to rectify America’s racial prejudices, to call out when discrimination still rears its ugly head. And one way to do that is to place the names of important historical figures in the places we frequent, to adorn influential figures on the buildings we enter every day, who embody what we strive to become.

Naming the City-County Building after Barack Obama would be a great step forward. And it’s an idea I full-heartedly endorse.