Jobs from Shopko-Pamida deal a drop in the bucket compared to net losses in past six monthsGov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) are celebrating a recent merger between Shopko and Omaha-based Pamida that will result in 120 jobs created in its corporate headquarters in Green Bay.
And celebrate they should. Any creation of jobs in Wisconsin is something worth being enthusiastic about, a positive step within a grim economy that needs all of the jobs it can get.
The problem is, however, that for every moment of positive job growth in Wisconsin that Gov. Walker touts as proof "it's working," there's massive layoffs that cancel that growth out, or worse yet overshadow that growth, creating a net loss in the process.
In fact, since Walker's budget passed last June Wisconsin has seen more net job losses than any other state in the country during the same time period, beating out its nearest "competitor" by tens of thousands of net jobs lost. Wisconsin was also the second-highest state in terms of massive layoffs (those greater than 50 employees), with California being the only state beating us out in that category.
This is not an area that we want to excel in -- job losses are a serious problem, so much so that Walker himself, in his campaign in 2010 and in his first State of the State last February, singled it out as the most important issue we had to face. Now, Walker is gearing up for another election, and scheduled to deliver another State of the State on January 25.
What do you think he will say? What do you think he'll tout as positive growth, and what will he omit concerning the decline in jobs our state has endured?
Walker will undoubtedly make the case that his "reforms" -- namely tax breaks for wealthy corporations and changes in tort laws that hurt the consumer -- have created positive potential for our state to prosper, instilling the conditions needed for business to start hiring.
But if we were to accurately assess Walker's performance thus far, really take an objective look at the State of the State over the past year, we'd see his moves as working against job creation for Wisconsin, noting that what little gains we did have took place under the last months of his predecessor's budget.
That's hardly something to celebrate -- in fact, it's an assessment that demonstrates Walker's reforms are failing to generate much of anything except for larger pocketbooks for some of his wealthiest campaign donors.
Walker should be candid with the people of Wisconsin. He should admit his reforms aren't working, and come up with a reasoned approach to generating growth in our state.
But that wouldn't be Scott Walker's style, now would it?