Monday, March 5, 2012

Distortions in new Walker ad, part 1: job growth

Campaign ad misleads on a plethora of job claims made by Wisconsin governor

UPDATE (March 10): New job numbers are out that make the data below different. To read a new blog post on the updated numbers, click here.

A new Scott Walker ad is out, and it's full of the same old lies that the other ads have been notorious for.

It's beyond reproach that Gov. Walker would lie so blatantly to the people of Wisconsin. With graphics and selective wording that promotes his cause, Walker asks that you "help [him] oppose the recall" efforts by supporting his campaign.

Yet the ad, engrossed in so many lies and misleading statements, serves as a standalone reason itself why the governor deserves to be removed from office.

Though it gives the viewer attempting to view the it great headaches (at least this viewer), it's worth examining closer, line by line, to demonstrate just how baseless Walker's argument to stay in office really is.


Walker starts off the ad by stating the following:
In the three years before I was elected, Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs. We promised to help employers create jobs. Today, Wisconsin's unemployment rate, it's the lowest it's been since 2008.
As Walker states this fact, a counter next to him rises by tens of thousands of jobs being lost, labeled as "Under Doyle" in a red arrow above them.

What the governor is saying is a technically true statement: Wisconsin lost that many jobs in the three years before Walker took office. Yet this statement lacks significant context -- namely that the nation itself (and really, the world) was embroiled in an economic market crash that diminished jobs across the country, not just in Wisconsin. As such, the loss in jobs wasn't primarily Gov. Jim Doyle's fault (the way Walker makes it out to be).

The lowest point (in terms of number of jobs) Wisconsin got to during that time was in January of 2010, when we had 2,723,600 jobs. But Doyle was able to turn that around, to a high of 2,741,500 jobs total. Even by the end of his term, that number didn't diminish much, staying at more than 2.36 million jobs by the time Walker took office.

That's a significant jump worth noting: from December of 2009 to December 2010, Wisconsin grew by a total of 12,000 jobs, a lot more than what Walker can claim.

In fact, from December of 2010 to December of 2011 -- that is, the entire year of Walker's first year in office -- Wisconsin only gained 3,200 jobs, one-third of the number gained the year before under Walker's predecessor.

Remember: Walker was critical of the last three years of job growth. Doing worse than the last of those three years means that Walker should be critical of himself as well. Yet that's not the approach Walker takes; instead, he makes bold talking points about how he turned the state around from the "mess" he inherited.

But even THAT assessment isn't even accurate. Jobs that were created in the first six months of Walker's tenure -- approximately 38,800 -- were created during a time that Doyle's budget was still operating. As soon as Gov. Walker's budget came into play (late June/early July) and the law ending collective bargaining was in full-force (July being the first full month of its implementation), we saw jobs decrease dramatically, almost erasing completely the gains that had been made in the first half of the year.

Walker is essentially taking credit where it isn't due, exaggerating how he's been responsible for the economic turnaround the state has seen since the end of the national recession. What he fails to point out is that Doyle wasn't responsible for job losses in the state at that time, and that since his own (Walker's) policies were implemented we've gone downhill again (the only state in the union to do so for six straight months).

Nearly every time Walker touts himself as a leader for job growth in Wisconsin, it's a myth. The governor simply has not done a thing to grow jobs, despite his promises to do so during his campaign.


  1. Doyle lost jobs when the country lost jobs, but Scottie has managed to lose jobs when the rest of the country is gaining. But let's remember Scott Walker did what he said he would do. He changed the direction of Wisconsin. We were gaining jobs slowly but steadily just like the rest of the country until his policies kicked in. At that point the direction did indeed change from job gain to job loss. Congratulations.

  2. This fact sheet needs to go in all the Wisconsin newspapers and be an ad on television.