Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The 250k promise

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Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker promised that, if elected, he would create 250,000 jobs. The promise has attracted some silly attention from the political left who point out Wisconsin has about 250,000 currently unemployed.

Barrett’s communication director, Phil Walzak, countered that the mayor has a proven record of attracting and retaining jobs, including the Republic positions.

“Tom Barrett is the only candidate in the race for governor who has worked directly with business to create and bring jobs to Wisconsin,” Walzak said.

If Walker were to achieve his goal of creating 250,000 jobs, he would erase virtually all unemployment in the state. There were 250,900 unemployed people in the state in December 2009, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

That means Walker would be slashing the unemployment rate to a fraction of a percent, a “laughable” prospect, according to liberal group One Wisconsin Now.

“Instead of coming up with a detailed economic recovery plan, Walker simply pulled a number out of a hat,” said Scot Ross, the group’s executive director. “His choice of a number reveals how little he knows about the Wisconsin economy.”

Maybe a few Democrats ought to be sent back to remedial economics classes, or else they should have actually looked at the situation before criticizing.

While I agree that it’s silly to promise that the government will create the jobs, David Ward, president and founder of NorthStar Economics and a former finance professor, says 250,000 jobs isn’t unreasonable even if state government does little to change business conditions.

“Two hundred fifty thousand jobs sounds like a big number, but when you spread it out over four years and you know you’re down 180,000 jobs from the recession, you can do it,” Ward said. “But there aren’t any magic wands out there. The key thing is you can do it if the global and national economies move in the right direction.”

As the article in WisPolitics points out,

The winner of the governor’s race this year should benefit during the first two years of his term from what state economists are already projecting to be a significant rebound from the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

Add even modest growth during the final two years, and the next governor could be in the neighborhood of 250,000 more jobs over his first term without doing much to change the state’s business climate.

And as Brian Fraley of the MacIver Institute points out in his discussion with Scott Ross of the self-described partisan organization One Wisconsin Now,

As for his goal equaling the total number of reported unemployed, two things. 1) You assume no population growth over the next five years? That’s sad. See, people will move TO Wisconsin if there are jobs here, it’s a novel concept and 2) Jim Doyle is governor for another 11 months. If his global warming bill passes, the state will continue to shed jobs until the day those anti-business measures are repealed.

I would add two more points: 1) the number of underemployed, and 2) the number of those idle but no longer seeking work. Plenty of room for growth in this state if only government would get out of the way.

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