Monday, June 2, 2014

Deconstructing and debunking the Guv on Gousha

Apparently our governor stepped out of his "closed event" shell and went on the Mike Gousha show this weekend. I won't watch the full episode because I don't need to feel nauseous tonight, but I did see Wispolitics' summary of the appearance, and immediately noticed some discrepancies between Walker's spin on things, and, you know, REALITY.

First of all, Walker is now trying to deflect his failing record on job creation by tying Mary Burke in with her former boss, Gov Jim Doyle. That's a sketchy enough comparison to begin with, because it ignores the fact that George Dubya Bush was president at the time, which screwed nearly every state in America in the last 2 years of the 2000s, but Walker doubles down on this sketchiness, and claims we also lagged the nation under the former gov.
And although Walker is unlikely to deliver on his pledge to create 250,000 jobs during his first term, he said voters will recognize that unemployment is down and below the national average. Walker called Burke "a step backwards," and criticized her jobs record.

"The only time in the last 25 years unemployment has actually been higher than it was in the nation was when she was working for Jim Doyle as the secretary of Commerce in charge of jobs," Walker said.
So what's Scotty referring to in his talking point? He's pointing back to the time period between January 2006 and October 2007, right before all the bubbles burst to start the Great Recession. In that time period, U.S. unemployment was between 4.4% and 4.7%, while Wisconsin's unemployment was between 4.6% and 4.9%, so technically Walker's claim is correct (and I expect Politi-crap to bail him out accordingly).

However, Walker doesn't mention that those 2006-2007 numbers are a full point below Wisconsin's current 5.8% rate, and it was before the numerous cuts to schools and local governments that have hamstrung the state for future growth and talent development. And the fact that Wisconsin's economy wasn't bubbling over as much as the rest of the nation ended up being a good thing, as steadying policies meant the state reached a high of only 9.2% in Summer 2009 while many other states (and the country) was soaring past double digits.

That unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% over the last 18 months of Doyle's tenure, and the Doyle-Dem year of 2010 beats any of Walker's three years for private sector job growth. Compared to the subpar performance we have now, and the lack of options to fix it once the next recession hits, taking "a step backwards" under Burke might be a wise move vs. going down the same road under Walker, which will likely take us off a cliff.

This lame dishonest Walker spin was then followed by something an even less legitimate claim.
Walker blamed uncertainty surrounding the recall, and the current election cycle, for lackluster job growth. He cited a recent survey that found 95 percent of Wisconsin CEOs believe the state is headed in the right direction, compared to 10 percent four years ago.

Walker also said the Affordable Care Act is a source of uncertainty that could prevent job growth. Walker was recently the target of criticism from U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin for making moves to shift about 60,000 BadgerCare recipients to the federal exchange.
Bullshit and bullshit. First, the "recall uncertainty" line can be debunked with this simple chart.

You see that, if anything, job growth flattened out after Walker was retained in the June 2012 recall election. And with the GOP regaining control of the Legislature in 2013, Wisconsin's private sector jobs growth was its lowest in Walker's three years.

Private sector job growth, Wisconsin
June 2011- June 2012 +39,800
June 2012- June 2013 +27,600 (decrease of 12,200)

Private sector job growth, Wisconsin (QCEW)
2012 +33,872
2013 +28,006

So it is provably FALSE that keeping Walker and putting the GOP back in full control of power freed up employers to hire and add jobs, as they did the exact opposite. The other claim is also ridiculous, as Obamacare signups started in October, so we have 7 months of nationwide job data to go over. And as you'll see, if anything job growth has picked up since the start of Obamacare exchange coverage, even with the polar vortex winter.

U.S. private sector job growth
Sept 2013- Apr 2014 +1.447 million (+1.26%)
Feb 2013- Sept 2013 +1.278 million (+1.12%)

Again, it is provably FALSE that Obamacare is slowing down job growth in the U.S. In all these cases, few reporters have these numbers in front of them to refute Walker's deceptions and lies, which enable the average viewer to shrug and not know.

Lastly, it wouldn't be a Walker stories these days without a John Doe angle. Gousha actually asked real questions relating to it, resulted in this Walker word salad when it came to the questions as to whether he might rat out his supporters.
"Honestly, it surprises me that anyone would think that I would undermine anyone who shared those same principles," Walker said on the show, produced in partnership with "Clearly I would not."

Referencing a statement earlier in the week, Walker denied involvement in the federal investigation, adding Wisconsin law prevents him from revealing information about the state-level case.

"The law is pretty clear in this state; anyone who knows anything about a John Doe can't talk about it, anyone who doesn't know about it shouldn't talk about it," Walker said. "I've not commented on the Doe itself, because I've abided by the law."
So Scotty, will you abide by the law, if it undermines someone who shares your principles? Because the Club for Growth and other Koch oligarchs have clearly sent the message that "You'd better not follow the law, if you're with us." Intriguing conundrum, isn't it?

As I've said before, the lying from Scott Walker is bad enough, but the fact that this guy does it so easily and pathologically is what's really disgusting. And it's well past time for the media to follow Gousha's lead and interrupt his bullshit talking points and give real questions about reality.

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