Friday, June 9, 2017

Regressive WisGOP is drying up Wisconsin's talent pool

As part of an excellent article this week in the Capital Times discussing the WisGOP attempts to regulate campus speech and to make students face punishment if they attempt to call bullshit on Republican hate and lies shut down the free exchange of opinions, State Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-262) gave away what this bill is really about.

One of the bill’s provisions says UW faculty and staff should stay out of controversial issues- even if they’re not controversial in the reality-based world. Which led to this exchange between Kremer and State Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison)
Berceau wondered what would happen under the bill — which requires University of Wisconsin System institutions to be neutral on “controversies of the day” — if a student in a geology class argued the Biblical theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

“Is it okay for the professor to tell them they’re wrong?” Berceau asked during the lengthy session on May 11.

“The earth is 6,000 years old,” Kremer offered. “That’s a fact.”
After Kremer’s comment about it being a “fact” that the Earth was 6,000 years old hit the public’s attention, he was ridiculed from numerous corners, leading Kremer to play the whiny snowflake in a press release the next day. In the release, Kremer bitched about “Democrat colleagues and the liberal media” and complained about “the left’s unhinged attacks, and also included this bit of absurdity, which I will answer in italics.
…. What happens to a UW geology student who is a creationist? (he/she will have to defend that view, and will likely be laughed out of the room when he/she can’t give any evidence backing it up) What happens to the student who hands out a copy of the Bill of Rights or a Bible on the campus? (Nothing, it happens all the time) What happens to a meteorology major who defies global warming as “settled science”? (does the student have actual numbers and evidence for this claim? Then it’ll be discussed. If he/she has nothing beyond “because I don’t believe it,” he/she will be laughed out of the room)
Of course, Jesse Kremer might not understand how this works at a UW school, because when you go to Rep. Kremer’s biography and get to his education it ends at “A.S. Fox Valley Tech. Coll, 1997” and certificates in firefighting and EMT from local tech colleges. And that’s great, not everybody needs or should chase a 4-year degree if they can be happy with a decent gig without one, and it doesn’t make me better than him because I have 2 UW-Madison degrees.

But it also means that Jesse Kremer has NEVER TAKEN A DAMN CLASS ON A UW CAMPUS, and has no clue about what he’s talking about when he describes the “oppressive” campus environments. I don’t second-guess how he flies planes or fights fires in Kewaskum (Kremer’s main jobs before being elected by Grothman-land dumbfucks in 2014), but that’s because I’m smart enough to know that others may know more than me on some things, while WisGOPs like Kremer are the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

I pay you. Can you stop fucking up my state?

Political Heat’s Chris Walker has a great blog out yesterday titled “Conservative politics are forcing Millenials to leave the Badger state (and who can blame them?). Chris notes the brutal “gold standard” jobs report that showed Wisconsin’s job growth declined by 70% in 2016, and that combined with regressive social policy is causing younger workers to leave the state for better work and life opportunities elsewhere.
That’s not something that young workers likely feel confident about. Add to the jobs troubles the fact that millennials are generally more liberal than their adult counterparts, and you have a recipe for outward migration.

Millennials aren’t seeing community investments from Republican leaders in the state. Nor are they seeing any of the economic advantages that conservative “reforms” had promised them. No, millennials don’t want tax cuts for the wealthy and crumbling roads. They want a reason to stay — and in the past six years, they’ve rarely seen any motivation to do so.
Related to Walker’s blog post, Governing Magazine has a neat database where you can punch up any county you want, and it’ll show you the 25-54 population for any county in America. And it tells quite a story when you look at Wisconsin’s largest 2 metro areas.

While Dane County continues to add prime-year workers at a decent pace in the 2010s (fitting of a place that has led the way for the state in job growth), Milwaukee County rate of growth has lagged behind, and the red-voting WOW County Milwaukee suburbs are being abandoned in droves.

Population Age 25-54 2010-2015
Milwaukee Co. +2,127 (+0.5%)
Dane County +2,066 (+1.0%)
Ozaukee County -2,714 (-8.0%)
Washington Co. -3,625 (-6.5%)
Waukesha Co. -10,375 (-6.5%)

It seems pretty clear that people that are of family-raising age in the 2010s DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN AREAS THAT SUPPORT REGRESSIVE LOW-EDUCATED FUCKHEADS LIKE JESSE KREMER AND SCOTT WALKER. And with those people in charge and making educational policy, what attraction is there for new talent to locate in southeastern Wisconsin, buy homes, and possibly start up new businesses to keep the economy growing?

Even Milwaukee County’s increase of prime-year workers seems to be temporary. Milwaukee County’s 25-54 population rose by 3,235 from 2010-2013, but lost 1,105 of that group in 2015, and Milwaukee will likely lose again in 2016, since we already know the Census Bureau has reported that the county lost nearly 5,000 people overall last year.

Other larger-population counties are also seeing an outflow of workers aged 25-54 in Wisconsin in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. Green Bay/Appleton isn’t so bad, but the other ones? YIKES!

Change in 25-54 population, 2010-2015
Brown County -917 (-0.9%)
Outagamie Co. -1,702 (-2.2%)
Kenosha County -2,038 (-2.9%)
Marathon Co. -2,981 (-5.4%)
Winnebago Co. -3,045 (-4.4%)
Rock County -3,467 (-5.3%)
Racine County -5,823 (-7.2%)

The loss of people 25-54 creates an economic problem, because it means fewer people will raise their families in the state and replace (and fund) the added services that aging Boomers will require, and it’ll limit economic growth through the demands of a growing population. It also leads to a general feeling of decline that drives away others who might consider living in Wisconsin, which is the type of demographic and innovative spark that this “last in the country for new start-ups” state badly needs right now.

You’d think that the state’s business lobby would recognize this demographic problem, tell the GOP to back off on the anti-education fundie crap (or support Democrats who don’t promote that crap), and offer decent wages to compete for and attract talent from other places. But the WMCs and MMACs of the world are doing none of this, and so the demographic decline and aging of Wisconsin continues.

And so the only answers left for those of us who do give a crap about this state and want to see it succeed in the 2010s and beyond is to work to remove the current regressive dimwits in power. Or we move somewhere that isn’t run by those backwards fucks. As a 40-something who loves living in Madison and as someone with a mortgage and decent job, I much prefer the first option myself. But I can sure understand why others aren’t waiting around.

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