Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wisconsin was better off under Jim Doyle

And three economic items released in the last few days prove it.

First, let's go over today's release of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, who just released a county-by-county look at income growth in the U.S. for 2010, which was the final year of Doyle's tenure as Wisconsin governor. You'll notice than Wisconsin is covered in quite a bit of blue, which shows counties with income growth above the national average of 3.7% for 2010. (click on the picture if you want it bigger)

This is also borne out when you compare Wisconsin with our Midwestern counterparts and the U.S. as a whole. As you'll see, Wisconsin outpaced the U.S., and all but 1 of our Midwestern neighbors.

Income growth, 2010
Minn. 4.45%
Wis 3.80%
U.S. 3.67%
Mich 3.25%
Iowa 3.10%
Ohio 2.96%
Ill. 2.79%
Ind. 2.47%

Then you compare those good numbers in 2010 with the fact that Wisconsin was DEAD LAST IN THE U.S. in income growth between October and December 2011. That's quite a step backward, and strike 1 for Walker's policies.

Also today, the Journal-Sentinel had a story on a report released by the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty
showing that Wisconsin's strong safety nets actually reduced poverty during the Great Recession year of 2009.
Given the substantial loss of market income in Wisconsin, the latest findings of the 2010 Wisconsin Poverty Project are quite surprising. When we estimate poverty using our alternative poverty measure, the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), we find that state poverty actually dropped between 2009 and 2010, from 11.1 percent to 10.3 percent.

Behind this surprising story is the impact of tax-related provisions and near-cash benefits from programs that government officials augmented to offset increased economic hardship due to the recession. The official poverty measure considers only pre-tax cash income as a resource, failing to fully capture the effects of national and local government efforts to stimulate the economy and ease economic adversity caused by the recession.

To provide poverty estimates that more accurately account for the needs and resources of Wisconsin families while taking into account the antipoverty impact of policies, researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have developed the WPM, now in its third year. The WPM considers not only cash resources, but also tax credits and noncash benefits, as well as work-related costs that reduce available resources, like child care and health care costs, in determining poverty status.

...In last year’s annual Wisconsin Poverty Report, we found essentially no change in poverty between 2008 and 2009 under the WPM, primarily because the drop in families’ earnings and cash income was offset by tax credits and food assistance benefits, which saw substantial increases in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In this fourth annual Wisconsin Poverty Report, we reveal that not only did tax credits continue to play a large role in fighting poverty in 2010, but also, nutrition assistance benefits became more effective during that year; this resulted in an unexpected drop in the number of individuals and families living in poverty in 2010.
That's right, the big increases in food stamp-type assistance and tax credits caused by Obama's stimulus, as well as improved child care and medical subsidies by Doyle-backed programs like Badger Care helped to keep many Wisconsinites from hitting the IRP's defined poverty line from 2008-2010. Compare that to Walker cutting stabilizers like Badger Care while reducing tax credits on poverty-reducing programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Homestead Credit. When combined with the state's status as Number 1 in the nation in job loss, it is clear that Wisconsin's poverty rate under the IRP's measure is going to go up under Walker, and not by a little. So strike 2.

The last stat I want to hit on is this week's release of the Philly Fed's coincident index, which measures the last 3 months of economic growth for all states. And if you cast your eyes to the Midwest, guess which state stands out for lower growth the 1st quarter of 2012. U RAH RAH WIS-CON-SIN!

But let's back up and show you how we got here over the last 4 years.

As this first graph will show, Wisconsin's economy didn't collapse nearly as badly as places like Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and (especially) Michigan from the onset of the recession at the start of 2008, and I think Doyle and Wisconsin deserve some credit for having enough economic stability to keep the state from imploding like other places. Then notice what happened in the last 14 months of Doyle's administration- Wisconsin (marked in red in these graphs) grew at a rate faster than the U.S., and faster than half of our neighbors (Also note the ones who grew faster were the ones who fell further in 2008 and 2009, so I'll take that trade).

And using the last 14 months of Doyle is intentional because we also have 14 months of data since Scott Walker took over. Now compare where Wisconsin sits under Scotty...right in the cellar, and not by a little.

We've barely grown at all while the rest of the Midwest and the country has taken off. Wisconsin's growth has slammed to a halt, from 3.24% in 14 months under Doyle to 0.60% under Walker, while U.S. growth has gotten faster (2.48% vs. 3.39%).

The clear impact of Scott Walker policies on stopping Wisconsin's growth in a time of an expanding economy everywhere else is a big-time strike 3. And that means HE HAS TO BE OUT.


  1. So wait...all those "worse than Doyle commercials" were really just Walker describing himself?!

  2. It's always projection with Walker and the WisGOPs, Chris. Surely you know that by now. :P