Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WMC and Realtors say they want worst economy in Midwest to continue

In advance of tomorrow's Wisconsin jobs report, I wanted to give a look at a couple of other economic indicators to see how we're measuring up compared to everyone else.

The first stat I wanted to check in on was the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's Coincident Index, which gives an indication of economic growth (or contraction) in all 50 states. You may recall that last Summer, Walker and his buddies at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce were talking up the Philly Fed's leading indexes, which claimed that Wisconsin would have the 2nd-fastest growing economy in the U.S. for the next 6 months. In fact, WMC ran a large amounts of ads last Fall with this stat as the centerpiece of their claims that "Scott Walker's policies are working."

Well, we've gotten a little more than 6 months of data since then, so let's see how that prediction ended up. Let's start one month before the numbers the commercial's claims were based on, in July 2013, and go 1 month after that 6-month stretch, into March 2014 (the last month the index has measured).

Change in Philly Fed Coincident index, July 2013- March 2014
Mich +3.76%
Ind. +3.01%
Ohio +2.93%
Minn +2.09%
U.S. +1.94%
Wis. +1.92%
Ill. +1.60%
Iowa +1.28%

So we were the Midwest, and had a slower economy than the U.S. rate. Guess WMC was wrong....again. But they got the propaganda out there ahead of the facts coming in, so their mission is accomplished (unless you know, the media might want to hold them accountable. Just asking).

And even with the recent growth in Wisconsin, they're still behind everyone else in the Midwest in the Philly Fed index over the 3+ years that have made up the Age of Fitzwalkerstan.

That graph does explain why you haven't heard the Walker folks propping up the Philly Fed index recently, doesn't it? You can also see that most Midwestern states flattened out during the polar vortex winter, so that excuse-in-waiting doesn't work either.

The other economic indicator I want to bring up is the monthly home sales reports from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. The start of 2014 for the home sellers has been as chilly as the weather, with all 4 months being down compared to the year before, and the decrease being in the double digits for each of the last two months.

Year-over-year change in home sales, Wisconsin
Jan 2014 -4.5%
Feb 2014 -7.7%
Mar 2014 -10.1%
Apr 2014 -11.8%
Year-to-date -9.1%

So in light of this decline, who did the Realtors endorse for governor last week? Scott Walker, of course!
“REALTORS® understand the challenges facing Wisconsin families and the communities in which they live,” added Michael Theo, President and CEO of the WRA . “They need affordable housing, thoughtful residential and commercial development and enhanced consumer protections,” Theo said. “That’s why, with the leadership of this administration, we have fought for lower property taxes, elimination of unnecessary regulations and stronger real estate license laws.”

“Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch supported these and other efforts to help Wisconsin families and the REALTORS® who work with them every day,” Theo said. “That’s why we support them.”

“We believe Wisconsin’s economy, budget, communities, and property owners are clearly better off today then they were four years ago,” said Steve Lane. “This administration has earned our support.”
The graph above and your own sales data shows you to be dead wrong, Mr. Realtor.

Wisconsin is falling behind our neighbors and our country under Walker by most legitimate economic measures, but the Realtors would rather continue their racket with unimitigated sprawl, gutted local services and a large state budget deficit with one-time tax giveaways over a strong economy that works for many more Wisconsinites (including themselves). Their loss, I guess. Then again, do you think greedheads like WMC and the Realtors really care about improving Wisconsin's economy and attracting talent? HELL NO. They're all about short-term profit by any means necessary, and they don't care what kind of long-term damage is done to our state in the process. And that's why they're spending their time and money supporting the losing economic policies of Scott Walker.

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