A corner with no wiggle room
Walker remains stuck in the corner of his own creation. His biggest and boldest pledge to the voters of Wisconsin in 2010 was splashed in headlines across state –
Governor Walker promises Wisconsin 250,000 new jobs
Walker’s most obvious failure to create jobs has cornered him in the joining of two walls; statistical fact, on one side, and incompetent administration, on the other. Walker has demonstrated the ability to grease himself with message and money to wiggle out of such corners before, as in the John Doe investigation and his refusal to compromise with unions before curtailing collective bargaining rights, but this time he appears to be caught in his own political soup, and he is beginning to wiggle.
Walker seldom says anything beyond his memorized and prepared talking points, but last Monday in Merrill, Wisconsin he was caught going off script and was recorded on video back sliding on his campaign job promise. The wiggling began after the comment was aired: Walker’s press secretary asks Rhinelander TV station to remove story.
“Walker’s press secretary, Tom Evenson, called Newswatch 12 on Tuesday, and asked if we could be persuaded to take Monday’s story off our website.”
Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop
On Monday in Merrill, he carefully backed away from the specific number.
“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, ‘it’s really not about jobs, it’s about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'” Walker said.WJFW TV Video(Was not removed after Walker Administration request)
New talking point
In a speech in Milwaukee two days later, however, Walker “reaffirmed” his commitment to the promise.
“We haven’t changed our stance,” Walker said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Whether we are at 249,000 or 255,000 or whatever the magic number is for us, we wanted to go from losing jobs to gaining jobs. All of our focus and attention is overwhelmingly on not just meeting that goal, but part of my nuance the other day … I’m not going to take a rest the minute we hit 250,000.”Huffington Post
The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that Walker also said his promise was an “‘aggressive goal’ that he doesn’t regret.” A recent Journal Sentinel evaluation of Walker’s progress showed that the state will need about 165,000 more jobs to fulfill the pledge by January 2015, when his first term expires.
In June, The Business Journals ranked Walker 40th out of 45 governors in job creation.
What went so terribly wrong in four words?
1) Wisconsin 2) Economic 3) Development 4) Corporation
The WEDC is Walker. It is the major reform to create the vehicle for streamlining government according to his conservative principals. He abolished a major department of government to launch his flag ship of job creation – the Wisconsin Department of Commerce:
1955 Wisconsin Department of Commerce is created
The Department of Commerce was administered by the Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce, who was appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Wisconsin State Senate.
The department traced its roots to the Division of Industrial Development within the Office of the Governor, as established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1955.
The the entire Department of Commerce, that functioned without major problems for 35 years, was dismantled, “reformed”, and restructured by Gov. Scott Walker in February 2011. Commerce was replaced with the new and streamlined Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and branded as a public-private agency, to boost job growth. This was the flag ship of “Walker Reform” boasting an $83 million budget. The regulatory, big government, impediments of the Commerce Department would be striped to make room for the Neoconservative efficiency of WEDC – the flagship of the new Walker reform to allow for the lofty goal of creating jobs, jobs, jobs. Thus the Department of Commerce was “reformed” and WEDC was to be the engine that would drive the creation of 250,000 jobs by the end of his term, as Walker promised in his campaign.
So, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) was created in February of 2011 by the state GOP controlled Legislature and Walker. Five months later, on July 1st – the flagship of reform took over the economic development functions of the old and antiquated Department of Commerce.
The initial Promise? “WEDC will create 50,000 jobs by June 2012”
Walker’s most impressive failure
The short and failed history of the WEDC is the Bible for the candidate to face Walker in 2014. It is the demise of Scott Walker chapter and verse. It is the Walker plan for reform fully documented and annotated with examples of administrative incompetence, inside deals and lack of transparency that has spiraled Wisconsin to the bottom of job creation when compared to other states of the country, and been the direct cause of pain and hurt for Wisconsin voters.
Just three months after Walker’s WEDC had been plagued with communication and oversight problems which had been “fixed” by his trustworthy appointee Ryan Murray, Gov. Scott Walker called for “dramatic moves”. In the wake of revelations that his flagship jobs agency had lost track of $9 million in past due loans with due dates going back more than a year, the reformer did another shift and shuffle of staff.
The Neoconservative anti regulation, streamlined department fails again. Some $69 million in loans — including $9 million in past-due loans — were missed, because no one was assigned to oversee them when the agency was created in 2011! Now, that is what I call a reform! Who needs all the red tape of checking up on accounts receivable? All this just months after Murray said he would help to ensure better lines of communication between the WEDC, other agencies and the governor’s office?
The Business Journals
Governor: Scott Walker
Took office: January 2011
Years in office*: 2.33
PRIVATE-SECTOR EMPLOYMENT TOTALS*
Total for state now: 2,387,100
Total for other 49 states upon taking office: 105,479,800
Total for other 49 states now: 110,458,700
PRIVATE-SECTOR EMPLOYMENT GROWTH RATES
Annual rate for state since taking office: 1.07%
Annual rate for other 49 states since taking office: 2.00%
Difference (in percentage points): -0.93
Rank (of 45 governors**): 40
PRIVATE-SECTOR EMPLOYMENT CHANGES
Raw change for state since taking office: 58,700
Projected change for state at rate for other 49 states***: 109,900
Difference (in jobs): -51,200
Rank (of 45 governors**): 40
WEDC contains the talking points for the next Governor of Wisconsin.
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