Yes. The football rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin dates back to early 60’s and the days of Vince Lombardi and for the most part, Wisconsin’s Packers have dominated over tha past 50 years. But this post is not about a football game, but rather, the great game of real life.
One of those unplanned, spontaneous anomalies has erupted to create an interesting new rivalry between the two states on the great gridiron of life. Simply put, in the 2010 elections Minnesota went Progressive – really progressive. Wisconsin went conservative – Tea Party Conservative. So, what we got here is a Monday morning quarterbacking picture of two divergent strategies for real life things like education, job creation, tax policy, and all the fast breaks, and play action passes that allow for real people to thrive in the “pursuit of happiness”. So, what is going right or wrong? Who is winning and why?
Right vs. Left in the Midwest
N.Y. Times Editorial By LAWRENCE R. JACOBS Published: November 23, 2013
… a natural experiment that compares the agendas of modern progressivism and the new right. Wisconsin elected Republicans to majorities in the Legislature and selected a bold and vigorous Republican governor, Scott Walker. Minnesotans elected one of the most progressive candidates for governor in the country, Mark Dayton of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
The season is not over…but Wisconsin is getting trounced
In Minnesota, Mark Dayton’s plan was to raise taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. He ran around the middle to target the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes.
It is late in the third quarter
Since a governor’s term is four years, and we are in the third year of the Walker vs. Dayton. We can extrapolate the success of the two plans of the two governors as they watch the clock tick down in the final minutes of the third quarter of their football game of life.
Job creation and economic growth Wisconsin losing
We are now three years into Mr. Walker’s term, and Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth.
Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business.
Walker’s game plan of tax cuts for the wealthy carried the promise to win the game with 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of the game. In harsh reality, the result is that the plan has produced less than 90,000 of those promised jobs putting Wisconsin at 34th among all states in job growth. Forbes’s annual list of best states for business pits Wisconsin as a loser in the bottom half list.
Education Wisconsin losing
The Dayton game plan called for Minnesota’s new tax revenue to be invested in human capital with 71% of available funds invested in K-12 Education, higher education, and programs to create wider access to early childhood learning programs.
By contrast, Mr. Walker’s strategy of austerity called for cutting state funding of K-12 schools by more than 15 percent. A child attending public school in Wisconsin is struggling under the seventh sharpest decline of per student spending in the country.
Health Care Wisconsin is losing…big
Walker’s game plan for health care was formulated under under assistant coach Dennis Smith who came from the Koch Brothers supported, Heritage Foundation. So, Walker refused to establish a state health insurance exchange or to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government covered all costs for three years and most costs after that. This is like being offered a top talent wide receiver and keeping him on the sidelines.
The uninsured and the ill bear the burden. Many of the 10 percent of uninsured Wisconsinites were denied new Medicaid benefits and were shunted off to the federal exchange’s stumbling website without any help or coaching from the sidelines.
Meanwhile on the Minnesota sideline, Mr. Dayton was on course to improve Minnesota’s low uninsured rate. He expanded Medicaid to cover an additional 35,000 people and accepted Washington’s offer to pick up the cost. Mr. Dayton embraced the Affordable Health Care plan and created a state insurance exchange, which enrolled more than 90 percent of its first month’s target. Minnesota is winning big time. The state’s innovative medical care and nonprofit insurers produce premiums in its insurance exchange that are, on average, the lowest in the country, well below premiums in Wisconsin.
Analysis of the stats resulting from the game plans of the two governors present an obvious and glaring difference for the people of the two states. Minnesota working under the plan of raising taxes for the wealthy, is winning at providing for the pursuit of happiness for the people of Minnesota.
Walkers plan of cutting taxes fore the wealthiest in Wisconsin, cutting spending for education, and dismissing setting up insurance exchanges and expanding medicare for purely political reasons – leave the people at a loss when compared to their neighbors to the West.
The only hope for future victory in Wisconsin is to get a new coach.