Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the GOP’s favourite governor for two reasons.
1) He’s taken on public sector unions/workers/pensions.
2) He’s hated by public sector unions/workers, which means he gets brownie points for being disliked by the right people.
It’s just too bad that from an economic standpoint, he’s not a good governor.
Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser takes a look at his record on private sector job creation, and it turns out that not only is he well behind his own goals, he’s just generally bad at it.
This chart showing Wisconsin’s actual record of job creation vs. his stated goals when he took office is telling.
Got that? Not only is Walker’s record on private payroll employment far below his stated goal (it’s not even close) but he’s barely up since the beginning of 2011, when he took office.
That might be forgivable if private payrolls were doing badly overall over the last 16 months, but in fact the national scene is much different: Private payrolls are doing well, while state and local layoffs (like the ones pushed by Walker and his fellow Republican governors) are bringing down the headline numbers.
Anyway, just to make things clearer, here’s a look at total employment in Wisconsin (red line) vs. total national employment (blue line) since the beginning of 2011, when Walker took office.
It’s pretty clear that Wisconsin is lagging badly under his tenure.
This looks similar to the scene in the UK, where the economy started trailing off badly once David Cameron took office with a push for austerity.
The bottom line: The idea of expansionary austerity (the idea that things will just get better if you cut spending and remove government) fails almost anywhere you look.
UPDATE: Just for the hell of it, here’s a chart of Wisconsin jobs vs. Illinois, a state we use as a comparison since conservatives love to dump on Illinois for being a big government socialist hole. Anyway, even Illinois (the blue line) is doing better than Wisconsin.
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