Thursday, July 28, 2011

Walker denies jobs boast even as allies repeat it

Less than a week after Governor Scott Walker claimed that Wisconsin had created half the nation's new jobs, he has denied making the statement.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports"Walker said it was never his intention to draw a direct line between the Wisconsin total and the national total."

"We made it very clear at our announcement that (our number) was not half of all the jobs out there, though it is an interesting parallel," he said.

That's not what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's economics reporter John Schmid reported. Schmid wrote of the Walker's announcement:

"Walker noted that job growth in Wisconsin effectively accounted for about half of the new jobs in the nation in June, an abysmal month for job creation.

The state had a net total of 9,500 new jobs in the month, because a decline in government employment offset some of the gains in the private sector. Nationally, Walker said, 18,000 new jobs were created last month - 57,000 gained in the private sector minus a drop of 39,000 in government payrolls.

"It's incredibly important to put that in perspective," Walker said. "To have 9,500 net new jobs in the state at a time when the country saw just 18,000 net new jobs all across the country is incredibly good news..."

While Walker may be denying his earlier statement, others are not. As Bill Cristofferson reported in his blog, conservative James Wigderson mounted a spirited, if convoluted, defense of Walker while attacking Christofferson and me for questioning Walker's numbers.

More importantly, Walker's claim has become the newest Republican talking point.

At a town hall meeting in Whitefish Bay, Congressman James Sensenbrenner bragged that Wisconsin had created half the nation's new jobs in June and attributed this to Walker's economic policies.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson repeated Sensenbrenner's and Walker's boast on national TV as did Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, who bragged: "Accounting for more than half of the nationwide gain in June employment is a remarkable feat."

The same echo will will undoubtedly be heard in Madison over the next few weeks.

As I wrote earlier Walker used a misleading statistic to create a distorted perception of the state’s job creation record for overtly political purposes-promoting Walker and his economic program. 

Others have now picked up Walker's ball and are running with it. Rather than deny the truth about what he said, Walker ought to man up, admit he was wrong and actually do something to help the tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who are unemployed.