Not that it should surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to how Gov. Scott Walker has governed Wisconsin, but a new report in the Wisconsin Gazette indicates Gov. Walker’s presidential campaign is cherry picking economic data from Wisconsin that makes Gov. Walker’s efforts to create jobs and move Wisconsin’s economy forward look better than they’ve actually been.
In 2000, 54.6 percent of Wisconsin households belonged to the middle class, which is defined as those earning between 67 percent and 200 percent of a state’s median income. By 2013, less than half — 48.9 percent — of Wisconsin households were defined as middle class. In Wisconsin, inflation-adjusted income fell from $60,344 in 2000 to $51,467 in 2013.
Walker, with the help of the state’s pervasive right-wing media, has cherry-picked data that paints a far rosier picture, and Walker’s many die-hard fans choose to believe only the positive numbers — even when their own lives reflect the contrary. They’ve become something of a personality cult, bristling at any information that reflects negatively on the governor.
As a result, Wisconsin is one of the most politically divided states in the nation, with a line drawn in quicksand between Walker’s die-hard faithful and progressives. The latter are alarmed by his massive cuts to education, huge tax giveaways to the very wealthy, relaxation of environmental regulations, the adoption of photo ID laws to give GOP candidates an electoral advantage and a host of other controversial policy moves. Others are angry over the constant questions of corruption and pay-for-play that hover over his political career.