Robert Kraig: Wisconsin’s economic direction is alarming

On Friday Robert Kraig, the executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, wrote an op-ed in the Wausau Daily Herald outlining the alarming direction Wisconsin’s economy is headed.

Here’s a snippet from that op-ed.

What passes for discussion of economic strategy in Wisconsin is dominated by Gov. Scott Walker’s discredited jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, or WEDC.

As embarrassing as the agency’s failures are, by fixating on the WEDC trainwreck we are missing a more fundamental challenge: the lack of a strategy to reverse declining economic opportunity in Wisconsin.

Contrary to the cheer-leading we hear from Governor Walker and corporate leaders, our economic direction is alarming. Wisconsin’s middle class shrunk more than any other state since 2000. There is overwhelming evidence from academic research institutes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Milwaukee that we are sliding toward a low-wage economy. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging middle-class jobs and replacing them with poverty-wage jobs, so much so that the poverty rate is increasing even as employment increases. Wisconsin also has some of the worst race-based economic disparities in the country, including the highest rate of African-American unemployment.

This precipitous decline in job quality is accelerating our downward economic spiral. As more and more Wisconsin families struggle to afford the basics, they have less and less to spend in their local communities.

One thing we must do to halt the decline of the middle class, and expand opportunity to all those who are currently shut out, is to make creating good, family-supporting jobs the singular purpose of Wisconsin economic development policy. This means not only closing the failed WEDC but replacing it with a fully accountable public agency that has the sole purpose of implementing bold evidence-based strategies for rebuilding a middle class economy.

The problem is that the people running our state government are not even moving to reform the WEDC mess, let alone taking bold initiatives to address the jobs quality crisis. Reasonable reforms such as closing of loopholes that allow CEOs to take public job creation dollars while engaged in outsourcing Wisconsin jobs are not even on the agenda in Madison.

Just days after Kraig’s op-ed piece was published, Republicans in the Legislature proved his point about their lack of ideas and focus on how to move Wisconsin’s economy forward, as they worked to legalize switchblade knives, as if the inability to wield switchblades was really a pressing problem in Wisconsin.


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6 thoughts on “Robert Kraig: Wisconsin’s economic direction is alarming

  1. Finally, I’ve coveted a switchblade knife since seeing West Side Story for the first time in 1958

    1. Do they come in blaze pink to match my new camo gear? That spurred clothing sales, didn’t it?

      (Can’t figure out why Kleefisch didn’t tie that wearing-of-the-pink in the state capitol to supporting cancer research, while killing ferocious, “wild,” game at his bait pile.)

  2. Is there something I’m missing? Who or what are Republicans preparing to do battle with? With these levels of paranoia they may want to consider legalizing marijuana because they’ve got to be high. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. What’s really the point. Is this law to enable those who don’t qualify for a concealed carry permit to have a means of defense? Seriously, what happens when the newly empowered switchblade wielder does battle with the overzealous concealed carrier… One less Republican!
    Sticking with the fatalistic theme…
    I honestly hope Walker and his court jesters all serve a couple more terms. It’s like dealing with a drug addict. You have to let them hit rock bottom before they and everyone enabling them realizes how serious the problem is. Eventually, those who fail to turn out to the polls will have no choice but to vote once the state and the way of life Wisconsinites used to covet has been completely destroyed. Wake up Wisconsin!

  3. And here I thought they’d never be able to top the bill that made up skirting a felony for sheer non-problem solving uselessness. Clearly we “lucky” citizens have elected a prime bunch to run our state for us. Or, seems more likely, right over us. ‘Cause, really, a law’s a law, right, so what’s the difference between promoting blaze pink camo and throwing the doors open to widespread political corruption? It’s all in a day’s “work” for these idiots!

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