Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Enough to make you a vegetarian

One of the reasons I was glad to get my blog going again was to share "the rest of the story" on issues facing Wisconsin.

Case in point from last week….

You’ve heard the adage: “Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.” The roll out of job creation numbers by the Governor's office last week was pretty mangled, even for sausage.

According to the Obama administration, an estimated 22,100 jobs have been created and retained in Wisconsin thanks to the recovery dollars.

Some jobs were created directly by recovery dollars, some jobs were saved thanks to the cash and a good number of jobs would be retained or created due to the ripple effect through the economy.

Well, the initial numbers in Wisconsin got rolled out with all the finesse of an elephant doing ballet. Within an hour of being told at the Joint Committee on Finance meeting on Tuesday that we would be briefed on any job creation numbers that were to be reported, the Co-Chairs sat down for what I assumed was an initial briefing.

As we began raising questions on the incomplete way the report was being presented, someone passed around an iPhone. The screen revealed the clunky report had already been made public and was posted on WisPolitics.

But the real problem wasn't bad timing. The problem was the meat of the report. It was a partial report of a limited segment of recovery dollars. The media were given part of the story: the creation of 8284 jobs due to some of the recovery dollars – but what wasn’t included were such things as jobs from grant dollars, jobs from money directed to universities and local governments, jobs from tax credits and the impact of money being spent in the local economy . So legislative leaders scrambled to fill in the gaps: 22,100 jobs created. Context explained. Workers counted.

At a time of the Democrats making job creation our number one priority, it is hard to have a partner inadvertently downplaying the solid work of recovery dollars.

Republicans are doing that all on their own. Instead of trying to help us put Wisconsinites back to work, they waste their time throwing tea parties, raging at rallies and dodging the real work.

People care about the fact that, in the face of dire economic circumstances, we have made job creation and retention our number one priority. They care that the unemployment rate just went down. The real story here is that the economy is beginning to recover and the Republicans don't like it because they aren’t the ones making the sausage anymore.

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