David Blaska writes about his former boss:
Joe Btfsplk, meet Dave Zweifel.
Like Democrats statewide, the emeritus editor of Madison’s voice of progressivism is hell bent on defeating Scott Walker at all costs, even at the price of truth.
Give Dave Zweifel brownie points for creativity. Wisconsin has more Help Wanted signs than orange traffic cones in spring but somehow, Wisconsin is one of those bad places that Donald Trump recently denigrated. The Haiti of the Snowbelt. Why? Because Wisconsin’s economy is creating so many jobs that employers are scrambling for workers!
“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context,” my old boss writes in the Sunday WI State Journal.
Wisconsin beats out other states to land Foxconn but my old boss can’t bring himself to mention its potential 13,000 jobs. Instead, he fixates on the 26 acres of wetlands that may be filled to accommodate the huge factory. Oh, the humanity!
Yes, “unemployment is down, taxes are flat and there are more jobs,” Dave grouses. (Sometimes the truth is too obvious even for …) But this good news is really bad news for our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances.
“Wisconsin didn’t always need to advertise” for workers, Dave cavils. Humpf! Yes, Wisconsin is waging a $6 million ad campaign to lure workers to Wisconsin. (Come for the jobs, stay because your car won’t start.)
The Democrat(ic) party line reads that Wisconsin must advertise for workers because of:
- Act 10!!!
- Because No High-speed Rail (See: California, boondoggle).
- Because criticizing “the Problem of Whiteness” is “denigrating higher education.”
- Because women (supposedly) are dying in childbirth. (Dave writes “attacks on women’s health rights” but we think he means “abortion.”)
- And those 26 acres!
“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context.” Except, there it is, on the very same day as Dave’s trip to the outhouse: Wisconsin, on page one of the Sunday New York Times, in a most flattering context.
In Dane County, Wis., where the unemployment rate was just 2% in November, demand for workers has grown so intense that manufacturers are taking their recruiting a step further: hiring inmates at full wages to work in factories even while they serve their prison sentences.
[The inmate] got that chance in part because of Dane County’s red-hot labor market. Stoughton Trailers, a family-owned manufacturer that employs about 650 people at its plant in the county, has raised pay, offered referral bonuses and expanded its in-house training program. But it has still struggled to fill dozens of positions.
After his release, the inmate bought a car from his earnings while on work-release.
Now he is thinking bigger. Other jobs in the area pay higher wages, and his freedom has opened up more options. He has been talking to another local company, which is interested in training him to become an estimator — a salaried job that would pay more and offer room for advancement.
Those who abjure objective measurements in favor of partisan, political-campaign talking points, read no further. Yeah, Wisconsin roads ARE bad but we can’t help but think that some projects are needlessly expensive. (Doesn’t the Verona Road project seem over-engineered?) Which is why Walker replaced former DOT secretary Gottlieb with a new guy.
For a dispassionate measure, we turned to the recently released U.S. News and World Report listing of best states, 2018. The survey measures health care, education, crime, infrastructure, opportunity, economy, and government. Overall, the well regarded survey ranks Wisconsin as the 16th best state overall and second-best in the Midwest, behind Minnesota (#3) and Iowa (#6) but comfortable ahead of Indiana #22, Illinois #29, Michigan #33, and Ohio #35. Of those states, another survey listed Wisconsin as the second “greenest,” behind Minnesota. More here.
It’s a fair point that Walker is trying to sell Wisconsin using Madison as its star attraction while simultaneously bad-mouthing its mayor, now a challenger for governor. But the obverse is also true: Liberals are trying to badmouth Wisconsin. State policies are at least equally responsible for Madison’s success. To take one example, Madison bike paths are largely funded with state money. Even Monona Terrace has state money in it.
If state employees, K-12 teachers, and university professors were being ground down as much as Act 10 bitter-enders like Dave Zweifel pretend, wouldn’t Madison more closely resemble Port au Prince?
Dave Btfsplk, look on the bright side: We could be Illinois.