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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wisconsin Conservatives Miss Job Growth Forest for Petty Trees

Something caught my eye today; it was, indeed, a series of entries in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Daywatch." Consider:
  • Direct Supply add hundreds of jobs
    Direct Supply Inc., one of the country's largest suppliers to the nursing home industry, is moving forward with plans for a major expansion that will add hundreds of jobs to its corporate headquarters on Milwaukee's northwest side.
  • Stark Investments expanding downtown
    Stark Investments LP is expanding beyond its lakefront headquarters in St. Francis with a new operation at downtown's 1000 North Water office tower. [. . .] Stark Investments, a hedge fund operator, will eventually have around 85 to 90 employees in that space, with around 50 employees working at 1000 North Water by this fall, Bob DiDonato, chief administration officer, said today.
  • UnitedHealth call center to add 1,000 jobs
    UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) today announced it will open a call center in Green Bay that will create 1,000 jobs this year and next.
Missing from the Daywatch is any news of jobs hemorrhaging from the state. If all you listened to was the state GOP--or right-wing bloggers and talk radio--you'd think that Wisconsin jobs were disappearing faster than--well, you can fill in the analogy for yourself.

It doesn't take long to dig up more stories like this from the past couple of days: Here's good news from Oshkosh, for example, and Wisconsin's Badger Mining is, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the best small company in America to work for.

Sure, there was some slight bad news; Honda didn't choose the late-getting-into-the-mix Walworth County for its new plant. And no, none of the good job news stories seem to have the kick (perhaps a kick resulting from right-wingers' hype) of a RedPrairie whine or a LoPresti tease, but they are good news that deserve trumpeting just as much. I bet you a nickel you won't hear a peep about UHC's expansion or any of the other stories on your conservative radio tomorrow, or, for that matter, from the right half of the Cheddarsphere.

The good news doesn't fit their agenda, or their worldview. They are sure that Wisconsin's high taxes are killing us, and not softly. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the business lobby, even went so far as to offer their solution--tax cuts, tax cuts, and (if you couldn't guess) tax cuts. (Hat tip to Xoff on that.) Paul Soglin, who eats WMC for breakfast, has been on WMC about its ridiculous tax stance (see this post, for example) as well as their gloomy doom predictions if they can't get their way. Watch him for more about this later, I'm sure.

Do I think that the loss of a company like RedPrairie is a bad thing? Of course I do--and, I bet, if the ownership had stayed with the Wisconsinites who founded the company, its leaving wouldn't even be a question. Is it too bad the Manitowoc won't get a new plant? Yes, but when you're one of 75 cities competing, you have to know the odds; it doesn't help that the company's spokesman may be a hypocritical publicity hound.

None of the conservatives' and Republicans' whining does anything to actually help job creation (the negative energy they create probably hurts it), and does nothing to actually address immediate challenges like Milwaukee's endemic poverty.

Mostly, though, the whining proves only one thing: Ignorance of reality in service of ideology is the ultimate state of being for Wisconsin GOP.

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