Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)
Republicans have been itching to show how much better they could do with the American economy than President Obama has done. But Republican governors have had the chance
to show what they can do with their own states' economies, and the crop currently planning to run for president ... well, they've shown us something, but what?
How about being embarrassingly bad at job creation? That’s right. From January 2011 through January 2015, Louisiana under Jindal ranked 32nd in job creation with 5.4 percent growth over four years. Wisconsin under Walker ranked 35th, with 4.85 percent growth. New Jersey under Christie ranked 40th, with 4.15 percent growth. This compares with a national average of 8.21 percent.
Ouch. And these are the guys who are—or were—supposed to be the GOP's rising stars. That's not all, either, as Paul Rosenberg shows:
It’s not just the embarrassing job-creation numbers, though that alone should be enough to disqualify the whole lot of them. New Jersey has just experienced its ninth bond downgrade under Christie, who may end up looking for a bridge to hide under. In Wisconsin, Walker, facing a two-year deficit that could go as high as $2 billion, has responded with $300 million in cuts for higher education, on top of billions in previous education cuts. Still, job creation was supposed to be Walker’s big thing—he promised to create 250,000 jobs in four years when he first ran in 2010, but came up short by more than 100,000 jobs. Making matters worse are the neighborhood comparisons. Wisconsin ranked between 29th and 41st in job growth over the last four years, the worst in the Midwest three of those years, and second worst the other. In fact, the state performed poorly on a whole host of indicators used by Bloomberg News, and suffers markedly in contrast with neighboring Minnesota, where progressive policies have that state’s economy recovering nicely.
Of course governors can only control so much, but when you're below the national average in job growth and suffering on a range of other measures, the problem might just be something about the policies you're pushing. Do we really want to see those policies applied to the nation as a whole?