The Republicans have gerrymandered Wisconsin, and growing numbers want to end GOP-backed machine, black box voting, so power-mad and underhanded are the Republicans who are subverting anything not overtly Republican.
Even as Republicans trash the formal structure of democracy and they want it done in secret, they are crashing the economy.
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.
Never has Wisconsin seen as corrupt and as complete an economic failure as Scott Walker.