Dispatches XXV: A Conjecture Regarding Lagging Employment in Wisconsin

Transvaginal probes (amended to mandated ultrasounds) and giving regressive tax cuts after slashing K-12 education expenditures probably isn’t going to draw high-technology/knowledge based workers to the state



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Figure 1: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted (blue), Walker’s implied path for private employment (red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS and NBER.

In the last day, the privatized Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation gets its fourth head in two years [1] (the last one lasted but one day), and the Wisconsin Senate steamrolls the opposition to pass a bill requiring mandatory ultrasounds to precede abortions (after the requirement for transvaginal probes was dropped – edit mdc 11:20am 6/13) (a bill the Governor has stated he supports) [2]. Last week, a joint finance committee passed a tax cut bill that would result in a half billion dollar deficit in FY 2015-17, and included provisions that would restrict lawsuits related to lead poisoning [3]. From the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal’s Jason Stein:


Making use of a jump in the expected tax revenue in the coming two years, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee lowered the potential gap in the budget two years from now by $179 million over the spending proposal offered by Gov. Scott Walker in February, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows.


But GOP lawmakers on the budget panel used most of the windfall in state revenue to increase Walker’s proposed income tax cut rather than improve the state budget’s bottom line.


A Fiscal Bureau analysis showed that in 2014 the Republican income tax cut would deliver about 45% of its savings to taxpayers making between $20,000 and $100,000 a year, while a Democratic proposal to distribute the tax cut more toward the middle class would deliver 70% of the savings to people within those income levels. The analysis showed that the GOP plan would deliver an average tax cut of $112 to a typical Wisconsin family making $52,000 a year, while the Democratic plan would deliver $176 in savings to that family.

With respect to the operations of the state Senate, this video (starring Senate President Ellis) is a must see. Here’s a photo:


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Source: TwinCities.com.

I would be remiss if I did not remind readers that the budget bill also includes a special provision that specifically prohibits all UW employees (including professors I believe, although I’m not a lawyer) from working with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.[4] I’m just guessing, but my guess is that implementing this type of measure would not encourage the inflow of academics interested in the exploration of ideas and facts.


Previous posts regarding Wisconsin’s lackluster economy since 2011M01, here: [5], [6] [7] [8]

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18 thoughts on “Dispatches XXV: A Conjecture Regarding Lagging Employment in Wisconsin

  1. tj

    Menzie’s war on women’s health and unborn children –
    and the Wisconsin Senate steamrolls the opposition to pass a bill requiring transvaginal probes to precede abortions
    The reason that the president has steered clear of weighing in on the Gosnell case is that if he did, he would need to explain his view — which is that Gosnell did nothing wrong.
    A sobering reminder that Obama, during his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, was an avid defender of partial birth abortions.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/flashback-a-chilling-reminder-of-obama-s-support-for-partial-birth-abortion

  2. dilbert dogbert

    Next up a law specifically prohibiting Menzie from blogging about the Wisconsin economy.

  3. Ricardo

    Hmmmmm? Menzie, just which Democrat is running against Gov. Walker? And just what is the Democrat agenda for Wisconsin?

  4. Anthony Juan Bautista

    Economists are certainly entitled to their own opinions on their own blogs (most econ blogs are 90% opinion anyway!). However, delving into the ultrasound issue seems needless in the context of the “Scott Walker is a bad man for the WI economy” argument. Ultrasound commentary weakens your credibility on the latter issue.

  5. Abdominal Ultrasounds

    This bill is horrifying, but it’s bad enough without having to say things about it that aren’t true. Thus, to be fair, the article you cited says the “transvaginal” ultrasound requirement was amended:
    “Republicans accepted a Democratic amendment to the bill that would require any facility providing free ultrasounds to make both abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds available. Democrats said they were worried that without the amendment some groups would make only intrusive, transvaginal ultrasounds available.”
    On the other hand, I’m distressed that the bill prohibits a young woman from getting an abortion after being raped or sexually assaulted by a relative (incest), unless she reports the crime to the police. That’s a recipe for all kinds of problems. People should be able to choose their own means for addressing their issues, the legal system shouldn’t be mandatory.
    Here’s the excerpt from the article: “The bill includes exceptions from having to get ultrasounds in cases of rape, incest and imminent medical emergencies. Cases of rape and incest must be reported to the police for those exceptions. About half of rapes are reported, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.”

  6. Menzie Chinn

    Abdominal Ultrasounds: Thank you for flagging the omission. I have corrected the text (I agree the bill remains horrifying). I do believe that the conclusion remains the same — implementation of these types of measures is unlikely to contribute to an environment where knowledge-based workers will want to come to.

  7. Joseph

    “The bill includes exceptions from having to get ultrasounds in cases of rape, incest and imminent medical emergencies.”
    Ah, conservative logic. So in other words, this ultrasound requirement serves no medical purpose. It is simply a method to make abortions more expensive and more intrusive. The conservative mind is a wonder to behold. Presumably a straight up abortion tax would be a violation of their principles.

  8. randomworker

    Count me as sympathetic to your cause, Menzie, being a neighbor in MN and a frequent visitor to Mad City back in the day. However, I am dismayed by this:
    “A Fiscal Bureau analysis showed that in 2014 the Republican income tax cut would deliver about 45% of its savings to taxpayers making between $20,000 and $100,000 a year, while a Democratic proposal to distribute the tax cut more toward the middle class would deliver 70% of the savings to people within those income levels.”
    So really it’s just a matter of which constituency benefits from an unaffordable tax cut, and not that anyone is questioning the wisdon of a tax cut at all.
    Regards.

  9. Ricardo

    Abdominal and Menzie,
    Horrifying? Really? An ultrasound is horrifying but baby parts clogging up toilets or displayed in bottles in Kermit Gosnell’s office is normal? Some people truly live in a Bizarro World.

  10. Chicken

    “Transvaginal probes (amended to mandated ultrasounds) and giving regressive tax cuts after slashing K-12 education expenditures probably isn’t going to draw high-technology/knowledge based workers to the state”
    Although it doesn’t appear to support the definition of separating church and state, isn’t the popularity of this legislation in reality compensated by the quantity of foreign worker visas issued?

  11. None

    I would think that having to pay less taxes would draw more professionals into the state, though. Somethings take time to work themselves out, but there is little chance that cutting expenditures today is going to harm Wisconsin’s standard of living 10-years from now.
    Somebody once said that in the long run everyone is dead, which is of course not true at all. Today’s policies shouldn’t be focused on what will happen tomorrow, but rather on what will happen over the next few generations.

  12. Joseph

    abdominal ultrasound: “This bill is horrifying, but it’s bad enough without having to say things about it that aren’t true.”
    Are you aware that before about 12 weeks an abdominal ultrasound shows little or nothing so that a transvaginal ultrasound is required?
    So either the law is actually mandating transvaginal ultrasounds for early abortions or else it is requiring a completely useless and expensive abdominal procedure.
    Note also the law requires “An ultrasound technician, not necessarily a doctor, would have to display the image of the fetus, describe the size, location and number of fetuses, and identify any viewable internal organs or external features.” They do not specify whether the patient’s eyelids would be pried open with steel hooks “Clockwork Orange”-style.

  13. Warren

    WashPost columnist Alexandra Petri showed up in my local paper this morning, discussing the GOP’s moaning about the lack of recognition by many voters that the party is working hard for all Americans. She quoted Amanda Marcutte:
    “. . . maybe the best way not to sound like weird throwback troglodytes on women’s health issues is to stop being weird throwback troglodytes on women’s health issues.”

  14. dilbert dogbert

    For the patients comfort, eye shades and earphones will be provided. A variety of music will be provided – from classical (1812 overture) to heavy metal. Wonder if these will be covered under the new health insurance law.

  15. jonathan

    One potentially good by-product is this will kill Walker’s chances to be President. Women will vote against him by a significant margin.

  16. econimonium

    Great post. I keep saying this over and over again as the CEO of a tech company: we look at your State politics and the general atmosphere of a State if we’re deciding to open something there. We also look at the possibility of hiring the workers we need for the jobs we’re likely to need. Read that last part again carefully because tax credits do not do it if you’re looking to transform the State economy. If you’re driving creative, smart, and educated people away with neanderthal policies, we’ll give you a pass. If your educational system is like Mississippi (which is pretty much a third world country) we’ll also pass you by. If you harbor people whose opinions generally track someone like Ricardo (who thinks he knows something but is here only for entertainment value, like Fox News) no thanks. The workers we need are at the opposite end of the spectrum for what we do. Let me ask a question, do you think high-tech high-wage workers are going to bolt the Valley, Boston, or NYC for WI now given the above? Do you think the agencies that need creative talent (you know, those pierced, tattooed, higher-percentage gay, feminist)would move to WI after reading the above? There aren’t enough tax credits in the world to make that happen. Is this the economy of the future you’re building?
    If you just want to be a low-employer, low-wage assembly State, like said Mississippi or Alabama, then that’s fine. You’ll get those nice shiny new car factories that employ 2k semi-literate people each because machines are now doing the rest of the jobs anyhow and will do more. They’ll also bolt when the tax credits expire. Also you should calculate how much the state is losing on each employee given the tax credits. That’s the truth whether you like it or not. Provide the correct environment and they’ll come. Do the above, and we’ll all stay away until these people change.

  17. Samuel

    Wisconsin has 6,800 fewer total non-farm jobs in April 2013 compared to April 2012. One of only three states that lost jobs last year. And what do we get: Walker and allies focus on issues that not only have nothing to do with jobs except driving off potential employers and knowledge workers. Pathetic.
    Read more here: http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/mike_ivey/as-neighboring-states-add-jobs-wisconsin-leads-nation-in-losses/article_27605240-d513-11e2-b908-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz2WHooFIcI

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