Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Dane County coming back?

March 8, 2010

The State Journal ran an article suggesting that Dane County’s economy is rebounding. They list a bunch of facts, the following of which was the most impressive:

• Unemployment hit a peak of 6.3 percent in June; by December it was down to 5.4 percent.

But 2009 as a whole was particularly tough.

Social service programs, including local food pantries, say there’s been a big jump in the number of people who need help.

“Every day that we’re open, we have new people that are just laid off,” said Jenny Czerkas, director of The River Food Pantry, 2201 Darwin Road.

The pantry had 21,680 household visits in 2009, up from 13,380 the year before. Each family can get food once a week. “A two-hour wait (to get inside) is not uncommon,” Czerkas said.

I certainly don’t think cutting unemployment benefits is the answer to drive these people away from food pantries, as some suggest. When unemployment spikes, it’s not a spike in laziness, it’s a spike in desperation.
Brenda Konkel weighs in, optimistic but skeptical.

Barrett taking a cue from Massachusetts?

January 21, 2010

In wake of the Democrats’ recent loss in Massachusetts, the most popular criticism of the party and its president is that they have focused too much on long-term issues such as health care and climate change and have neglected the issue practically every American is worried about: the economy.

What could Obama have done differently on the economy? That’s a discussion that economists will continue to have well after he leaves office (whenever that takes place). Different interpretations of economic history yield wildly different heros and culprits. Just look at the diverging views on FDR. To liberals, he is a savior. To supply-siders, he was a hindrance.

Any ideas? What would you have liked to see Obama do? I would have liked to see much more money towards long-term goals, including revolutionary transportation and visionary research. A lot of the stimulus money went into sure bets: potholes and bridges.

Either way, Tom Barrett is trying to distance himself from the loftier ideas of the Obama administration.

Tom Barrett toured Orion Energy Systems on Wednesday morning and said the focus of his bid to become governor is “jobs, jobs and jobs.”

Barrett said citizens want their elected officials to focus on strengthening the economy and that trumps health-care reform.

The irony is that as a national health care policy becomes more tenuous, Democrats at the state level also become less enthusiastic about creating state policies. Doyle, who yesterday introduced Badger Care Plus Basic, which will offer adults with no dependent children a basic health care policy for $130 a month, is likely an exception to the rule because he is not running for re-election. Politics is perverse.

Wisconsin…the next California?

November 12, 2009

No, not in a good way, in the fiscal way. That means no Megan Fox (who is featured in the NYT Magazine this weekend) but it does mean serious fiscal and economic problems.

A report released by the Pew Center on the States includes Wisconsin in its list of nine states in addition to California most afflicted by the Great Recession. According to a professor of Governmental Affairs at at UWM, the take home message is clear:

“Structurally, we are around the corner of becoming like California…in the next cycle we will be like California.”

The chief culprits appear to be declines in manufacturing – the largest sector in Wisconsin – as well as misguided state budgeting.

I guess I can understand why no one with an economic policy beyond cutting taxes at any and all times wants to run for Governor.

Stimulus numbers wrong

November 12, 2009

Thank you to Emma Roller (a cherished commenter) for directing me to this story:

“A stimulus job report that says more than 10,000 jobs were saved or created in Wisconsin is rife with errors, double counting and inflated numbers based more on satisfying federal formulas than creating real jobs, a Journal Sentinel review has found.

In one case, five jobs were mistakenly listed as 50 – and then counted twice. In another, pay raises to workers were listed as saving more than 100 jobs. And in another, jobs were listed as saved even though the money had not been received and no work on the project had begun.”

So Wisconsin is still in the shitter. The Herald’s got more on that.