Political scapegoating and partisan rhetoric can mask the reality and tangible consequences of unemployment in the State of Wisconsin. As students and citizens, the hunt for a job is universal, and the policies lawmakers enact have a direct effect on the economy. However, as elections approach, it is important to keep the complexities of the economy in mind and not to blame poor job growth on any one leader.
It is important for students to be outraged that unemployment in Wisconsin is abysmal compared to the rest of the country, as recent numbers show. However, turning this outrage onto solely President Barack Obama or Gov. Scott Walker is counterproductive, and both parties are exploiting the outrage to blame the other for stagnant growth or job decay.
In reality, the fluctuation of jobs is more complex than that. Lawmakers enact the policies that actually affect change, not a single leader wielding the job wand that magically grants and seizes jobs as it sees fit.
To say one person can be blamed for unemployment implies there is one person who can fix it. The policies and practices our generation will need to live in a country with the lowest possible unemployment will be enacted by forward-thinking groups of people, not an economic panacea.
This simple narrative cheapens a political and economic reality that affects each of us as students and citizens. If job growth is something you as a voter care about, look at candidates’ legislative voting records. Look at their political alliances.
When you cast your ballot in the upcoming primaries, general and recall elections, do not be fooled by people calling themselves job heroes and do not be fooled by those who cast others as job villains.
If it were so easy that one legislator could fix it with political might, Wisconsin would not need help.