The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release their monthly report on the employment situation Friday. On a national level, the jobs recovery seems to be picking up steam so far this year. On the other hand, in the State of Wisconsin, the recovery is not going well.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, the nation has created jobs consistently for over two years, while the state of Wisconsin lost around 35,000 jobs between May and August. Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts have hurt the jobs situation by cutting government spending during the recession.
The state should take on a more Keynesian approach towards creating jobs. However, under the leadership of Gov. Walker this seems unlikely. The jobs recovery in Wisconsin is moving painfully slow. So far this year, the nation as a whole has created around 1.12 million jobs. Given that number, and based on proportional population, one would expect the State of Wisconsin to have gained roughly 30,000 jobs on the year. This, however, is not the case, as the state’s economy has only created only around 13,000 jobs this year.
Much of the state’s under-performance is due to Walker’s budget cuts. When the government slashes spending, they also slash jobs. The government employs 10,000 less people than it did two years ago. Walker cut $2 billion dollars of government spending out of the economy. This means not only are there less public jobs, but also that the money these employees would typically be paid is not flowing through the economy.
Walker’s budget is balanced on the backs of the middle class. His budget cuts took a large chunk out of the University of Wisconsin System and public school aid. The last thing teachers need is a pink slip, and the last thing students need right now is an increase in tuition costs. Cutting government spending is the last thing a state should do during a recession, and as a result of our state’s decision to slash the budget, our economy is recovering slower than it should be.
Keynesian economics has been tried and tested by history. In order to create jobs we should spend, then cutback when the economy recovers. People need jobs, and the government should look out for the people’s interest.
While budget cuts can be an effective tool in balancing the budget, they should be reserved for tranquil economic times. Gross Domestic Product is a measure of the size of the economy which consists of consumption, investment, government spending and trade balance. If we want to increase our growth, we must not cut government spending. Cutting government spending ultimately hurts the economy when it is in need of jobs. Under Walker, the state’s GDP has increased slower than that of the nation as a whole, as Chase’s Wisconsin Economic Outlook reports. In order to create GDP and employment growth we need to increase government spending.
Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts have hurt the employment situation and slowed growth. So long as we are fiscally responsible in the long run, taking a Keynesian approach to the recovery would be best. We need public sector growth, not draconian cuts.
Spencer Lindsay ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.