Are conservatives really good for business?

Really? ‘Cause you sure couldn’t prove it by looking at Governor Scott Walker’s record in Wisconsin. Since Walker was inaugurated, 19 plants have closed and 2,207 factory workers in Wisconsin have lost their jobs. No, this isn’t any sort of coincidence. The country as a whole has been gaining jobs. Slowly, but the employment picture has been modestly improving. In Wisconsin, it’s been getting worse and Governor Walker’s decisions have very clearly been responsible for that.

Simply put, is Wisconsin now “open for business?”

No. Right from the beginning, Walker’s cancellation of a high speed rail link between Madison and Milwaukee sent a rail car business out of Milwaukee, abandoning a large factory. The removal of collective bargaining rights from public employees may lead to a serious catastrophe for the state’s forestry industry, as they are likely to lose their third-party “certified market” status.

Now, his policies have sent other businesses throughout the state scurrying. A wind power project near Green Bay will be shuttered.

How anyone could possibly look at G.W. Bush’s economic record and say “We need a businessman to run our government!” is just beyond me. Keep in mind that Bush earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. But despite, or perhaps because of that, Bush had the lowest number of jobs created per year of any president since the US began keeping records on employment just before World War II. President Eisenhower had a somewhat similar record (438,000 per year compared to Bush’s 375,000), but the US population in 1952 (Ike’s first year) was 158 million. In 2001, it was 285 million, nearly twice as much. Also, payroll expansion under Eisenhower was 7% compared to Bush’s 2.3% (The same as Gerald Ford’s and the elder George Bush’s).

On a similar note, the Cat Food Commission tries yet again to drag up old, debunked arguments in order to convince Democrats that they’d better hack and slash away at Social Security or they’d suffer politically. Major problem with this argument is that the American public prefers that politicians work on jobs as opposed to cutting the budget by a margin of 63% to 26%, an almost three-to-one margin.

The thing that’s truly amazing about this piece is that the Washington Post categorizes it as “left-leaning” (They also consider Richard Cohen as being “left-leaning,” a description that renders the term completely meaningless).

Update: Very good piece that makes the extremely important point that businesses are not governments. They’re run on a different basis with different priorities. No, we shouldn’t seek to make governments run more like businesses. There’s nothing in businesses that government has any need to copy.

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