Liberal Think-Tank Admits WI Job Recovery is Impressive

Image Credit: COWS
Image Credit: COWS

The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) is a far-leftwing policy think-tank that is housed at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Led by ultra-leftwing Professor Joel Rogers, the organization has become a hub of leftwing policy thought subsidized at state expense. There is no state-subsidized counterpart on the right, and the organization is anything but moderate.

Headed into the Labor Day weekend, COWS released a report on the state’s economy that was nothing short of astounding:

“COWS finds that the long shadow of the Great Recession is finally lifting in Wisconsin. The state has more jobs than ever before, unemployment rates have fallen to pre-recession levels, and workers that want full-time work are having an easier time finding it. Labor market opportunities are more clear and consistent than they have been in nearly a decade.”

That is a bombshell from an organization whose leader has advised the Obama Administration on green energy policy and has used his post both at the University of Wisconsin and the think-tank to bash reform ideas like those embraced by Gov. Scott Walker (R) and enacted by legislative conservatives.

The study goes on to note:

“Wisconsin’s labor market is growing steadily and the state now has 2.94 million jobs. That’s a record high and 57,500 more jobs than in December 2007, before the Great Recession.”

But COWS won’t credit any of Wisconsin’s job-promoting reforms for the success. Instead the study, which was supported by the union-funded Economic Policy Institute, complains that job growth in Wisconsin hasn’t kept pace with national job growth figures. But noticeably missing from the Wisconsin-national comparison is any reference to the unemployment rate.

Wisconsin’s current unemployment rate of 4.2% is below the national unemployment rate of 4.9%. In 2009, when Democrats controlled both the White House and the Wisconsin governor’s mansion, the Badger State’s unemployment rate reached a shocking 9.4%, even rising past the national unemployment rate.

When Gov. Scott Walker (R) touted in 2014 that the state saw more job growth in his first 3 years as governor than it saw under the entirety of Gov. Jim Doyle’s 8 years as governor, PolitiFact rated the statement “mostly true,” only tempering its analysis by pointing out that all states struggled with unemployment rates between 2007 and 2009.

COWS has urged local and state government officials to raise the minimum wage, and in June reported that income inequality in Wisconsin almost mirrored that of the Great Depression. There’s no chance this newest report represents a change in philosophy at the think-tank, but it is proof that Wisconsin’s economic comeback is too big for even liberal academics to ignore.