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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

A small vignette in the Walker saga is emblematic of the problems embedded in our culture, as well as the forward motion Scott Walker’s administration represents.  The much-debated jobs numbers for Wisconsin (for 2011) derive from two sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Wisconsin Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).  The BLS figures indicated a loss of 34,000 jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, a number Walker’s critics quickly ran with.

But the QCEW – which the BLS uses to correct its numbers, usually about six months after the initial Bureau estimates – showed a net increase of 23,000 jobs in Wisconsin.  (This is different from the “30,000” figure being repeated in much of yesterday’s news coverage.)

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The QCEW survey takes into account all employees on which employers are paying taxes.  It is not a small sample, like the BLS approach, but a survey of almost all employers in the state.  The QCEW numbers are fully auditable against the state’s tax records.  They’re the best numbers we have.  It was a good thing that Walker released them; but hilariously enough, a Forbes columnist, Rick Ungar, took Walker to task for it in mid-May.  This was his complaint (emphasis in original):

The Governor has simply decided to ignore the system used by the Department of Labor —and every other state in the nation —to measure job growth (or loss) and elected instead to go with a different set of numbers that makes things in Wisconsin look better.

I kind of love this: we should stick with bureaucratic procedure rather than publish the truth in time for the citizens to use it in forming their judgments.  There is now, in many realms of intellectual endeavor, a general regimentation and bureaucratization of the American mindset that we are only slowly waking up from.

For many people, especially younger ones, ideas about which government rules and “services” we can happily do without will be new and startling, and it may be awhile before enough people make the mental leap.  But it is possible to slip the surly bonds of the Regulated Man construct and envision a better future.  Wisconsin has taken an important step toward that future.  Walker’s Wisconsin is what “Forward” looks like.

Originally published at http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/06/06/this-is-what-forward-looks-like/

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