Walker Changes Measurement of Jobs In Order to Save His Reputation
You might suddenly be hearing all about Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker’s “adjusted” job numbers, post the ignoble recognition of having presided over the most job losses in the nation. Remember, Romney praised Walker’s labor policies so this matters on a national level.
Scott Walker’s Wisconsin suffered record job losses as he faces recall. So Walker decided that he didn’t like the measurement used; he wanted to tell a different story. Sure, the measurement used for the numbers that paint his state with the worst job records in the nation is the same measurement as used by all other states, thus allowing comparisons of apples to apples instead of apples to bananas. But bananas Walker must have in order to tell a story that isn’t quite as damaging; his policies can’t afford to play by the rules. Rules are for Democrats.
Scott Walker is basically taking a ruler and changing inches into feet while comparing his distorted ruler to other states that are using inches. Look at my great feet! He screams. My feet are almost as good as everyone else’s inches! But in reality, his inches are the worst in the nation and even when he uses feet for inches, he still isn’t anywhere near his campaign promise of job creation. But that isn’t stopping Republicans from embracing the new reality that inches are feet in Wisconsin.
In response to Walker’s egregious reinvention of the ruler, Wisc Politics reports his Democratic recall challenger calling him on the double standard:
Phil Walzak, a spokesman for Tom Barrett’s guv campaign, said Walker’s administration is now trashing numbers that it previously touted when “it has suited him.”
“But since these regular numbers clearly show that Wisconsin leads the nation in jobs loss on his watch, Walker is desperate to distract from his worst-in-the-country jobs record,” Walzak said. “In a move that is virtually unheard of, Scott Walker is suddenly trotting out an altogether new set of numbers — three weeks before an election — to mask his economic failure. Walker ran on a campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs and 10,000 businesses over four years. He is failing on both counts and is desperate to change the conversation on jobs with an election looming.”
Measuring jobs works like this. All states use the same measurement, the Establishment Payroll Survey, provided by the Department of Labor, also known as the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. This is a national measurement — monthly estimates of employment, hours, and earnings for the Nation, States, and major metropolitan areas. This survey is taken in conjunction with data derived from a separate survey of households, the Current Population Survey (CPS).
Walker is rejecting the CES monthly employment series, which is an economic indicator of current economic trends each month, together with the unemployment rate. These numbers are inputs to many gauges of the U.S. economy including the overall health of the economy (employment).
This is the measurement Scott Walker has decided does not apply to his job numbers. In other words, he feels his economy should be given special privilege, in order to avoid being measured by the same measurement as the rest of the country. It’s economic affirmative action and distortion of the financials, courtesy of the conservative Governor.
The CES numbers used by every other state don’t look good for Walker and he tried to blame the protesters for his failed policies, but that narrative didn’t stick. So, he decided to spin his policies by using only one measurement, the Current Population Survey also provided by the DOL. These numbers are subject to a larger margin of error due to smaller sample size.
The Bureau of Labor statistics explains the difference between the two, and naturally, the survey Walker is using is the one with the largest margin of error, the CPS:
The establishment survey and household survey both produce sample-based estimates of employment and both have strengths and limitations. The establishment survey employment series has a smaller margin of error on the measurement of month-to-month change than the household survey because of its much larger sample size. An over-the-month employment change of about 100,000 is statistically significant in the establishment survey, while the threshold for a statistically significant change in the household survey is about 400,000.
Walker’s preferred method of measuring job losses is the Current Population Survey which calls people at home to ask them if they are employed, unlike the model used by the rest of the nation that requires calling employers. This matters for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is many people are employed across the state border. Thus, calling state based employers gives a more accurate number of the actual number of employed people in that state.
Scott Walker is going to use the successful job creation of his neighboring states along with a smaller sample size to tamp down the reality of of his failed policies. This is particularly ironic when we note that Walker has tried to use Illinois’ Governor as a foil, taunting him with his alleged successes. When Illinois’ job numbers came in and were much better than Wisconsin’s, Walker just spun the truth.
Walker rolled out his spin on reality with a football metaphor themed video, “Challenging The Spot Of The Ball.” In other words, they don’t want us to keep our eye on the ball but on their challenge to where that ball is. The fifty yard line for every other state is now the end zone for Walker. These new job numbers Walker is touting are an admission of his failure, as he is admitting that his policies can’t compete with other policies.
Walker’s March of 2011 to March of 2012 job numbers were the worst in the nation. The April data will be released by the Department of Labor on Friday. We’ll see how they compare to Walker’s selective number, but sadly given the low information voters, reality probably doesn’t mean a lot. After all, in the new conservative world, facts have no basis and scientific measurements used by all other parties for comparison are “flawed”. The tactic of calling reality into doubt is an old and successful one for the Republican Party. I hear that along with denying global climate change, they are also questioning gravity and now numbers.
The question isn’t are there different measurements for job numbers, the question is what is the standard method applied to all states? The standard method is what Walker is rejecting. He prefers the method that is more prone to error.
If he can’t hack it in the free market of measurement, using the same tools as every other state, why should we have to give him special tools to prop up his record?
Scott Walker’s new job numbers aren’t so great either, but they are better (although inaccurate, but hey, this is conservative fairy land) than the real job numbers. This is so Republican. Instead of taking a look at his ideas to see why they failed, he just changes the perception of the numbers. Walker is a spinner.
Meanwhile, Darlene Wink, top Walker aide who has already pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of campaigning for Walker’s gubernatorial run on the taxpayer dime, has had her sentencing delayed. The prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge her with felonies but in return for her cooperation in the John Doe investigation, they reduced the charges.
All told, three aides have been charged, an appointee has been charged and a major campaign donor has pleaded guilty to two felony counts. In a state that does not allow elected officials to set up a legal defense fund unless they are the subject of a criminal probe or under investigation, Walker’s legal defense fund combined with his denials that he is under investigation don’t make any more sense than his job numbers.
The investigators are giving immunity to close Walker aides, which says they think the bigger story is higher up.
Walker was all too happy to use the standard model of measurement in order to take credit for jobs actually added under the previous administration in 2011. But now that Walker is faced with an historic recall, he finds the need to cherry pick which measurement for jobs will work better for his campaign. Turns out, the measurement used by every other state, and to which his numbers are being compared unfavorably, doesn’t work for Walker.
What does Walker do when he can’t face reality? He changes reality to suit his Koched up, corporate policies.