Saturday, February 16, 2013

Walker's Boondoggle Emporium

Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, of the Journal Sentinel, recently wrote, "Scott Walker wants to invest nearly $100 million to build a faster system to track jobs data, tie technical school and university funding to filling high-demand professions and require nearly 76,000 people to train for work to collect food stamps."

Don't we already have job tracking systems? Employment-wanted ads? Guidance counselors? Advisors? Internships? Consultants? Private headhunters? Employment centers? Or does this have more to do with Walker wanting to have his own [duplicitous] metric(s) for job tracking so he can [falsely] claim he is actually creating jobs?

Will professions (and the degrees related to such) deemed to not be "high demand" simply no longer be taught? Also, how can schools (and their curriculum) possibly predict the exact worker-skill needs of the mobile, evolving, ever-changing economy (and the many sectors and businesses in it)?

During this period of high unemployment, Walker really wants to get tough on food stamp users? Yes, this exorbitant gravy-train must stop. And, what exactly does he plan on training them for? If there were jobs available, they'd be working. Yet another solution looking for a problem.

Surely some training responsibility must fall onto the actual employer (as was common practice until the job training and workforce development shams were implemented in the 1980s). What ever happened to businesses training their own workers? Or, how about just telling the businesses to pay prevailing wage rates to attract workers to the jobs?

Walker's proposals (as highlighted by the article) sound seemingly laudable, but they are so vague that they are realistically just meaningless rhetoric.
For state universities, Walker is proposing awarding $20 million for programs that help the economy, develop a skilled workforce and make higher education more affordable...
Walker's budget would also seek to increase the number of doctors and dentists in Wisconsin.
Yes, an educated, skilled workforce is a good thing. And, more doctors and dentists sound good, too. But we actually need citizens with insurance and/or money who can actually go to a doctor or a dentist. Plus, this would also mean more students would need to be able to afford medical and dental school.

For a guy that supposedly wants smaller government, Walker sure does like creating new committees and/or departments. As part of his Wisconsin educational system overhaul, Walker would like to, "Create a four-person state Office of Skills Development to coordinate the scattered worker-training systems of the state and adapt them to the needs of employers."

How much better would the job prospects (and future) of Wisconsin be if Scott Walker hadn't refused over $800 million in funding for upgrading the Hiawatha train? Now, for needed upgrades to the line (plus possible Talgo lawsuit claims), rather than being covered by the $800+ million Federal grant, it could cost the State of Wisconsin over $100 million.
Taken together, state taxpayers' share of the Hiawatha capital costs that would have been covered by the federal grant could total as much as $99 million, significantly more than the $30 million they would have paid for 20 years of operating costs on the Milwaukee-to-Madison segment.
The platitudes and bromides Walker (and Republicans, in general) spews are just that, sweeping generalizations which are too loosely operationalized to be actionable and/or too idiotically simplistic to be taken seriously as well-planned, thoughtful proposals.

For Further Reading:
Government Spends More On Corporate Welfare Than Social Welfare
Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance ProgramsWalmart Is The Largest Food Stamp Recipient

No comments: