Friday, February 22, 2019

On Job Growth, Tax Cuts and Protecting Dairy Farms, Walker's Legacy an Astonishing Failure!

Scott Walker's smoke and mirrors legacy is really starting to crumble, even as Republican legislators brag about how great the last 8 years have been. Oops?

Let's note just how bad things after Walker replaced reality based problems crying out for solutions with right wing theoretical concepts that ignored everything.

Keep in mind, this is just two months into Gov. Evers first term. Republican Rep. Robin Vos repeated Walker's ridiculous sales pitch, even as the following facts contradicted every word:
Vos: "Our state and its people are thriving. Wisconsin now has more jobs than people to fill them. It’s clear: the state of our state is strong. You might ask, how did we get here? For the last eight years, Republicans worked hard to make Wisconsin open for business. We cut taxes by more than $8 billion."
1. Walker thought Tax Cuts created Jobs...Wrong: The numbers just came out, and they're not helping Vos' argument one bit. For a complete breakdown see Jake's Wisconsin Funhouse:

Try attracting out of state workers with wages 20% lower than surrounding states. Looks like that ad campaign is just another waste of taxpayer dollars.

Tax Cuts = 30 Percent Fewer Jobs, Poverty Rates Higher, Lower Participation Rates: A study from July 14, 2017, from a researcher who calls Wisconsin his home state...:
WPT: Wisconsin Tax Cuts Did More Harm Than Good, Study Finds: A new study coauthored by Oklahoma State University Economics Prof. Dan Rickman found recent tax cuts actually hurt Wisconsin. The study, which compared Kansas to Wisconsin, found that 30 percent more jobs could have been created from 2011 to 2015 if it were not for tax cuts. The study also found that the unemployment and poverty rate would have been lower, and labor participation would be higher.

Scott Walker Legacy; he Ignored and Destroyed Dairy Farms: Walker's 8 year focus was to replace our current structure of government with a theoretical conservative system that shockingly ignored solving problems; youth prisons, veterans homes, polluted drinking water, underfunded state parks, deteriorating roads, financially squeezed schools, mass transit, CWD, etc. and...

...the one things that put Wisconsin on the map; America's Dairyland. Instead of understanding the problem and leading a reform movement to save our states dairy farms, heck the whole industry, he instinctively thought of mega corporate farmers and producing an oversupply milk. That resulted in low prices for the last 4 years:
In 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced an incentive program to produce, as a state, 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020 a 15 percent increase

Despite record production every year since 2002, Walker urged farmers to step it up even more.

Dairy farmers ... reached 30 billion pounds in 2016 — four years ahead of schedule. By then, however, the market had turned and many dairy farmers were having trouble breaking even on their new investments. Some felt duped by the agribusiness system.

The more surplus farmers produce, the lower the price of agricultural commodities for food processors," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
Who did Walker help most? Guess...
"All of the most powerful players in the industry, except the farmer, benefit from overproduction."
Notice how Walker's program alone brought down the dairy industry in the chart below:

Walker left another major problem for the Democrats to solve:
1. By the turn of the 20th century, 90 percent of Wisconsin farms had dairy cows, and led the nation in butter and cheese production ... until 1993 when that recognition went to California.

2. For nearly 80 years, “America’s Dairyland” has been imprinted on the state’s license plates.

3. Dairy contributes more to Wisconsin’s economy than citrus does to Florida or potatoes to Idaho, and more than a quarter of the nation’s cheese comes out of the state.
But then the problem festered under Walker and his bad policy advice, along with Trump's tariffs:
4. Wisconsin lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018, an unprecedented rate of nearly two a day.

5. As of Feb. 1, Wisconsin had 8,046 dairy herds, down 40 percent from 10 years earlier, according to state Department of Agriculture data. 

6. Remaining dairy farmers have burned through their farm equity and credit to remain in business. 

7. Although consumption increased, they've not always kept pace with runaway production.  

8. Foreign markets for American dairy products have shrunk in response to tariffs that President Donald Trump placed on foreign steel and aluminum. Cheese shipments to China have fallen almost 65 percent, according to industry figures, and exports to Mexico are down more than 10 percent. 

9. Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition (said) “The administration has not lifted steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian products, and in response, those countries are refusing to (ratify) the pact or lift retaliatory tariffs, impacting dairy products and other items."

And Trump's supposed farm "bailout? Horrific:
10. A 55-cow dairy farm would receive a one-time payment of $725 from the bailout but stood to lose between $36,000 and $48,000 in income last year from low milk prices, according to the Wisconsin Farmers Union. A 290-cow dairy would get $4,905 but would lose several hundred thousand dollars. 

11. Farmers have flushed milk down the barn drain because they couldn't find a processing plant to take it. 

12. Some farmers have shot calves because the newborn animals had no market value and were considered too expensive to raise for beef. 

13. The stress farmers have endured in trying to keep everything together has been overwhelming, especially on farms passed down for generations. Nobody wants to be the one to close the gates. Elizabeth Rich, an attorney from Plymouth and president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund Foundation said, “Fifth- and sixth-generation dairy farmers are losing their farms; many are killing themselves. We can and must do better.”

14. Some farmers say the U.S. needs a milk supply management system, like Canada has, that imposes production quotas and protects farmers' income. Critics of Canada's system say it has resulted in trade barriers to U.S. dairy products. "But whether the answer is a system similar to Canada's supply management program or something completely different, we can't just sit back and continue down the same current path without trying to find something that actually works for farmers," Brad Rach, dairy director for the National Farmers Organization, wrote in a blog.  

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