Scott Walker is governor and Wisconsin skies still not falling!

Neanderthal Republicans have shifted the political tectonics so dramatically that the Badger State now shares a common border with burning Mississippi and its impoverished, barn-burning sharecroppers. That’s what our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances are saying in this election year. Some may even believe it.

Democrats who make excuses for Obama and Doyle put Scott Walker to the lash for falling short of his ambitious job-creation pledge. Private-sector employers added a net 3,200 jobs in July, 117,000 since December 2010, figures released today show. (July’s 5.8% unemployment rate is a full point below a year ago year and remains below the national unemployment rate of 6.2%.)

Not good enough. We’re trailing Minnesota in the rate of job creation, our l-p-s acquaintances wail. Minnesota — does it just so happen? — is governed by The Good Guys. (Pay no attention to that job-hemorrhaging, nearly bankrupt state just south of Kenosha and Beloit, also run by The Good Guys — or, perhaps, by the Goodfellas.)

What they will not tell you is that personal income in Wisconsin is growing the fastest in its 12-state Midwest neighborhood (that being Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). That is what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact says.

When we looked at percentage income growth for both regions, Walker’s claim held up. Among those 12 states, Wisconsin’s 3.33 percent income growth led the way, topping Ohio (3.12 percent) and Illinois (3.08 percent.) Minnesota and Iowa were toward the low end at 1.6 percent and 1.13 percent, respectively.

Minnesota — on “the low end”? Hmm, the state does begin with the letter M. For extra credit, class: What other state between Alabama and Louisiana begins with the same letter?

Wisconsin was supposed to have impoverished the middle class as part of its War on Women by the crushing blow the Republicans delivered with the passage of the Act 10 reforms of government employee benefits, wherein public-sector workers were required to contribute 12% (up from 6%) to their health insurance benefits.



An inconveniently timed study conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts says Wisconsin state employees have the second-most-generous health insurance plan in the nation — even after Act 10!

Nationally, state health plans picked up 92% of enrollee health care costs (accounting for deductibles). Wisconsin picks up 97%. (Only Connecticut picked up more, at 98%.)

The average premium for state employees in Wisconsin totals $1,331 a month; taxpayers picked up 87%. This is what would be termed a “platinum plan” under Obamacare. Nationally, premiums for state employees were $963 a month, with taxpayers paying 84% of the total.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.