Gov. Scott Walker has a secret. And he's not sharing it with you. At least, not immediately. He'll have to sometime, but there's this whole big recall thing going on here in Wisconsin and now would be a bad time. After the election he'll break the bad news.
See, Walker was getting a lot of flack for sucking at job creation. His numbers were the worst in the nation. Then, he dug up different numbers -- mostly meaningless and almost certainly inaccurate numbers no one else uses -- and everything was great. Wisconsin had added 23,000 jobs since he took office, Walker declared, despite the fact that the number was an estimate based on a very slim handful of data. Needless to say, a lot of people were unconvinced.
For example, PolitiFact rated Walker's claim mostly false. Here they explain the problem:
The 2011 numbers are based on the jobs census, which covers about 95% of employers. They are deemed more accurate than the monthly numbers, which are based on a survey sample of about 3.5% of employers, then extrapolated to get a state number...
The BLS itself recognizes the census method as more accurate. Indeed, it uses those numbers to update the monthly numbers. Think of it as a picture that over time comes into sharper focus.
If only there were some solid numbers Walker could use to back up his claim. Oh wait, here they are!
[The Capital Times:]
Each quarter, more than 150,000 employers across the state are required to report on how many workers they have. This information is then gathered by the Department of Workforce Development to calculate UI taxes owed.
For example, [business blogger John] Torinus says, his company, Serigraph Corp., reported to DWD it had 418 employees on its payroll last quarter.
“In short, the UI numbers are hard core numbers,” says Torinus, who is chairman of Serigraph. “It's bedrock data.”
Great, so let's see them.
Oops! Looks like the Walker administration is sitting on those numbers. It's the big secret I referred to earlier. "Of course, the timing for the Q4 numbers was political," Torinus writes. "But it is also good policy to have the the freshest, cleanest numbers to work with. So, again, why haven't the Q1 2012 numbers been made public? DWD has had them for two weeks. Someone should get fired if they aren't released in the next week or so."
I agree. And that someone should be Scott Walker. Walker has "bedrock data" that can prove or disprove claims he's currently making in political ads and he's not releasing them. If those numbers show that Wisconsin is still losing jobs -- as most honest observers suspect -- then those political ads Walker is running have just become a deliberate lie.
And if those numbers back him up? Obviously, they don't. If they did, they'd be splattered all over the front page of every newspaper in Wisconsin, next to the governor's grinning face. I'm not inclined to give Scott Walker the benefit of the doubt in the best of circumstances, but in this case it's nearly impossible. There is no doubt for Walker to benefit from. He's sitting on solid job numbers because they contradict what he's saying. I can't think of any other reasonable explanation.
Walker is clearly running a campaign of lies and he'll do whatever he can to suppress information that contradicts those lies.
[image credit: nwbtcw, via Flickr]