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Wisconsin lost 37 establishments employing 1,000 or more workers in a decade. That’s 27 percent of companies generally offering higher pay, better benefits, and secure retirement.
The state lost 14 percent of firms employing 500 to 999 workers
and 15 percent of those employing 250 to 499.
No realistic expectation of small business growth can replace those jobs, and most jobs small businesses do create cannot make up the compensation.
Wisconsin voters know they are struggling. They sense that unchecked growth of local and state governments will grind them down even more. Government as usual was not an option.
But they need to know how bad things really are.
For example, without major reforms, the public pensions officially accounted at 100 percent funded actually need $1,563 more from the average household every year for 30 years just to pay benefits already promised, according to an updated study for the National Bureau of Economic Research by Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Rauh.
Public retiree health-care funding is more than $2.3 billion short, according to the Pew “Widening Gap” study, and the state only paid 45 percent of the last payment due. Somebody is going to have to make up the difference.
An analysis released Monday by Governing magazine found that since 2008, Wisconsin state and local governments cut jobs by about 3 percent, while the private sector lost more than 5.7 percent.
To one degree or another what is happening in Wisconsin is happening all over America. The one-third of American workers paying for everybody else is starting to feel squeezed.
Nationally, the Governing analysis “… finds state and local government reductions being applied unevenly so far, with employment growing or remaining roughly unchanged in about half of states since the start of the recession. Private sector employment, by contrast, increased in only five states….
“Labor Department estimates also suggest numbers of public employees actually grew in some states, even those with notable drops in private employment.”
Any politicians who think voters who lost jobs, took pay cuts, gave up benefits, and surrendered any hope of retirement will quietly pay more for those who shared no sacrifice are going to be in for a shock on election day.
Reality always wins.
Frank Keegan is editor of Statebudgetsolutions.org, a project of sunshinereview.org. The State Budget Solutions Project is non-partisan, positive, pro-reform, proactive and anchored in fundamental-systemic solutions. The goal is to successfully engage political journalists/bloggers, state officials, and opinion leaders in a new way of thinking about state government and budgets, fundamental reforms, transparency, and accountability. This article originally appeared at WisconsinReporter.com.