Sunday, December 19, 2010

And It's Only Going To Get Worse

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that poverty levels are on the rise in Wisconsin. There are now 10 counties with a poverty level above 15%, as compared to 2000, when there were only two.

But that is not surprising when you look at what's been going on lately. Companies like Mercury Marine, Harley Davidson and now Kohler are forcing their employees to take draconian cuts to their pay and/or benefits. They also make those jobs as unattractive as possible for new workers.

It's not so much that these companies are struggling in this economy. After all, both Mercury Marine and Harley Davidson have both reported great profits and have given their CEOs and Boards of Directors salaries and/or bonuses that would have kept an army working for years.

Also not surprising is that the highest levels of poverty are occurring among the minorities:
The new data also shows a higher prevalence of poverty among minorities in Wisconsin. The poverty rate was highest among blacks - with nearly 35% living in poverty, followed by American Indians (27%) and Hispanics (23%). Non-Hispanic whites reported the lowest rate among racial groups - 8.5%.
So what do we do? Well, the author of the report has a suggestion (emphasis mine):
"An increasing proportion of Wisconsin residents are facing economic hardship," said the report's author, Katherine Curtis, demographic specialist at UW Extension and an assistant professor at UW-Madison. "These numbers suggest that economic development, including living wages, health benefits, food security and housing affordability should be front and center in policy discussions."
Well, that should be a cinch for the incoming governor and state legislature...oh, wait...we are so screwed.


  1. Which Republican has been in charge of Wisconsin for the past eight years?

  2. George Bush and Johnny Gard, among others.

    Actually, Wisconsin has weathered the disastrous economy of the Bush era pretty darn well compared to most other places.

    Of course, I expect those "above the curve" rankings to end now that we have a guv and Legislature that wants us to match the great results of Texass and Florida.

  3. It isn't so much who was in charge of Wisconsin. Gov. Doyle did not cause the current economic crisis. It was a global economic collapse. It pretty much started on Wall Street, not in Wisconsin. We just got to take the fall with everyone else.

    Wisconsin did weather the disaster better than many other places. Part of that is because Wisconsin was not getting the great economic growth that some of those places were getting.

  4. Anonymous- Agree that Wisconsin didn't get the bubble-based booms that Florida or Arizona or Nevada got in the early 2000s. And that's a reflection of the tax structures, services and regulations (or lack thereof) that exist in both Wisconsin and those subprime states.

    I'll take the more gradual growth and deflating that we have here. And when you check out their poverty and unemployment rates, I think you would too.

  5. Wisconsin is among the 10 worst states in financial peril.
    Someone might want to check this out:

  6. ReasonableCitizen,

    Oh, please, if you're going to cite something, don't cite a debunked Republican propaganda machine.

  7. Glad to know Mr. Doyle had nothing to do with Wisconsin's economy over the past eight years.

    It's all Bush's fault.

  8. Are you saying Doyle controlled the nation's economy?