On September 6th, the Detroit News reported that Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney took a look at the latest polls and decided to pull down ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Romney-friendly SuperPACs did the same. The campaign and its allies are looking to move the money to swing states where the polling is more favorable.
Now Romney has set his sights on the great state of Wisconsin, launching an ad that claims he will create 240,000 new jobs by cutting government spending and reducing the deficit ... essentially the same austerity tactics already employed at the state level by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Romney's Wisconsin pledge is presumably calculated by dividing his national pledge of 12 million jobs by fifty. Yet, it is oddly reminiscent of Governor Walker's 2010 campaign pledge to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his term in 2014. Walker has reaffirmed his pledge as recently as May of this year. His promise is, by all reasonable estimates, already broken. Job growth in Wisconsin in his first year ranked amongst the worst in the nation. Walker's own optimistic economic forecast says the state will only make half that number under the best of conditions.
The most recent "State of Working Wisconsin" report (released yearly by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy) illustrates Wisconsin's anomalously bleak economic situation: "In 2011, Wisconsin fell off the weak national and regional pace of job growth," COWS reports " ... using any source of data our job market is a national and regional laggard." Four years after the financial collapse, COWS maintains that Wisconsin hasn't come close to recovery: "In December 2007, Wisconsin had some 2.88 million jobs. In July 2012, the state had just 2.72 million jobs. Wisconsin's jobs deficit is more than 245,900; these are the jobs we need just to make up for losses and population growth since the recession began." The report concludes that, "Without more concerted attention on both decent jobs and strong schools, we may face another decade of loss."
The Romney campaign's decision to air their ad in Wisconsin raises many questions: How, exactly, does decreasing the deficit create jobs? Is Romney's 240,000 job pledge parallel to or in addition to Walker's 250,000 pledge? When will the jobs materialize? Does the Romney campaign really think Wisconsinites will fall for this again?