Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Walker's WI producing brain drain, jobs/business exit

Scott Walker's punitive policies are clear signals to academics, job-seekers, business startups and others that they are not wanted in the state where partisan anti-intellectuals including Walker, known UW-basher and Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos and others are turning over policy-direction to the far-right and its conservative corporate funders.

I wrote last year:

I would bet it all that somewhere within the Walker administration, or in the GOP legislative caucus meetings or their Madison and Waukesha watering holes, ''let em' move somewhere else" is a familiar refrain, like "Go Pack, Go..." 
Again, "good riddance" is in the air, and in state policy, too, like a new official motto or state slogan.  It used to be "We like it here." Now it's more along the lines of, "We'd like some of you, a lot of you, to leave."
So Scott Walker and Robin Vos - - say hello, er, goodbye to two innovative, UW-Madison professors who got the message and are leaving for California, and taking with them a cutting-edge game development program and more than $10 million in grants and contracts.

The headline in Isthmus says it all:

Time to leave

[Kurt]  Squire and [Constance] Steinkuehler, married UW-Madison professors who co-direct the UW-Madison Games + Learning + Society Center, are leaving the UW at the end of the year, having accepted positions at the University of California-Irvine. 
While part of their decision was driven by the academic and professional opportunities Irvine offers, another part was driven by something else. 
“The climate of the state of Wisconsin helped contribute to the feeling that it was time to leave,” says Steinkuehler. “State government and state universities don’t always align, but the way the conversations have gone lately — so disrespectful, so cantankerous — statesmanship has gone out the window.” 
Squire agrees: “When there is this kind of open hostility and uncertainty in what the future will hold, it’s hard to innovate in an environment like that.”
There is also news in Walker World of more job cuts by Caterpillar, which, after taking over the venerable Milwaukee-area construction equipment maker Bucyrus-Erie, enforced workforce reductions despite promises of a post-takeover honeymoon.

And the announced sale of Joy Global, the former P&H heavy equipment maker headquartered within sight of Miller Park, again signals a loss of white collar staffers, production-line work and prestige.

That blow mirrors the loss of Oscar Mayer's blue and white collar jobs in Madison from the state which Walker keeps saying is open for business.

Walker never had a genuine plan to attract and retain business, other than billboards at the borders, sending Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch to cold-call business from Chicago hoping to embarrass a border state at the time run by Democrats, dissing more successful Minnesota with another cross-border speaking tour and setting up his political prop known as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation - - which has failed and fallen into so many repeat scandals and chief executive bailouts that Walker himself punted from the WEDC chairmanship he set up for himself because his WEDC's baggage gave the lie to what he was selling successfully to no one on the presidential campaign trail last year.

Meanwhile, workers' wages here have been set back or frozen by Walker's 100% resistance to raising the minimum wage above $7.25 per hour, his signing right-to-work and related prevailing wage restriction bills that impede collective bargain, and, of course, Act 10 - - his destruction of public sector bargain and real growth in take home opayt - - which together with deep cuts to the UW system.

Back to those two talented UW professors who said it was time to leave.

For Walker, Mission Accomplished.


Anonymous said...

And what about the quality of students who are applying to the UW? Won't students hesitate to come here, when they see that classes and majors are being cut, and professors are leaving? I heard rumors that the quality of applicants has gone down, but I haven't seen any official press about that. Is there a way that someone in the media could acquire facts about the quality of student applicants?

Anonymous said...

Walker counted on having one of the lowest corporate taxes amongst states to do draw employers to Wisconsin. President Carter was far better in politics and business than our Governor. Then again, Walker has no business experience, and it shows.

Anonymous said...

What worries me more than Walker is the new wave of neoliberal local candidates posing as Democrats.