Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Wisconsin Experiment

Yesterday one of my favorite bloggers, Kevin Drum, highlighted a post by Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser. It appears the "Kansas experiment" launched and spearheaded by Governor Brownback has been an unmitigated failure. Menzie compares the economic coincident index of Kansas and the U.S. and clearly shows that the state has trailed the economic trajectory of the overall country. Recall that Brownback's right-wing, free-market policies were supposed to catapult the Kansas economy into high-growth mode as it was finally unshackled from leftist regulations and obstructions. Yawn.

But it occurred to me, Scott Walker entered office in January 2011, the same time as Brownback, how did Wisconsin's economy fare when viewing this same data?


Answer: not much better than Kansas. Whereas the coincident index for Kansas increased by just 10.6% compared to 15.2% for the U.S., Wisconsin enjoyed a better 12.8% gain but still significantly below the national figure. It seems the Koch brothers' hand-picked stooge has been less than successful in energizing Wisconsin's economy -- what a shocker.

I also include data for New Jersey and California over this same time period. The 12.7% rise for NJ puts Christie as worse than Walker, something that could be a surprise if you believed Christie's blather during the debate. 

And as for that bastion of liberalism, California, the state of excessive restrictions, taxes and red tape, how did it fare? Just a whopping 21.1% increase in its coincident index, far ahead of the country's impressive 15.2% gain. Can't say I was surprised. Yawn.

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