On February 26, 2016, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, published an article entitled “Poverty Across Wisconsin Reaches Highest Level In 30 Years.” The poverty trends were compiled from U.S. Census data by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. Between 2009 and 2014, 13 percent of Wisconsin residents were living in poverty, the highest percentage since 1984. Scott Walker took office as Governor of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011.
The researchers also analyzed a study by the Economic Innovation Group which found Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is the seventh most economically distressed city in America, with 52 percent of the population under economic distress.
The researchers also discovered poverty went up in both urban and rural areas of Wisconsin, and every educational background.
According to the analysis, “for those with a high school education, poverty rose from 8.9 percent to 11 percent. It also rose from 6.6 percent to 8.9 percent among those who had attended some college, and poverty also touched those with bachelor’s degrees or more, rising from 3 percent to 3.6 percent.”
Child poverty also dramatically increased, as did the poverty gap between African-Americans and whites while the gap remained flat in most areas of the country during the same time period. The researchers cited the causes for increases in poverty as the broadening gap in wealth and income inequality, in which the highest income earners experience increases in wealth and income as wages for the working and middle classes remain virtually stagnant.
The administration of Scott Walker certainly hasn’t helped the residents of Wisconsin. Instead of creating jobs and improving wages for workers, Walker has led battles against workers rights, while providing tax breaks to the rich. Massive layoffs in the state have become a regular occurrence. Walker’s, “Act 10” revoked collective bargaining rights for public employees to unionize, and cut their wages by ten percent. Walker has also signed several anti-union bills into law and increased subsidies for corporations while the state’s minimum wage remains at the federal minimum of $7.25. The only people who have thrived in Wisconsin since Scott Walker assumed office is himself and the special interests who support him like the Koch Brothers.
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