A common theme among Minnesota liberals is that Wisconsin economic growth is down since a Republican took the governor's office in 2011. Well, let's take a look at that data, and let's take a look back a few decades.
All in all, it looks like the differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin in terms of economic activity really got going in 2001 or so, not 2011. Now part of that gap can be attributed to the recession that followed the World Trade Center bombings and Wisconsin's dependence on manufacturing, but that gap seems to have widened from 2003 to 2010. What, then, occurred in this time frame?
Answer, of course, is that liberal Jim Doyle was governor of Wisconsin while a moderately conservative man, Tim Pawlenty, was governor of Minnesota. This is where the big gap opened up in terms of economic performance, and it demonstrates that yes, it matters when you've got adults in charge. Or, ahem, if you don't.
And Minnesota's recent good times? Well, it's healthcare (United Health and others are based here, as well as our little clinic here in Rochester) and education. In other words, that $900 million Dayton put into education is going into....well, let's say it, hiring in education that may or may not indicate long term economic growth. In other words, "juicing the statistics."
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