The Stretch

GET OUR LEADERS TO THINK BIG. With the “Stretch Target” of winning against Minnesota, the state CEOs (read Governors) over several administrations, both Republican and Democratic, must commit to a bipartisan, clearly understood 20-year target to exceed Minnesota’s per capita income. A scorecard with a well -established, transparent, and consistent method for all citizens to track performance will be established.

FESS UP ! WE DO HAVE TWO HUGE PROBLEMS IN WISCONSIN! “Untidy truth is better than smooth lies that unravel in the end.” (Colin Powell). Many Wisconsinites, including in government and academia, are surprisingly unaware of or not concerned that we have had this relatively weakening economy for years. Yes, our State in 2018 had record unemployment rates below 4%. Our workforce participation rate was # 7 in the country. Wonderful!  But our basic weakness is evident not only when per capita income is compared to  Minnesota, but in 2017 Wisconsin slipped to #32 well below Georgia in average wages! (STATS America-BEA, though still higher in medium wages). It has since recovered by some measures, but our median household income remains in the lower half of the nation (The Blog-Infography). Despite the many bright spots in our State, the serious consequences of our position must be articulated to the public. Citizens must understand that long-term trends have resulted  in a #49 ranking in job growth in 2014 (Pew Center). and # 50 in 2015 and 2016 (Kauffman Foundation). Again, we have improved some in 2017 to # 45, but we have a very serious problem! Only radical, long-term “stretch’ change will rectify the situation!

GET THE PUBLIC BUY IN. Only when the policies/moves responsive to the economic (and educational) “Targets” are well-articulated and explained persistently via the media to the Wisconsin public in terms of urgency, better jobs and wages and longer term higher quality living standards will such understanding lead to full citizenry support and endorsement at the polls.