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Saturday, November 28, 2009

1st Congressional District Dealing With Self-Inflicted Wound

It's been over a month since updated the budget numbers for Federal spending and assistance for fiscal year 2008. Although the numbers are partial (first two quarters of 2008 only), they are good enough to generate a base average to compare district spending with, and that's all I need to add 2008 to a running project of mine showing Rep. Paul Ryan has arbitrarily shortchanged his district billions of dollars in federal assistance.

IN 2005, Wisconsin congressional districts (excluding the 4th District) averaged $2.82 billion each in federal assistance. That year, Ryan's district captured only $1.54 billion in grants for a shortfall of $1.28 billion less than average. In 2006, the district average was $2.55 billion to Ryan’s $1.66 billion for an additional shortfall of $890 million. In 2007, the average funding was $1.98 billion to Ryan’s $1.04 billion for a shortfall of $940 million, bringing the three year total to $3.11 billion. Now, the numbers released for 2008 show the average Federal assistance around $1.630 billion. Ryan's district captured only $1.017 for a difference of $613 million. So, the unofficial total for the past four years is $3.723 billion less than average in federal assistance for economic development, infrastucture, schools and jobs in the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin. A severe if not crushing dividend shortfall in return for our tax dollars.

Unfair analysis you say? Sure, I'm not taking in a multitude of variables or factors including wealth demographics, economic patterns, population density and trends, infrastructure needs, the number of assistance applications, inflation, etc., etc. But, neither did Congressman Ryan. My observation about the assistance shortfall to our district here would have less to stand on if Congressman Ryan himself did not deviate from the average and initiate the cuts beginning sometime in 2005. All the years before, (2004 through 2000) federal assistance for the 1st District held reasonably close to the average. That's key to this analysis. You can check those earlier numbers yourself if you don't take my word for it. So, Ryan went on a fiscal crusade against his district beginning in 2005 just as arbitrarily as I have presented the numbers. What are his reasons why his district averaged far less in Federal appropriations since 2004? A new found and strict adherence to conservative ideology? To create an appearance and record of fiscal prudence - to what end? For personal career enhancement? While his district bleeds?

Recently, Congressman Ryan and his media enablers have been making hay over the jobs and spending numbers misreported in the federal stimulus program. Ryan wrote...
Elusive Quest For Jobs:
The Administration claims to have spent $2.4 billion in the state of Wisconsin, resulting in 10,073 jobs "created or saved." In the Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, taxpayers spent roughly $1.5 million per job. More troubling, millions more of your money has apparently been spent in six congressional districts that don’t exist. Despite promises of unprecedented accountability, it is unclear what has happened to the $1.2 million earmarked for the non-existent 55th Congressional District of Wisconsin, as the Badger State only has eight congressional districts. These false jobs claims are not only embarrassing, but further erode the trust between Wisconsinites and their federal government.
The Congressman certainly has the right to regurgitate those "created or saved" numbers and refer to them as false claims if he so chooses. But no more the right than I have to present numbers to prove our district's shortfall is in the billions of dollars. Is it fair to say that the $3.72 billion assistance shortfall has resulted in the direct loss of 10,000 jobs at $50,000/annual with benefits for seven years in the first CD alone? Why not?

If not - is it possible that Ryan's deliberate cut-off of tax return capital to his district since 2005 led to the flight of GM out of Janesville and Chrysler out Kenosha? Why not, again? Factories of multi-national corporations are sensitive to cash flows in and around their local environment. Mercury Marine in fact is a solid case in point. Without huge capital promises from our cash poor state government, Mercury Marine was threatening to leave Wisconsin for Oklahoma. Did GM and Chrysler sense there was little capital and political support to keep those factories employed in Ryan's district. I would say don't rule it out. One way or another, our district has $3.7 billion less in capital potential - not including the loss of capital from GM and Chrysler payrolls. Simply put, we have a cash crisis. It's no secret that Ryan's district as a whole is among the worst hit congressional districts for unemployment in Wisconsin. Is it just a coincidence he's our congressman?


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Paul Ryan and Sensenbrenner. They are the only Wisconsin congressmen that kept the line on spending while the other six went on a spending spree. That's why we have huge deficits.

Lou Kaye said...

That is our self-inflicted wound. The delusion that, while the country and its congressional collective are suffering through economic difficulties, job losses and deficits, we can take solace knowing that because Paul Ryan stuck to his budget principles, our district did its share in to produce a balanced national budget. There is no greater example of Ayn Rand’s individualism than that expressed by Ryan’s supporters. Lucky for him he’s not working in the private sector.

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