Our Wisconsin: Welfare Scorecard

February 18, 2019

By Ola Lisowski

Welcome back to Our Wisconsin.

Today, we present the next scorecard in our series Our Wisconsin, the MacIver Institute’s scorecards to measure Wisconsin’s progress. This edition examines welfare. We keep track how the people of our great state are faring, from weekly unemployment insurance claims to FoodShare rolls.

As we announced when we launched this project, our goal is to assemble key metrics to help you decide for yourself where Wisconsin stands and to measure our progress across a whole host of important areas – the economy, education, poverty, liberty, and many others.

At MacIver, we believe that welfare programs are necessary to the functioning of our society — but participation in such programs should be temporary and lead to meaningful employment. Ultimately, human prosperity means individuals can not only survive, but thrive, on their own. We believe that when millions of individuals need to rely on government handouts for years or even decades, something is fundamentally wrong with our system.

Today, the economy is booming. Recent reports show that more than 7.3 million jobs are available in the country, more than ever before. Rather than creating new bureaucracies and programs to temporarily bandaid over issues, the time is now to encourage finding career paths that will sustain families for generations.

That’s why we are so encouraged by some of the figures on this chart, including the growth in programs like the FoodShare Employment Training program. FSET, among other similar programs, helps match people with careers, giving them the tools they need to better their skills and their lives. These figures show that wages are rising for those in FSET, reaching as high as double the minimum wage in some parts of the state. That’s real progress that will help end the cycle of poverty many Wisconsinites know all too well. Programs like these embody the temporary helping hand that government can play in people’s’ lives, giving them the tools they need to succeed for themselves. That’s Our Wisconsin.

We hope our scorecards will keep the debate and conversation grounded in reality. We hope our scorecards will help you cut through the fog of hyperbole and rhetoric. We hope these scorecards help you decide for yourself – what is the true state of our great state?

Don’t take Gov. Evers’ word for it or any other politician for that matter. Don’t let the media tell you what you should think. Decide for yourself. Stay tuned for more editions in the weeks to come, before Gov. Evers releases his first budget plan.

Forward, Wisconsin.

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