PolitiFactWisc purports to evaluate this claim of Senator Russ Feingold's:
"According to independent analysis, unfair trade deals have resulted in the loss of over 64,000 jobs in Wisconsin."First, the PolitiFactWisc team independently audits Feingold's source for the figure, and finds it ... dead nuts accurate.
PolitiFactWisc then questions the independence of the source, and finds its independence lacking because its compilers support Senator Feingold's stance on free trade deals (which doesn't make it any less independent or accurate) so the PolitiFactWisc team checks with an alternative source that supports the free trade deals in question.
That source confirms:
Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a Peterson Institute expert, said the data [Feingold uses] is commonly used by researchers as the best available for showing how trade can close factories.Emphasis added.
Indeed, asserts the PolitiFactWisc team, 64,000 "may vastly understate the number of jobs lost" due to the free trade pacts.
Vastly: enormously. Immensely. Colossally.
Finally, says PolitiFactWisc, "those numbers leave out the other side of the equation — jobs created through the deals."
Yet PolitiFactWisc doesn't cite a single source — independent or otherwise — for any "jobs created through the deals." And for all of this, PolitiFactWisc determines Feingold's claim, "Half True."
Even though the PolitiFactWisc team hasn't the foggiest notion of whether those "jobs created through the deals" would simply be offset by the "vast understatement" of jobs lost represented by the 64,000 figure, and doesn't even bother trying to find out.
So why, exactly, is Senator Feingold's claim "Half True"?
Wisconsin lost over 81,958 manufacturing jobs (or 15.6 percent) during the NAFTA-WTO period (1993-2009), according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure is for TOTAL manufacturing employment, so takes into account both jobs created by exports and jobs displaced by imports, among other factors.Because it's too conservative?
We (generously) rate PolitiFactWisc's latest entry, "Half Assed."*
Moreover, as both Jay Bullock and Mike Plaisted have correctly pointed out, PolitiFactWisc has lately taken to "evaluating" the claims of various (Republican) candidates that nobody had even challenged.
What on Earth is the point of that?
* We also fault Feingold for using "over" instead of "more than."
Earlier: A Milwaukee paper's Bizarro World PolitiFact®