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Small, Southern, unwealthy, Arkansas has long been looked down on by the more prosperous states of the upper Midwest. Now the gap is closing. As we've reported previously, Michigan has copied Arkansas's anti-union "right to work" law, virtually assuring that per capita income in the peninsular state will drop to Arkansas levels. Welcome, Wolverines. Familiarize yourself with the food stamps.
Arkansas already has surpassed once-proud Wisconsin in the compensation of football coaches. The new Razorback coach, Bret Bielema, who came to Arkansas from the University of Wisconsin for a salary of $3.2 million, says that getting higher pay for his assistants too was one of the key reasons he changed jobs.
Bielema said that after Wisconsin defeated Nebraska in the Big 10 championship game, some of his assistants had approached him about job offers from other schools. "They were talking money that I can't bring them at Wisconsin. Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point. I just felt that for me and my future and my life and what I want to accomplish in the world of college football, I needed to have that ability to do that and thankfully I've found that here at Arkansas."
So unwired Wisconsin has the cheese, but Arkansas has the coaches. Both states have school teachers. Up to now, Wisconsin's have made considerably more money, but with an anti-union governor and legislature working to drive down teachers' pay, Wisconsin educators may not be much better off than Arkansas's before long. Although, there's an anti-teacher group in Arkansas that's hard at work too. If anybody can keep Arkansas teachers on bottom, the Billionaire Boys Club can.