Just to Dispel a Myth: Wisconsin’s Public Workers Actually Pay for Their Benefits and Pensions

I’ve heard some variation of this line of GOP divide-and-conquer propaganda a few times recently: ‘WI public sector workers get free health care and benefits’ but it just ain’t so, as David Cay Johnston details in this article from Tax.com:

Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who ‘Contributes’ to Public Workers’ Pensions?

David Cay Johnston
Tax.com
Feb. 24, 2011

When it comes to improving public understanding of tax policy, nothing has been more troubling than the deeply flawed coverage of the Wisconsin state employees’ fight over collective bargaining.

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker’s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

Read the rest here.