Fri. May 24th, 2024

Unsurprisingly, the Big Media, for reasons of laziness, incompetence or complicity, have been taking the press releases from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and the Republican Party, as fact. Consequently, much of the public erroneously believes that benefits and pensions of Wisconsin public workers are ‘free’ — in other words, paid for by the taxpayers. Surprisingly, PolitiFact has been doing the same; apparently relying for their ‘facts’ on tainted information provided by the Governor’s office. Here, David Cay Johnston at clears the air:

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

David Cay Johnston
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. [ ed.: Emphasis mine.]

Read the rest here.


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