So it was with great amusement that I read that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's argument against the piece I wrote a couple of days ago, pointing out Scott Walker's hypocrisy in taking a $7,500 raise while cutting the pay of the rank and file and then giving them a two year pay freeze.
They sicced their PolitiFarce team after me to say that he did not get a raise:
Bloggers dug into the pay plan proposed by Walker and found what sure looked like the ultimate hypocrisy: the governor giving himself a raise while freezing state workers pay for two years.Wowsie! I guess I should just shrivel up in shame and crawl away, right?
The document they cited makes it look like there’s a raise coming, but there is not. Elected officials cannot increase their own pay. A quick look at the Blue Book or a phone call to the Legislative Reference Bureau would have told them that. So there’s no pay raise for Walker, or the lieutenant governor, state treasurer, secretary of state, and attorney general.
Although the confusion is understandable because of a sloppy and confusing state compensation document (and an equally poor followup memo), it muddles things for residents.
Here’s the clearest answer possible: The claim is False.
But let's back this up a little bit. Just before they wrote this condemnation, they had this to say (emphasis mine):
That new chart shows the governor’s pay under a column titled "effective July 5, 2009" as $144,423. It shows the same pay under another column, effective Jan. 1, 2012. That suggests to the average reader (or blogger) that Gov. Jim Doyle was paid that amount. He wasn’t. The pay raise took effect when Walker took office.So, what I called a raise wasn't a raise, but they called it a raise as well? More than a bit confusing, isn't it? For other reference, the newspaper (and I use that term loosely) also did a story about Walker's political appointments making much more money than their predecessors. In that story, and in the accompanying table, they referred to these increases as raises.
Apparently they took umbrage with the fact that I said he gave himself the raise. I will happily concede that point. Walker did not write the law that created the pay raise. He merely accepted the extra $7,500 while slashing the pay of public employees and claiming we all had to make sacrifices.
No, the change in wording does not change the actual deed. While rank and file workers were losing hundreds of dollars each month, Walker and other top officials were raking in the extra cash with both hands.
And one cannot even spin it that Walker, Becky Kleefisch, or the others were the victims of this sudden swelling in paychecks.
Walker had enough influence before being sworn in to block the union contracts from being approved by the state legislator (although he had to do some pay-for-play to do so). There is no reason why he couldn't have had them stop the raise before it went into effect as well. And even failing that, he could have easily done as he did as county executive and give the extra money back to the state.
But it seems unlikely he would do that considering he once again got caught lying about his pension and failed to pay the full amount for his pension, starting as soon as he was sworn in, like he promised to do. But like every other campaign promise he's ever made, he willfully failed to do so until it came to the light of day.
In summary, even though they claim that the assertion Walker got a raise is false, by their own admission, Walker did have an increase in pay over what Jim Doyle was paid. Furthermore, they even call said increase a raise as well. In other words, in order to try to carry water for Walker, they set their own pants on fire with their contradictory rating.
Is it really any wonder why their revenue and profits continue to fall, as does their circulation?
ManMKE, the other blogger that they tried to smear, also has his own rebuttal.