Sunday, February 23, 2014

How Scott Walker Tried To Bamboozle The New York Times On Act 10

The New York Times ran a story written by Steven Greenhouse which has to deal with Act 10 and its after effects. Scott Walker tried to use the opportunity to run a trial run on one of his main talking points for his presidential campaign - about he "boldly" stood up to the unions, having to rewrite history as he did so.

The article is a good read and I think that Greenhouse did a fairly good job, although he could have done a little more research to verify or disprove some of the claims made.  While the gentle reader should read the whole article, just because Greenhouse did try to look at things from a lot of angles, there are three things I would point out to the gentle reader.

Walker Rewrites History

As Walker tried to lay out justification for the unjustifiable Act 10, he spun this yarn, which has no resemblance to reality whatsoever:
Mr. Walker said he became frustrated with public-sector unions when he was Milwaukee County executive. Union leaders, he said, were inflexible in negotiations, rejecting a proposal to cut pay by going to a 35-hour workweek instead of 40 hours. Instead, he said, he was forced to lay off workers and cut services.

“The left goes crazy when I evoke this,” he said, “but that’s exactly why I raised concerns about collective bargaining in the public sector.”
Walker does a regular Gish Gallop with that first line, trotting out so many falsehoods that it would make it difficult to fact check them all. Sadly for Walker, I lived through those times and I know the truth of it.

The first thing people should be aware of is that Walker never sat down at the bargaining table to negotiate anything to make these proposals.  Walker wanted to dictate things and impose his way on the workers because he doesn't have the skills to lead.

Secondly, the 35-hour work weeks were never part of a negotiation.  Walker's proposal for that came in the middle of 2009, when he claimed that the Milwaukee County had a $15 million deficit.  Walker then unilaterally imposed the shortened work week.

The unions immediately filed a grievance and for arbitration.  The arbitrator stopped the shortened work week on the first day.  Furthermore, Walker had to pay the workers for that hour they didn't work.  When the full hearing was held regarding this, it was found that Walker not only did not have the right to unilaterally cut hours, but had been lying about the deficit all along.

It should be noted that Walker tried again to do the same thing by writing up to 26 furlough days into the county budget, which was also illegal. After a lengthy series of trials, the county ended up paying the workers back for the furlough days.  The savings that Walker promised ended up costing taxpayers nearly $20 million when all was said and done.

Act 10 Doesn't Save Money...

From the article, we can see that Act 10 didn't really save municipal or county governments money, but was really only a bait and switch to cover the massive cuts in education and revenue sharing so that he could share the lucre with his campaign donors and corporate overlords:
In Oshkosh, Mark Rohloff, the city manager, says the law has saved his city $1.2 million a year, largely because employees are now paying more of their pension and health contributions. But he said state aid cuts of $2 million a year left his city with an $800,000 shortfall.
The article goes on to show how demoralizing the law is as well.  Is it any wonder that services across the state has dropped, even though taxes haven't?

...It Only Shifts The Tax Burden

This is the most telling part of the article and helps show the damage really done by Act 10:
Leah Lipska, the president of Local 1, scoffs at Mr. Walker’s famous suggestion that public employees are the “haves” in society, noting that many earn less than $35,000 a year. And the law, says Ms. Lipska, an information systems technician with the state corrections system, has made things much worse.

“My family is now on food stamps,” said Ms. Lipska, a mother of three who earns $18.62 an hour. (Her husband’s computer installation business is struggling.)
Wisconsin taxpayers are now still paying for Lipska's full salary and benefits, but are also now paying for her family's food stamps. Instead of saving money as Walker and the Teapublicans are claiming, it is actually forcing taxpayers to pay even more.

It should also be noted that when workers have less money to spend, this is having a ripple effect throughout the state's economy. It is hurting businesses and forcing them to cut back on workers' pay and hours, if not laying them off. This accelerates the economy into a downward spiral.  This is why we are seeing so many stores and other businesses closing and why we are seeing so many people get laid off.  This is also why Walker will not and can not get anywhere near his promise of creating 250,000 jobs.

To sum it up, Act 10 is not working and can not work and will never work.  But Walker cannot let that be revealed, so he has to resort to making up lie after lie, like he did in his memoir.

Just like with Walkergate, I will enjoy the day when he can no longer run and hide from the truth.

39 comments:

  1. My friend just lost her job as a teacher, and, since the elimination of collective bargaining, she can no longer afford to pay union dues, she had no recource. This s*#t just got real and our governor is an a@^hole!

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  2. You are so correct. Act 10 was just cover so he cut school and municipal state aid to create a budget that he could sell to Teaparty and corporate special interests. In the process he killed our economy by taking $1 billion of purchasing power away from middle and working class families. This also set the precedent for private employers to minimize wages and cut benefits and as demand dropped more and more jobs were cut. Any jobs that he can take credit for are of the low wage no benefit variety. The logic of cutting public employee pay under the guise that this would bring them in line with private sector workers serve only to gut Wisconsin's economy and did not raise the level of economic security for anyone except CEO's. He went on to deny workers health care and unemployment financial support all the while demeaning and degrading public employees. Wisconsinites must soon begin to ask if they are better off now or before Walker and his heavy handed legislature took away both their voice and their dignity.

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  3. Waiting to say "I told you so."February 23, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    The point of this post is dead on. Act 10 has killed local businesses. Every teacher in this community has less money in each pay check. They are not spending in local business. Workers are losing their jobs and in turn as losing their ability to support their families.

    Someday hopefully soon Wisconsin will send Walker packing and take back their state.

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  4. Why do you vote GOP ??

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  5. What the article also failed to mention was that as soon as Act 10 was put into place, the purchasing power of a significant portion of the state working population was cut dramatically, putting a halt to job growth.

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  6. Walker and the GOP mobilized decades of resentment against Wisconsin's favorite bogeymen, the liberals in Madison and the blacks in Milwaukee. The Democratic Party relies on paid publicity instead of a political machine that has constant personal contact with voters. The GOP has endless money from its billionaire patrons AND personal contact with voters through right-wing churches and the NRA.

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  7. In 2012 I campaigned on this! I noted that not a dime of the Act 10 money swipe went to local tax relief but drained the local economy.
    Every nickel went to Walker's tax give away victory lap with gifts like the 62 mil he handed to Kohl's supposedly for not leaving the state...

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  8. My often used answer to businesses that solicit me: "If Scott Walker wanted me to buy your product, he wouldn't have cut my pay."

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    1. Brilliant! I may need to borrow this!

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  9. I cannot wait until John Doe 2 ensnares Walker and wipes that smug look off his dopey face. How in God's name did Wisconsin elect such a intellectually inferior idiot to the Governor's mansion?? Was the GOP so successful at voter caging that it ensured a Walker win? I will never understand - I am ashamed to live in a state run by a guy who can barley speak more eloquently than a middle school kid. There is no way to make this pretty - Scott Walker is dumb. And...I know this is going to sound awful but the President is college educated and typically aesthetically pleasing. Scott Walker is very unattractive, married a woman who looks and dresses like his mother, has a speech impediment that is very distracting, has a high school education and enjoys surrounding himself with blatant racists. Have we EVER had such a man for President?? The answer is NO.

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    1. "Have we EVER had such a man for
      President?? "

      Andrew Johnson?

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  10. Just this morning after stepping on the scale I found that I am losing weight. My spouse and I, both public workers stopped going out to eat once or twice a week (about $100), and now maybe go out every month and a half on average. Since last August we have been out to a sit down place 5-6 times as we can't afford it. Can't say I miss it that much but it's pretty evident the community does. At least I am losing some lbs.

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    1. My wife and I are public workers and in order to be able to put food on the table, we've had to stop buying clothing and shoes for our children. They're too proud to accept hand-me-downs, so our two oldest have been going to school bare foot most of this winter.

      I hate that evil Scott Walker!

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    2. I pity you for mocking the families who lost significant income due to Act 10. My family has felt this and it has made me think of leaving WI. No one wants to get to the height of their career to be called names like thug, get pay slashed by 10%, get ripped on by our ethically challenged governor and have talk radio turn the teaching profession into a step above babysitting. Cutting pay hurts the local economy. Hurts local businesses. Reduces tax revenues as people move or leave the state. If you think that watching your career become marginalized, your worth diminished and your pay decreased...that isn't something I wish on anyone. It is heartbreaking for our family and and thousands of others throughout WI - you have NO right to judge our worth. Only God.

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  11. Great Anonymous @ 6:48 AM. Now walker will try and claim his cuts are making wisconsin workers healthier.

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  12. Anonymous 9:07, nice to mock public employees who work hard for you, for less compensation than they got years ago. Look at the larger picture, then: The number-one employer in this state IS the state, and when the leading employer in any state cuts compensation -- and employees -- the local businesses feel it. In this case, state employees are all across the state, so lots of businesses feel it. Add in other public employees at the local level -- schools, munis -- and it adds up to 15 percent of all workers in the state with less take-home pay. The results is businesses going "barefoot" -- broke -- and it's not a joke. It's the explanation for Walker's economic mess.

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    1. This is what Walker has done - pit neighbor against neighbor. To the point where people think it is funny to knock down families who have lost income through no fault of their own. It is disgusting, disturbing and speaks volumes about the values of Friends of Scott Walker. I am sickened by them mocking my spouse's profession...but to mock my kids who now have seen the effects of Act 10 in our household - now I am fuming mad. What kind of person thinks it is cute to make fun of a kid whose parents lost significant income? I'd love to know. My kids worry if we will have to sell our home to make it due to income cuts...they worry about not being able to attend the same school...about not growing up with lifelong friends. And somehow to a Friend of Scott Walker this is funny. There isn't a place in hell hot enough for someone like you @ 9:07. Jesus didn't revel in the suffering of others like you and SKW.

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  13. @ 9:07 My children have never been too proud of hand-me-downs, as they utilized them pre Act10. Only difference now is they are looking a bit tattered, but hey, that's the fashion now anyway, lol.
    From food, to clothes, to consumer goods Act 10 has hurt the small communities hard. Another example is the family friend hairstylist, likely Walker supporter who cut the whole families hair. They saved a whopping $68 on property taxes. From my family alone she lost $700 per year. Yup, not only are the clothes tattered, my wife learned how to cut the families hair. A little ruff at first but we look pretty good now.

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  14. No more cable tv, shopping at Aldi for food, St. Vinnie's for kids clothing, are just a few of the things our family has endured to make ends meet since Act 10 was passed.

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  15. Thanks to Walker, my husband's income decreased $6,000 + his deductible increased $2,000 and our house had a $43,000 increase in assessed value resulting in just over $2,000 more in property taxes this year. My husband now works 3 jobs and is never home. I can tell you we don't buy nearly what we used to and local business isn't getting money Walker took from our pay. $10,000 is real money folks. It isn't working in WI. Walker thinks making people battle each other over unions is funny. Well I can tell you this - we didn't see anything like this happening and it did. The rest of you - your turn is coming if Walker is elected to 4 for years. Poverty has increased over 4% under Walker's reign, companies are closing or leaving because if people don't have money to spend all the cheap labor in the world means nothing.

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  16. @11:10
    Same here, except double for both spouses. 18k is what ours came to. Nearly every penny of that would have been spent in our community. Guess where the money went? To deep pocket interests now collecting interest on it and laughing at the stupid sheep who voted for him being slaughtered and fighting over the scraps among themselves. Making your neighbor poor won't make you rich. Fools

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  17. Wow, reading all these comments makes me realize our family is in the same sinking boat as many others as we are also likely to lose our house and our kids are very worried as well. Pretty sickening, pathetic people who think they were getting nothing of value out of the public workers.

    There is no way you can flush your community like this and not all end up suffering throughout the state. Wi will soon be the West Virginia/Mississippi punchline we used in jokes.

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  18. There are more of us than we know about who have had significant wages cut as a result of Walker. These cuts translate into real loss of purchasing power in the local economy, loss of revenue in taxes to the state, loss of housing stability and housing prices can go down if more vacant homes pop up in nice neighborhoods. Walker's Act 10, as he testified on Capitol Hill, wasn't about the budget. It was about destroying a revenue stream for Democratic candidates - and we were collateral damage. We took the hit even though Walker, also a public servant - gave himself a nice raise and tried to hide it. This is why comments by Friends of Walker are so nasty. We did nothing wrong, have been characterized as lazy and unworthy of being treated like professionals. We are your neighbors, family members and friends and we are tired of hearing all the snide remarks about teachers, county workers, nurses. We are tired of being marginalized. We are tired of having our financial security destroyed because we were pawns in an unethical
    political game. What happened with Act 10 didn't just destroy folks who used to be in unions (now they can't afford to belong) - it destroyed the moral fabric of WI and left a stain in our communities that will never be forgotten. Eye for an eye - Walker's way. Be careful all you non - union workers...your day will come, you will be the next target as Walker amasses more power and all we will do is say "how's that working for you?"

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  19. Typical whiny ass public workers commenting here. Crying because you have to contribute a little bit to your lavish benefits and pensions. Pensions you can collect at age 55. This is why you get no sympathy from the rest of us.

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    1. You want to step out from your "anonymous" screen and say that? Call me and the other people here "whiny ass." You're hearing real stories of hardship. Go ahead and ignore them, but you ain't no big man/woman for calling names. In fact, I can think of a few names for people like you, and once hard-working, educated people leave this state to find better economic opportunities for themselves and their kids, that name will simply be: Wisconsinite.

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    2. Hatred is all that Republicans have. Consider those racist jokes that Walker's top aides were forwarding and finding hilarious. Think of the contempt Walker's people had towards those needing mental health care. I have heard my Republican acquaintances tell many a racist joke. Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling make their living off hatred. When hatred is all you have, you can attract votes from small-minded haters, but you will alienate everyone else.

      Let's hope enough voters that Republicans alienated show up in November to vote the corrupt haters out of power.

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    3. You call it whiny ass all you like - we call it fact. It is fact that Act 10 hurt our families, our communities and the local economy. By lavish benefits you must be referring to Walker, with 2 or 3 pensions now and cheaper health care than you or I get, barely working because he is too busy flying all over the country with his greedy hand out. I know our benefits are not lavish and you could have elected to become a public servant so you could have a pension as PART OF YOUR PAY in EXCHANGE FOR A LOWER SALARY. Riding the bull waves in the market probably made you more in your 40 with your 10 - 15% higher salary. So do not threaten me with any of your vile behavior - get your facts straight or SHUT UP.

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    4. I am livid about the whiny ass comment. HOW DARE YOU??? Who the heck are YOU to judge? Someone has to teach you/your kids, take care of you when you are sick, clean and plow your streets, keep track of your tax money...and YOU think that those people are whiny asses??? Next time you get sick - heal yourself. Next time you need an education - educate yourself. Next time you can't get to work because the roads aren't plowed - plow the yourself. YOU ARE AN ENTITLED LITTLE BRAT AND WE ARE TIRED OF LOOKING AFTER YOU.

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    5. Listen you moron,

      Walker is no good,

      He lies to make himself look good.

      And throws any body under a bus if he starts looking bad.

      He has no integrity and neither do you.

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    6. And your job is...? When you talk like that, be a man and put your name on it so we can see just how glassy your house is.

      Or are you Brian Pierick's replacement at Friends of Scott Walker?

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  20. The case of elimination of bargaining rights ALTOGETHER ACROSS THE BOARD with no option for recert, not even limited bargaining on pay, etc at the UW HOSPITAL and CLINICS calls the lie out. There was no budget impact. Nurses and technicians vote for Democrats so he had to take them down. This was strictly a political move.

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  21. Governor Walker is a public employee is his pay being cut?

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    1. No, Walker raised his pay and paid many staffers more while the people not in his inner circle got pay cuts and no money for raises. He did contribute to his pension like everyone else.

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  22. The people out here talking about our elaborate pensions you don't live in my shoes and I sure wish you had a clue 20 years of service sure doesn't give you enough to live on. Anyway you had a choice where you choose to work and for whom.

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  23. Hmm, Mikes Smokehouse Restaurant in Eau Claire just closed it's doors after 35 years of business. Owner was quoted that in the last 2 years he had half the customers and couldn't afford to stay open putting 35 employees out of work. Who should we blame? Public workers staying home would be the likely culprit.

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  24. Sure blame the public worker we can handle it. But ask yourself have you went out to eat lately, and if the answer is no then you had a hand in the place closing down. If the shoe fits.

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  25. Gov. Walker is not an honest man. Time will reveal who he really is. He went after women (teachers mostly) and children. He does not have integrity. I've found that America does not value education. That's the bottom lin. When I first started teaching, I earned the same as a first year sanitation worker.

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  26. Scott Walker is a thug who cares nothing for his constituents, even his tea party tried and true. He will throw anyone who gets in his way under the bus. In Walkers mind he is equal to God, has a calling and is the only one besides the Gipper who can pull America back up into the most powerful Christian nation in the world. Given how Walker has exploited all the entitlements he has been given while sucking the Government teat since 2003 - c I understand you imagine what that psycho would do with real power in the White House? OMG it would be disaster. You think the middle east hates us now...just wait until Walker starts his power trip. How many more Americans will die at the hand of Walker?

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  27. These cuts translate into real loss of purchasing power in the local economy, loss of revenue in taxes to the state, loss of housing stability and housing prices can go down if more vacant homes pop up in nice neighborhoods. Walker's Act 10, as he testified on Capitol Hill, wasn't about the budget. It was about destroying a revenue stream for Democratic candidates - and we were <a href='http://ruffcuts96.com/">collateral damage</a>. We took the hit even though Walker, also a public servant - gave himself a nice raise and tried to hide it.

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