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.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 left goes crazy when I evoke this,” he said, “but that’s exactly why I raised concerns about collective bargaining in the public sector.”
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.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.
“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.)
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.