Thursday, March 17, 2011

Conservative Media Pushes Lie That Public Workers Make More Money Than Private Sector

Conservative Media Pushes Lie That Public Workers make More Money Than Private Sector

Huckabee: "Public Union Workers [Make] 30 Percent Better Wages [And] 70 Percent Better Benefits Than Their Private Sector Counterparts." Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee claimed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to end collective bargaining power for public sector unions is important because "he's having to balance the budget." As evidence, Huckabee falsely claimed public union workers make "30 percent better wages" and "70 percent better benefits than their private sector counterparts." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/25/11]

Carlson: Public Sector Workers "Make More Than You Do" And "Won't Even Consider Taking Any Kind Of Cut". Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson said:

Here's, in my view, the politically effective and the true argument. They make more than you do, right, these public sector employees, they can never be fired, their benefits are things you can't even imagine, and by the way, they won't even consider taking any kind of cut in the face of the worst recession in our lifetimes and they expect you to pay for it. You can win that case. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/9/11]

FACT: EPI Found That "Wisconsin Public Employees Earn 4.8% Less In Total Compensation Per Hour Than Comparable Full-Time Employees In Wisconsin's Private Sector." A study published February 10, 2011, by the think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that when "[c]omparisons controlling for education, experience," and other factors are taken into account, "Wisconsin public employees earn 4.8% less in total compensation per hour than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin's private sector." [EPI, "Are Wisconsin Public Employees Over-compensated?" 2/10/11]

The EPI report also included a graphic showing the average compensation for public and private sector employees in Wisconsin by education:

The February 18, 2011, EPI post accompanying this graphic stated:

The campaign against state and local workers is often justified with claims that they are privileged relative to their private-sector peers or have somehow been cushioned from the effects of the recent recession and slow recovery. These claims are clearly false.

In Wisconsin, which has become a focal point in this debate, public servants already take a pretty hefty pay cut just for the opportunity to serve their communities (Keefe 2010). The figure below shows that when comparing the total compensation (which includes non-wage benefits such as health care and pensions) of workers with similar education, public-sector workers consistently make less than their private-sector peers. Workers with a bachelor's degree or more--which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin--are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor's degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine). [EPI, 2/18/11]

Fox Falsely Suggests State Budget Shortfalls Are Result Of Public Union Collective Bargaining

Kilmeade Suggests That "Union Bargaining Should Be Abolished All Together" Because It's "Breaking The Public Piggy Bank." Fox News' Brian Kilmeade asked, "If union bargaining is breaking the public piggy bank, should it be abolished all together?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/28/11]

Liz Cheney: Collective Bargaining "Reduces [Local Officials'] Ability To Actually Manage Their Own Budget." On Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney stated that "when you've got collective bargaining in place and when you've got the benefits that are basically sealed in, and no ability by those local officials to touch those or affect them, it reduces their ability to actually manage their own budget." [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/20/11, via Nexis]

Wallace Lets Walker Suggest That Collective Bargaining Is Preventing States From Balancing Budgets. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace hosted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to claim that state governments are facing budget crises because of collective bargaining. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/20/11]

FACT: There Is "No Correlation" Between Budget Shortfalls And Collective Bargaining Rights.

* McCartin: Contention That "We Can No Longer Afford Collective Bargaining" Is "Bogus." In a February 19 New Republic article, Joseph McCartin, an associate professor of history and director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, wrote that the contention that "[w]e can no longer afford collective bargaining" is "bogus." McCartin wrote, "Contrary to Walker's assertion, there is no direct correlation between public-sector collective bargaining and yawning state budget deficits." [The New Republic, 2/19/11, italics in original]

* Toledo Law Professor: "There's No Correlation Between Collective Bargaining And The State Budget Crises." A February 28 Fortune article quoted University of Toledo College Of Law professor Joseph Slater as saying: "It's easy to paint a portrait of public workers as overpaid, not working very hard and being fat cats on the tax dollar. But there's no correlation between collective bargaining and the state budget crises." [Fortune, 2/28/11]

* Tapper: "There Is No Correlation" Between Collective Bargaining Rights And State Deficits. On the February 27 edition of ABC's This Week, guest host Jake Tapper stated: "There is no correlation, according to statistics, between a state's ability to collectively bargain with its public employees and whether or not they have a budget deficit." Tapper also cited McCartin's New Republic article. [ABC, This Week, 2/27/11]
Right-wing Conservative Republican#1: Oops, we cannot win this argument based on he facts.

Right-wing Conservative Republican #2: Oh that's easy. We just get every bought and paid for conservative zealot on radio, TV, newspapers and the internet to lie. To overwhelm the public with lies. Then lie some more. Once the noise dies down. We lie some more about our first round of lies and talk about conservatives as the poor victims of those mean all powerful liberals.

Right-wing Conservative Republican#1: Oh yea, I forgot. It has always worked in the past, so no reason to have a n honest debate now.

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