20 of the Biggest Lies Told by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
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We’re used to politicians stretching the truth, but the level of deception and dishonesty Wisconsin’s governor has exhibited in the battle over his union-busting budget repair bill (even the name is a falsehood) sinks to astounding new lows. What follows are the 20 lies I’ve identified in a quick review of the record. If you find or recall others, please let me know. We’ll keep updating.
Walker: His bill is about fixing a budget crisis.
The truth: Even Fox News’ Shepherd Smith couldn’t swallow that one, declaring that it’s all about politics and union busting, and “to pretend that this is about a fiscal crisis in the state of Wisconsin is malarkey.”
Walker: says he campaigned on his budget repair plan, including curtailing collective bargaining.
“We introduced a measure last week, a measure I ran on during the campaign, a measure I talked about in November during the transition, a measure I talked about in December when we fought off the employee contracts, an idea I talked about in the inauguration, an idea I talked about in the state of the state. If anyone doesn’t know what’s coming, they’ve been asleep for the past two years.”
The truth: Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the sketchiest outline of his far-reaching plans to kill collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. In fact, he was caught on tape boasting to what he thought was his billionaire backer that he had “dropped the bomb.”
Walker: keeps saying that “almost all” of the protesters at the Capitol are from outside the state
The truth: “The vast majority of people protesting are from here — Wisconsin and even more from Dane County,” said Joel DeSpain, public information officer for the Madison Police Department.
Walker: He wants to negotiate.
The truth: He won’t negotiate, but he’ll pretend to so he can trick the 14 Dem senators into allowing a vote on his bill. Walker recently offered to actually sit down and speak with the minority leader – something he should have done anyway and long ago – but only if the rest of the senators came back with him. Why?
“…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have a quorum because they started out that way…But that would be the only, if you heard that I was going to talk to them, that would be the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them. And my sense is, hell, I’ll talk to them. If they want to yell at me for an hour, you know, I’m used to that, I can deal with that. But I’m not negotiating.”
Walker: says his budget-repair bill would leave collective bargaining “fully intact”
The truth: Walker revealed his own lie in the same radio interview when he said it was necessary to use his bill to strip collective bargaining rights, and in his own Feb. 11, 2011 letter to employees about his plan cited “various changes to limit collective bargaining” to the rate of base pay.
Walker: claims that states without collective bargaining having fared better in the current bad economy.
The truth: According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, three of the 13 non-collective bargaining states are among the 11 states facing budget shortfalls at or above 20% (Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina). Another, South Carolina, comes in at a sizable 17.4%. Nevada, where state employees have no collective bargaining rights (but local employees do) has the largest percentage shortfall in the country, at 45.2%. All in all, eight non-collective-bargaining states face larger budget shortfalls than Wisconsin.