Jun
22
2011

NYT and the Pampered Public Worker's Pension

When you see a headline like "Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions," you know what you're going to get– more scaremongering about runaway public employee pensions. The New York Times delivers, with a lengthy front-page piece by Charles Duhigg that mostly takes the side of the Republican lawmakers trying to cut benefits in the name of fiscal discipline. The article is largely based around Jim Righeimer, a conservative activist turned city council member in Costa Mesa, California, whose become something of a national star on the right. He can rattle off the anecdotes about sky-high pensions: The […]

Jun
17
2011

NYT's Greenhouse vs. 'Generous' Public Worker Compensation

Yesterday New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (6/16/11) reported on efforts in several states to get public-sector workers to increase contributions to state pension funds–or, to put it more bluntly, to take a pay cut. Political leaders are claiming this is simply the only thing they can do–and Greenhouse helps them make their case. Right from the start, Greenhouse frames the political shift as "the most definitive sign yet that the era of generous compensation for public-sector employees is ending." Many studies have shown that public sector compensation isn't actually all that generous, and such workers might lag slightly […]

Feb
24
2011

The Public Doesn't Hate Public Workers

As Josh Marshall noted recently, one of the assumptions in the media discussion about Wisconsin is that Republican politicians are playing on public outrage over the perks given to public workers. That assumption took a hit after a new Gallup Poll, reported on the front page of USA Today, found this: Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61 percent would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33 percent who would favor such a […]

Feb
23
2011

Factchecking ABC's Factcheck on Public Workers

On Monday (2/21/11), ABC World News wanted to set the record straight on Wisconsin's budget problems. As host George Stephanopoulos put it, the debate is over whether pensions and other benefits for public workers are to blame for the crippling budget shortfalls in Wisconsin and other states. Tonight Barbara Pinto has a reality check. What a relief–this is something that surely screams out for clarification. The report starts with a quote from Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. ABC's Pinto weighed in on his side: Part of that problem, pension plans for America's public workers that are under funded by at […]

Jan
06
2011

Greedy Public Workers and Fat Pensions? Try Again

There's been a spate of reporting and commentary attacking public workers for having lavish pensions that are bankrupting various states. CBS's 60 Minutes got into the act in December with a report (12/19/10) that was criticized for lionizing Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (obviously this came before his snow troubles) for his attacks on public workers (particularly school teachers). The New York Times featured an article by Michael Powell on January 2 headlined "Public Workers Face Outrage as Budget Crises Grow." The piece focused primarily on these pension plans, some of which "dangle perilously close to bankruptcy." The article […]