From your cover story "Targets on Their Backs (12/17/10): "public employees typically pay nothing toward their retirement plan - a situation produced by years of crafty union bargaining."
Patently false. State employees pay nothing toward their retirement plan in the same way you pay nothing to use the roads in Wisconsin. You pay a tax, part of which builds and maintains the roads that you drive on. You don't see a deduction on your paycheck that says "Roads, Wisconsin," do you? Yet you're paying for roads.
And not crafty union bargaining. Increased contributions to the pension on behalf of employees accrued to me during the '80s when I was non-represented. Those increases, many during Tommy Thompson's reign, were simply good politics. Otherwise the headlines could have read, "State Employees Get 3% Raise," when private-sector employees were getting 10% and 12% increases in the hot market of the late '80s and early '90s.
I'd expect the hackneyed "public employees pay nothing" gambit from the Wisconsin State Journal and the Sheboygan Press, but never from Isthmus.
Charles H. Forsmo
Citing a highly misleading USA Today article, Marc Eisen writes, "Nationally, the number of federal employees earning $150,000 or more a year has increased tenfold in the last five years."
If Marc had done a little fact-checking, he would have discovered this increase is not as startling as it sounds. In 2008, the highest annual salary in the GSA schedule for Washington, D.C., employees was $149,000 for a Grade 15, Step 10 employee. In 2010, this maximum GSA annual salary had increased to $155,500, a 2.2% increase per year.
Given that no GSA schedule employees were making more than $150,000 in 2008 and that some were in 2010, it is not surprising that there was "a tenfold increase" in the number of federal employees making more than $150,000.
Further, if Marc had chosen to go to FactCheck.org or the Center for Economic and Policy Research, he would have found other reasons to doubt the "feds are overpaid" storyline. Just go to FactCheck.org and type "Are federal workers overpaid?" in the search box.
While anyone can disagree with a union's policies, they are the only group that consistently supports workers.
Why should anyone, including independent newspapers like you, support cutting benefits/wages rather than insist that the government work on improving the private-sector wages/benefits? Bring people up, not push more down.
Gov.-elect Walker's goal in cutting public servants' retirement benefits is to provide a tax cut for the rich. This is not balancing the budget; this is outright robbery.
I am outraged that public opinion turns against government workers. They should not be used as scapegoats.