Monday, February 14, 2011

Newsflash for Wisco gov: Government workers didn't cause budget crisis

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sent a message to University of Wisconsin faculty and staff on Friday claiming that only "some" of the state's budget problems were caused by the economy. Writes Walker:

...While some of these financial challenges may be attributed to the slowing of our economy...
Earth to Gov. Walker: Nearly all of your financial challenges were caused by the slowing of your economy, which was caused by the Great Recession, which was caused by the collapse of the housing bubble, which was caused by Wall Street.

The naked capitalist points out the real culprit:

...the real perp ... is the global financial crisis, brought to you by your friendly TBTF (too big to fail) banks. Andrew Haldane, Executive Director of Financial Stability for the Bank of England, estimated that the costs of the financial crisis was 1 to 5 times global GDP. If you were, as economists recommend, to try to tax them to recoup the cost of the damage they did over a period of 20 years, the charge would be over $1.5 trillion a year. That’s more than the market cap of the biggest global banks. Funny, their staff and executives got record bonuses in 2009. So maybe the unions have the wrong strategy. They need to screw up in a particularly destructive manner.
Pension problems were caused by the stock market crash that resulted from the financial crisis. Reports the Center for Economic and Policy Research,
...the main reason public pension shortfalls exist at all is the downturn in the stock market following the housing crash in 2007-2009, not inadequate contributions...
Meanwhile, the Economic Policy Institute reports that Wisconson's government workers are slightly underpaid, compared to their private sector counterparts:
...Government employees in Wisconsin receive 4.8 percent less in compensation for an hour of work than private-sector workers who perform similar duties...