No Truth In Left’s Wisconsin Union Support or Its State Budget Surplus Story

February 21, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Children, Conservatives, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Education, GOP, Government, Journalism, Liberals, Media, Media Bias, MSNBC, Public Employees Unions, Republicans, Scott Walker, Taxes, Teachers Unions, TV News, Unions, Warner Todd Huston, Wisconsin | 2 Comments

-By Warner Todd Huston

First came the disgrace of supposedly intelligent teachers in Wisconsin sporting hundreds of signs calling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker “Hitler” and now comes the entire liberal blogosphere and it’s echo chamber in the left-media establishment claiming that Gov. Walker has “ginned up” a budget shortfall when he actually has a budget surplus. One wonders when the childish hyperbole and lies will ever stop for the left?

Lefty TV yakker Rachel Maddow, ever hooked into the most goofy left-wing talking point du jour and always ready to dutifully regurgitate same, recently made a big point about Walker’s mythic surplus, sneeringly saying that, “Wisconsin is fine… I am not kidding.” On her Feb 17 show, Maddow breathlessly informed us that Walker is just using the claim of a budget problem in a cynical attempt to destroy unions. Because, well, unions are so innocent, right? I mean they are just gently joshing with all those Hitler references, you know?

“I’m here to report that there is nothing wrong in the state of Wisconsin,” Maddow said in her best snarky tone. “Wisconsin is fine. Wisconsin is great, actually. Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, Wisconsin is on track to have a budget surplus this year.”

Well, no. Not “actually” as it turns out.

Of course, Maddow didn’t come up with this all by her own little self. She does not think, she regurgitates, not that this excuses her. Still, the entire talking point producing Internet left led Maddow down the rosy path to foolishness because it is simply not true. There is no budget surplus.

Even the left’s likely soros-paid “commenters” down in the comments sections are plying the talking point and Maddow’s hyperbolic, though slightly more well fed MSNBC twin also mouthed the blather.

Sadly for all the hot-under-the-collar outrage that the left has tried to muster for this one, the facts speak to the contrary. Even the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel sponsored PolitiFact page is branding the claims of a budget surplus a “false” on its Truth-O-Meter.

The problem arose because the government report that the left is citing is not a Doctor Seuss-like read, the kind the left can understand. It is a bit more “nuanced” than the usual screeds they are used to. So, where it might seem that there is a budget surplus in fact there isn’t. And in fact it might be worse than even Gov. Walker is claiming ($137 million shortfall is Walker’s shorthand figure).

The government report in question is the January 31, 2011 memo by Robert Lang, the director of Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau. (.pdf of memo)

This memo does get a bit into the high weeds of the budget and one part of it tends to mislead if read out of context — and we all know how the left loves to take things out of context. The troublesome part stipulated that Wisconsin has a “gross balance of $121.4 million and a net balance of $56.4 million.” Sounds sort of surpluss-ish, right?


Elsewhere in the memo, the parts that the left did not bother much with, it proves that other obligations end with the state having essentially the deficit that Walker claimed it had — that being about a $137 million shortfall.

Politifact also finds that the left’s claims that Walker himself is responsible for the budget troubles is also incorrect. In fact, the problems were bequeathed to him from previous, Democrat administrations. In any case, for the story with all the facts, do check out PolitiFact’s coverage, the story that calls Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and the entire left-wing smear machine liars.

The final “Truth-O-Meter” read is that the left is singularly incapable of telling the truth, even when the facts are written down for them in black and white. Scott Walker inherited a mess, he does not have a budget surplus, and he is not cynically using political smoke and mirrors theater just to win a victory.

The next question is this: will Maddow make yet another half-hearted apology that still finger points to everyone else like she did when she lied about Palin earlier this month?

Now, we have been told repeatedly by the left that “elections have consequences.” That of course was when Democrats were the big winners. Well, OK. Let’s let the Wisconsin GOP — the big winners here — have their chance to fix the mess that Democrats left them. Remember, Democrats, consequences also require reactions.

(Originally posted at
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.



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