The fact is that all of the money going into these plans belongs to the workers because it is part of the compensation of the state workers. The fact is that the state workers negotiate their total compensation, which they then divvy up between cash wages, paid vacations, health insurance and, yes, pensions. Since the Wisconsin government workers collectively bargained for their compensation, all of the compensation they have bargained for is part of their pay and thus only the workers contribute to the pension plan. This is an indisputable fact.This is the fundamental problem with the entire debate: the media willingly swallows the frameworks the right-wing gives them.
Not every news report gets it wrong, but the narrative of the journalistic herd has now been set and is slowly hardening into a concrete falsehood that will distort public understanding of the issue for years to come unless journalists en masse correct their mistakes. From the Associated Press and The New York Times to Wisconsin's biggest newspaper, and every broadcast report I have heard, reporters again and again and again have written as fact what is nonsense.
Compared to tax, this economic issue that reporters have been mishandling is simple. But if journalists cannot grasp the economics of this issue, then how can we hope to have an intelligent debate about tax policy? [emphasis mine]
Whenever someone says they want "public workers to contribute more toward their benefits," they are using Orwellian language to avoid saying what they really advocate: cutting public workers' pay.
Chris Christie wants every teacher in NJ to take a pay cut of 12% to 20%. He - and his acolytes in the press - may try to tell you it's all about "rich benefits" and "bringing things in line with the private sector" and "taking a pay freeze AND contributing more toward benefits," but that's just hogwash.
Christie wants to severely cut teacher pay. And the pay of cops and firefighters and all other public employees. Period.