Thursday, January 5, 2012

If Ever there were a Statement that Screamed "Fact Check Me!" -- it's this One

Before we end up with one of these "half true" rulings from the Journal-Sentinel, let's parse what was said:
Johnson said the United States has created a "very compassionate society," but in Wisconsin that same compassion has created a welfare state that encourages people not to work.

"A family unit can't survive on $22,000, but after they receive all of their government entitlements they receive more than $62,000," he said. "We have a safety net for the poor, but not for those who are out there working."
This seems to suggest that a family of (no size given) is eligible for $62,000 worth of state aide. Notice how Johnson says "receive," not "earn" or "make" or ""acquire."

But much of this is undoubtedly the cost of programs like BadgerCare, which could be expensive if the recipient is ill, but that isn't money a recipient is "receiving," per se: it's a service deemed to have a certain value. Johnson makes it sound like poor folks making $22,000 a year are being given an additional 200% pay raise -- in cash -- just for sitting on their assess. This is almost certainly not true.

Furthermore, I'm not sure where Johnson thinks his hypothetical family's initial $22,000 came from. He seems to think one can just acquire it by doing nothing. In actuality, if a person working for the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) 40 hours a week all 52 weeks a year, the kind of real lazy bum who didn't take any vacation time, that person would make exactly $15,080. He'd have to work another 636 hours worth of overtime (at $10.88 an hour) to reach the $22,000 threshold.

That translates into just over a 52 hour work week every week of the year without any time off just so that they can reach an income Johnson seems to believe materializes out of nowhere.

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