Saturday, October 25th, 2014

The High Five: Our most-clicked items for September

The federal health care law, also known as Obamacare, was at the center of debate that led to the government shutdown. Here, a sign on the National Mall tells visitors of the closures due to the shutdown. Reuters photo
The federal health care law, also known as Obamacare, was at the center of debate that led to the government shutdown. Here, a sign on the National Mall tells visitors of the closures due to the shutdown. Reuters photo

The jobs picture, the state budget and Obamacare captured the most reader attention on our site in September 2013.

All were hot topics as Wisconsin continued to seek a solution to sluggish economic growth and in the run-up to the partial federal government shut down as Republican lawmakers lobbied to delay the start of a key part of the federal health care law.

The High Five:

1. Doyle’s jobs legacy

Gov. Scott Walker said the policies of Democrat Jim Doyle, his predecessor, led to the loss of more than 133,000 jobs in Doyle’s last term.

We rated the claim Mostly False.

The number is correct, which provides an element of truth. But experts agree that Wisconsin’s economy was caught in the same economic crash that crippled the entire country. An economist told us that Wisconsin employment declined less than U.S. employment during that period.

2. Record debt?

We rated Half True a claim by once and possibly future Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Vinehout.

Vinehout, a state senator from Alma, said that because of Walker’s budgeting, a greater percentage of general tax dollars is "going to pay off debt than ever before in our history."

Her math was on target, but blame is shared among Walker and previous governors.

3. Obamacare

We reviewed Truth-O-Meter rulings on 10 health-care claims rated by PolitiFact Wisconsin and PolitiFact National.

The Affordable Care Act reached a milestone on Oct. 1, 2013, when health insurance marketplaces that were set up as part of the law begin enrolling people. President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment has been implemented in phases since becoming law in March 2010.

4. Minnesota vs. Wisconsin: Economic comparison

A Minnesota state representative said "Minnesota is kicking butt relative to Wisconsin on everything from employment and job creation to school test scores, educated workforce and a host of other factors and rankings."

We found that Minnesota outperformed Wisconsin by comfortable margins on four measures Atkins singled out, and on several other rankings that used various economic indices. On other measures, Wisconsin led or was about even with Minnesota.

We rated his claim Half True.

5. Walker and the public

The top Democrat in the State Senate, Chris Larson, said Walker "hasn't done a public event in this entire year."

We rated that Pants on Fire -- not only inaccurate but ridiculous.

Walker seeks to limit advance public notice of his appearances, but he makes them.