Saturday, October 25th, 2014

The August High Five: Walker, Walker, Walker

The three items that got the most PolitiFact Wisconsin page-views in August 2013 involved Gov. Scott Walker.
The three items that got the most PolitiFact Wisconsin page-views in August 2013 involved Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker continues to click with PolitiFact Wisconsin readers.

The three items that got the most page-views on our site in August 2013 were each Walker-related.

The other two involved federal representatives, one Republican and one Democrat.

1. "Best two-year job growth"

Walker said that during his first two years as governor (he took office in January 2011), Wisconsin experienced the best two-year job growth in a decade.

We rated his statement False.  

Private job growth was higher in 2010-’11, in the final year of Gov. Jim Doyle’s tenure and the first year under Walker, than in Walker’s first two years. And total employment, including government jobs, rose faster from 2003-’05 and 2010-’11.

2. FDR

Walker received a True for saying that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt "felt there wasn’t a need in the public sector to have collective bargaining because the government is the people."

The Republican governor drew criticism from people who said he was comparing himself to FDR. But Walker’s claim was much narrower than that.

Roosevelt saw a "logical place" for unions in government affairs, but the most compelling evidence suggests he drew the line at collective bargaining with them.

3. 250,000 jobs promise

Our Walk-O-Meter update on Walker’s signature campaign promise, rather than a statement rated on the Truth-O-Meter, attracted the third-most page views.

We continue to rate Walker’s pledge to create 250,000 private-sector jobs during his term as In the Works. He’s about one-third of the way there.

The promise drew renewed attention when Walker referred to it late in the month as a "goal" and not a "magic number."

4. Six years to a four-year degree

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said that on average, college students "are taking six years to get a four-year degree."

We rated his claim Mostly True.

We found it’s more common for students to take four years to graduate than it is for them to take six, but that the time to earn a degree can really stretch out for some students. Overall, the average duration is about six years.

5. Home mortgages out of reach?

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, criticized a Republican bill that would largely privatize the nation’s housing finance system, saying it "would eliminate a person’s ability to obtain 15- and 30-year mortgages."

We rated claim Half True.

It's unknown how exactly the effects of the bill, if it became law, would play out.

But there is reason to believe that without government guarantees that are currently in place, traditional home mortgages would become less available, less affordable, or both, for many Americans.

A footnote

Another Walker item published in August 2013 isn’t included in our page-view tallies because it was posted on the PolitiFact National site.

Our colleagues rated as Half True a claim by Walker that a study predicted that under Obamacare, health premiums in Wisconsin will rise 82 percent.  

Walker was reasonably close in relaying the strong upward pressure on costs, but he mischaracterized that as a change in actual premiums, and he ignored the significant subsidies that will cushion the impact of those cost increases for about half of the people who buy insurance on their own. Still, the half that don’t receive subsidies will likely see higher premiums.

We're always in the market for statements to test on the Truth-O-Meter or campaign promises to check up on. Please send your suggestions:

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