Did 80% of Federal Stimulus Funds Go To Public Unions?


Several months ago Rush Limbaugh claimed that over 80% of the federal stimulus funds Wisconsin received went to public unions. Limbaugh said that Wisconsin received $701 million in stimulus money and $600 million went to public sector unions. Is this true?


Yes, in a round about way.

To back up his claim, Limbaugh cited statistics put out by former Gov. Jim Doyle that showed that retaining government (public) employment was paramount. Seventy-five percent of the 8,284 jobs attributed to the stimulus money were public sector positions.

For the Democratic administration, keeping public employees was key. Of course any Governor would want to reduce unemployment, but reducing public sector unemployment created a chain reaction that ultimately benefited the Democratic party.

Because public sector employees are forced to join their respective union, and union dues are automatically deducted from their paycheck, it stands to reason that preserving public sector workers, preserves the unions. Limbaugh arrives at his number by watching the flow of money through the funnel. And to take it one step further, we can also extrapolate that the stimulus money was in essence the government paying the government. Because once the union coffers were filled, they had the funds necessary to fund Democratic candidates in the 2010 elections.

In addition to seeing how the stimulus money flowed in Wisconsin, the case also shows why the unions were so up in arms when Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill (which is currently pending before the Supreme Court) passed the legislature in February. While most of the media noise centered on employees having to pay for a percentage of their pension and healthcare, and the elimination of many collective bargaining rights, for unions the elimination of mandatory dues is the real killer.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels changed the laws in Indiana to stop mandatory dues it decimated the unions. Unions saw their revenues cut by 90 percent. In 2005 16,408 people paid union dues, today it’s a mere 1490. Ouch!

For any politician and party dependent on big government, history proves that it must maintain the status quo in union structure. Today’s union isn’t about protecting the average worker, it’s about protecting the progressive movement in America.

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