Fact-checking group says Pawlenty op-ed piece filled with inaccuracies

When it comes to his assertions on the rise of government employees versus the private sector, Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s pants are on fire.

So says PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking unit.

The target was Pawlenty’s Op-ed piece in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, a piece that has been widely reprinted, including in Tuesday’s Star Tribune.

In it, Pawlenty blasts public employee unions and claimed that, “Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly 8 million jobs, while local, state and federal governments have added 590,000.”

PolitiFact writes that those numbers are wrong, have previously been shown as wrong and that he wrongly recycled them.

Writes PolitiFact: “Not only did he mangle the time frame, contradict his own definition of federal workers and fail to acknowledge the huge caveat of Census worker hiring, he also repeated a statistic that had been criticized as inaccurate as long as six months ago…In the context of his column, the job numbers comment was more than some throwaway line. The comparison of job growth he made — which showed the size of the federal workforce going in exactly the opposite direction as it did in reality — is a key pillar supporting the premise of his column, that government work is ‘the only booming “industry” left in our economy.’ “

Verdict: “Pawlenty’s number is so compromised that we rate his statement Pants on Fire!”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Peggy Huss on 12/16/2010 - 04:09 pm.

    I’m sure the Strib and WSJ will be publishing the results of the Politifact research any minute now. Ya think?

  2. Submitted by Roger Iverson on 12/18/2010 - 06:18 am.

    Would that his pants would catch on fire. It might raise his visibility on the national stage.

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