Perhaps Baker's biggest "issue" of his campaign thus far is his claim that we need to cut state jobs -- 5,000 to be exact. Not only can Massachusetts do this, he says, but he actually has the gall to say this will make Mass government work better. Chutzpa, you got to give him that. His only appeal thus far has been to people who want to drown government in their bathwater.
Well, it's easy to throw out a nice, round number like 5,000, with no meaning whatsoever, but much harder to sit down and say where those 5,000 people are going to come from. Where are they going to come from, Charlie? Which state workers are you going to give the pink slip?
It's much harder to discuss how cutting 5,000 jobs will improve the Massachusetts economy, so it'll probably be even more difficult to ask him where those 5,000 hard-working employees are supposed to find new work, or what 5,000 newly unemployed state workers with nifty resumes will do for the other thousands of people who have already been unemployed for months. Ready to answer that question, Charlie?
Baker also talks about how people in the private sector are taking gigantic paycuts, throwing out the number "20%" for the private sector, that he claims are way more than state government, without citing any sort of legitimate comparison numbers. Another question for Charley Baker: How many of those private-sector employees taking 10-20% paycuts worked for Harvard Pilgram? In times like these in which health care is what people (and towns) are struggling to afford most of all. Did Charley Baker take a 20% pay cut? He could have passed that kind of savings along to a city or town struggling so they could avoid laying off 2-3 teachers, just by his lonesome.
Well, I have to say this joke of a candidate keeps getting funnier. Declaring on the radio this morning that no one in state government's taken a pay cut, he asks Erica, a state employee, if she knows anyone in state government who's had a pay cut. "Absolutely," she says, "I took a pay cut." Not only pay cut, but furloughs, she says. "Well, you're the exception to the rule," he says.
And you know what? She's right. Governor Patrick cut 750 state jobs just last year -- and ordered 5,000 executive branch employees to take furloughs of up to 5 days each, many employees actually working through it (for the math impaired, a week's pay is 2% of a state employee's entire salary). Watch the whole radio clip below, in which Baker clearly shows he either can't remember or didn't bother to read about what was gigantic, above-the-fold news on the economic disaster that struck our state less than a year ago. Baker's title of "Smartest Man in Government" is quickly becoming the biggest gag in politics.