Thursday, February 17, 2011

Emergency Post: Correcting Media Errors!

Okay, in continuing with correcting the media misinformation out there, it's time to set some things straight. First, it seems like the missing fiscal position reports are STILL missing. However, the general fund statement has been found by Rachel Maddow. Essentially, this is the statement of the Wisconsin state bank account. A link to this important document is found on Rachel's blog. You can read this official report here:

As you'll see from reading this, total revenues amount to 13.57 billion, while outlays (spending) amounts to $13.45 billion, making for a budget surplus of about 120 million. Subtract the 65 million required minimum balance by statutory requirement, and the state has an extra 55 million (rounded).

Now, that really doesn't settle this issue just yet. This bank account balance may be positive due to state borrowing. We won't know about that until I get to read the actual financial position reports, and those, we hope, will surface soon. Rachel errantly reported this as meaning that Wisconsin has a budget surplus. (Oops!) I've e-mailed Rachel regarding this error, and hopefully one of her aides will bring it to her attention. It could be very embarrassing for her if she doesn't learn of it, either from me or from some other source. In the meantime, I still want to know why the financial statements for Wisconsin are more AWOL than the Democratic State Senators.

Next, I must attack the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for getting it's "Politi-Fact" column just dead wrong on key points regarding this watershed event. Taking Ed Schultz's recent claim on MSNBC that union workers could lose up to 40% of their income overnight if this bill passes, the Journal Sentinel rates this as false.

Bullshit! The Journal Sentinel failed to account for the benefits package which includes tuition reimbursement for public school teachers. If this bill passes, that gets lost, and all that tuition, in some cases amounting to more than $80,000, needs to be paid back by the teacher, out of pocket. That means monthly payments which will, in fact, decrease net income by well MORE than 40%. So Ed Schultz got it right, and the Journal Sentinel got it wrong.

For the other two Politi-Fact errors that the Journal Sentinel screwed up, namely Alberta Darling correctly pointing out how this bill would reduce compensation to what it is in the private sector, and the AFL-CIO's contention that this bill will effectively destroy the unions, I must refer readers to my previous post. That makes for not one, not two, but three consecutive errors by the Journal Sentinel regarding one of the most important legislative issues ever. Certainly, the biggest during my lifetime.

This is no time for journalistic fuck-ups!


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