Aug 15, 2010

On Philip and Mike: Laurel and Hardy Redux

Revisiting Klein and KBTV Channel 4's purported "budget crisis" in Jefferson County, let's examine a few more claims made on The SET Political Review and on Channel 4 KBTV:
Philip R. Klein: If you go back and look at the inflationary that the GAO gives us, it is like two and a half, three percent. We're right in line with the rest of the United States.
Watching Mike McNeil and Philip R. Klein discuss Idionomics reminds me of a short film by Laurel and Hardy.

Neither of them realize that the General Accounting Office (GAO) has nothing whatsoever to do with determining the "inflationary." Instead, the rate of real inflation is derived each month from the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Furthermore the real rate of inflation is not "two and a half, three percent...right in line with the rest of the country." It doesn't take a shrewd investigator to recognize Klein's body language (see image right) and that blank stare into space. Klein is simply inventing statistics again to disguise his failure to comprehend the real facts:
This low inflation is the direct result of the 2008/2009 recession; Since the county has plenty of money to cover the shortfall in revenue through the unreserved fund balance, Jefferson County is clearly not bankrupt as Klein claims.

Some inflation is a good thing, but these extremely low rates are one of the factors fueling fears of a double-dip recession. Since the Fed has literally printed money because of this low inflation rate, at some point inflation will catch up under this monetary policy.

This is distinctly different from the fiscal policy that Klein referenced below:
Philip R. Klein: Look at Orange County, look at Hardin County, look at Chambers County, look at Liberty County. None of them are in the crisis that we're in. Why? Because they're fiscally responsible and they didn't go crazy with their spending. They said, nnnnn, this is a temporary gig. What you've got here in Jefferson County, owned and operated by the Democratic Party of the State of Texas, is you've got out of control spennding. and unless these guys recognize and I think they have, they're bankrupt, they have spent every dime there is...
Regardless of Klein's uninformed opinions, overt falsehoods, and manufactured statistics, the real facts show that a deficit runs through it.

According to Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux in the Orange Leader:  
“There’s a $2.2 million deficit we need to work on to balance this budget, and we’re going to be working on that this month.”
According to Hardin County Judge Billy Caraway in the Beaumont Enterprise:
The proposed budget leaves the county with deficit of about $500,000 due to a $67 million decrease in mineral values and a $300,000 loss in other investment income, Hardin County Judge Billy Caraway said.

"We've reached a stage where we have to ask for more help" to cut the budget, Caraway said.

Caraway, who said he would sacrifice his $7,500 raise for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, was proud of the many officials who said they would also give up their raises.
I wonder why Hardin County Commissioners even considered substantial raises for themselves, when the county has a budget shortfall. Neither is this a partisan problem limited to those counties purportedly "owned and operated by the Democratic party," since most of those Hardin County officials are now in the Republican Party. Did Philip mention RINO?

Likewise, Chambers County took a hit over the past two years, according to the Baytown Sun:
In Chambers County’s case, commissioners are resisting the financial wallop of a 9.5 percent drop in property values from last year and a 3 percent drop this year to give all county employees a raise.

Under the proposed $28 million 2011 budget, both elected and hired employees would receive a 3.5 percent raise.

The drawback? Commissioners also are going to call for a 3 percent budget reduction in each county department, said Commissioner Precinct 4 W.O. “Bill” Wallace, Jr.
While Chambers County experienced a 12.5 percent decrease in revenue over the past two years and a budget shortfall, they're reducing operating expenses in each department by three percent to give employees a 3.5 percent raise. No comment is necessary, but Philip could probably get a job as the chief budget officer in Chambers County.

Meanwhile, the State of Texas is faring worse, with a projected $18 billion deficit, according to the Houston Chronicle:
Lawmakers had been warned to expect a shortfall of at least $11 billion in the next two-year budget period. But Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, on Tuesday put the gap at $18 billion — and said lawmakers should consider casino gambling as one way to fill the hole. 
Ironically, even as some legislators are pushing a gambling bill as a quick fix, the state can't pay it's own gambling debts, according to the Dallas Morning News:
2 quick Lotto Texas winners put state in bind
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, August 13, 2010

AUSTIN – The luck of lottery winners is picking up. For the state, not so much: It has taken a $3.4 million hit in just the past 10 days.

Since July 31, someone has correctly picked the six Lotto Texas numbers twice, but the state sold an insufficient number of tickets to fully cover the advertised prize.

Bobby Heith, a spokesman for the Texas Lottery Commission, said the state account holding lottery earnings will cover the winning tickets.


Lottery expert Dawn Nettles, who operates the lotto website, said dipping into the state fund means money is going out instead of coming in for Lotto Texas.

"That's like saying we're getting paid $1,000 a month and spending $2,000," she said.
Even more irony: the reason we have a Texas Lottery is because our state government sold Texans a bill of goods that the lottery would fix funding problems in state education. But I'll reserve further comment on this until Philip endorses casino gambling in Texas as the perfect solution to our deficit problems.

As regular readers know, I think it's highly unethical for KBTV Fox 4 to allow Klein to propagate this misinformation without at least challenging Philip's blatant lies. This is biased reporting and the station is complicit in furthering Klein's personal agenda. 


Anonymous said...

any response Mike?

Anonymous said...

I'd bet a paycheck that Mike will ignore - the little emperor doesn't like it when people point out he's naked. More ammo for gus:

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great design Gus!

Anonymous said...

Klein still can't find Hilton Kelley's Eagle Scout Award.

Anonymous said...

Angel San Juan is a respected journalist who personally reported on Hardin County's financial woes. It's disappointing that as KBTV's news director he tolerates Klein's frenzied distortions, untruths and oversights.

Anonymous said...

Angel is shirking all his journalistic responsibilities. He's in the tank for the deputy constables and doesn't even pretend to be unbiased. It's sad watching someone who used to have viewers' respect become a shill for Klein and others.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny that Klein has been screaming "cut Govt" for years until Judge Walker does it. Now he is screaming "why". The Constables have a 50% reduction in their workload. What would Klein be saying if we kept them. The ultimat hypocrit.

Anonymous said...

The dilemma here is how to complain.
I can always call or write KBTV, but at some point I would have to say something along the line of "I was listening to Klein...".

Anonymous said...

Why complain...I just don't watch channel 4 anymore. I can keep up with klien's BS here on gus's site.

Anonymous said...

McNeil makes Klein look smart or maybe Klein makes McNeil look stupid. Channel 4 ain't what it use to be.