A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Monday, June 13, 2005

Journal Math

A few years back the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had the following headline for a small story in their sports page: Bucks' Appearances on National TV Increase 200%. Or something to that effect. The problem was, the number of appearances by the Milwaukee Bucks that year was 2. Up from 0. Going from 0 to 2 was a 200% increase according to the Jourtinel. Now, when anyone in our group of friends makes an egregious math error, he or she is roundly ridiculed for using Journal math.

Why do any of you care? Well, you probably don't, but if you live in Wisconsin, you should perhaps be aware that Governor Jim Doyle is attempting to use Journal math to justify his potential vetoing of the legislature's proposed budget. Here's the poop on the legistlature's proposal, with the key bit being this:
Still, the $458 million in additional money that would go to K-12 schools over the next two years is less than half what the governor wanted or the schools expected. The decision prompted Democrats to blast the proposal as an assault on education because they say the funding would not keep up with rising costs. Republicans countered it took "Madison math" to see such a large infusion of cash as a cut to education.
Doyle is already calling the Republican-backed budget proposal a cut of school funding. "The big picture here is that they have cut education in a way that they know school districts simply can't live with," Doyle said. $458 million is a cut to Jim. Err... hello? A 2.8% increase of school spending this year and a 3% increase next year is NOT a cut. It may be an insufficient increase, though in the fiscal mess Wisconsin is currently in, one we need to accept, but it is not a cut.

In the Jourtinel's case, the bad math was just some staffer being a product of the Wisconsin Public School System (sorry, Snark alert). Our governor, on the other hand, presumably knows the difference between an increase and a decrease. He also, presumably knows that its a lot easier to whine about a cut in education than it is to whine about a cut in the size of an increase in education.

But, he's a politician, you pretty much expect politicians to be disingenuous. Goes with the job. What excuse does the Madison-based Capital Times newspaper have for their headline: GOP slashes school funds; Gov may veto 'cruel hoax'? Truthfully? None. None whatsoever. There is no reason to categorize the Republican budget as "slashing school funds" except to make the Govenor look like a good guy, and the Republicans look like bad guys. And, of course, the Govenor is a Democrat and the Republicans are, naturally, Republicans.

But there's no liberal bias here folks. Move along, nothing to see.
My In-laws have a book published by (AARP??.. some retirement group) detailing all state and local taxes and all fees in multiple cities in every state. WI is now and has been for some time the number 1 most taxed state in the country..not top ten...number one. CT is the most taxed state per capita (most average paid per peson) but WI is number one when you compare the SAME person i.e same income same property. So clearly WI schools must be hugely underfunded...
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