Thursday, May 26, 2016

J-S Politi-"fact" strikes again, letting Walker lie about UW funding

6 weeks ago, I did an analysis of an absurd tweet Governor Walker sent out as the college Dropout tried to discuss the finances of the UW System. In addition to pointing out why Walker was being blantantly dishonest, I also made the following prediction.
And I'm sure Walker cheerleader Tom Kertscher will be by in a few days to Politi-fact this take as "mostly true," based on the fact that the UW System will spend $6.15 billion in 2015-16, which would be its highest "All Funds" amount.
And while I was off by about a month, Wisconsin Politi-“fact” and “analyst” Tom Kertscher got around to Walker’s claim on UW’s budget and spending yesterday. So let’s see if my hypothesis was correct. First of all, Kertscher decides to tell the readers what Walker really meant when he made his statement.
Walker made it clear his claim was about total funding for the UW System, and that state money covers only a portion of the system’s budget.
Whoa, stop right there! Let’s go to the actual quote from Walker, which came when Gov Unintimidated was given free air time by Charlie Sykes 10 days ago. Kertscher notes Scotty’s next line was “The amount of money is only a fraction of what they have overall.” And that’s true- much of those UW funds are segregated funds, from sources like gifts, federal grants, dorms and athletics, and they can’t be used for other parts of the UW System.

Kertscher even admits this in the next part of his analysis.
But it’s worth noting that, adjusted for inflation, state support of the system -- known as general purpose revenue -- is in a historic decline, according to figures from the fiscal bureau.

The highest state support, adjusted for inflation, was in the first year of the system, 1973-’74 -- at just under $1.52 billion. That figure hit an all-time low of $1.03 billion in 2015-’16.
A 50% drop for inflation on the funding that is the most flexible doesn’t seem like the most “money to spend”, does it? Scotty knows that people won’t buy his argument if that fact is given.

So he pivots in his next line to “So, for all the hysteria out there, they have never had more money to spend in the UW System.” With that statement, Walker is trying to give a false impression to the losers tuning in on 620 that the UW is doing just fine and isn’t in the financial constraints its faculty and supporters say it is.

But given that Kertscher has recognized that state funding keeps declining, and that this element is the one Walker and the WisGOP Legislature has the most control over, I’m sure he will grade appropriately, and not give Walker the lenient rating I predicted 6 weeks ago.
The system’s 2015-’16 all-funds budget -- which includes not only state tax dollars but federal funds, tuition and other income -- is $6.194 billion, the biggest since the system was created in 1973-’74.

But adjusted for inflation, the 2015-’16 all-funds budget is among the biggest, though not the biggest. And the 2015-’16 figure includes unspent tuition revenue that hadn’t been counted in the all-funds budget in previous years.

For a statement that is accurate but needs clarification, our rating is Mostly True.
God, I hate being right about our state’s media.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? “Needs clarification?” Scotty didn’t clarify because that would blow up his entire meme, since it would show that the state isn’t funding the UW near what it used to, and is instead making students, researchers and donors take up more of the cost. How could Kertscher mention this obvious point, then conveniently ignore it in his final rating?

Apparently the check from the Bradley Foundation to the JournalComm offices cleared, because there’s no other explanation as to why Politi-“fact” Wisconsin would pull this garbage to help their boy Scotty (who is clearly flailing around and losing on the UW issue). What an insultingly slanted “analysis”, and I’m not going to believe for a second that Kertscher is blind to the false impression that his article gives to the average dope who knows nothing about higher ed finance.

But hey, if you buy into Gov Walker’s BS about the “UW is spending more than ever,” take heart in knowing this likely won’t be true next year, because the documented exodus of professors and the federal funds they take with them will likely lower that “all funds” budget next year.

Fuck these cynical sleazebuckets at WisGOP and their anti-educational “divide and conquer” attempts, and fuck Tom Kertscher for being an enabler of it with his Politi-crap “analysis”.


  1. This is all really hard, because we really are at the point of flat-out lies that don't get called out--Ray Cross gets caught lying about tenure one cares. Regents get caught lying about their willingness to one cares. And this is absolutely ridiculous. This politifact thing really needed to focus on state funds. But the irony: a governor who claims to hate all things federal takes credit for federal contributions to the UW "budget," and Mr. Tuition Freeze takes credit for tuition in the budget! What a world, man.

    1. And Kertscher even wrote about the state funds being cut for 1 paragraph. Then promptly ignored it for the rest of the piece, and that's not by accident.

      I just want to know if Kertscher did it on his own, or if he was ordered to do it. Either way, it's one of the many reasons why I won't give the J-S a dime.

    2. "The 'buget' is bigger than ever!" Which is why we're laying people off and positioning ourselves to do more of that. There is no light at the end of this.