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Archive for the ‘Higher Education’ Category

In the seven-plus years of his administration, Gov. Bobby has pretty much had his way with the legislature in passing his so-called reform programs. The lone exception is his aborted effort to abolish the state income tax a couple of years ago.

Everything else—education reform, state employee retirement reform, privatization of the Office of Risk Management, the Office of Group Benefits, the state’s charity hospital system, rejection of Medicaid expansion, cutting funding for higher education, the sell-off of state property, and of course, all those generous corporate tax exemptions, credits and incentives for—sailed through the legislature, to borrow a phrase from my formative years, like crap through a goose.

Only the courts were able to restore some degree of sanity to the education and retirement changes.

So how has all that change worked out for the state?

Well, according to Marsha Shuler, writing in today’s Baton Rouge Advocate, the OGB reserve fund, which was already largely depleted since the privatization of that agency, has now fallen below that financial advisers believe to be a “safe” level. Those reserve funds, which were more than $500 million before Gov. Bobby’s meddling, are now at a dismal $102.8 million and at a burn rate (paying out more than it’s taking in) of $14.9 million a month (spending $1.14 for every dollar in revenue), the fund is on a trajectory of hitting less than $30 million by June 30. http://theadvocate.com/news/11705445-123/group-benefits-reserves-continue-to

The privatization of the state’s charity hospital system has resulted in a $190 million state liability to Medicaid even after the privatization deal was approved in part by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/local/2015/01/11/hospital-decision-good-jindal-less-others/21538739/

The ripple effect of the hospital privatization has also resulted in the decision by Baton Rouge General Mid-City to close its emergency room facilities next month because of operating losses generated by the closure of Earl K. Long Medical Center which served the poor community of Baton Rouge.

But never one to pass up an opportunity to put a positive spin on bad decisions, Gov. Bobby, while taking pot shots at the Obama administration for everything from Obamacare to his Mideast policies to the threat of an imminent Islamic coup in Europe, keeps telling us (on those rare occasions when he is in the state) how wonderful things are and how Louisiana continues to outpace the rest of the nation in economic growth and business climate. http://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&articleID=4156

His head cheerleader, Rolfe McCollister is right behind him, lending the influence of his publication, the Baton Rouge Business Report, to augment Gov. Bobby’s rosy proclamations.

http://www.businessreport.com/business/columns/la-makes-biggest-leap-in-forbes-rankings

But one should keep uppermost in mind that McCollister was treasurer of Gov. Bobby’s re-election campaign and as Bobby’s appointee to the LSU Board of Stuporvisors, was instrumental in securing the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for that prayer rally attended by about 3,500 people in the spacious 18,000-seat arena.

But let’s look at the latest survey, one which Gov. Bobby undoubtedly will ignore as he traipses about Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in search of enough commitments to get him to even register in polls of likely Republican presidential contenders.

24/7 Wall St. is a corporation which runs a financial news and opinion company. The company publishes up to 30 articles per day which are published throughout the world.

Its latest survey, issued today (Feb. 27) puts Louisiana at the very bottom of its list of the Best and Worst States for Business. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/02/26/the-best-and-worst-states-for-business/?utm_source=247WallStDailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=FEB272015A&utm_campaign=DailyNewsletter

That’s right, Mississippi no longer owns the anchor spot in 24/7 Wall St.’s multitudinous surveys of things good and bad. This one belongs to Louisiana.

Here’s what the survey says about Louisiana:

  • No state fared worse on 24/7 Wall St.’s business climate Index than Louisiana. The state is not the worst place to run all businesses, however. The manufacturing sector accounted for more than 20% of Louisiana’s economic output in 2013, the fourth highest such contribution in the country. Despite the strong sector, Louisiana generally provides poor conditions for business.
  • Nearly one in five residents lived in poverty in 2013 — nearly the worst rate in the nation — contributing to both the low quality of the labor force as well as a low quality of life in the state. The working-age population was projected to decline by 3.2% from 2010 through 2020, one of the worst declines in the nation. While nearly 30% of Americans had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, only 22.5% of Louisiana adults had at least such a degree, also nearly the lowest rate. Poor education contributed to poor scores in innovation. The state was one of only a handful of states where the average venture capital investment was less than $1 million.

There were several factors that went into the evaluation of the state’s lowly status as a place to do business:

  • The state’s gross domestic product growth of 1.3 percent was 17th lowest in the nation;
  • Average wages and salaries of $44,828 were 23rd lowest;
  • The percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees was 5th lowest at 22.5 percent;
  • The 395 patents issued to residents were 13th lowest;
  • The negative 3.2 percent projected working-age population growth was 13th lowest.

The survey also noted that Louisiana ranked:

  • 47th in infrastructure;
  • 48th in the quality of life (the lack of adequate health care for many could be a factor in that statistic);
  • 49th in labor and human capital

Mississippi? As far as Louisiana and Gov. Bobby are concerned, that state is up there in the stratosphere at only the 4th worst in the nation.

Rounding out the bottom five were West Virginia (49th), Kentucky (48th), and Alabama (46th).

The five best, in order, were Utah, Massachusetts, Wyoming, South Dakota and Delaware, according to the survey.

Iowa and New Hampshire ranked 12th and 14th, respectively, which may help explain why Gov. Bobby spends so much time in those places instead of the state that he was elected to govern.

Nah.

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“They’re still negotiating with the terrorists.”

That gem, said in a private email to LouisianaVoice, came from a blogger who is relative new on the scene but who is very perceptive about what the Bobby administration is trying to do to higher education. https://lahigheredconfessions.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/open-letter-to-higher-education-leaders-the-time-for-negotiating-is-over/

A two-page letter today (Feb. 26) from five higher education leaders lobbed fluffy white marshmallows at Gov. Bobby and an anticipated $400 million (or more) cut to the state’s public colleges and universities. Joint Higher Education Letter 2-26-15

The letter was signed by LSU President F. King Alexander, Southern University System President Ronald Mason, Jr., Louisiana Community & Technical College System President Monty Sullivan, University of Louisiana System President Sandra K. Woodley, and Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo.

Rather than digging their collective heels in and shouting “Enough!” the higher education officials attempted to appeal to Gov. Bobby’s well concealed humanitarian instincts which has about as much chance as the proverbial snowball.

The letter comes about as close as possible to the prediction of one of our readers who said the college presidents in the end would thank Gov. Bobby for not cutting them more.

The letter began, predictably, with the education officials thanking Gov. Bobby “for your support during last year’s legislative session and the creation of the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund,” calling it an “unprecedented statewide collaboration across higher education.”

The pandering continued when the letter practically pleaded with Gov. Bobby to not lose “the momentum that began last year to raise the level of educational attainment in Louisiana.”

Have these educational leaders lost their collective minds? Have they forgotten that this governor’s policies of lavishing tax exemptions and incentives on corporations like Wal-Mart, chicken plucking plants and other corporations that offer little in the way of gainful employment are directly responsible for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in today?

And while Gov. Bobby did eventually support the move, it was the legislature that repealed the Stelly Plan, one of the most progressive tax programs in the history of this state, so we’re not giving lawmakers a pass on this.

“The need for college graduates, particularly in high demand fields such as engineering, computer science, business and industrial trades, is fundamental to meeting workforce goals and ensuring Louisiana graduates are prepared to reap the economic benefits Louisiana has realized,” the shameless communication said.

“Economic benefits Louisiana has realized”? Give us a freaking break! The only economic benefits realized by this state has been realized by Gov. Bobby’s campaign contributors. Why don’t these higher education officials just go on and kiss Gov. Bobby’s ring (yeah, we cleaned that up) and get it over with?

“Commissioner (of Administration) Kristy Nichols has informed us of the impending budget shortfall and the funding impacts on higher education,” the letter continued. “We want to partner with you and our legislative leaders to craft both a short-term approach to address the immediate budget shortfall and offer long-term recommendations that fundamentally change the higher education funding model. In both instances, budget stability is the overarching goal,” it said.

First of all, the use of the word “partner” scares the hell out of us. The last time “partner” was used by this administration, it gave away an entire system of public hospitals that resulted in such an overbearing spillover to Baton Rouge General Mid-City that it is closing its emergency room, thus making it even more difficult for the poor in north Baton Rouge to obtain needed medical care.

“In the long term, higher education is requesting budget stability and increasing state supported investments in higher education,” the letter said.

“The economic stability of Louisiana hinges on our collective ability to find both a short-term solution in the budget for next year and a long-term solution to sustain and increase investments in Louisiana’s higher education system.”

If the economic stability of Louisiana hinges on the ability of this administration, we’re in for a long, hard winter of economic—and intellectual—instability.

In addition to sending the letter to Gov. Bobby, copies also were sent to Gov. Bobby’s various lap dogs in the House and Senate where it will be promptly ignored as legislators turn their attention to getting re-elected while dealing with a $1.6 billion distraction.

To paraphrase H. Ross Perot, “That giant sucking sound you hear is Louisiana college-bound students headed out of state.”

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“That clanking sound you heard,” says blogger C. B. Forgotston, “was Louisiana’s proverbial fiscal can hitting the end of the road.” And he has been around state government long enough to know the signs.

“Like a kid behaving badly, we’ve been placed on probation,” added State Treasurer John Kennedy.

Both men’s assessments were in response to the double whammy of two investor rating services’—Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s—action to move Louisiana’s credit outlook from stable to negative on Friday and to threaten the more severe action of a downgrade.

“This should be a wake-up call that we need to stop spending more than we take in,” Kennedy said.  “We’ve drained our trust funds, we’ve relied on nonrecurring money and we’ve had to cut the budget in the middle of the fiscal year for too many years now.  Many have been warning that this day would arrive, and it has.”

The dual action by the two ratings services impacts $2.7 billion in outstanding general obligation debt and $1.25 billion in related debt.

Moody’s warned that continued structural imbalances, steep growth in pension costs, deterioration in financial liquidity and failure to contain costs in the state’s Medicaid system will result in a credit rating downgrade, making it more costly for the state to borrow money.

S & P added a warning that “Should budget adjustments fail to focus on recurring solutions or if the structural gap grows with continued declines in revenue or material reductions in federal program funding to the state, we could lower the rating” even further.

Gov. Bobby immediately attempted to put a positive spin on the bad news (or as Forgotston described it, tried to pour perfume on the manure pile to change the smell but not the content) by saying that the agencies didn’t lower the ratings on the existing outstanding General Obligation bonds.

But what Gov. Bobby did not say, according to Forgotston, was that the rating on those bonds was not lowered because the Louisiana State Constitution gives those bonds first call, even before employee retirement benefits, on all the money in the state treasury. “In other words, if the state goes bankrupt, those bonds will be paid,” he said, adding that future state borrowing will also cost more.

It could also mean that in the event of default, retirees won’t be getting their pension checks, something that should get the gray panthers up in arms.

At this point, we feel it important to point out—just in case anyone still needs reminding—that Gov. Bobby has been traveling all over the country (well, mainly to Iowa and Washington, D.C.) spewing his rhetoric about how he has cut the number of state employees, how Louisiana’s economy is out-performing other states, how new industry is locating to Louisiana, and how little it costs to attend LSU.

Except it’s all part of his big lie—except, of course, the part about hauling state workers out to the curb.

But if he is so hell-bent on claiming and then taking credit for all these wonderful events and trends (of course he never mentions the state’s high poverty rate, poor health care availability, our second lowest median household income, the eighth lowest percentage of citizens with a bachelor’s degree or higher, or our fifth highest violent crime rate), then he must shoulder the blame for the bad news as well.

Any coach will tell you that’s the way the game is played; if you take credit for the wins, you have to take the blame for the losses.

And of course, he never, never does that. Everything out of his mouth is about all the great accomplishments of his administration, and always spouted off in such rapid-fire fashion as to give little chance for argument from dissenters. It’s his style to overwhelm with statistics quoted by rote in his boring staccato delivery.

Well, Bobby, your rhetoric—and for that matter, you as well—are wearing a little thin.

The doubt began creeping in here in Louisiana midway of your first term and has continued to build until now the national media have caught on. Only last week, three or four national stories revealed the pitiful shape you are leaving our state in for your unfortunate successor to attempt to clean up.

Unfortunately, whoever follows you will most likely be a one-term governor because no one can clean up your mess in a single term and the voters are likely to grow weary of whoever is unfortunate enough to follow you and turn him or her out of office after four years in a desperate attempt to find a quick solution that in reality may take decades. You have set this state back that far (Thank you, Gov. Mike Foster for inflicting this plague upon us).

And, Gov. Bobby, you can just mothball your national political ambitions. Being President is a far distant fantasy by now and any prospects of a cabinet position are just as surely disappearing like so much sand through your fingers. You can now only accept that you will go down as one of, if not the most vilified governor in the history of this state. You have succeeded, by comparison, in making Earl Long appear to have been in full control of his mental faculties back in 1959.

And lest anyone think we are giving the legislature a free pass on this situation, think again. With only a handful of exceptions, those of you in the House and Senate have been complicit in this charade of governance. You have aided and abetted this pitiful excuse of a chief executive who, while pandering repeatedly that he had the job he wanted, nevertheless plunged full speed ahead toward his fool’s errand of seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Why, his own family was talking openly of his becoming President—at his first inauguration way back in 2008!

Moody’s and S &P were each quite thorough in laying out the reasoning for their simultaneous actions on Friday.

Moody’s said its action reflects a $1.6 billion structural deficit, continued budget gaps, the state’s large Medicaid caseload, job growth below the national average and significant unfunded pension liabilities.  “The negative outlook reflects the state’s growing structural budget imbalance, projected at $1.6 billion for fiscal 2016, or about 18% of the $8.7 billion general fund even after significant budget cuts of recent years,” Moody’s said. “The state has options for reducing the imbalance, including scaling back various tax credit programs, but the overall scale of balancing measures needed may further deplete resources and reduce the state’s liquidity, which has been one of its strengths.”

S & P was no kinder, citing Gov. Bobby’s reliance on non-recurring revenue which it said only served to increase future budgetary pressures. “In our view, the state’s focus on structural solutions to its general fund budget challenges will be a key determinant of its future credit stability.

“We could consider revising the outlook back to stable if revenue trends stabilize and if Louisiana makes material progress in aligning its recurring revenues and expenditures on a timely basis with a focus on recurring solutions. Should budget adjustments fail to focus on recurring solutions or if the structural gap grows with continued declines in revenue or material reductions in federal program funding to the state, we could lower the rating,” S & P said.

Forgotston, in his own unique way, tells us what Moody’s and S & P were really telling us: “Bobby, you and the legislators have made a big ‘number-two’ mess in your fiscal pants and we have no faith in your ability to clean it up. Folks, don’t let the legislators try to fool you; this is very bad news for us taxpayers and the legislators are the reason for it.”

Yes, it’s easy to blame Gov. Bobby because he has in his seven years initiated every Ponzi scheme one could imagine from giving away something like $11 billion in tax incentives (according to one recent story), to giving away the state’s charity hospitals, to robbing the Office of Group Benefits reserve fund, to attempting to rob the state’s retirement system, to refusing federal grants for needed projects, to rejecting Medicaid expansion and thus depriving the state’s indigent population access to decent health care which in turn led directly to the announced closure of the emergency room of a major Baton Rouge hospital. The list goes on.

But, as Gov. Bobby is so fond of saying, at the end of the day, it was the legislature, through the “leadership” of Senate President John Alario, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley and Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin that allowed him to do it by refusing to grow a collective set and stand up to this vindictive little amateur dictator.

This is an election year and Louisiana voters—particularly state employees, former state employees who have lost their jobs because of Gov. Bobby, teachers, retirees and the state’s working poor would do well to remember what this governor has done to them and which legislators voted to support the administration’s carnage inflicted upon this state.

There are those few in the House and Senate who have spoken up and tried to be the voices of reason but those voices have been drowned out by Gov. Bobby’s spinmeisters.

So when you vote for governor next fall, you would do well to ignore the TV commercials bought by those who want only to continue down this same path of economic destruction and growing income disparity and consider who you believe really has the best interest of the state, and not the special interests, at heart. In other words, think for yourselves instead of letting some ad agency do your thinking for you.

If you don’t get your collective heads out of the sand and in the most emphatic manner you can muster, tell your neighbors, your friends, your family, the clerk at the store where you shop for food and clothing, the cashier at the restaurant where you eat what this governor and this legislature have done to you and to them, then come next fall, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

The time for joking about Gov. Bobby is over. We’re at the end game now.

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Bobby just keeps on taking hits from the national media.

First it was Politico, then the Washington Post and the New York Times.

On Tuesday, Bobby made the unwise decision to appear on Morning Joe on MSNBC and got him appropriately scalded.

While he did his best to squirm out from under the host Joe Scarborough’s scrutiny of looming budget cuts of up to 40 percent for LSU and tuition costs that have already risen by 90 percent at the state’s other public colleges and universities, he kept getting steered back to an estimated $350 million in budget cuts anticipated for the entire state university system, including about $141.5 million just for LSU.

That means about $210 million for the other schools, or an average of about $21 million each.

All the latest budget cuts are on top of $460 million in cuts imposed by Bobby, who obviously failed economics while enrolled at Brown, since he took office seven years ago.

As further evidence of his disconnect since abandoning the governor’s office in his shameless quest for the GOP presidential nomination, when pinned down by Scarborough on the proposed university budget cuts, he stammered and sputtered and finally claimed that it cost “less than $10,000” per year for housing, fees and books at LSU.

When Bobby took office in 2008, tuition and fees at LSU were around $5,000 a year. That was then. This is now. Because Louisiana has experienced sharp increases in tuition over the past five years because of Bobby’s policies, it now costs not “less than $10,000” but $20,564 per year to attend the state’s flagship university, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. http://theadvocate.com/news/11567837-123/jindal-stumped-with-lsu-tuition

C.B. Forgotston, king of the subversive bloggers, noted that Bobby’s spokesperson Shannon Bates Dirmann claimed that her boss was not referring to housing costs in his estimate of fees but in a review of the video, Bobby clearly included housing in his estimate.

“Dirmann blatantly lied,” Forgotston said.

In a related matter, LouisianaVoice, with an assist from one of our readers and USA Today, came upon some interesting statistics that tie directly to one of our earlier stories about how the budget cuts might impact college sports.

Our earlier story, which was a bit more parody than serious, speculated on what would happen if budget cuts included the so-called “paper courses” that help keep student athletes eligible among the 1,400 classes LSU might lose.

Our reader suggested this web page to track the amounts schools all over the country receive in state subsidy funding. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/schools/finances/

We checked out the link and compiled the data for the Southern University and the nine schools under the University of Louisiana system.

                        ATHLETIC   ATHLETIC       ATHLETIC        PCT. ATHLETIC

SCHOOL       REVENUE    EXPENSES   ST. SUBSIDY      SUBSIDY

  1. TECH $18.5M            $18.44M                      $9.2M                49.6

ULM               $11.2M            $11.44M                      $4.1M                36.5

GSU                $6.3M              $7.85M                        $3.63M            57.9

SU                   $8.8M              $7.7M                          $4.75M             54.1

NWS               $11.8M            $12.34M                      $7.6M               64.7

SLU                $10.9M            $10.9M                        $6.54M            59.8

MCN               $9.7M              $10.3M                        $4.5M              46.3

ULL                $18.1M            $18.65M                      $7.7M               42.4

NSU                $6.96M            $6.96M                        $4.2M             60.6

UNO               $4.3M              $4.3M                          $2.96M          69.33

TOTALS       $106.56M        $108.88                         $55.18M          50.7% ave.

 

TEXAS           $165.7M          $146.7M                      0                   0

ALABAMA   $143.8M          $116.6M                      $5.79M             4.0

LSU              $117.5M          $105.3M                       0                  0

 

As you can perhaps see (the columns don’t line up precisely in our format), the state subsidized the 10 schools a total of nearly $55.2 million during 2013, which represents approximately 26 percent of the total combined cuts for the schools.

By comparison, we also included three other schools. The University of Texas had the largest amount of sports revenues in the nation at $165.7 million in 2013 against expenses of $146.7 million and received no subsidies from the State of Texas.

LSU, with a revenues of $117.5 million against $105.3 million in expenses, also is self-sustaining in that it received no subsidies from the state. The University of Alabama had revenues of $143.8 million and expenses of $116.6 million and received nearly $5.8 million, or 4 percent of its total revenue, from the state of Alabama.

Of the 10 Louisiana schools receiving subsidies, Louisiana Tech had the most at $9.2 million, which was nearly half (49.6 percent) of total revenues.

Though the University of New Orleans had the lowest amount in revenues at $4.3 million and the lowest amount of state subsidies at $2.96 million, its percentage of state support was the highest at 69.33 percent.

The University of Louisiana Monroe was third lowest in the amount of funding from the state at $4.1 million against revenues of $11.2 million for the lowest percentage (36.5 percent) of state subsidies of the 10 schools.

Grambling State University’s state funding of $3.63 million was second lowest but it represented nearly 58 percent of its total revenue of $6.3 million, the USA Today report said.

In all, the 10 state schools received 50.7 percent of their sports budget in the form of state subsidies, something the Legislature may have to consider when it convenes in April to tackle the projected $1.6 billion in budgetary shortfalls anticipated for the state budget.

Granted, that $55.2 million for the 10 schools won’t go far in filling the void, but as the late Sen. Everett Dirksen once said: “A billion her and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

But according to Bobby’s math, the deficit is probably only a couple of million dollars and can be made up by selling a state building or two or by laying off a few hundred more state employees. We just don’t really know what he’s thinking because he is never in the state anymore and gives all his interviews to Politico.

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Well, at least Bobby took a stand. Sort of.

As an aside, we have arbitrarily decided to cease referring to Bobby Jindal by his elected title of governor. His behavior far more closely resembles that of his adolescent namesake from The Brady Bunch sitcom than a political leader. So we’ll just refer to him as Bobby from now on.

He repeatedly told us his big lie: that he had the job he wanted, yet he doggedly pursues a much higher prize—that of president. He long ago abdicated any of the responsibilities that go with that title—like performing his duties with the best interest of his constituents as a top priority.

Those duties would include seeing to fiscal well-being of the state. His persistent refusal to seek additional revenue to meet repeated shortfalls in the state budget have created a projected $1.6 billion budget hole for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. To address the problem, he is proposing yet another cut to health care and higher education—cuts that are certain to gut entire academic programs but almost certainly not athletics.

His giving away the state treasury in the form of corporate and industrial tax incentives have not paid off with desperately needed revenue. Quite the reverse has happened as companies have received five-year Enterprise Zone tax credits for locating Wal-Mart stores in affluent areas in open contravention of the EZ program’s intent.

Ten-year property tax exemptions have been granted in wholesale numbers to companies as they implement plant expansions but create no new jobs.

Movie tax credits return about 30 cents to the state for every dollar given in credits, certainly no bargain for Louisiana taxpayers.

There are others, like employee salary rebates and inventory tax rebates, all of which add up to billions of dollars deprived of the state treasury.

The health care of all citizens is another area of considerable responsibility that he has chosen to betray. Bobby’s decision to close Southeast Louisiana Hospital shut off mental health services to low income residents of the state’s most densely populated area. Then he privatized the state’s charity hospitals, a move which resulted in nothing short of personal and financial disaster. Baton Rouge Medical Center Mid-City is closing its emergency room next month because of the overflow from the closure of Earl K. Long Medical Center which will now place an additional strain on Our Lady of the Lake across town.

But while he has been chasing Islamics in Europe and chasing the presidency at home (using the term “home” loosely, as his base now appears to be somewhere in Iowa), Jindal has finally taken a stand in Louisiana, for Louisianans. Sort of.

Earlier this month, he took our collective breath away with his courage in saying he has “no reservations about whether or not it is a good idea and desirable for all children to be vaccinated.”

His courageous stand came out of growing concern over a measles outbreak at Disneyland in California because apparently one or more families who don’t believe in the measles vaccinations took infected children to the park, spreading the disease. A debate immediately followed as to the advisability of immunization because of belief in some quarters that the measles shots can cause more harm than good.

“There is a lot of fear mongering out there on this,” Bobby said, apparently referring to immunization rather than Islamic “no-go” zones in Europe. “I think it is irresponsible for leaders to undermine the public’s confidence in vaccinations that have been tested and proven to protect public health. Science supports them and they keep our children safe from potentially deadly but preventable diseases. Vaccinations are important. I urge every parent to get them. Every one.”

Again, let us stress that he also said “all children.”

But let us now flash back nearly two years to Feb. 22, 2013, when Bobby, acting for a change as governor, submitted his executive budget.

His proposed budget included his announced intentions to cease immunizing the state’s indigent children at parish health units throughout the state.

Instead, he said, private pediatricians would take over the duties of immunizing children under the state’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program through which vaccines are made available at no charge to enrolled public and private health care providers for eligible children.

“Under the proposed restructuring, children who received immunizations at parish health units would be transitioned to receive immunizations by their private pediatricians or health care providers, where 92 percent of children already receive their immunizations through the program,” said a statement released by the Department of Health and Hospitals at the time.

Bobby’s most recent proclamation in support of immunization seemed more of an effort to set himself apart from the GOP frontrunners than any real concern for the welfare of Louisiana children. After New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky questioned the wisdom of mandated immunization, Bobby’s utterance seemed contrived, almost comical.

But it wasn’t funny. In fact, given the state of critical mass into which the state’s finances have fallen, nothing Bobby does is funny anymore.

The national media have finally caught on with several extremely critical analyses of Bobby’s performance just in the last few days, a couple by usually conservative columnists.

Bobby, we aren’t really all that stupid down here. We well remember glib line of yours: “I have the job I want.” Seriously? You repeated it ad nauseam during your first term. We got sick of hearing it because we knew you were lying.

You lying to us, weren’t you, or do you really have the job you want?

If you were telling us the truth, then for God’s sake stay in Louisiana and do your damned job. If not, get the hell out and let someone who cares do it for you.

Resign, Bobby. Just resign. You quit a long time ago so now just make if official. We’ve grown weary of your adolescent Bobby Brady adventures. Like the sitcom itself, your act has grown stale.

 

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