Archive for the ‘Revenue’ Category



“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.

Read Full Post »


“As states prepare their budgets for the coming year, they face the challenge of reinvesting in public higher education systems after years of damaging cuts — the product of both the economic downturn and states’ reluctance to raise additional revenues.”

—From story by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2013.

Read Full Post »


Louisiana’s colleges and universities are facing some difficult choices.

With the latest round of budget cuts to higher education announced by Gov. in Absentia Bobby Jindal, college presidents have been thrown into deep crisis mode in trying to figure out how to keep their schools afloat in the wake of another $350 million slashed from their cumulative budgets.

The LSU campuses are facing cuts of 35 percent to 40 percent, or about $141.5 million which translates to the elimination of 27 percent of faculty positions, 1,572 courses, 28 academic programs and 1,433 faculty and staff positions, according to Associated Press reporter Melinda Deslatte. http://theadvocate.com/home/11535937-125/lsu-outlines-dire-budget-scenarios

Because of Jindal’s disastrous fiscal policies over the past seven years, repeated budget cuts have been imposed on both health care and higher education.

Conspiracy theorists might attribute that to the goal of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its objective of “taking the state out of state colleges,” or including public colleges and universities in its stated drive toward near total privatization of government.

And those conspiracy theorists, in this case at least, might not be too far off.

As has already been reflected in tuition increases of 90 percent for state colleges and universities in Louisiana since Jindal took office (with more undoubtedly on the way), it’s rather easy to see what such privatization would mean: soaring tuition costs putting college out of reach for all but the wealthiest Americans absent the securing of ever-rising student loans from private banks with debts guaranteed by the federal government (ALEC wants privatization to go just so far, it seems).

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has conducted an exhaustive state by state study of cuts to higher education which show Louisiana has undergone some of the deepest cuts (fourth highest in the nation) at 43.6 percent from Fiscal Year 2008 (the year that began six months before Jindal assumed office in January of 2008) through FY-13 (2012-2013). There have been two additional cuts since then in Louisiana. The $4,714 per student cut through FY-13, for example, has increased to more than $5,000 since then in Louisiana. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3927

The center’s report said state could have reduced the size of the spending cuts by enacting “significant new revenues, but many (including Louisiana) chose not to.”

It is an understatement to say that Louisiana colleges and universities are going to have to make some hard decisions, but the one issue that has flown under the radar thus far is intercollegiate athletics.

This is going to get some push back from the more rabid sports fans, especially at LSU which plays in the big leagues of the Southeastern Conference. Not to slight the other schools, but the reality is (as Jindal is fond of saying) the LSU athletic program is the only one in the state that is self-sustaining—but athletics could be adversely impacted in another key area: keeping players academically eligible.

You see, there is something out there called Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which was written to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Section 504 is employed by elementary and secondary schools to help students with learning and other disabilities but is especially popular in college athletic programs, according to one former high school coach who is familiar with the program.

Because any school receiving federal funding (which is all Louisiana colleges and universities) is mandated to provide extra assistance to those with learning disabilities. Section 504, therefore, is protected and exempt from any state cutbacks—much to the appreciation of college athletic programs.

Athletes with learning disabilities, and let’s be honest: there are a lot of college jocks who can’t read or write above fifth or sixth-grade levels and some have comprehension skills that fall lower than that, are provided special tutors. These tutors, our source tells us, not only do much of the students’ academic assignments for them, but even sit with them during testing, coaxing them on when they provide an incorrect answer and often even pointing to the correct answer.

(Had I had that kind of help at Louisiana Tech, I could have made the dean’s list other than the one I found myself on most of the time.)

There has been much written about Mary Willingham, the former academic advisor at the University of North Carolina who finally had enough and blew the whistle on so-called “paper courses,” or “counterfeit classes” for 18 years involving more than 160 student-athletes.

Willingham said athletes were literally funneled into the program as a means of keeping them eligible at the sacrifice of any semblance of a real education. The “paper classes” produced boiler plate papers that were shamelessly plagiarized. Professors in those classes rarely, if ever, bothered to read the papers but instead relied on counselors who simply advised the professors as to the grade an athlete needed to remain eligible, a practice they called “GPA boosters.”

Willingham said the “paper classes,” many of which were African and African-American studies, were openly discussed as a way to keep athletes eligible to participate in sports. One email from a counselor to a professor advised, “Yes, a D will be fine; that’s all she needs. I didn’t look at the paper but figured it was a recycled one as well, but I couldn’t figure out from where.”

Willingham called the system “corrupt because many of these young men are passed through the system without really being given what they’re promised, which is a real education.”

She said universities have lowered their admissions standards for athletes and the NCAA allows it to keep the revenue-producing sports going.

That’s because NCAA-level college football alone is a $16 billion (with a B) business for tax-exempt, “non-profit” universities which ostensibly are focused on research and education.

No wonder that subsequent to releasing her research on the poor literacy levels, UNC officials went to extreme of hiring outside academics in an attempt to discredit her findings.

We attempted to learn how many LSU athletes are currently participating in the Section 504 program. We submitted the following public records request:

Please provide any and all documents and/or public records that provide the following information;

The number of learning-disabled student athletes currently enrolled at the LSU Baton Rouge campus;

The percentage of learning-disabled student-athletes to the overall student population currently enrolled at the LSU Baton Rouge campus.

Please understand I am not asking for names—just the raw numbers and percentages of overall student population.

LSU responded that it had no record of such data, a claim we find extremely difficult to believe. Nevertheless, we tried once more, making the same request of Louisiana Tech. This time we received not so much as even a response to our request.

Never wishing to leave part of the story untold, LouisianaVoice did a little research of its own into some of the degree programs into which athletes may be “funneled,” to borrow a phrase from Willingham. We should preface what follows by stressing the samples of classes come directly from the LSU 2014-2015 catalog: http://catalog.lsu.edu/index.php?catoid=6

General Studies:

Semester 1: Gen. Ed. Analytical Reasoning MATH Course; “C” or better in ENGL 1001 . Semester 2: Gen. Ed. Natural Sciences; Gen. Ed. Social Sciences or Gen. Ed. Arts; Declare a Degree Program. Semester 3: Gen. Ed. Analytical Reasoning or Gen. Ed. Arts; 2.0 LSU and cumulative GPA.
African & African American Studies: Black Popular Culture (3); African Diaspora Intellectual Thought (3); Topics in History of Africa and the African Diaspora (3) (non-U.S.); Topics in Pre-Colonial Africa (3) (non-US); Special Topics in African & African American Studies (1-3); Black Music in America (3); Folklore of the African Diaspora (3); African American History (3); The New South (3)
Child & Family Studies: General Education course – Humanities (3); General Education course – Natural Sciences (3); Electives (6) or Fundamentals of Communication (3) or Introduction to Performing Literature (3); Public Speaking (3) or Introduction to Agricultural Economics (3)
Kinesiology: KIN 3513 Introduction to Motor Learning (3); KIN 3515 The Physiological Basis of Activity (3); PHYS 2001 General Physics I (3); KIN 3525 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Physiology (1); KIN 1801 Movement Fundamentals for Physical Activity (2) or KIN 1802 Individual/Lifetime Activities (2) or KIN 1803 Team Activities (2)Sports Administration: History and Philosophy of Kinesiology (3); Sport in Society (3); Introduction to Management Information Systems (3); General Education course – Natural Sciences (3)

Sports Studies Minor: To graduate with a minor in sports studies, students must complete 18 semester hours from the following: KIN 2530 , three activity courses and 12 semester hours from the following courses: KIN 2502 , KIN 2511 , KIN 2525 , KIN 2526 , KIN 3507 , KIN 3800 , KIN 4513 , KIN 4515 , KIN 4517 , KIN 4800 , MKT 3410 .

Okay, you get the picture. Obviously, these are important courses. The beast must be fed so we can continue to kneel at the altar of intercollegiate athletics. Some things, after all, are sacrosanct. The option of cutting these programs is not even on the table.

So the cuts must be made elsewhere. But where?

Oh, such non-revenue producing programs as English, Arts, Physics, Engineering, Medical School (after all, who needs doctors after Jindal’s cuts to health care?), Business, Economics, History, etc. After all, who ever heard of TAF selling tickets to a science lecture?

Loss of accreditation of the business and engineering colleges? Hmpf, we don’t need no stinking accreditation when there’s a national championship to be won.

The alternative could be to sacrifice some of the courses we listed above in an effort at maintaining some semblance of academic integrity.

Of course, that would mean all athletes would have to take real courses—and pass. The lack of academic funding of the university and the resulting cancellation of the courses required for athletic eligibility will deal the death blow to athletic programs as we know them.

And that could have LSU playing Baton Rouge Community College in flag football next season.

Efforts to contact Les Miles and Johnny Jones for confirmation of the mothballing of the 2015 football and basketball seasons were unsuccessful.

We can only conclude that although Jindal, who has exhibited nothing but disdain and contempt for Louisiana’s education systems, knew of the consequences of his administration’s budget cuts on college and university athletic program, this was an “unintended consequence” by the legislature. To that, we can only say to legislators: “You should have done your homework and not sold your soul to Jindal for personal and political gain.”

(Thanks to Ruston High classmate John Sachs for the idea for this post.)

Read Full Post »


U.S. News & World Report, known for its overall rankings of America’s best colleges and universities as well as their law schools, has a new ranking and one state school, Louisiana Tech, made the top 10, the only Louisiana higher education institution to do so.

But with yet another round of deep (as in $350 million) budget cuts anticipated for higher education, any rankings of Louisiana colleges and universities will likely remain in a constant state of flux.

The ranking of the 50 Most Underrated Colleges in America places Louisiana Tech as number 8 in the country and number 1 in Louisiana (obviously, since we’ve already established that no other school in the state made the list).

The USN&WR study includes only two Southeastern Conference schools, the University of Arkansas (no. 40) and Auburn (tied for no. 41) in the top 50 most underrated schools.

The report took into consideration two factors: reputation and future earnings on the premise that the students of schools otherwise flying under the rankings radar made high salaries would be underrated.

By combining the two factors, 316 universities and liberal arts colleges appeared in both the USN&WR and PayScale rankings.

Louisiana Tech was ranked as the 201st best overall school and 234th in mid-career salary at $83,000 (Someone was really raking it in to pull my average up), ranking Tech among the top 25 in the U.S. for the best return on investments in college education.

By comparison, the University of Arkansas ranked 135th overall and 222nd in pay scale rank ($83,600) and among the top 50 in public research universities while Auburn ranked 103rd overall and 151st in PayScale rank ($87,900).

Obviously, other statistical data factored into the underrated rankings, such as tuition costs, etc.

There was one other school that made the top 50 underrated schools, one which LSU baseball fans should remember with some trepidation.

Stony Brook University, a space grant university in New York eliminated a heavily-favored LSU team in the LSU Super Regional in a best of three series in 2012 to advance to the College World Series. Stony Brook, which also ranked as one of the top 40 universities overall by USN&WR, was the 34th most underrated school with its graduates earning an average mid-career salary of $94,300.

Read Full Post »

  • 676,484: the number of votes received by candidate Bobby Jindal in the 2003 runoff with Kathleen Blanco for the office of Governor. I was one of the 676,484. Jindal lost.
  • 699,275: the number of votes received by Congressman Bobby Jindal in the 2007 primary election for Governor of Louisiana. I was one of the 699,275. Jindal won.
  • 673,239: the number of votes received by incumbent Gov. Bobby Jindal in his successful bid for re-election in the 2011 primary election. I was not one of the 673,239. Jindal won.
  • Betray:·trā/ v. to fail or desert especially in time of need; to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to; to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling, as in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to perform the job to which he was elected.
  • Betrayal: be·tray′al n. to abandon or desert; to turn one’s back on another; to delude or take advantage of; One who abandons his convictions or affiliations—as in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s betrayal of the 4.5 million residents of Louisiana.
  • Epitaph: ˈepə·taf/ n. a commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument about the person buried at that site; a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person campaign or something past—as in the political ambitions of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Some may think it’s too early to bury Jindal’s presidential ambitions just yet, but it is our humble opinion that Roy Orbison summed it up more than 50 years ago with his 1964 hit It’s Over.

What little spark that still burned in his fading presidential hopes has been snuffed out by a fast-paced series of events beginning with his incredibly idiotic rant about the Islamic no-go zones in Europe which then morphed into a tirade by Jindal shill Kyle Plotkin over the tint or lack of, in Jindal’s “official” portrait hanging in the reception area of the governor’s office on the fourth floor of the State Capitol.

Whether or not blogger Lamar White’s comment about Jindal’s “white-out” of his portrait which (a) makes him appear almost anemic or (b) makes him appear as if the anemic version caught a little too much sun at Gulf Shores (depending on which is the “official” portrait), the entire episode quickly descended to the level of ridiculous political theater.

And when the dialogue is reduced to arguments over the shade of color in a portrait Jindal has run out of issues for serious public debate and can no longer be taken seriously.

As a great singer, the late Roy Orbison, crooned back in 1964, It’s over.

And as our favorite writer, Billy Wayne Shakespeare from Denham on Amite would say (with certain literary license):

Not that I loved Caesar Jindal less, but that I loved Rome Louisiana more. Had you rather Caesar lived Jindal were President and (we) die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead Jindal were forgotten, to live all free men?”

—Brutus Bob, from Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene II.

“I have come here to bury Caesar Jindal, not to praise him. The evil that men do is remembered after their deaths, but the good is often buried with them difficult to find. It might as well be the same with Caesar Jindal. The noble Brutus Bob told you that Caesar Jindal was ambitious. If that’s true, it’s a serious fault, and Caesar Louisiana has paid seriously for it.”

—Marc “T-Boy” Antony, from Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene II

If  there was any lingering doubt, that was erased late Friday (notice the timing) when he released a laundry list of yet another round of budget cuts. As has become his practice, all bad news is announced late on Fridays so the impact will be lessened because people tend not to follow the news on weekends.

Among those cuts:

  • Department of Environmental Quality: $2.5 million;
  • Department of Health and Hospitals: $13 million;
  • Department of Transportation and Development: $16.65 million.

Jindal also some miraculously came up with $42.8 by sweeping several agencies, including $9 million from the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly.

The governor’s office was not spared, of course. Biting the bullet along with everyone else, Jindal’s plan included a reduction of $10,000 in travel expenses for his office.

That’s correct. Health care is taking a $13 million hit while Jindal is sacrificing roughly the cost of one trip to appear on Fox News or to Washington D.C. for something like his recent attack on Common Core at an event sponsored by someone like oh, say the American Principles Project.

He is pulling $9 million from the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly but don’t worry, he will forego a trip to Iowa or New Hampshire.  Yeah, yeah, we know trips to Iowa and New Hampshire are paid out of his campaign fund. But when he takes those political trips, he takes along a detail of state police security personnel whose transportation, lodging, meals and overtime must be borne by the state treasury. It doesn’t take long for just one of those trips to eat through $10,000.

If Jindal is not acutely aware by now that any chance he had to be president has vanished into that $1.6 billion deficit projected for the coming year—a far cry from the $900 million surplus he inherited when he took office seven years ago.

If he does not know by now that his political credentials are shot, he can compare today’s 6.7 percent unemployment rate to the 3.8 percent unemployment when he took office in 2008. That wasn’t supposed to happen after industrial tax incentives increased from a couple hundred million a year to more than $1 billion a year over that same period.

If he is still wondering why his approval rating is lower than President Obama’s, he may want to direct his inquiry to the presidents of Louisiana’s colleges and universities who have seen their budgets cut by $673 million since taking office—and who are now anticipating another $300 million in cuts.

If he still doesn’t get it, he could ask the 250,000 low-income uninsured adults how they could possibly be upset at his decision not to expand Medicaid to cover their health care—all because of his philosophical criticism of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. And while he’s at it, he might wish to ask Baton Rouge’s low-income uninsured residents in the northern part of East Baton Rouge Parish how they’re going to make out after he closed Earl K. Long Hospital last year which forced those residents to seek emergency care at Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Mid City which announced this past week that it is closing its emergency room because of the financial losses incurred from that overflow from Earl K. Long.

Michael Hiltzik, writing for the Los Angeles Times on Friday (Feb. 6), to say, “Jindal has promoted his plan with a string of distortions about the ACA and the health insurance marketplace that suggest, at best, that he has no idea what he’s talking about.” http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-lesson-of-louisiana-20150206-column.html

And if Jindal is still a bit hazy about why his chances of becoming president could make a possum optimistic about making it across a busy interstate highway, he might wish to review his glowing optimism over the privatization of the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) that preceded a drawdown of the agency’s reserve fund from a healthy $500 million built up by former OGB CEO Tommy Teague, whom Jindal fired, to less than half that amount.

After he’s done all that, then maybe he’ll finally understand why Louisiana’s middle income growth was sixth worst in the nation (-4.9 percent, as in a negative growth) in 2013. Maybe, just maybe, it will finally dawn on him that the widening income gap is not good news for the state’s poorest citizens. Perhaps someone will explain to him that the state’s poorest 20 percent of households averaged earning $8,851 in 2013 (that’s household income, not per capita). There may even be a chance that he can explain why the income share of 2.8 percent among the state’s 20 percent poorest was down from 3.2 percent share in 2009 while the wealthiest 20 percent held nearly 52 percent of the state’s income—a figure even higher than the national figure and a dramatic increase from 2009—even as the state’s poverty rate increased.

We’ve been beating this drum steadily for nearly five years now and just when we were beginning to believe no one was listening, no less than three national news organizations (the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico) have jumped into the fray with witheringly harsh stories critical of Jindal and his train wreck of an administration in Louisiana.

And to think, it took an incredibly silly diatribe about Islam in London and a prayer meeting in Baton Rouge sponsored by a fundamentalist fringe element to get the attention of the national media that decided, at long last, it might be time to peel back the layers of righteousness and morality and take a long, hard look at the real Jindal and his actual record.

Funny, isn’t it, how often the big picture is overlooked until someone stumbles onto some little something that sets much bigger events into motion?

And now, at long last, we feel we can safely say it’s over. Done. Kaput. We have witnessed, in the incredibly short span of only a couple of weeks, the complete cratering of a political quest.

Cue Roy Orbison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufgrNRPFJn8&list=RDufgrNRPFJn8#t=0

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,811 other followers

%d bloggers like this: