Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mapes says WSJ got it wrong, but gets it wrong

A recent blog post by Jeff Mapes takes the Wall Street Journal to task for their editorial last Friday that pointed out the insanity of a state like Oregon, in deep recession, trying to tax itself into prosperity.

Mapes said they were wrong when they wrote: "In the last budget, the Democratic controlled state legislature doled out a $259 million pay raise to the government work force, even as the state was facing a near $1 billion deficit."

Mapes writes:
That's just not the case. State workers agreed to a pay freeze, 10 to 14 furlough days and a year deferral of a step increase. It amounts to a slight pay cut over the 2009-11 budget cycle.
Mapes is wrong. The "last budget" is the 07-09 budget, in which the state was indeed facing a billion dollar 'shortfall" and during which time the governor did indeed raise state manager salaries by $259 million.

Mapes seems to think that what the WSJ was referring to when they wrote "the last budget" is the 09-11 budget, and Mapes is I guess making the point that the pay hike didn't happen in this (current) budget.

This is odd for two reasons:

1) It should be clear that the WSJ was referring to the 07-09 budget because they specifically pointed out that the shortfall at the time was one billion dollars. if they were referring to the 09-11 budget, they would have said the shortfall was around $4 billion.

2) The cost of that pay hike is still included in the 09-11 budget anyway, since they simply work from that level to create the 09-11 budget.

Pretty sloppy reporting, and even though he was corrected by a commenter on his blog, he hasn't acknowledged or corrected the mistake.

Lesson: When you point out mistakes made by others, make sure you got your facts straight!

Now, to give him some credit, Mapes does go on to point out what DOES seem to be an error in the WSJ editorial, where they give some strange numbers about the growth of government jobs vs. the decline in private sector jobs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mapes is an interesting guy. He is not just a shill, despite what some Republicans think. But he so often has this blind spot in his reporting that you can really see his bias.