Archive for the ‘Media Bias’ Category
If you want to read an article that’s filled with political vindictiveness and terrible writing, I’d recommend this article from the AP’s Laurie Kellman. Here’s Ms. Kellman’s opening
A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Barack Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.
For people keeping score at home, that opening sentence is 45 words long. Run-on sentences of that length don’t help people focus their attention. English instructors frequently recommend that writers keep sentences to 18 words or less. Here’s how that paragraph would’ve looked had I written it:
After winning the government shutdown, congressional Democrats are worried about their re-election prospects. Now Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Thank God for ‘professional’ writers. Seriously, what person would be interested in the rest of the article after Ms. Kellman’s opening? It gets worse because Ms. Kellman transitions from unprofessional writer to professional political hack:
Cummings, the White House’s biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over the attack in Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity.
Chairman Issa’s agenda thus far has been to highlight this administration’s dishonesty and incompetence. When President Obama and Secretary Clinton ignored Christopher Stevens’ frequent impassioned pleas for more security, they ignored him. As a direct result of their passivity, Ambassador Stevens and 3 other American patriots were executed in Benghazi.
That isn’t “waging war against the administration.” That’s investigating a tragic incident that didn’t need to happen. Investigating the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations isn’t “waging war against the administration.” It’s investigating the abuse of power that’s happened all too frequently with this imperial administration. It’s a legitimate investigation because abuses of power of this scope can’t be tolerated. Period.
Let’s not be naive. There are political consequences for these foolish decisions. Congress is questioning President Obama’s integrity because he isn’t a man of integrity. The American people have noticed. As a result, President Obama’s approval ratings have dropped dramatically.
Hillary Clinton’s integrity hasn’t dropped…yet. She left Washington, DC before Greg Hicks’ riveting testimony about what happened that night in Benghazi. There will be a political price to be paid for her passivity and terrible decisionmaking. How high of a price she’ll pay isn’t knowable at this time. Suffice it to say it might be a steep price.
Republican members of Chairman Issa’s committee haven’t editorialized. They’ve asked professional, probing questions. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Their job is to investigate, not to be the administration’s stenographers.
If President Obama’s administration hadn’t made this many major mistakes, Chairman Issa’s committee wouldn’t have been justified in investigating this many things. Because they made this many egregious mistakes, Chairman Issa was obligated to investigate.
If that constitutes an attack in Ms. Kellman’s mind, then it’s safe to say she’s a stenographer, not a reporter.
More Spin from the Potter Organization
by Silence Dogood
On Thursday evening the online St. Cloud Times had an article about SCSU cutting its budget by 1.7%. This is hardly new news because the administration presented this data at Meet and Confer on September 5, 2013. It’s really nice to see that the St. Cloud Times is on top of things happening on the SCSU campus with such a timely report! I’m not really sure if the Times reported about it but in case they missed it, the St. Cloud State football team defeated Southwest Minnesota State University 49-35 on September 7, 2013.
The reductions to the FY14 budget (which is the current academic year) result from a projected 5% drop in enrollment, as listed in a document presented at the same Meet and Confer, equals $3,140,326 in lost tuition revenue. In the Times article, President Potter is quoted as saying that the “Reductions for 2014-15 might be more significant,” and that “The size of the reductions will be based on enrollment next year.” This might be the first indication of a further decline in enrollment in FY15 and that the reduction due to lost tuition revenue will need to be more than $3,140,326.
Using enrollment data from the MnSCU website, the following Figure shows the FYE enrollment for SCSU from FY07 to FY13.
If the enrollment for FY14 declines by 5% as the administration has predicted AND the enrollment declines by the same 5% for FY15, enrollment will have dropped from its peak in FY09 of 15,096 to 11,780, which corresponds to a drop of 3,316 FYE a decline of 22.0% over the five year period. The plot of FYE enrollment including estimated enrollments for FY14 and FY15 is shown in the following figure.
The trend is clearly disturbing! It is important to note that some have predicted that the decline for FY14 will be bigger than the administration’s prediction of a 5% decline. Using data from the MnSCU website, FYE data for Summer 2012 (1,069) and Fall 2012 (6,366) can be compared with Summer 2013 (1,012) and Fall 2013 (6,017), this comparison shows enrollment dropped 406 FYE which is a decrease of 5.46%. The latest Spring 2014 Weekly Admit Report shows that New Entering Freshman (NEF) and New Entering Transfers (NEF) are down -61 which corresponds to a decrease of -11.0% compared to last year.
In order to have an overall decline of 5% for the year, the Spring 2014 enrollment will have to reverse the current trend and be down by only 4.7%. Some people with knowledge about enrollments think a decline of only 4.7% is just a fantasy of someone in the administration. About the only thing that is certain is that if enrollment does not meet the administration’s projections, additional cuts in expenditures or draw downs of reserves will need to occur.
The size of expenditure cuts, assuming a 5% decline in enrollment, was presented at Meet and Confer on September 5, 2013. The total projected cuts equal $2,861,117. However, no information was presented as to where the cuts would be made nor was a complete summary of the expenditure and revenue budgets for FY 2014 presented.
A document detailing the major units where the cuts will be made was presented at the Budget Advisory Committee Meeting on October 30, 2013.
This document was not presented at Meet and Confer and the FA was not given the opportunity to provide input regarding the relative distribution of the budget cuts and which areas of the budget would be held harmless. Furthermore, five months into the fiscal year, this represents more than 42% of the fiscal year has gone by; no details of the specific cuts to be made or a timeline for implementation of the reductions have been presented. Without knowing details of proposed cuts, the required opportunity for consultation either will not occur or the cuts will be delayed. Delay means the impact of the cuts will be magnified since a 1.72% annual reduction that occurs in six months is a 3.44% reduction.
The SCTimes article quotes President Potter: “We are able to make those reductions largely without negative impact.” It’s nice to believe what your leadership is telling you but before I take his word for it, I’d like to see where the cuts are going to occur and then I’ll decide if there is a negative impact. It’s really hard to believe that with the $14,000,000 in budget cuts from FY10 to FY 11 and the decline in tuition revenue in FY 11, 12 and 13 that there really is $2,861,117 in discretionary expenditures just sitting around waiting to be cut. Taking $2,861,117 out an already lean budget will have significant negative impacts.
It is clear from the Figure that enrollment is, in fact, not down at all seven state except Minnesota State-Mankato, which has stable enrollment as cited by the Times. Metro clearly shows a 1.3 percent increase! Bemidji and Mankato are both down 0.3%, which means their enrollment is essentially unchanged. Without a doubt, Moorhead, Southwest, Winona and SCSU are all down by significant amounts. Moorhead is down 2.7% and their administration has already indicated that retrenchment will occur if not enough faculty members take advantage of early retirement incentives. Moorhead is attempting to reduce their faculty by 10% and their enrollment is down less than half of that for SCSU. The Figure demonstrates that SCSU is down much more significantly than the others and the universities in MnSCU are not facing “similar budget issues.”
Using percentages can sometimes confuse the data when the items being compared are not of similar size. The following Figure shows the FYE declines at each of the seven MnSCU universities.
This figure clearly shows the decline in FYE at SCSU is MUCH larger than at the other sister MnSCU universities. In fact, the decline in FYE at SCSU (-350 FYE) is larger than the sum of the declines at the five other universities experiencing declines (-265)! In light of this data, the statement reported by the SCTimes that “universities in the system are going through similar budget issues” is inaccurate and potentially bordering on irresponsible.
In an email to the faculty on September 19, 2013, Provost Malhotra stated: “When we completed our budget planning for FY14 in April, we planned for an FYE reduction of approximately 4.0%. We are taking the necessary steps to adjust our current FY14 budget for the additional 1.0% enrollment shift, which equals about $620,000. With a total operating budget of more than $210 million, this represents a reduction of about 0.3%.”
The statement that SCSU has an operating budget of $210 million directly contradicts the SCTimes article which states: “The university has a budget of about $150 million.” The difference between $150 million and $210 million is more than a trivial amount. Further the Malhotra memo mentions the need for an unplanned budget reduction of $620,000 when the SCTimes reports SCSU will need to cut $2,861,117. Which is it $620,000 or $2,861,117 in cuts? That is quite a difference. A good reporter might question the difference between the numbers.
In Provost Malhotra’s September email, he also stated “Our organization is healthy, our reserves are stable, and we are confident we can deal with the budget impact in FY14 without any staff cuts or retrenchment.” Provost Malhotra’s assertion has not and can not be independently verified since there are no publicly available financial reports on the status of the FY14 SCSU budget.
The SCTimes article quotes St. Cloud State President Earl Potter that “the budget reductions will probably be made without layoffs. The university is using reserves to help close the deficit.” This is supposed to be reassuring news to the employees at SCSU even though it is currently impossible to make an independent judgment about the financial health of SCSU for the same reason that Provost Malhotra’s assertions can not be verified.
Equally troubling is what appears to be a violation of the Master Agreement if the SCTimes reporter properly quoted President Potter. If the quote is accurate, President Potter has violated Article 23 Retrenchment in the Master Agreement between the IFO and the Board of Trustees, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
Article 23 states: “The President shall meet and confer with the Association, in accordance with the provisions of Article 6, at the time the President first considers retrenchment.” At the September 5, 2013 Meet and Confer, President Potter responded, when asked if he was considering retrenchment, that he was not considering retrenchment.
At the Meet and Confer on October 9, 2013, Provost Malhotra (in the absence of President Potter), was asked the same question, he responded that he was not considering retrenchment. The problem is that the SCTimes article quotes President Potter saying “the budget reductions will probably be made without layoffs,” which means that layoffs were, in fact, considered. It is simply not possible to make the qualifying statement “probably” without at least having considered layoffs. This may seem like a small issue but for employees potentially losing their jobs, it is a very big deal.
It is a shame that the SCTimes seems unwilling to investigate issues at SCSU and seems more like a spin doctor for the Potter organization. The SCTimes needs to do better.
Take a close look at this because it might be the last article of its kind. This refers to the rarest of rare creatures: a St. Cloud Times article about St. Cloud State that isn’t full of propaganda. That isn’t to say that it’s particularly hard-hitting. It certainly isn’t critical of President Potter. Here’s a representative sample of the article:
St. Cloud State President Earl Potter said the budget reductions will probably be made without layoffs. The university is using reserves to help close the deficit. “We are able to make those reductions largely without negative impact,” Potter said.
What isn’t said is what’s important. The reckless spending that President Potter signed contracts on would almost totally eliminate the need for budget cuts. The contract President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation has been in effect for 3 years now. During the first 2 years, St. Cloud State paid the Foundation all the rent that was collected plus $2,250,000. The third year is in the books but the financial figures haven’t come out yet. Rumor has it that the University will have to write a check worth between $950,000 and $980,000.
That’s before talking about the debt service on the National Hockey Center renovations. That’s before talking about the money SCSU is paying to the City of St. Cloud for 3 police officers. That’s another $20,000 a month. Then there’s this from Dave Aeikens’ article:
St. Cloud State University is in the process of reducing its 2013-2014 budget by about 1.7 percent. The reductions amount to about $2.9 million. The university has a budget of about $150 million. The reduction is tied to a 5 percent decline in enrollment.
That’s quite an admission, especially considering the fact that Mr. Aeikens wrote an article in early October that Silence Dogood highlighted in this post:
At 6:19 p.m. last Friday evening, Dave Aeikens published an article in the online version of the St. Cloud Times stating that SCSU announced that fall semester enrollment is down only 1.3%! This is amazing news since only two days earlier on Wednesday, at Meet and Confer between the Faculty Association and the SCSU Administration; the administration distributed a budget document planning for a 5% decrease in enrollment and a budget reduction of over $2,800,000.
The Potter administration published a statement that talked about headcount numbers. Dave Aeikens quoted those statistics in his article. As Silence highlighted, the Potter administration didn’t talk about FYE enrollment because they were a problem for his administration.
In last night’s article, Aeikens quoted the FYE numbers, something that I’ve consistently published here on LFR. Gone from last night’s article is the head count enrollment, which aren’t telling in terms of budgets. Another thing missing from Dave Aeikens’ article is the fact that FYE enrollment is almost certain to be down more than 5%. The more SCSU’s FYE enrollment is down, the bigger the budget cuts will have to be. The only other option for the Potter administration is to take more from their reserves.
Neither option is appealing. Unfortunately for the University, it isn’t about what’s appealing. It’s about doing what one has to do.
Friday night, former St. Cloud State Aviation Professor Pat Mattson sent me the link to this St. Cloud Times article. Included in Dr. Mattson’s email was this paragraph from the article:
“One is the seasonality of it — this time of year typically, they don’t see as much demand,” [Airport Director Bill] Towle said. “But the other piece is that they’re finding they’re having some crew issues — enough crew to operate the aircraft.”
Having talked with Dr. Mattson about aviation workforce issues in the past, it was apparent that Dr. Mattson used bold print to highlight the fact that there are serious workforce issues within the aviation industry and that St. Cloud State’s decision to close the Aviation program is contributing to those issues.
What’s interesting is that that paragraph had gotten altered by the time I got there to read the entire article. Here’s how that quote currently reads:
“One is the seasonality of it — this time of year, typically they don’t see as much demand,” Towle said.
While I’ve been critical of the Times from time to time, I don’t believe that the Times’ reporter, Lisa Schwarz, got Bill Towle’s quote that badly wrong. It’s possible to miss a word or two in a sentence that short. It isn’t likely that they’d get a quote wrong by adding an additional sentence that wasn’t spoken. In fact, I’d bet the proverbial ranch that they didn’t get Bill Towle’s quote that badly wrong.
What happened to the article? Why was that line removed? Did someone from the Potter administration contact the Times to get that sentence removed? Did President Potter call John Bodette directly to get that quote modified? That’s certainly possible considering the fact that St. Cloud State hasn’t taken criticism of their closing the Aviation program well.
When students were met with President Potter, President Potter berated two of the students:
Furthermore, later, as the meeting progressed, President Potter yelled at myself, as well as another student. He raised his voice at me and mentioned, “do not take that tone with me…” while he leaned over the table with both hands on the table. At this point, I literally shut down as the other 4 individuals resumed the meeting. He also yelled at another student with the same tone and words.
A university president that’s willing to intimidate students is certainly capable of getting upset over a quote in an article.
Let’s remember that MnSCU Chancellor Rosenstone gave President Potter the option of re-opening the Aviation program. President Potter responded by saying that it’d be a sign of weakness if he changed his mind. Silence Dogood wrote about it here:
At Meet and Confer on March 28, 2013 between the Administration and Faculty Association, President Potter said that “to admit a mistake would make his leadership team look weak.” [ed. added highlighting] He was referring to the closure of SCSU’s accredited Aviation Program and not Coborn’s Plaza.
When people have questioned President Potter about the wisdom of that decision, he’s lashed out at those questioning him. That’s what he did with the students. It wasn’t a mild disagreement. He attempted to silence them with intimidation.
I’m not sure intimidation was required with the Times. Considering the Times’ refusal to cover controversial things on the University campus, from the transcript scandal to Coborn’s Plaza to the Herb Brooks underfunding to the enrollment decline, it’s possible that a friendly conversation between President Potter and John Bodette got the quote changed.
That quote directly questions President Potter’s decision to close the Aviation program. The anecdotes from campus are legion that President Potter doesn’t respond well to people questioning him.
Demanding that an embarrassing sentence from a quote be deleted isn’t just possible. It’s likely. That’s a disgrace to both President Potter and the St. Cloud Times.
UPDATE: This afternoon, the article quoting Bill Towle from Friday night had disappeared from the Times website. There were lots of articles from Friday, just not the Allegiant article. The Times didn’t delete the article. They just took it off of their roster of articles. It can still be found by using the search window in the upper right hand corner of the page and by searching for Allegiant.
What’s interesting is that there’s this brief article from Saturday praising St. Cloud State. Here’s the article:
For the second straight year, the St. Cloud State University Residence Hall Association has received the Commitment to Philanthropy Award from the Midwest Association of College and University Residence Halls.
The award recognizes combined campus and community philanthropy efforts.
It’s amazing. An article with the potential to embarrass President Potter disappears from plain sight and a PR article praising St. Cloud State appears the next day. What a coincidence.
Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Juan Williams made some foolish statements. This video offers proof that he’s become unhinged:
Here’s the partial transcript that shows Mr. Williams has a gigantic partisan blind spot:
WILLIAMS: This is the No Spin Zone. I don’t think you’re part of this right wing horde that’s doing everything, shutting down government, anything to undermine Obamacare so let me give you a straight answer, which is to say that, yes, if you had a plan before March, 2010, which is when the law went into effect, you’re supposed to be able to keep it…
URGENT BULLETIN TO JUAN WILLIAMS: Republicans have used legislative tools to prevent people from being negatively affected by the disaster known as the Affordable Care Act. HealthCare.gov isn’t functioning and likely won’t be anytime soon. People are getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies because Secretary Sebelius wrote a regulation that virtually guaranteed that grandfathered-in policies would be a thing of the past by the end of 2013. People with excellent coverage are getting their cancellation notices. People’s health insurance premiums are skyrocketing. The middle class and young healthy adults are getting hurt the worst.
Thanks to tens of thousands of people signing up for expanded Medicaid, federal deficits will return to Obama’s first term deficit levels. Those were the bad old days during which the only trillion dollar deficits in our nation’s history happened.
What’s worst is that the Affordable Care Act has endangered the life of Edie Littlefield-Sundby, a survivor of Stage IV gall bladder cancer. She isn’t alone in worrying about getting separated from the doctors that’ve saved her life thus far.
Mr. Williams, shame on you for being utterly gullible. Shame on you for not realizing that the Democrats’ spin is nothing more than outright lies. People promising better health insurance prices with better coverages shouldn’t be trusted. If anything, people should run away from them as fast as their feet can take them.
Mr. Williams, would you believe a car salesman if they told you that they could sell you a new, plushed out Cadillac Escalade at a cheaper price than a new Chevy Malibu? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d laugh at the salesman as you ran from that showroom. You’d run because you know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
That’s especially true when the sales pitch comes from a politician.
Mary Katherine Ham put Williams in his place with this response:
MKH: The rule is, first, do no harm. You’re familiar with that in the medical community. Obamacare is doing harm. Right now, people are losing insurance. They’re not able to sign up for new insurance. They’re not able to afford the new insurance plans they’re being offered and they’re not able to get on the website to get the subsidies that Obamacare promised them to be able to afford these unnecessary plans when they liked their plans before.
That’s a lengthy list of substantive criticisms of the Affordable Care Act. First, people are getting kicked off the insurance they liked because the Obama administration thinks they know what’s best for families. That’s extreme arrogance. Next, HealthCare.gov is a disaster. Several IT experts are predicting it won’t be fully operational for another 4-6 months. Third, thanks to HealthCare.gov’s dysfunctionality, people can’t find out if they qualify for a subsidy.
Those are the things that Mary Katherine mentioned in the segment. She didn’t mention that data security is iffy at best. She didn’t mention that HealthCare.gov is sending inaccurate information to insurance companies. She likely didn’t mention those things because of time constraints and because there’s a ton of things that aren’t functioning properly.
It’s sad to think that a journalist is too unhinged to notice basic facts like the list Mary Katherine listed. A journalist’s job is to notice things, then report them to his/her readers. At this point, Williams’ ability to notice things that don’t fit with his ideology is questionable.
Last night, Williams made a fool of himself. We deserve better than that.
Technorati: Juan Williams, Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov, Cadillac Health Insurance, Liberalism, Mary Katherine Ham, Bill O’Reilly, O’Reilly+Factor, No Spin Zone, Insurance Cancellations, Insurance Premium Increases, GOP
The latest Democratic chanting point on the Affordable Care Act has been that President Obama didn’t really break his promise that you could keep your health insurance plan if you liked it. The chanting point has become that the policies getting canceled were substandard policies that insurance companies foisted on unsuspecting dupes (you). That’s certainly the message Henry Aaron is peddling in this article:
Of late, numerous reports have told of people surprised by letters telling them that insurance plans they now have will not be renewed. Many are puzzled. Weren’t they told that if they like their insurance they could keep it? Opponents of health reform in general are seizing on the fact and asking in an accusatorial manner: “Isn’t this a betrayal of trust?”
No. To see why, imagine a new law enacted to promote food purity. As it is being debated, you are told: “If you like what you eat, you can keep on eating it.” The new law takes effect, and one day, you find that the market no longer carries certain foods you have been buying. As it happens, those products included elements found to be bad for your health. The pure food act barred their use.
There’s a huge flaw with this logic. They’re called Cadillac health insurance policies. Last night on Megyn Kelly’s show, a woman talked about how she had such a plan. When her husband got cancer that eventually killed him, the policy saved her family from huge expenses. The treatments cost over $300,000. Thanks to their health insurance policy, their out-of-pocket expenses came to $1,500. That’s in addition to the premiums they paid.
When the policy wasn’t offered anymore, this woman chose to continue this coverage, paying the premiums out of her own pocket. She did the right thing. She wasn’t putting a burden on society. She didn’t complain about not getting her policy subsidized. She just paid the premiums.
This fall, she got a notice that her policy was canceled thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s penalty on Cadillac plans. That’s right. The Affordable Care Act is making Cadillac plans obsolete. That’s why the unions are upset. All these years, they’ve settled for smaller wage increases, which are taxed, in exchange for premium quality health insurance policies, which aren’t taxed.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, these union workers won’t have the option of a Cadillac plan plus they’re stuck with the lower pay increases that they negotiated.
It’s difficult to see how Cadillac plans are the equivalent of “products [that] included elements found to be bad for your health.” The full name of the Affordable Care Act is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of the Democrats’ first chanting points was the PPACA would protect families from medical bankruptcies. This lady’s Cadillac health insurance policy did that and then some.
It’s insulting that Mr. Aaron insists that the canceled policies are sub-standard policies. It’s insulting on multiple levels, starting with the fact that those policies can’t be sold if they aren’t first approved by that state’s insurance commissioner.
Early in her political career, Ms. Sebelius was Kansas’ insurance commissioner. Is she now admitting that the policies she approved were sub-standard? When President Obama called these insurance plans sub-standard, he essentially accused the 50 state insurance commissioners incompetent.
Second, in many places, competition among insurers will lower premiums. Bloomberg Government has reported that the more plans offered in an exchange, the lower the premiums.
In Minnesota, a state recognized as a leader in health insurance innovation and access, most rural cities have few options. In fact, many of these places have a single option in terms of insurance providers competing.
Third, people can hold down premiums by selecting plans with comparatively high deductibles.
That option isn’t brought to us by the Affordable Care Act. That was available to clients who had health savings accounts and a catastrophic policy, both of which are illegal under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
The problem was a misdiagnosis of the situation in 2009. The US health care system needed extensive work. It didn’t need to put an incompetent administration in charge of a complex industry. Democrats didn’t need to give bureaucrats the authority of who could keep the health insurance plans they liked. Democrats didn’t need to tell people what insurance policies were “sub-standard” and which ones were government-approved.
What Democrats should’ve done is get out of the way so innovators couls’ve put together a package of real reforms.
Technorati: Henry Aaron, Media Bias, Insurance Cancellations, Individual Mandate, Cadillac Health Insurance, Medical Bankruptcies, Affordable Care Act, President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, Democrats, Free Market Reforms, Megyn Kelly
I just watched today’s panel for Fox News Sunday. Juan Williams, the unapologetic water-carrier for this administration, made a statement that Brit Hume and Chris Wallace utterly demolished. First, here’s the video of the panel, courtesy of Mediaite:
Here’s the transcript of the back-and-forth between Brit Hume and Juan Williams, then between Juan Williams, Brit Hume and Chris Wallace. It’s rather telling:
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I get this sense, but people — on the Republican side are enjoying this moment. But this is empty rhetoric. When you speak to the insurance executives in Florida, in California, they say they’re canceling those policies, Chris, because ObamaCare has requirements. Ten categories or mandates for levels of coverage. The current policies don’t meet them, so they have to cancel them, but they’re extending — they’re extending offers to the very people who are losing them for better packages at lower costs with more benefits.
WALLACE: No, no, that’s not true.
WILLIAMS: It is true. Let me just tell you something else that you said. You said oh, but, you know, January One, these people lose their coverage. In fact, the insurance companies are saying, we will make sure that on January One, you have coverage. This is not the apocalypse.
HUME: Juan, look, what about this — the president promised explicitly, we heard it on this program, if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it, period.
HUME: These hundreds of thousands of people evidently like the policies they had because they kept paying for it. They’re now being told they can’t have those policies any more, that they must have policies that involve coverage for things they may feel they don’t need.
WILLIAMS: They’re going to get better coverage, Brit, at potentially lower cost.
HUME: Whose idea of better coverage? Their idea or the government’s?
WILLIAMS: They — what they are offered, it may be their idea. Right now …
HUME: It may be their idea.
WILLIAMS: Right now all that insurance companies are saying is, we don’t meet the requirements under ObamaCare, but we’re going to offer you a better deal!
HUME: No, we’re going to offer you a government mandated deal that may or may not be a better deal for the people involved. There are people who are elderly people who’ve been required to pay for maternity coverage.
WALLACE: We have to end this segment, I just to want to point out that we had a couple of weeks ago, a letter that a 62-year-old couple who have their own business in Oregon — under the ObamaCare, they were losing their policy, the new policy, the cheapest policy they were being offered, the deductible was going to double to 5,000 a person. Visits to specialists, and one of them had to see a specialist, were going up from $35 a visit to $100 a visit and their premium was going up. So, the idea that they are going to get more for less.
Juan Williams is, in my opinion, the most gullible journalist on TV. First, he’s assumed that the coverages that the Affordable Care Act mandates are the coverages that everyone likes. That’s total foolishness. Second, the thought that insurance companies were going to offer cheaper-priced policies while covering more things is the epitome of gullibility. Why would anyone think that?
That’s like thinking that people can buy a Cadillac SUV for a cheaper price than Chevy’s full-sized SUV.
Third, it’s stunning to think that a reporter of Juan Williams’ experience hasn’t checked things out for himself. At minimum, he should talk with Kirsten Powers and Ezra Klein. They’ve actually compared prices people were paying before the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverages took effect vs. the premiums for policies meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirements.
What’s most stunning, though, is the thought that Juan Williams thinks that people automatically think that government, not them and their physician, knows best. Why would anyone reflexively think that? That’s breathtakingly foolish and gullible.
Brit Hume, then Chris Wallace, cited the statistics that disproved Williams’ statements. Despite that, Williams still didn’t accept their proof as fact. Apparently, verifiable facts aren’t part of settling Juan Williams’ disputes.
Finally, Williams isn’t noticing that young, healthy people aren’t buying government-mandated private health insurance. In fact, they’re staying away in droves.
Technorati: Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday, Media, Kaiser Permanente, Florida Blue, Insurance Cancellations, Insurance Premiums, Individual Mandate, Affordable Care Act, Juan Williams, Media Bias, Liberalism
A little over 90 seconds into this video, Juan Williams made an outrageous statement, which Steve Hayes rightfully pounced on:
Here’s that brief, spirited exchange:
JUAN WILLIAMS: They don’t want to say, I suspect, because I don’t think they’ve got it under grip because of all of the technological issues. I would add that you can still call on the phone to get this done. And one final point, you know two-thirds of Americans say, you know, Republicans, slow down. Stop the piling on. Let this thing happen for better or worse.
NINA EASTON: From a nonpartisan perspective, a CEO of an insurance company who knows the systems very well says that things are so broken that you have to get in there and start fixing things before you know the extent of what’s wrong.
STEPHEN HAYES: That is really one of the big questions. Do they know what’s wrong and they’re just not saying or do they not even know? I think the evidence suggests that they don’t even what’s wrong. And Kathleen Sebelius, at this point, or really at any time, doesn’t have to be a superior technological manager as I think you called her. We needed basic competence. And not only was there not basic competence, but I think what you said is interesting and compelling. They did this because they didn’t want Republicans to have a talking point. They did this for purely political reasons, which is inexcusable. So they said, by your characterization, in effect, let’s take our chances because they don’t want to give the Republicans the talking point. If that’s true, if that’s even close to being true, that’s outrageous on another level.
WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. You mean to say that in the midst of all of the political polarization surrounding this issue, Obamacare, that you are going to slam the Obama administration for making a decision to go ahead so as not to feed the critics?
HAYES: Yes, that’s what I would say. It’s outrageous. They have tests that it’s going to fail and fail miserably, they’re going to go ahead and do it at a tremendous cost to the American people?
The thought that this administration is so thin-skinned that they’ll hide important facts from the public is disgusting enough. What’s worse is that, according to Juan Williams’ logic, it might be ok to hide these things from congressional investigators. Williams should ask himself if he’d afford a Republican president the same latitude or if that’s just available to Democrats.
It’s time for President Obama to man up and admit that his administration has failed in its initial attempt to implement key portions of the Affordable Care Act. If he isn’t willing to do that, then he isn’t equipped temperamentally to be the Leader of the Free World. If he isn’t willing to admit that his administration failed, for whatever reason, then he isn’t the profile in courage we need him to be.
The other disgusting part is that Williams isn’t alone in thinking that President Obama should get a pass on this epic failure. These journalists wouldn’t think of giving a Republican a pass but they won’t think twice about giving a Democrat a pass.
The time for intellectual honesty is now. The time for doing what’s right for America is now, too. Giving President Obama a pass for the failure of the Affordable Care Act and the portal at HealthCare.gov isn’t doing what’s right for America.
GREAT NEWS: Enrollment Decline Less than Expected?
by Silence Dogood
At 6:19 p.m. last Friday evening, Dave Aeikens published an article in the online version of the St. Cloud Times stating that SCSU announced that fall semester enrollment is down only 1.3%! This is amazing news since only two days earlier on Wednesday, at Meet and Confer between the Faculty Association and the SCSU Administration; the administration distributed a budget document planning for a 5% decrease in enrollment and a budget reduction of over $2,800,000. If the news that Dave Aeikens reports is true, this is truly incredible news since it means that SCSU can avoid making painful cuts after two years of significant enrollment declines.
Remember, at the Meet and Confer on September 5, 2013, the SCSU Administration stated that they had been planning on a 4% decline in enrollment; at least that was the number they told the faculty that they used to build their budget last spring. From the data presented by the administration at the Meet and Confer on September 5th, it looked like the enrollment would be down significantly more than 4%. At this time, President Potter emphatically stated that the enrollment was going to be down 5% and that this was only 1% more than they had projected. Just for the sake of accuracy, while it is true that the September predicted enrollment decline was only 1 percentage point greater than their predicted number from last spring, it is actually a 25% error in their prediction. At the September Meet and Confer, the administration also distributed a budget document showing a 5% enrollment decline and the corresponding decline in the budget resulting from the enrollment drop.
While reviewing the budget impact of an enrollment decline of 5%, there was a collective gasp in the room on the part of the faculty. Certainly, these kinds of cuts could not be made without mentioning the R-word (retrenchment). The administration was asked and they said that they were not considering retrenchment at this time (see Meet and Confer minutes of 9/5/2013). However, the administration did not indicate how they would cut the more than $2,800,000 in expenditures from the budget—only that it wouldn’t come through retrenchment. The faculty breathed a collective sigh of relief!
So, if the information reported by Dave Aeikens is correct, CONGRATULATIONS to President Potter and his management team for nearly turning the enrollment ship around! After drops in fall enrollments of 5.9% and 4.5% to go to a drop of only 1.3% is nothing short of amazing! It is also now clear that the administration’s planning last spring for a 4% decline was quite insightful in light of the now actual 1.3% decline. Anyone familiar with budgets appreciates just how difficult it is to plan for one number and then need to cut the budget in a panic when the enrollment (think revenue) declines more than planned. Again, congratulations to President Potter!
Of course, congratulations are all dependent on whether or not you believe the administration. The MnSCU website on the thirtieth day classes showed enrollment at SCSU to be down 5.6% in FYE (full-year equivalent). The number SCSU is reporting to the SCTimes is headcount where a student taking one class is counted the same as one taking 15 credits. Headcount has nothing to do with budgets. It is just a number that allows the administration to say that we are ‘bigger than Mankato’. In terms of unduplicated headcount, SCSU is indeed bigger than Mankato. However, other than for presidential bravado, headcount is largely meaningless!
From MnSCU’s website as of Tuesday morning, the thirtieth-day enrollment numbers showed Mankato has 6,699 FYE compared to SCSU’s 6,006 FYE. Simply put, Mankato is 10.4% larger than SCSU where it really counts—REVENUE. So much for being “the largest school in the system.”
In an earlier article, titled lying with statistics, I demonstrated the way statistics could be used to obfuscate the truth. The truth will become clear when the administration begins to talk about making changes in the budget. Will the changes be made to reflect more revenue? Or will the changes reflect more than a 1.3% drop in tuition revenue? An astute reader already knows the answers to these questions.
The administration planned a budget based on a 4% drop in enrollment (revenue), using the administration’s enrollment numbers you might think there will be no need to cut expenditures since revenues dropped less than anticipated. It appears, based on a 1.3% decline in enrollment that SCSU will have approximately $1,500,000 more cash that can be spend than had been anticipated and spending won’t need to be cut. So at least it looks like the spending to cover the anticipated nearly $1,000,000 short fall on Coborn’s Plaza, the new contract ($240,000) with the City of St. Cloud for the additional police officers patrolling the campus, the $150,000 for the Confucius Institute, and the latest $50,000 for a campaign to “make SCSU a great place to work” won’t break the bank.
All of the preceding apparent good news is dependent on you believing the almost tornadic spin being generated by the University’s PR machine and everything is great right here at the ‘River City’s University.’ But spin does not pay the bills. As anyone who knows how to balance a checking account knows, less money coming in means less money to spend. When you see that spending has to be cut and the surplus created by statistical slight of hand disappears, the reported 1.3% drop in enrollment will be outed for what it is and the truth will be known. You can then decide if the SCSU administration was lying with statistics or if they were just plain lying.
This St. Cloud Times article is insulting. First, the statistics aren’t accurate. This graph is from MnSCU:
According to this graphic, headcount enrollment for FY2010, which is for the 2010-2011 school year, was approximately 18,300 students. That dropped to approximately 17,200 for the 2011-12 school year before dropping to 16,400 for the 2012-2013 school year. Here’s what the St. Cloud Times reported:
For fall 2013, enrollment is at 16,245. Last year, it was 16,457. That’s a 1.3 percent drop. It dropped 4.8 percent from 2011 to 2012. St. Cloud State had enjoyed five years of growth previously.
The graph showing MnSCU’s data shows that enrollment dropped from a high of 18,300 in 2010-11 to 16,400 in 2012-13. That’s a drop of 1,900 students. That’s a 10.4% drop. That’s before factoring in this fall’s 30-day numbers. I don’t have the official statistics for this year’s enrollment but it was significantly less than 16,000 on Sept. 14, 2013. That’s a drop of approximately 13%.
Let’s examine the accuracy of this statement:
St. Cloud State had enjoyed five years of growth previously.
In terms of headcount enrollment, there was a drop of 1,100 students between the fall semester of 2010 and the fall semester of 2011. There was another drop of approximately 800 students from fall 2011 to fall 2012. There’s been a drop of approximately 400 students from the fall of 2012 to this fall.
What’s noteworthy is that headcount enrollment is mostly irrelevant for policymakers. What’s important to policymakers and budget people is the FYE enrollment. Malhotra knows that because FYE enrollment is what budgets are based off of. Headcount enrollment might as well be called show and tell enrollment because it’s what spinmeisters like Malhotra show the public to tell them their sinking ship is just fine.
FYE enrollment, as I’ve reported at LFR, isn’t fine. According to MnSCU’s numbers, St. Cloud State is down another 5.6% this year from last. Last year’s enrollment was down 4.5% from 2011. Those are bad enough but they aren’t the biggest drop. The biggest drop, in FYE enrollment, was 5.9% from fall 2010 to fall 2011.
Malhotra isn’t being straight with the public either. If things are just fine, why did the administration confirm at this week’s Meet & Confer that they’ll be cutting the budget by $2,911,000? Universities don’t just cut spending by $3,000,000 for chuckles. They do it because their ship is sinking.
St. Cloud State has closed one dorm entirely. The occupancy rate at the other dorms is 70%. Healthy universities don’t have that much empty space in their dorms. If not for LFR, the public wouldn’t be getting this information. The St. Cloud Times’ stenography service certainly won’t tell people what’s really happening there.
St. Cloud State put out these numbers because the important numbers are frightening to them. If the FYE enrollment numbers for the past 3 years were given to the Times, people would know that St. Cloud State was in financial and systemic difficulty.