Patterico's Pontifications

5/29/2009

Hiltzik Column Corrected with Incorrect Correction; Original Column Still Inane

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Morons — Patterico @ 10:00 pm

Well, that was quick. Quick . . . and wrong.

Michael Hiltzik’s Thursday column, concerning which I wrote the Readers’ Rep just this morning, now bears the following “correction”:

FOR THE RECORD: Michael Hiltzik’s Tuesday column on the California budget cited an incorrect estimate of 30% for state population growth from 1998 through 2009. The correct figure, based on population estimates from the state Department of Finance, is about 15%. But the finding by the legislative analyst’s office that the state budget remained in line with population growth and inflation during that period, on which the column was based, relied on the correct multiplier of population growth.

Uh, it was his Thursday column, not his “Tuesday column.” Time to correct the correction!

In any event, the little defensive-sounding statement that ends the “correction” is still misleading, as is Hiltzik’s entire column. Matt Welch notes the problem: in attacking as incorrect the “infectious” and “deeply cherished talking point” that we are overspending, Hiltzik doesn’t count bond spending as part of California’s spending. This very fact renders Hiltzik’s entire column utterly stupid and pointless — and it’s not saved by the fact that Hiltzik whispers this fact as one of several “caveats” he mentions only in passing. This is hardly a peripheral point, as Hiltzik pretends it is. Instead, it devastates Hiltzik’s central point. As Welch says:

In what universe does “bond spending” not count as “spending”? Does this mean I am not technically spending when I buy stuff with my credit card? If a “deeply cherished talking point” turns out to be true, can it still be “infectious”?

In other words, Hiltzik is saying, California’s spending isn’t that bad if you don’t count the billions and billions we are borrowing against our children’s futures.

What a very wise and perspicacious point that is! Ignore the borrowing and we’re doing great! Aren’t you thrilled that you have this guy as a business columnist?! Let me make an equally inane and pointless observation: the current state budget isn’t really in bad shape . . . if you don’t count the deficit!

Welch notes that an honest accounting of California’s spending — i.e. an accounting that doesn’t emply Hiltzik’s “caveats” that render his whole column a mass of horseshit — reveals quite plainly that the problem is not lack of revenue. The problem is spending — pure and simple.

Regarding the population and inflation multiplier, the Reason study cited by Welch shows that California’s rate of spending increases significantly exceeds the rate of population growth plus inflation.

The combined total of 4.3811 percent a year is easily outpaced by the 5.37 percent average annual increase in General Fund spending. . . . Over the entire 18-year period, state spending grew at an average annual rate of 5.91 percent, while population plus inflation grew only 4.38 percent a year, on average (see Figure 3).

But of course, this analysis doesn’t have the phony-baloney “let’s pretend bond spending doesn’t cost us anything” type of “caveats” featured in Hiltzik’s crappy column.

Marc Danziger is fed up. He says Hiltzik should be fired. Me, I think that he should be kept on the payroll. Hear me out! I need to add a couple of “caveats.” First, Hiltzik’s paycheck should be paid in Monopoly money. And his columns should be printed in invisible ink.

No need to fire him. This ship is sinking anyway. Let him go down with the rest of them.

31 Comments

  1. “First, Hiltzik’s paycheck should be paid in Monopoly money. And his columns should be printed in invisible ink.”

    Sounds like a reasonable suggestion given his inability to figure out what is going on in this state.

    Comment by tyree (9a6a8b) — 5/29/2009 @ 10:32 pm

  2. I appreciate and expect Los Angeles Times to have liberal editorials. That’s the game! Look, we are all adults.

    But LA Times, don’t run asinine articles which lie about every fact imaginable on a particular topic to make your point. Hiltzik, even your liberal cousins want to read accurate FACTS when they read your liberal editorials. There is a valid liberal perspective on all these financial fiscal matters. Fiscal conservatives disagree with nearly everything you, Hiltzik, want. That is okay. Don’t lie about where money is spent.

    It is bizarre that these LA Times columnists have such a low opinion of their profession that they see their role as advocates for Democrats. Both fiscal conservatives and liberals want to read FACTS about the budget, even if there is spin in the article.

    Comment by Wesson (03286d) — 5/29/2009 @ 10:50 pm

  3. They are only trying to appeal to the economic illiterates who subscribe to the Times.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 5/29/2009 @ 10:57 pm

  4. I wish I could run my personal budget under the rules governments use. Especially that bit about it being okay to extract money from people by force.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir (a3f11b) — 5/29/2009 @ 11:49 pm

  5. “Regarding the population and inflation multiplier”

    That’s not the right measure to use anyway. The best measure to use is government spending as a percentage of GDP.

    Comment by Dave Surls (83046d) — 5/30/2009 @ 12:50 am

  6. The LA Times is really not so bad, if you don’t count the articles, the editorials, the comics, and the horoscope.

    Some like the paper just fine!! (Woof! Woof!)

    ****
    Dave – gov’t. spending as a ratio of GDP sounds good. How about a constitutionally mandated limit of about… say… 5%?

    Comment by Gesundheit (47b0b8) — 5/30/2009 @ 5:23 am

  7. Great job exposing the propaganda campaign. This morning the Sacramento Bee has a nice graph illustrating how severe the cuts are going to be without once ever mentioning that over-spending got us to this point.

    And will reporters please stop using the false premise that Prop 13 stopped property tax increases? It limits increases.

    Comment by harkin (c36792) — 5/30/2009 @ 6:30 am

  8. The much-maligned Monopoly money, unlike Federal Reserve notes, has actually retained its value over the years. Boardwalk still costs $400, unchanged since the game debuted in the 1930s.

    Comment by Official Internet Data Office (4ba517) — 5/30/2009 @ 6:48 am

  9. Hiltzik should remain at the LA Times. He’s symbolic of all that’s wrong with “NEWS” today. The more he writes the faster the paper goes down. The readers that believe his, and similar views, will not be dissuaded by mere written facts. In fact they likely will never understand.

    Comment by Todd (0c8993) — 5/30/2009 @ 7:03 am

  10. So if you make $10 and borrow $5 in order to spend $15 Hitzlik is arguing you only spent $10?

    Sweet.

    Comment by HeavenSent (1e97ff) — 5/30/2009 @ 7:18 am

  11. California is on a collision course with reality. One reason why the left wing press is frantically trying to deny what is happening is that the USA is now joining the race to insolvency. Bush, I’m sorry to say, began the trend with his “Compassionate Conservatism” but it is really getting into high gear now. It seems to be a generational thing. Since the 1960s, kids have been sheltered from reality, first by their parents who bought them everything they ever wanted, then by government which took over when parents began to flag.

    The end will not be pretty.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 5/30/2009 @ 8:49 am

  12. “Dave – gov’t. spending as a ratio of GDP sounds good. How about a constitutionally mandated limit of about… say… 5%?”

    Well, if you wanted to put America back into the situation that made us the richest and freest country in the world, that’s exactly what you would do.

    If you want to turn America into an ever more tyrannical, third world, socialist hellhole, then you would continue to allow the government to take more and more of the wealth of the nation…which is what we’re actually doing.

    So, I guess the desirability of limiting government spending to 5% of GDP depends on the result you’re trying to achieve.

    Comment by Dave Surls (fad3d4) — 5/30/2009 @ 8:53 am

  13. Unfortunately, this whole mess began because George W. Bush and people like Michael Gerson believed that it was “the Christian thing to do” to take money from some people and give it to others. It never seemed to occur to them that maybe voters would be tempted to take money from other people and give it to themselves – or that politicians would be tempted to take money from everybody and buy more votes – or that they’d all be willing to take money that nobody even had yet!

    The “Christian thing to do” is indeed to give to others – from your own self-sacrifice. It is not Christian (or Biblical) to force others to subsidize your pangs of conscience.

    A friend of mine once told me that “The problem with this country is that people are just too rich, but that has a way of fixing itself.” I can see his point – in that everyone seemed to think we could afford to do anything at all. Millions, Billions, Trillions, what’s the difference? Now we seem to be in that “fixing” process.

    Comment by Gesundheit (47b0b8) — 5/30/2009 @ 8:59 am

  14. Another huge, huge, pretense that the LA Times and their ilk believe and continualy propogate, is that we can solve the California and U.S. dire budget problems – without recognizing the issue of and the true cost of – ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    Similarly, is the pretense that we actually have a RULE OF LAW – that we actually have a Constitution – when we have 12-20 Million illegal aliens in this country. Our government (all 3 branches and both major parties), our legal system and our judiciary, simply no longer have CREDIBILITY or LEGITIMACY – as they have ignored this problem, allowed it, fostered it and done nothing to solve it.

    As we pretend, lie, distort and ignore the facts, we are rapidly racing down the path to anarchy.
    We disregard truth and reality at our peril.

    Comment by Gary L. Zerman (cb1900) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:12 am

  15. It is bizarre that these LA Times columnists have such a low opinion of their profession that they see their role as advocates for Democrats.

    In Hiltzik’s case, that IS his profession.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:15 am

  16. A friend of mine once told me that “The problem with this country is that people are just too rich

    I’ll have to say that’s an overly vague or imprecise characterization of what’s wrong with a percentage of people in this or other societies. After all, low-income people in inner-city America have voting habits that are remarkably similar to those residing in some of the cushy districts of, for example, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago. And people in third-world Venezuela or Mexico, or Africa, have voting habits similar to those found in Western Europe, particularly the portion associated with cradle-to-grave Scandanavian socialism.

    So it’s not that people are too rich, or even too poor. It’s that too many of them have brains wired into believing that liberalism is somehow a wonderful, humane, beautiful, advanced way of thinking and reacting.

    It’s a case of “I feel, therefore I am.”

    Comment by Mark (411533) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:19 am

  17. What’s that’s old saying, that “as California goes, so goes the rest of the country?” Perish the thought – but it’s already too late, apparently.

    Comment by Dmac (1ddf7e) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:19 am

  18. Curiouser and curiouser: There are two versions of the correction to Hiltzik’s column. One of them has the correct date.

    Hiltzik column: A column by Michael Hiltzik in Thursday’s Section A on the California budget said the state’s population grew about 30% from 1998 through 2009. The correct figure, based on population estimates from the state Department of Finance, is about 15%. However, the finding by the Legislative Analyst’s Office that the state budget remained in line with population growth and inflation during that period, on which the column was based, relied on the correct multiplier of population growth.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:22 am

  19. “…relied on the correct multiplier of population growth.”

    I am just a country boy. Can someone explain what multiplication has to do with counting people? This sounds like gov speak for lying.

    Comment by Gale_H (710dbc) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:43 am

  20. However, the finding by the Legislative Analyst’s Office that the state budget remained in line with population growth and inflation during that period, on which the column was based, relied on the correct multiplier of population growth.

    The Legislative Analyst’s office is the California equivalent of the [federal] Congressional Budget Office, tilted toward the Democratic majority. According to this part of the Los Angeles Times correction, that office relied on the correct multiplier of population growth, but came to the wrong conclusion.

    Comment by Official Internet Data Office (4ba517) — 5/30/2009 @ 9:47 am

  21. Gale_H: The premise of the article is that the CA state budget has basically only grown due to inflation and population growth. To figure out what the budget “should be” this year compared to some previous year you need to determine how much the population has grown between then and now and figure out the impact of inflation. So if the population back then was 35 million and it is now 40 million the state budget now should be:
    New Budget = (Old budget) x (40/35) x (inflation).
    Thus the “multiplier for population growth” in this case would be 40/35.

    Comment by kaf (525681) — 5/30/2009 @ 10:05 am

  22. More and more adults today are like children, who want someone to tell them everything will be okay when times are tough. It doesn’t matter if it’s true things will be okay, only that an authority figure says it. Hiltzik is trying to fill that authority figure role, and apparently LA Times’ readers want to believe whatever he says.

    Comment by DRJ (2901e6) — 5/30/2009 @ 11:30 am

  23. But DRJ – whom will fill that empty void once the La Brea tar pits beckons the LAT?

    Comment by Dmac (1ddf7e) — 5/30/2009 @ 12:34 pm

  24. DRJ,
    I think Hiltzik’s motives are less honorable than being an “authority figure role”. Hiltzik is making stuff up to advance his leftist ideology. Telling comforting untruths is part of advancing his agenda.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 5/30/2009 @ 1:22 pm

  25. I wonder if the LAT reporter who wrote that fraudulent story regarding the Canadian health care system is really just another Hiltzik sock puppet.

    Comment by Dmac (1ddf7e) — 5/30/2009 @ 1:31 pm

  26. I already fired Mike.

    I cancelled my subscription to the Times about 6 years ago.

    I encourage others to fire Mike as well.

    Comment by Greg Ransom (3aebcb) — 5/30/2009 @ 1:55 pm

  27. Shouldn’t Hiltzik be asked to explain what the “correct multiplier” is that he claims renders his 100 error on population irrelevant to his conclusion?

    Are newer Californians eating more? Do they have to repeat each grade twice? Are twice as many of them criminals? Are they causing more earthquakes?

    Comment by Vail Beach (177d02) — 5/30/2009 @ 2:04 pm

  28. 100 percent error on population, was what I meant.

    Comment by Vail Beach (177d02) — 5/30/2009 @ 2:05 pm

  29. There’s a great misunderstanding of what the two opposite poles are. The Times, its dishonest “reader’s representative,” and its clueless columnists would tell you that the opposite of socialism, which is their position, is fascism.

    In actuality fascism is a variant of socialism, and the opposite of both is individualism.

    Comment by Kevin R.C. O'Brien (82fba3) — 5/30/2009 @ 4:33 pm

  30. Sometimes I still get (and, in violation of my SOP, actually pick up) calls from LA Times subscription pushers. (I cancelled about 7-8 years ago.)

    I ask them how much they will pay ME to receive their “newspaper.” The calls don’t last long.

    Comment by Mitch (ae98c3) — 5/31/2009 @ 11:03 am

  31. Chained to the oars.

    Comment by mojo (8096f2) — 6/1/2009 @ 10:45 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2626 secs.