PolitiFact continues with its disinformation and water carrying for Tim Kaine. In this particular piece of contorted journalism, they agree with George Allen’s claim and then go on to say that he is Mostly False.
The story begins during the July 21, 2012 debate, when George Allen made the claim saying to Kaine:
“But Virginia, at the end of your term, had a larger state workforce than at the beginning of your term.”
Since Democrats like to say that we started into the worst recession since FDR starting under George Bush in 2007, then how Tim Kaine responded from 2007-2010 is kind of important.
PolitiFact rated Allen’s claim Mostly False in George Allen says the state government workforce grew when Tim Kaine was governor.
The topic is about employee staffing counts or Full-Time Equivalents, which is a standard industry term. It’s not about dollars, inflation adjusted dollars, or some manipulated ratio for effect like state employees not on sick leave per pound of CO2 emitted on Tuesday mornings; so this exercise should be simple.
Allen based his claim on a US Census table; however, Politifact decided that they were going to use the Virginia State Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM). The fact that PolitiFact doesn’t immediately evaluate the US Census data but skips to their preferred source is the first clue as to where this piece of objective reporting is heading.
Nevertheless, we’ll stick with the DHRM data. We go their home page, which is reassuringly subtitled the 1st Place in HR Information, and look for FTE data.
Then we select the link titled State Employment Level Trends 1991 – 2011 which is a Powerpoint that contains several tables. Page 5 is titled Total Full-Time Equivalent –2001 to 2011 State Employees. Kaine was in office from January 2006 to January 2010 (actually 2009 is debatable but I digress).
The DHRM EPR table shows that starting with Jan 2006 and ending with Jan 2010, the total number of Salaried and Temporary Employees increased, whether you look at just the Executive Branch (+295) or the Statewide Total (+1,108). They aren’t a huge difference but they are increases. I would give much more weight to the large increases in permanent salaried staff, but let’s keep it simple.
Then PolitiFact immediately starts out with misdirection by quoting Anne Waring saying that the agency counts staff as of the last day of the month. So what? The above numbers are what her department publishes and represents to the public as accurate final figures.
Then buried four paragraphs later, Politifact actually agrees with George Allen and cites the 295 figure which is shown in the above table; however, they go on to editorialize “That makes Allen’s statement right, but not by much.” Again, so what? Even a journalist can agree that 295 and 1,108 are positive numbers and not zero or negative. So the article should have concluded then and there with a green light confirming George Allen’s claim.
But no, we need an orange light.
We could even cut PolitiFact some slack and let them add that the state DHRM records are less than what the US Census reported; but that doesn’t change the accuracy of Allen’s claim. If PolitiFact wanted to research why the US Census and State numbers differed, then go for it. But the US Census is a legitimate source; it’s the all-knowing federal government.
Next, PolitiFact obfuscates by claiming that Kaine is only responsible for the Executive Branch, which is highlighted in yellow. Well, if he can propose a smorgasbord of taxes and cuts, defer hiring, etc. in his ill-fated Biennial Budget; then he can accept responsibility for the entire state workforce budget. Unlike the PolitiFact , we don’t care with how hard the workforce reductions would have been on Gov. Kaine’s nerves or how much “limited control” he had. He wanted the big chair, so deal with it.
And I may be mistaken, but I think that I’ve heard Tim Kaine claim credit, about 100 times, that he made $5 billion in difficult cuts, demonstrated stellar fiscal management, and created a record that he wants to take to Washington.
Then PolitiFact creates a third diversion by getting into temporary workers at colleges working in December. Again so what? The * under Temporary is not explained and the education staff is separately listed on the bottom four lines titled Higher Education. The entire paragraph is strained and muddled.
Bottomline: we have published data from PolitiFact ’s preferred source that concurs with Allen’s point, but Politifact goes on to make two separate conclusions based on data with no citation or link that we can confirm.
And now for the final insult. Even though PolitiFact admits that Allen is correct, since they have come up with two of their own sets of figures, they conclude that Allen is really only correct only 1 out 3 times, and therefore rates it Mostly False.
Well, I rate PolitiFact Mostly Deceptive. May Google Adwords continue to eat your revenue.
The data in the above spreadsheet was taken from page 5: