$5,000 – or .000022 – Worth of Sunday Morning Grins & Giggles Courtesy PolitiFact RI

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On a personal note, I’d like to sincerely thank PolitiFact RI for starting my day with a big smile this morning, though perhaps they would not be altogether pleased at the reason.

In today’s Providence Journal, they’ve rated a statement by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity (hereinafter “the Center”) pertaining to the $224.5 million in wasteful spending identified by the Center in the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. PolitiFact is not questioning that the state gave away the $5,000 example offered by the Center of an expenditure item in the Governor’s Workforce Board from a prior year. PolitiFact is only saying that the Center did not fully explain what the $5,000 in hard earned taxpayer dollars was spent on.

Really? Someone took the Providence Journal’s time and space to examine one aspect of a $5,000 example used to illustrate $224,500,000 in proposed waste? That was why I found myself giggling when I fetched and then tapped on a calculator just now, knowing the absurdly small fraction that was about to result from dividing $5,000 by $224,500,000.

And there it was: .000022. A percentage squarely in the realm of the absurd.

To paraphrase a sentence from the PolitiFact RI rating, we’ll let other budget-beleaguered publishers and editors debate whether precious journalistic resources and credibility should be expended on fact-checking one aspect of .000022.

What is now clear, however, is that by finding the equivalent of one aspect of a dust speck in Satis House to examine and question, this morning’s PolitiFact RI rating has themselves confirmed the findings of the Center. The “Spotlight on Spending” report is as full of proposed wasteful spending as Miss Havisham’s house was loaded with dust.

Now, let the General Assembly use this report as a launching point for the 2015 budget and not be tied to the past (wasteful spending), as Miss Havisham was.



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