Saturday, April 7, 2012

Abdul Resorts to a Complete Spin Approach to Half a Billion Dollars in Lost Money

I'm not naive.  Blogs are not pure and unbiased journalism.  They are sources of commentary. People read blogs for the ideas more than they read them for the news.  That being said, sometimes you read a blog and can't help but shake your head and say, "are you serious?!?"

Today is one of those days.  It's no secret that I am a fan of journalist/blogger and former Indy radio personality Abdul-Hakim Shabazz.  He's got a bit of an ego about him, but that's what makes him fun.  And when you are around him in person, he just brings an energy and aura with him that's rather contagious.

Sometimes, though, Abdul is just over the top when it comes to being a homer for various Republican administrations.  Today, on his Indy Politics website, Abdul posted a blog about how the $500 million dollars in misplaced taxpayer money that has turned up just isn't that big of a deal.  Embarrassing, he admits, but really nothing to worry about since we're not in the financial bind that other states are in.

From that blog:

Although I write about Indiana government and politics I spend a lot of time paying attention to other state governments, I’m kind of a dork that way.  And when I look at the current financial situations in other states, I am willing to bet the $529 million in total revenue the state misplaced and tell you there are a lot of other places that wish they had Indiana’s problems. 
In other words, in Indiana, the problem may be missing money, in more than two dozen other states, money isn’t missing, it’s just not there.  According to theCenter on Budget Policy and Priorities, 30 states have projected shortfalls for next fiscal year and have had to engage in drastic spending cuts or raise taxes over the 2011-2013 budget years.

Okay, Abdul...I see where your going here.  At least we can misplace a half a billion dollars and still have a surplus.  Your spin on the stories really make it sound like you don't care, though, about the misplacement of such an enormous sum of taxpayer money.  That's just silly.

Yes, many other states are having a budget disaster.  No, Indiana is not one of them.  Comparing what is going on there to what is going on here, though, is apples to oranges.  Instead of saying "I'd rather have our problem than their problem," you should be saying, "both these problems are completely irresponsible and cannot be tolerated."

In fact, Abdul, you are one of the first ones to pipe up about the hypocrisies of the statements made by people on the left sometimes.  I find myself wondering how your story would have sounded if this had occurred in a Bayh or O'Bannon administration.


  1. Josh,

    It's funny you should mention that. I've been reviewing old stories about the Bayh/O'Bannon/Kernan days.

    In 2003-04 the state of Indiana was literally balancing its budget by delaying payments to local governments, universities and schools to the tune of about $600 million. I'm still looking for the human outcry from the same people that apparently is taking place today.

    I will let you know when I find it.

  2. I can't say that I was an Indiana resident at the time so I know why I didn't cry out. As for others, I agree that they should have made it a big deal.

    I would like to see a couple links to the stories you are referring to. I think they would make an interesting addition to this commentary.

  3. Josh,

    I am a Libertarian oriented social studies teacher. I did like Abdul’s radio show; but, increasingly his writings appear to be consistent with the Republican establishment. He rarely speaks out against examples of GOP mistakes, naked partisanship, power-grabs, obvious corruption, etc. Many now see him as a mouthpiece for the top of the RINO food-chain. I understand that he does depend upon the compensation thrown his way by the GOP and Senator Lugar. Did the Abdul we once knew and respected change his spots?

  4. I hope Abdul doesn't start this O'Bannon/Kernan vs. Daniels thing because it might be ugly. After all, the unemployment trust fund was over $1 Billion in 2001 and our state did not overpay claimants at a very high rate during his and Kernan's years in office. When Daniels entered office, the balance was $500,000; in 2008, it was the 2nd in the country to go bankrupt in recent times (before the recession had really kicked into gear, unemployment-wise, at least). Two years later, Indiana owes the federal government $2 Billion (which we still owe right now).

    Indiana overpaid claimants more than any other state in the country the last five years (to the tune of $1.7 Billion) except two; Indiana's DWD has been responsible for $1.2 Billion of that amount, which is more than any other state's workforce development agency.

    I'm still waiting for the outcry from businesses (and taxpayers who pay for government employees' unemployment) when they know more about what the Daniels administration has done to destroy Indiana's unemployment system.