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WELL, THE PRESS ANYWAY

Our favorite political book of all-time (at least until our founding editor’s tome comes out) is the late  T. Harry Williams’ 1969 biography of former Louisiana governor and U.S. Senator Huey Long.

Wait … certainly we’re not backers of Long’s “every man a king” brand of socialism?

Of course not … no more than we’re fans of Barack Obama’s “fair share” brand of socialism.

We have always admired Long’s relentlessness, though … and his ability to turn homespun phrases as part of a remarkably sophisticated communications apparatus.

For example, one of the chapters in Williams’ book Huey Long is entitled “We Are Forcing Them Back.” The phrase references one of Long’s early political victories over Standard Oil … and if attributed properly includes the word “Gradually.” We frequently use this phrase as it relates to our ongoing battle with big government in South Carolina – and with the mainstream media outlets which have historically provided cover to its glad-handing politicians.

We may not win a lot of battles against these establishments, but a very important one was won this week.

In a story discussing the State of South Carolina’s proposed FY 2012-13 spending plan, reporter Adam Beam of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper referenced “the state’s $23 billion budget.”

Why is this significant?

For years, South Carolina’s mainstream media outlets – The State included – have confined their reporting to the portion of the state budget that’s funded with tax revenues. In the process, they’ve ignored huge chunks of the state spending plan that are funded by fees, fines and other levies – as well as the steadily-increasing percentage of the budget covered by federal funds (over which lawmakers exert tremendous influence).

To see what we’re referring to, click on this post.

Anyway, as a result of the media’s refusal to shoot straight, South Carolina taxpayers have been led to believe that their elected officials are only spending around $6 billion each year when the actual size of the state budget is nearly four times bigger.

“An informed debate … isn’t going to happen until this state’s mainstream media starts reporting on the actual size of the state budget,” we wrote last month.

At long last, it looks as though such a debate might actually happen.

Congratulations to The State for its editorial decision to start leveling with the public about the actual amount of money being spent in Columbia. Let’s hope other legacy media outlets (particularly the Associated Press) follow suit.

After all, the public deserves to know not only how much money state government is spending – but more importantly where every dime of that money is coming from and where it’s going.

“We Are (Gradually) Forcing Them Back” when it comes to truth in budgeting, and you can count on this website to press its boots more firmly on the establishment’s neck moving forward.

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