Monday, December 22, 2014

We Only See What We Want To See

As my wife would be the first to tell you, there is such a thing as "selective hearing".  You know, where you only hear what you want to hear as someone is talking to you.  Well there is apparently "selective vision" as well--where you only see what you want to see.

The perfect example of that came last week when the Legislative Audit Bureau released a report on the operations of the state Unemployment Insurance system.  Auditors found that the state paid out $168-MILLION to more than 681-thousand recipients who were not entitled to those benefits.  The audit also found that 1.7-MILLION calls to the agency's call center went unanswered due to a limited number of lines and staffers.

Not surprisingly, the two parties in Madison saw the results of the audit in complete opposite ways.  Republicans saw just the $168-MILLION lost via fraud.  Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called a press conference to use the audit results to "prove" that fraud is rampant in the welfare system--and to justify his and Governor Scott Walker's call to drug test unemployment and welfare recipients before they are eligible to receive benefits.  However, nowhere in the audit does it say that drug use made any of the recipients of the benefits ineligible--and that testing would reduce that amount in any way. 

Democrats on the other hand, only saw the backlog of 1.7-MILLION calls in the audit.  In the Democratic Weekly Radio Address, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling blamed Governor Walker for not hiring more (unionized) state workers to deal with Unemployment calls.  However, nowhere in the audit does it say that all of those that didn't have their calls answered were denied benefits.  It's simply the number of calls that got a busy signal--or were never connected to the automated system properly--when someone called in to file or extend their claim.

It doesn't bode well for the state when those we elect to address our problems choose not to see what they are.

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