Partly True, and Only Partly True. So. Help Us. God

By Keith Plunkett | November 16th, 2018 at 9:05 am

BY: Keith Plunkett / Editor

Keith Plunkett is a Policy Consultant, Editor, Writer, Founder and Publisher of

Filed Under: Budget, Business, Commentary, Contributor, County Government, Economic Development, Economy, Feature Stories, Federal Government, Governor, Keith Plunkett, Leadership, Legislature, Mississippi, Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi PEP, MS State Government, Opinion, Phil Bryant, Politics, Principles of Freedom, Republican, Spending, State Bonds, US Congress

We interrupt your normal scheduled programming of Governor Phil Bryant pushing cherry-picked data and hiding microphones from Cindy Hyde-Smith to bring this message. 

‘MS still has the lowest per capita personal income, just as it has for nearly 90-years, and an abysmally low labor force participation rate (LFPR). It’s lower today, in fact, than in 1976, which was during one of the worst economic depressions in US history.’

What? This isn’t news? 

It is to Governor Phil Bryant. 

Governor Bryant, bless his heart, happily promoted a statistic mid-week that sounds pretty dad-gum impressive. The governor immediately gave credit to the President, whose federal policy actions are very deserving of it. But, of course, ole’ Phil gave himself credit, too. 

The statistic he shared shows Mississippi had the highest percentage of workers with a jump in wages than most other states.

Mississippi is among the top states in the nation most likely for workers to receive a raise due to President Donald J….

Posted by Phil Bryant on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Whoooo Hoooo! That’s good news! Darn good news! Best news I’ve heard since the hogs ate my baby brother!! I think I’m going to make it a short-week and go pheasant hunting in my stylish new camo get-up to celebrate!! 

Hot dog!!

You da’ man! 

You and the president have saved us, saved us, I tell you!! 

Y’all ought to get a ‘no-bell prize,’!!

Why a ‘no-bell prize’? Because the Governor ain’t no ding-a-ling, but his accomplishment doesn’t ring true. 

Donald Trump must have YUGE coat tails with all the folks he’s being asked to carry around on them. 

As the governor surely must know, the reason Mississippi shows from the data to have a higher percentage of workers with a raise is: 

  1. We have a fewer number of overall people working than any state. (LFPR)
  2. These fewer workers still make wages that are only 54-percent of the national average (Average Income in MS is only $38,991).

It was about time they got a raise. But don’t expect them to go out and start building cement ponds out back. The ‘raise’ added less than a thousand dollars to the Mississippi workers average annual salary. It still leaves the small number who are working here light-years behind those in every other state in the country. 

Yes folks. I’m sorry to say we are still terribly far behind.

For the Governor to be thankful that 80-percent of these Mississippi workers got a raise is admirable, even considerate. But pushing it out of context and taking credit for it is neither admirable nor considerate. It’s a false flag, especially in light of what state government under Phil Bryant has done. 

As good news goes, it would be much better news if there hadn’t been a slow-down on licensing reform, for instance. The governor’s refusal to aggressively remove the yoke of state government regulations indicates quite clearly he’s not inclined to scrap over public policy that would help small businesses and the workers they employ.  

His long dedication to misguided giveaway’s to big corporations, most of which are from outside the state, creates big splash headlines for officials to wallow in publicly like slop-loving hogs. But after the ribbons are cut and the cameras are gone, it’s local communities left dealing with the fallout. These high-dollar economic development announcements upset local economies, often spreading the pain throughout the region by disordering the areas workforce already in place. This, of course, puts further downward pressure on small locally-owned businesses and local government services. 

Back in Jackson, legislators who bother to comb through the bond packages they vote to approve soon find additional requests for funding to address problems created by the chaos the state government scheme caused to begin with. Taxpayers get the hook again, like the last fish left in a nightmare catch-and-release program.

The governor’s incessant praise and promotion of government jobs-training is a model for ambitious one-string political harp players everywhere. Government jobs programs have a long and consistent rate of failure that would impress the most die-hard and dedicated of government bureaucrats. Yet, there stands Governor Bryant, still working his magic melody with the approving eye of harp producers at the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi’s Community Colleges and other of the state’s addicts to federal funds.

All of this government meddling, re-meddling, and re-re-meddling adds up. It’s a very big reason Mississippi workers are making so little in wages to begin with. 

Why can’t we expect the governor to be at least as aggressive in seeking to enact reform as he has been campaigning to keep his appointed US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith from speaking in public? Because, his attempts to keep his appointment holding the seat in the US Senate reveals why he’s not been in favor of reform. He’s working to prop up failure, not do away with it.

Bryant wants to be the bearer of good news on his watch. This is an understandable emotion as he is nearing the last year of his time in the governor’s mansion. But, it’s just a little bit sad to see a man so desperately torn between who he really is and how he wishes people would think of him.

It’s dishonest to use vanity statistics to get cheap approval points to try to prove to himself he’s been a good executive official for the state. The truth is he’s provided safe space for the government’s continued suffocation of Mississippians livelihoods, and he’s passed on the job of truly downsizing government agencies and the controls employed that stifle the free market. 

Starving agencies for funds just before an election is par for the course.  Government bureaucrats concerned with getting more money out of state-budgets, which is nearly all of them, know that all campaign promises to cut spending have a way of finally beginning to take shape around election time. Two months later the promises are nothing but a bad daydream, and the sun shines on them again. 

In other words, we can nearly always expect to see political tactics used by party-centric elected officials that feint reduction in the size of government before elections, but they purposefully do everything they can to make sure the scope of government remains intact for future use.

Governor Bryant has also encouraged corruption by not challenging the misuse of administrative law rulings that have the effect of undermining good laws passed by legislators — if we could ever get them to that point. And he’s done nothing to stop exceptions for well-connected special interest groups written into law — legislators have shown superior talent for doing this. 

The governor has overseen massive awards of wasteful government spending for contracts on questionable projects that prop up inefficient businesses and increase the future tax liability of all Mississippians. Again, these are issues that speak to the scope of government and its legal reach into citizens lives. Precious little has been done by Republicans to protect Mississippians from this threat.

And many steps of the way the governor has misrepresented the truth about his unremarkable record and lack of accomplishment on all of these chokepoints of the economy. However, he’s developed a talent that could nearly be described as a sixth-sense when it comes to dropping all the right terminology at fundraisers and political events across the state.

Everybody would like to be the bearer of good news. In this case, as in others, Governor Phil Bryant is the bearer of a cherry-picked statistic with a colorful picture. Colorful pictures are nice to look at, and Governor Bryant is a colorful guy. But when this colorful picture is deduced to all the data necessary to show reality for Mississippi workers, it becomes a lot more stark image. Likewise, for the Governor. The full picture shows Mississippians are reaping rewards from the national economy DESPITE the governor’s performance, not because of it. 

Being the bearer of bad news doesn’t bring backslaps of political approval.  But at least it’s honest. 

These politically motivated illusions are not okay. Neither are they surprising. Most conservatives watching state government actions realized some time ago the public relations game being played at their expense. We’ve seen more than enough. 

Being the bearer of complete information is what one expects from a leader. It’s not usually a trait found in approval hounds or hogs feeding at the trough. And in Mississippi, these are the two breeds of political animals that are most abundant. 

It’ll take a lot more work by Mississippi Conservatives to fight the infestations, and the favor of heaven above before we will be blessed to finally begin seeing their populations decline.

Maybe, after all, it really is time to support building a viable third party.