Thursday, March 31, 2011

Financial wizardry

Remember the brouhaha about how the Wisconsin State Capitol was going to require $7.5 million after those thugs demonstrated in it in February and March? Why, Mitch was apoplectic about it. Newspapers reported about it. We heard that the damage was so bad that the Department of Administration said it could cost between $60,000 and $500,000 just to assess the building's condition, let alone repair it. GOP bloggers used it to show how disrespectful the thugs were.

The underlying calculations for that amount have now come out, and the documentation is impressive. A detailed description of the actual damages, the tasks to be undertaken to restore the beautiful building, cost breakdowns that would satisfy the most exacting of state auditors, you would assume. After all, it's taxpayer dollars we're talking about and we cannot squander them or be anything but absolutely correct in our calculations here. Accuracy and transparency above all, right? These people work for the administration charged with saving the Wisconsin budget, right? They would never base their claims on incorrect dollar amounts or shoddy estimates, would they?

Of course they would. The estimate is based on a single piece of paper. With three dollar figures on it. A better copy can be found here, but I usually require a more detailed estimate for a clogged drain.

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