Use state asset sale for long-term health and wealth

Today we’re going to talk about medical miracles, and the key role that Georgia can play in bringing them to life. The price of admission is a brief detour through the state budget.

Gov. Sonny Perdue released his revenue estimates for fiscal 2011, and of the dozens of line items only a handful of numbers are bigger than they were in 2009. Yet the bottom line is about $325 million larger. What gives?

Lottery revenues are rising, for one. A hospital provider fee is proposed. But the line that really sticks out is “All Other Departments,” which projects a $290 million jump.

That $290 million represents the estimated result of selling part of the state’s loan portfolio. Since the 1980s, the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority has financed water and sewer projects for local governments. The original idea was to help cities and counties that couldn’t borrow in the private markets, but even investment-grade counties like Cobb and Gwinnett have come to rely on GEFA from time to time.

GEFA now holds almost $1.7 billion in loans, and the governor proposes to securitize and sell a chunk of those loans to private investors. The state would continue to service the remainder of the portfolio — mostly comprising loans to the lower-rated cities and counties for whom GEFA was created in the first place — and plow payments (and some other state funds) back into future loans.

Win-win. But it could be win-win-win — which brings us back to medicine.

For years, Georgia’s political, business and academic leaders have called for greater investment in the state’s biomedical industry. We have much promise in this field, what with a roster of institutions that includes Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control, Grady hospital, the Shepherd Center, St. Joseph’s hospital and veterans’ hospitals.

Specifically, we have much promise in the field of regenerative medicine. Research into the rebuilding of tissue and organs could change the lives of paraplegics, burn victims, diabetics and those who suffer from heart and lung disease.

Social conservatives objected to the use of embryonic stem cells. That used to be an obstacle. But advances in the use of adult cells mean plenty of new research can be done without embryonic cells, clearing that moral dilemma.

Money remains the problem.

Georgia hasn’t built the kind of private angel and venture capital investment capacity that places like Boston and Silicon Valley boast. Our state pension funds aren’t allowed to invest even a small portion of their money as private equity or venture capital. Other states without such restrictions have used retirement savings to leverage private investment.

Legislators still would be wise to reconsider restrictions on pension plan investments. But the GEFA windfall is an immediate opportunity.

Selling state assets to plug a short-term budget gap is surely attractive to the people deafened by the squeals that arise from budget-cutting.

The rest of us, however, might favor a more long-term investment if we’re going to sell state assets. Even a fraction of the $290 million — say, $50 million — could help swing some critical decisions that will be made soon.

If these decisions go our way, they will boost Georgia’s position as a leader in regenerative medicine. If not, we’ll be stuck looking for other ways to generate health and wealth.

53 comments Add your comment

My ding dong itches

January 22nd, 2010
9:28 pm

Great article Kyle.

Keep up the good work. Now, back to scratching.

Hi Kyle

January 22nd, 2010
9:37 pm

I had to come over here because ol’ Cynthia got mad at me for calling her out on her copy-and-paste articles and for calling her a bigot. She censored me. I got a slap on the hand!

My ding dong itches

January 22nd, 2010
10:38 pm

Hi Kyle

Some folks over on Cynthia’s blog are wanting to her to ban me. I have no idea why.

Captain America

January 22nd, 2010
11:48 pm

Dang Kyle. A conservative that actually has a really good idea. You might be an alright guy if you keep this up.

Hopefully someone in the Georgia legislature is bright enough to read your article and understand that your idea has merit. Good luck with that.

Big Papa

January 23rd, 2010
12:26 am

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Davo

January 23rd, 2010
1:20 am

Divert spending from ifrastructure (legitimate state business) to fund bio-medical research ( not state business).

I thought this was a conservative blog.

Mitchel Henson

January 23rd, 2010
6:21 am

Why not sell the air space over Atlanta expressways for commercial development such as the buildings over 400 near Lenox Square.

Joseph

January 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

Georgia’s biggest long-term economic problem is losing growing businesses to other states because of our shortage of early-stage capital. This kind of investment would increase our tax base, make money for the state (higher return on investment than water and sewer bonds) and drive innovation in medicine. This is a lot better than using one-time money to plug a hole in the budget.

The Anti-Wooten

January 23rd, 2010
9:52 am

Pretending that you care about paraplegics, burn victims and others that would benefit from stem cell research? That’s priceless, you and the rest of the GNOPers are working feverishly to ensure that NOTHING gets done in terms of health care reforms for middle American’s. If you’re not rich you’re screwed. I’ve come here less of late because I’ve seen the truth, those of us in the upper middle class will continue to sink due to the policies of the Republics and the gutlessness of the Dem’s

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
10:09 am

At times does it truly become confounding reading these blogs Kyle? Yeah it probably is just me, I’m sure you haven’t noticed the anomaly that exist between bloggers who often – from one and the same group – continuously remind one and all of us just how darn backward this state is in every respect and then have the audacity to condemn anyone calling for action to address any single one of the great many challenges posing as opportunities to move Georgia forward in anything?

They are in my guesstimate proud members of the B. A. N. A. N. A. Republic always with some reason to do nothing.

The state has so many areas that need addressing, so many the issues, while they may seem totally separate, as always they do overlap, though few seem to make the simple connections. Perhaps it is all just a matter of priorities, of personal favorites, which are in debate. One thing for certain, as my conservative friends well know, as Kyle rightly continues to pound away, investment is the key to turning the tides on our portion of this down economy in returning people back to work and the state back to good economic health.

Investors, be they angels or venture (the demonized RICH) or mom and pop all expect to reap a profit from investing their money; albeit, the cry of giving money to the rich surfaces rather quickly when the state whose main interest at anytime, at all times, should be the to promote the general welfare of its’ citizenry, even when it means paying investors in the form of earned tax credits for creating real jobs, real payrolls that generate real tax revenue to bring the state budget out of the red.

It is confounding these folks that harbor a strange hate against successful people who are rich for making money, as though this is some kind of immoral act of depravity and states should never rely on or use these people, their money and talents for making more money to benefit of all within this state, especially the unemployed. Fact remains, the state needs all the investor money it can bring in and these investors rightly deserve to make money from their investments. Argue the priorities all you may want. To me it is not a matter of picking a favorite peeve among issues, for we must, given the magnitude of challenges, the depth a depressed economy, do the favorite peeves and all the others. Above all things we cannot afford do nothing by arguing which shall comes first or should it be in the mix of things, for all business is state business, when fulfilling its’ obligatory duty to promote the general welfare of its’ citizenry and raise necessary state revenues in a fiscally prudent manner.

Keep on pounding your message home, Kyle.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 23rd, 2010
10:13 am

As corrupt as State government is in Georgia, do you think any of the “venture capital” from asset sales would actually be used to fund viable research projects? I don’t, I think it would go to Roy-the-Crook’s lawyer buddies, and their ilk. Now is not the time to find new ways to give away taxpayer’s money to the politically well connected. Now is the time to CUT, CUT, CUT TILL IT BLEEDS, THEN CUT SOME MORE.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 23rd, 2010
10:14 am

What is this, the Refugee blog for people banned by Cindy Lou?

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
10:30 am

Somewhere along the line you have to make real money or simply bleed to death fiscally. CUT, CUT, CUT without an infusion of investment capital to revive a sickly state economy means dying sooner rather than later.

Bleeding the sick to good health has long been abandoned along with believing the earth is flat.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 23rd, 2010
10:49 am

Dear Michael H. Smith: Since when is it the State’s job to provide investment capital? Is that not the job of Mr. Market? You know, that old Capitalism thing.

Banned By Cindy

January 23rd, 2010
11:27 am

I said me too or is et tu Kyle

Jess

January 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

Good article, and good idea. Georgia has neglected the tremendous academic resources it has in it’s major universities. I was working in Texas in the 80’s during the emergence of Austin as a major technical and research center. Even at that time, my company’s number one recruiting target was Georgia Tech. Many of their graduates would have liked to stay in the Atlanta area, but there were just not that many jobs available, and without the environment of a large technical communtity they felt their careers would suffer. If Georgia could create this environment, and fix it’s horrible high school problems, it would be hard to beat.

In addition to capital however, the state must make a committment to creating this kind of environment. Both Texas, and at the time North Carolina had really top notch people recruiting companies to their area. They had professional presentations, and were able to clearly state the advantages of locating in their states. Georgia needs a smart, well informed advocate to make this happen. Someone who will approach this like Billy Payne approached the olympics.

Banned By Cindy

January 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

And thanks for the local insights and viewpoints.

Securitizing loans? Isn’t that kind of politically incorrect these days?

Algonquin J. Calhoun

January 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

My ding dong itches
January 22nd, 2010
10:38 pm

Hi Kyle

Some folks over on Cynthia’s blog are wanting to her to ban me. I have no idea why.

Do you think your being an imbecile has anything to do with it? Cynthia likes to keep out low-life scum sucking pieces of dung such as yourself! You need to be bitch-slapped into the middle of next week. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who’d volunteer to stick a boot up yo nasty ass!

Captain America

January 23rd, 2010
11:52 am

Banned ~ Securitized loans with bundled mortgages from people that couldn’t afford the house in the first place is one thing. Securitized loans for municipal government bonds are a much more stable investment. Governments rarely default.

Does anyone know if this municipal securitized debt would be tax exempt like municipal bonds are?

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

Dear Laissez-faire Classical Liberalism

It is the job of the Federal and the State governments to create market conditions within this Capitalist economy that are favorable and conducive to creating jobs. You know, it is that old Constitutional thing, called “promoting the general welfare”, which is not the responsibility of Mr. Market. That is the duty of governments to perform.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm

Dear Michael H. Smith: Your words “promoting the general welfare” to me mean having a system of laws in place that promote investment, and prevent fraud, you know, the main source of income for Republicans. Take your pals at Goldman Sachs: In the 90’s, just prior to the Russian debt collapse, Goldman put on an investment seminar in Moscow for American Pension plan administrators, Mutual Funds, and private investors in which they hyped the 1.5 billion dollar Russian bond auction currently underway. The auction was very successful, and the Russians raised 1.5 billion american dollars. Of that the Russians secretly used 500 million to repay loans from Goldman. A week later Russia defaulted on their foreign debt obligations, and the pension plans, mutual funds, and individual investors lost all. But not Goldman Sachs, they got paid off in advance. This type of thing has been repeated by Goldman hundreds of times over the decades, double talking, taking secret opposing positions, and pocketing ill gotten gains. They are the pinnacle of Republican values, lie, cheat, and steal, imho.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
12:32 pm

Uh… my friend Goldman Sachs? It’s those old Republicans?

It might just interest the readers to know that Goldman Sachs thinks very highly of your good, good friend, Barack Hussein Obama. Oh and wasn’t that Democrat scumbag who lost the governors race in New Jersey once a big wig at Goldman Sachs?

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

And, about that system of laws in place, did you miss something in the discussion? That is what Kyle and the rest of us who agree with him are trying to get passed, legislation that will bring invest money into Georgia. That really is one of the very ways government has to promote the general welfare by rewarding investors who finance business ventures that work in the state’s interests fulfilling the obligations of government constitutionally. Which is any venture at this point that creates a real verifiable long term job for any unemployed person in Georgia.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

No Michael H. Smith, I think you are just after government hand outs in the form of tax credits and direct investments in your schemes. If the market does not fund your idea’s, then the idea’s are not worth much.

My ding dong itches

January 23rd, 2010
2:13 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun
Cynthia likes to keep out low-life scum sucking pieces of dung such as yourself! You need to be bitch-slapped into the middle of next week. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who’d volunteer to stick a boot up yo nasty ass!

You are the one with the foul mouth! I’m sure you like sticking things up yo nasty ass!

A Biotech worker

January 23rd, 2010
3:41 pm

Ga has the worst public education system in the country, we teach our kids that evolution doesn’t exist, we don’t invest in our infrastructure (e.g., the metro areas traffic problems, water issues, etc) and we have yahoo state representatives trying to make stem cell research a crime. So now you think we could seriously attract biotech investments to our state? 1. Research jobs are few and require very high levels of educations, 2. they don’t tend to generate local low-level jobs – those go overseas because the workforce is cheaper, and 3. no one in these companies wants to live in such a backwards state.

If we don’t fix the educational system in this state then fishing tournaments and SUV plants for 3rd rate companies are about the best we can hope for, or deserve for that matter. So what do we do? We have our genius governor trying to run off the best teachers in the state and we think a few million dollars in tax breaks will magically cause a whole new industry to move to the area.

Morons…

Hi Kyle

January 23rd, 2010
3:53 pm

No, Algonquin, being an imbecile has nothing to do with it. If you call Cynthia out on any of the following, you will be banned: the fact that most of her “articles” have racist undertones, that most of her “articles” have large portions which she copy and pasted from someone else who did all the work, that she’s racist, that she writes mutliple columns per day because she switches topics as soon as she realizes that she has no more arguments to support her opinions, that copying and pasting entire articles and adding 3 of her own sentences is really plagiarizing, and/or by knocking her Pulitzer Prize which she won by copying and pasting and which really should have been given to the original author(s) of the journalist that she copy and pasted from. SO, basically agree with her and stroke her ego and you won’t be banned.

Cutty

January 23rd, 2010
4:03 pm

Democrats are corrupt 10:13- Sunny (R) has been Guv’nah since 2002. As if Republicans crap doesn’t stink. Get real. New ethics laws will be passed at the Gold Dome because of who? Get over the D v. R scenario. Both parties are corrupt.

Cutty

January 23rd, 2010
4:05 pm

Hi Kyle @ 3:53- Plagarizing is using someone’s work as your own WITHOUT giving them credit. Academics obviously passed you over.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
4:41 pm

Last weeks subject was education. Having the best teachers and having the highest paid teachers in the world alone is not the answer. Sonny will be gone soon and Roy Barnes sure as hell didn’t fix education when he was governor. Without investment money spurring economic recovery education funding will suffer and funding the students not the government school monopoly is a huge part of fixing education. Everything depends on economic recovery at the moment, believe otherwise and you simply believe wrong.

Kyle is right, investment targeting the high paying income areas of the private sector he has chosen to emphasis will create jobs to attract professionals and high tech workers, who will pay higher taxes and spend more money because they have more disposable income. We can always hire brains and brainpower but not without money. When you have no money, then you turn to investors to fill the gap and rightly reward them for using their money.

It’s really that simple, Brucie.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
5:02 pm

Oh and stick around Brucie, your corrupt scumbag lying socialist Democrats probably will bring the very types of investment tax credits up for legislation in Congress, now that the Republicans can filibuster attempts at another Obumer pork laden stimulus Splurge. There is talk of it at this very moment. Republicans will not only look bad if they don’t go along with earned tax cuts via credits for producing verifiable long term private sector jobs but they will forfeit the 2010 election after gaining the political momentum to retake power.

Hi Kyle

January 23rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Actually, Cutty, when one writes articles, or any written material for that matter, and they need to refer to a passage, they will give the original author credit but the will PARAPHRASE (you do know what that means, don’t you) the portion being borrowed, NOT use it verbatim from the original document. If an actual quote is being provided and is referenced, then quotations will be used around such quote or a passage will be indented and formatted appropriately and the original author will be referenced. This is to be used only for small portions of referenced passages, NOT THE WHOLE FRIKKIN’ ARTICLE OR DISSERTATION! If she pulled that crap anywhere else, she’d be in trouble. Think about it this way: imagine Cynthia presenting a Bible to you titled “Cynthia’s Philosophy as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, care of the Bible” (which we know would never happen, but for example’s sake we’ll run with)that, when opened to the first page, were located three little sentences saying that this was “Cynthia’s Philosphy that she was presenting to the public, yada yada yada”. My friend, that’s plagiarizing, as is the stuff she posts on her blog because she literally plops it into format and adds MAYBE three sentences to it saying that this is what she believes and she got it from blah, blah, blah. She doesn’t paraphrase, she doesn’t add her opinions to the article in any way other than the crap at the top, she leaves it as is with the 99% of the content coming,verbatim, from the original author’s work. The woman can not claim worthiness for a Pulitzer Prize if she is incapable of writing her columns, articles, and thoughts with the MAJORITY of the substance of the articles coming from her OWN writing.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

Some Dunkeys are wising up.

From Fox News Greta Van Susteren

Shifting Focus for Democrats

Sen. Bob Casey: ….I would argue we’ve got to pass very strategic short-term policies that will have an impact, a positive impact on jobs, like a job creation tax credit. That’s my idea, and some others’.

But we also have to speak to the issues, speak to what I think a lot of Americans are living through, which is a horrific recession. In our state for example, we’ve got over 8 percent unemployed, not nearly as high a rate as some states, but that means over half a million people are out of work. And we’ve got to be responsive to the real insecurity that that brings to people in terms of their own family, their own lives, their own incomes.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583620,00.html

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

OMG, possible bi-partisanship can be found?

Job Creation Tax Credit: Who Actually Wants It?

….Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican whip, said that the idea of a tax credit for creating jobs was appealing. But he also said that it wasn’t his first preference for a job-creation policy. He said he thought lowering payroll taxes or some sort of investment tax incentive could be more efficient ways to induce job growth.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/job-creation-tax-credit-who-wants-it/?pagemode=print

A Retired Teacher

January 23rd, 2010
8:43 pm

I am one of those retired state workers whose pension is being discussed so cavalierly by Kyle Wingfield and bloggers. Kyle Wingfield has tried to sell his idea of using state pensions for private risky venture investments previously in his columns. Although I rarely write a comment on a blog, this evening I decided to share my personal testimony, as a teacher in the state of Georgia, with Mr. Wingfield and his readers in order to refute what Mr. Wingfield is advocating regarding the use of state workers’ pension funds.
As a young woman, I had planned for my older years well in advance of its now arrival, putting myself through undergraduate and graduate schools. I worked from the time I was 21 until I was 64, straight up. During this time, while I was raising a child with my husband, I taught students from ages 6 -18 for over 35 years. The other years were spent as a secretary while I was working to put myself through college. I did an outstanding job with my students according to my evaluations in all of those years.
Now, through this blog and Mr. Wingfield’s column, people who don’t even know me, or know what my life has been about, somehow think that they have the right to advocate doing with my pension whatever they will. Shame on you especially for this, Mr. Wingfied, because you know what you are advocating be done, on a deeper level, to the public servants and state workers of this state. It is called the conservative’s plan, nationally organized, of “starving the beast” of state governments (nonprofit) while investing in the private markets (for profit) with those hard earned retirement funds of state workers. I am now an older woman, but even as a young woman, what had value to me was serving others, and that meant, because I had an academic bent, becoming a teacher. Making a lot of money through private markets left me cold. Seeing my students’ lives turn around was what really motivated me and I knew that that was how I wanted to spend my working years. I worked hard all of those years, often staying at the schools until 8 o’clock at night. I was a school leader and I served other teachers and parents as well as students schoolwide, giving inservices and writing booklets to be of help to them. That is what my life has been about and my life has been a happy and blessed one because my students’ blessed my life, even more than I could have imagined.
Can you imagine how it now feels to have a young columnist come along and casually become a proponent of how to take the money that I have personally invested in my pension each month of my paycheck for over 30 years and use it for whatever purpose he dreams up? That hard earned money was taken out of my own paycheck each month for over 30 years for services rendered to the children of Georgia. No one owns my pension but myself. I put my money into the Teacher Retirement System and my money was wisely invested for decades. I have trusted those on the TRS Board of Trustees to spend THEIR time investing my money for my retirement prudently and wisely while I spent MY time at schools until late at night teaching students, parents, and other teachers. I earned my money in a noble profession and I helped many, many others become successful citizens and taxpayers of this state in the process. You are simply out of bounds, in my opinion, Mr. Wingfield, with your ideas as to what the state of Georgia should do with my pension money. If you are the caring person that I think you are capable of being, beyond ideology, you will back off from advocating that the state take over part of my pension money for what could be “risky venture investments” – unproven, at that. Your ideas could be the downfall of state pension funds of state workers like myself. Do you not care about that? State workers are taxpayers, also. Talk is easy, especially with how my money should be invested. I walked the walk. At least, I know that I did my best this evening to try to explain to you, and others, why I think you are so very wrong in what you are doing.

Joseph

January 23rd, 2010
8:57 pm

Retired teacher – the teacher unions trying to justify their existance have given you bad information. The state will have to pay your pension regardless of how their investments perform. What do you think about Worldcom, Enron and Wachovia. Those were all common stocks, which you must be fine with since Georgia’s pensions are heavily invested in them. What is risky is investing without diversification. Every good portfolio manager knows that. That’s why every other state in the nation allows investments in venture capital – Georgia is alone in its backwardness. This decision has been risky – it has cost teachers billions of dollars in returns. It also has cost their best students, who have had to leave Georgia to find the capital for their businesses. Someone needs to tell teachers the truth.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
9:45 pm

Georgia hasn’t built the kind of private angel and venture capital investment capacity that places like Boston and Silicon Valley boast.

This is my main interest and focus; building what has not been built to spur economic recovery not the use of the teacher’s pension fund. But I do agree with Joseph: The state will have to pay your pension regardless of how their investments perform. Be glad you have your government pension teachers, most in the private sector are lucky to have a company sponsored 401K that has no guaranteed returns, which they must depend on for a retirement. Now all they can do is wait out the market and hope for a rebound. So shame on you teacher for thinking you can belittle the very people who will have to pay your government guaranteed pension no matter what happens.

And screw these DNC-PAC unions who have betrayed the rank and file members they’ve stabbed in the back by supporting illegal foreign unauthorized labor in cahoots with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the detriment of U.S. citizen workers and their families well being.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
10:03 pm

Seeing Teachers Retirement System of Georgia removes all doubt, Joseph.

TRS administers the fund from which teachers in the state’s public schools, many employees of the University System of Georgia, and certain other designated employees in educational-related work environments receive retirement benefits. TRS offers a defined benefit plan, guaranteeing a monthly benefit – based on a member’s final average salary and service – which is payable for the life of the member, and when applicable, transferable to a member’s spouse or beneficiary(ies).

A defined benefit retirement plan (401A) relieves its members of the burden of making investment decisions and assuming the risk associated with those decisions. TRS assumes this risk for its members. Therefore, the retirement benefit offered by TRS is secure. Unlike an IRA or 401K account, a TRS retirement benefit is not impacted by stock market performance. The State of Georgia guarantees TRS members will receive retirement income for life. Also, depending on the plan of retirement chosen, a TRS retirement benefit can be passed to a beneficiary at a member’s death, and the beneficiary continues to receive this income until his or her death.

http://www.trsga.com/about.aspx

A Retired Teacher

January 23rd, 2010
10:33 pm

Joseph, My Georgia TRS is one of the most financially sound, as it stand RIGHT NOW, in the country. I don’t need you to tell me how to make it better. In all due respect, you simply do not know what you are talking about in that regard.
And, Michael T. Smith, other states, in the past, have had to reduce significantly teacher retirement payouts when their pensions took a fall in the past Enron scandal. Georgia’s TRS was ok in that scandal because it was sufficiently diversified to take that blow.
For all readers, it is time for someone to inform citizens that state workers pay into their own retirements and they get their retirement money based on their own layouts, not the taxpayers.’ Their money is invested for them – group style. When state workers retire, they get back their own investments. Very little money of their pensions comes from taxpayers pockets.
In my opinion, in this age of greed, too people today are so concerned about being victimized by someone else financially in their taxes that their main focus dwindles to themselves. Do you resent paying taxes to support wounded veterans? I don’t. I am so glad that I chose a profession whereby I could put the focus of my life on others. How limiting to dwell on self so much of the time.

oldtimer

January 23rd, 2010
11:06 pm

Here Here!!! Thanks for telling “A Retired Teacher”…..

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
11:22 pm

My name is Michael H. Smith teacher, do you have a reading problem?

Go back and try to read what I took from the TRS Website: Like, a TRS retirement benefit is “not impacted” by stock market performance. The State of Georgia guarantees TRS members will receive retirement income for life.

Now teacher are you telling me and everybody TRS and the State are lying?

And oh yeah I’m really consumed with self, what a damn pathetic joke you are!

I’m willing to risk paying more taxes by putting forth tax cuts/credits to investors in hopes of creating jobs for others who are unemployed in this state because I’m just so darn selfish? Not to mention now that you shamelessly brought up veterans as a worthless defense of your self-promotion, I favor preferential hiring of veterans over non-vets, do you?

You poor, poor little thing with your government guaranteed for life pension, all you said just makes me want to cry, sing Kumbaya, drink the big government Kool-Aid and become one of comrade Lenin’s useful socialist idiots for the good of the nanny state workers party.

The taxpayers are responsible to pay your pension if these TRS investments fail: The State of Georgia guarantees TRS members will receive retirement income for life. Which means the state underwrites, the taxpayer insures you will get your money. What part of that guarantee didn’t you get?

realistic

January 23rd, 2010
11:23 pm

Georgia’s pension investment returns for the last ten years were worse than 90% of all public pensions according to this report (page 13) http://newgeorgia.org/taskforces/reports/Web%20Version%20Executive%20Summary.pdf. The report concludes that we need to diversify our investment options.

Michael H. Smith

January 23rd, 2010
11:28 pm

Oh gee, excuse me all over the place for not mentioning teacher that we taxpayers should have double guaranteed a yield of 1,000 percent return on your TRS investments. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Now tell me why I so want to bust the government education monopoly.

A Retired Teacher

January 24th, 2010
8:25 am

As a retired teacher, if I leave this arena, having contributed “heat” rather than “light,” then I should not have been true to my calling nor to the spirit that lives within me. So I want to end my part of this dialogue on in a spritually sound way. I apologize to you for not having typed your name correctly, Michael H. Smith, and I have no animosity toward you for your thoughts nor for the rudeness to me in which you expressed your thoughts. In fact, I genuinely wish you well. It is good that you have a place to vent your thoughts and even your feelings, although I would encourage you to temper the expression of your feelings with more grace.
Yes, my TRS contract, which I entered into with the state of Georgia over 40 years ago, does state that I will have a retirement pension for life, but I am not so sure that, if the funds in that TRS are carelessly depleted, the amount of my monthly pension will continue to be same as it has been and that it would sustain me into my very old age. That is why I have exercised my responsibility in addressing Kyle Winfield and others, in what I consider to be a rather casual proposal regarding the use of teacher retirement funds. I have now said what I have needed to say in this regard and will not address the matter further on this blog.
I want to express to all the readers of this blog that I hope each of you has a guaranteed income in your old age, too, through your Social Security and that each of you does not have to worry about your medical bills in your old age, through having Medicare. I have had Medicare and the government has never interferred with my choice of doctors, hospitals, or care.
Like FDR, I believe that every American should have a social safety net of Social Security and government based nonprofit medical care. In fact, I hope that one day every American, of whatever age, will be able to have a Medicarelike single payer insurance plan. I found Medicare to be wonderful and not at all intrusive into my medical choices.
Government has not always been regarded as negatively as it is now. We must remember and keep in mind that the government is you, the people, and your government can be a very wonderful agent for your security because it is nonprofit based. Likewise, it operates financially like a large group health plan, with better rates than private for-profit health insurance companies could offer to you. That is because so many citizens would be in the group of coverage and the money needed for your care would be directed specifically for your health service and not for the profits of corporations that may use your money for their interests. Of course, the government, your government, would need to be monitored to insure all is up and up, but at least it would be nonprofit in nature.
My advocacy for this bottom line social safety net for all Americans does not mean that I do not support capitalistic enterprise and individual initative. I do support that very much, also. As an instructional leader for over 25 years of my career, I enjoyed taking much initiative and spending late hours to see my product (the students) thrive and progress. I believe we can have both a social safety net for all and free enterprise if we do not divide ourselves into camps of liberals and conservatives from which we can not see another’s point of view or cannot see others in their interior and individual humanity so like our own, whatever their exterior circumstances may be. My DNA directed me to become a public servant, a teacher, and I am so glad that, as a young person I found the right fit of a profession for myself. A good match, if you will. Likewise, many of you would prefer to see your dreams unfold in the for profit American business market. I would say to you, go for it, and I hope you thrive and achieve all that you wish to achieve with your lives, making as much money as you wish, if that is your goal. Keep your dreams alive. But as we have seen in the last few years, the world, as we presently know it, can easily change, and that is why I hope, for each of you, guaranteed Social Security in your old age, and a public option in your heathcare for which you do not have to worry as to whether or not you can afford it, because it would be nonprofit and guaranteed, rather than for profit.
I believe that with these social safety nets in place within our capitalistic engine of productivity in our nation, that America could evolve into a nation that would want to practice nonviolence in its encounters with one and all, individually and globally, because America would be a nation that would have less fear in its citizens, less judgment of others, and be in a place where all would have the opportunity to reach for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence. Our American Constitution encourages these concepts, as proposed by FDR’s Second Bill of Rights of social safety nets for all, through the words within its Preamble that state that one of the purposes of our government is to provide for the general welfare of its citizens.
My dream is not only that America would become a more nonviolent nation, but that it would show the world the way to achieve this nonviolent concept worldwide. Our great military, made up of our dedicated young men and women, could be a force for nonviolent change through their service to others, as it has done in Haiti. Yes, our military would still be there for our defense against those who wish to harm us as also stated in our Constitution. But my prayer is that, with America’s showing the world a nonviolent way to proceed, fewer and fewer citizens of the world would care to rise up against us through violence. That process would take time to change mindsets worldwide, but it is worth the pursuit because we know that violence only begets more violence and nonviolence would, hopefully, transform not only America, but this planet for good. Would not that be a spiritual transformation of this world worth living for and speaking out for?
Adieu, good people, one and all.

Churchill's MOM

January 24th, 2010
8:31 am

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies.. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

david wayne osedach

January 24th, 2010
9:47 am

I like this approach: investing the money in our future. As opposed to a temporary fix like the filling of potholes.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 24th, 2010
10:03 am

What does 8 years of Republican rule get you? More looting of the banks and savings and loans. Regulators shut down banks Friday in Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, bringing to nine the number of bank failures so far in 2010, following 140 closures last year in the toughest economic environment since the Great Depression. All of America owes the neocon scum a through physical beating, from the tip of their toes to the top of their heads.

Michael H. Smith

January 24th, 2010
10:52 am

Teacher if you think I’ve been rude to you, then I was obviously correct in expressing my regret to the extreme that I did, over your hubris.

Like Teddy Roosevelt NOT FDR who borrowed from his cousin TR the idea of a social safety net, much of the New Deal Square Deal, I too believe in the merits of providing a means to prevent the unrecoverable utter financial devastation of any U.S. Citizen. By term “safety net” I do by no means believe Teddy Roosevelt envisioned providing a double your money back guaranteed life of opulence with a guaranteed yield to meet and exceed all personal expectations attached too it that even the Queen of England herself would envy.

It is painfully obvious to me teacher, you have a lack of understanding about investing and the risk involved. Investments of any kind are risky, in short, it is gambling your hard earned real money not just the hoped return of more money than you gambled. What you have in TRS is hard to call an investment because there really is no risk, nothing truly gambled, as long as the State of Georgia exists you will get your money no matter whatever else might happen.

I’m glad you were never a teacher of mine. Heaven forbid you ever taught an economics class.

Michael H. Smith

January 24th, 2010
11:30 am

Kyle, I hope you will broach the subject of our Governor’s desire to use Hope Scholarship lottery money for unintended purposes. I had sooner approve legalizing commercial gaming in the State of Georgia – even if it does mean fighting against every Baptist and Jim Wooten – to produce the needed revenues than to have you touch the first red copper of Hope Scholarship lottery money for unintended reasons Sonny Purdue.

A simple one word message Governor Purdue: DON’T!

Logic

January 24th, 2010
5:18 pm

Please ban Cynthia Tucker…she lacks logic.

MPercy

January 24th, 2010
5:51 pm

“What does 8 years of Republican rule get you?”

On blog after blog, I read about “8 years of Bush” or “8 years of Republican control”. As if Pres. Bush and the Republican party in Congress had total control over the country. These statements often reflect either ignorance or complete denial of the facts.

First, we know that Pres. Bush did not have Congressional support in the final two years of his 2nd term, as the 110th Congress was controlled by Democrats (233-202 in the House, and 49-49-2 in the Senate with Leiberman and Sanders as “independents” who mostly joined Democrats when they voted). Any bill which passed the 110th Congress had to have Democratic support, and especially had to have the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Indeed, they passed two bills that Pres. Bush vetoed and who’s vetoes were subsequently overridden. (Water Resources Development Act of 2007 and Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (the 2007 Farm Bill)).

But even when Republicans held majorities in Congress under Bush, as they did in the 107th-109th Congresses, the majorities were slim, and especially slim in the Senate (often an even split). Thus whenever a bill was approved in the Senate, it had to be done with support of something close to 20% of the Democrats in the Senate (assuming 100% Republican support, which was not at all guaranteed). In light of this, anything that passed the Congress did so with something of a bipartisan effort, since Democrats could block the Senate on any issue simply by withholding cloture votes as a bloc (or something remotely like a bloc). Instead we saw one of the most “Bushy” bills, the PATRIOT Act, passed 99-1 in the Senate and 357-66 in the House. On the other hand, another big Bush bill, the Medicare Modernization Act, passed 220-215 with 16 Democrats voting Yea in the House (and 25 Republicans voting Nay) and 54-44 in the Senate, with 11 Democrats supporting it and 9 Republicans opposed (i.e., nearly ¼ of the Democrats in the Senate voted for the bill). In perhaps the most telling vote, the Iraq war was started with strong Democratic support, according to Wikipedia: “Introduced in Congress on October 2, 2002 in conjunction with the Administration’s proposals, H.J.Res. 114 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. EDT on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133, and passed the Senate after midnight early Friday morning at 12:50 a.m. EDT on October 11, 2002 by a vote of 77-23. It was signed into law as Pub.L. 107-243 by President Bush on October 16, 2002.” Eighty-two Democrats (40%) supported the action in the House and 29 Democrats (50%) in the Senate also supported the action. In fact, the Democrats+Jeffords(I-VT) as a bloc had a 51-49 majority in the Senate, yet they still passed the bill. Even the Bush tax cuts of 2003 could have been held up, but 2 Yeas from Democrats in the Senate counterbalanced 3 Nays by Republicans, leaving the final vote in Dick Cheney’s hands breaking the 50-50 tie.

It has been widely reported than Democrats in Congress (esp. Barney Frank) blocked attempts by the Bush administration to reform and regulate the mortgage industry in the part of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Even though in the minority party, they could block items in committees and by withholding cloture, because the Senate was so evenly split.

In the end, nearly everything in the Bush years, other than executive orders and other policy matters (e.g. rules set by Cabinet Secs.) was done with some measure of Democratic support. In particular, since only Congress controls the purse strings, all the money spent under Bush was spent with Democratic votes in support. Had Democrats held their party line, the “Bush years” would have come out differently.

For the record, I did not vote for Bush either time.