Archive for October, 2011

Georgians look past government to solve child poverty

America’s five-decade war on poverty has made quite clear which social ill is most closely tied to child poverty. Yet, we haven’t taken the first shot at it. Fortunately, some Georgians are finally ready to take the fight where it needs to go.

I’m talking about the breakdown of the two-parent family and births out of wedlock. No other social factor comes closer to explaining why some people are poor and others aren’t.

Not education: In Georgia, the child of two married high school dropouts is less likely to be poor than the child of a single mother who has taken some college classes. More striking, a single mother with a college degree is more likely to live in poverty than are two married high school grads with a child.

Education matters. It’s just not the most important factor when it comes to child poverty.

Nor is race or ethnicity: Poverty rates are higher in Georgia for blacks and Hispanics than for whites. However, a white single parent is almost four times …

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Obama abides by Bush’s timeline for leaving Iraq, although you wouldn’t know that to hear him tell it (video)

Less than an hour ago, President Obama announced we will abide by the agreement the Bush administration struck in fall 2008 to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Oh, wait — that’s not what he said?

As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end…. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. … So, today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

That’s what the president said (video here and below). He made no mention of the Status of Forces Agreement from October 2008, ratified by Iraqi lawmakers in November 2008, that stated, in pertinent part:

All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.

Surely, that part of “as promised” matters at least as much as …

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Jobs to Obama: You’re going to be a one-term president

Maybe Barack Obama doesn’t really want a second term. After all, he had arguably the nation’s most successful and popular CEO offering to help make his re-election campaign ads, giving him free advice on how to turn the economy around — and warning him he was in danger of losing in 2012.

But there’s scant evidence Obama actually listened to this man — a certain Apple co-founder named Steve Jobs, according to a preview of the forthcoming biography of the recently departed entrepreneur, as reported by the Huffington Post:

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” [Jobs] told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. …

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Poll Position: How to repay state’s debt for jobless benefits?

Georgia’s government maintains a AAA credit rating and owes relatively little money to creditors. But we’ve run up one debt that is breathing down our necks: to the federal government, for unemployment benefits.

The recession walloped Georgia’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, wiping out reserves of nearly $1.3 billion and leaving us to borrow from Washington to pay benefits to the jobless. The trust fund once totaled $2 billion, but it never quite refilled after legislators approved tax holidays totaling about $1.1 billion during Roy Barnes’ administration and somewhat smaller extensions during Sonny Perdue’s tenure.

How should Georgia pay down its federal debt for unemployment benefits?

  • Raise unemployment taxes (80 Votes)
  • Cut jobless benefits (48 Votes)
  • Some combination of 1-4 (43 Votes)
  • Sell bonds (to reduce interest costs) (20 Votes)
  • Use general revenues (12 Votes)
  • Something else (specify in comments) (10 Votes)

Total Voters: 213

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Today, we …

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Harry Reid: Hey, bureaucrats are the ones hurting (video)

Sharron Angle giveth, Sharron Angle taketh away. On the one hand, the Nevada Republican’s awful campaign last year against incumbent Harry Reid helped Democrats avoid an embarrassing electoral defeat and maintain their majority in the Senate. On the other, keeping Reid in office means Republicans still have someone to practically write the campaign ads for them.

Here’s Reid on the Senate floor Wednesday, explaining that the private sector is in fine shape — it’s the public sector that’s hurting during the Obama Recovery:

Via Jeff Emanuel at RedState, who notes that the federal government’s unemployment statistics prove the exact opposite — the unemployment rate for government workers last month was in fact the lowest for any sector. Just as it was a year ago.

Folks, there is nothing wrong with the economy that Democratic leaders think government — more spending, more regulation and now more hiring — can’t fix. Just ask them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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After Gadhafi, questions for Libya as well as NATO

Libyans will determine whether Moammar Gadhafi’s reported death today ultimately marks a new, more hopeful beginning for their nation, or simply another milepost on the brutal road they’ve been traveling for four decades. Gadhafi’s demise is undoubtedly a gain for them and for the world. But will it be augmented by strides toward democracy and peace, or negated by the rise of a new strong man in his place?

Revolutions keep their own time, whether aided by outsiders or not. Iraq’s future is brighter today than before the American overthrow of Saddam, but there were many, many dark moments along the way. Just next door, and two and a half decades earlier, Iranians’ U.S.-aided rebellion against the shah led to a militant theocracy that puts them in increasing peril. In Egypt, many of us who were encouraged by the uprising in Tahrir Square this spring have been discouraged by events since then. Heck, even the greatest, most enlightened collection of founding fathers the world has …

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Perry hints at the outlines of his economic plan

Rick Perry said during Tuesday night’s debate that he was on the verge of releasing his economic-growth plan. In a speech Wednesday, the Texas governor said it’s coming early next week — and, according to a report in the Weekly Standard, it includes “major tax reform, entitlement reform, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, an abolishment of earmarks, and a recommitment to energy exploration in the United States.”

[Perry's] plan “starts with scrapping the three million words of the current tax code — starting over with something simple: a flat tax.”

“I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time,” the Texas governor said, taking a jab at the treasury secretary who had major errors in his tax returns that were revealed after he was nominated by President Barack Obama for his present job.

“The second part of my plan involves the serious commitment to spending, realizing alternatives” to the path taken by Europe, Perry …

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At $5 million a year, put me on the NBA ‘plantation’ (video)

Comparing NBA players (average salary in 2011: $5.15 million) to “boys” on a “modern-day plantation” is ludicrous on its face. But doesn’t Bryant Gumbel, who did just that during a segment on HBO’s “Real Sports” this week, sound particularly outlandish saying so during the days of Occupy Wall Street and 9 percent unemployment?

A couple of NFL players (average salary in 2011: a paltry $1.9 million) tried to make a similar case during this summer’s lockout. It was just as out of touch then as it is now.

Note to Gumbel and professional athletes: If there really is a “99 percent,” y’all aren’t part of it.

(And a note to everyone else: Given the topic, let me go ahead and warn against inflammatory language. You can make your point without it.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Tuesday night’s GOP debate: Everyone tries to hold steady, but did Newt just make a move?

Tuesday night’s debate was the last one until mid-November, and that’s a good thing. After last night, the candidates may well need a cooling-off period from one another.

Reagan’s 11th Commandment — never speak ill of a fellow Republican — was broken early and often. The candidates went after Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax-reform plan right off the bat, and it was at best a draw for the Georgian. He really does receive some unfair attacks when his reform plans are conflated with state taxes: His answer that the state taxes (particularly sales taxes) will exist regardless is true, and no one would argue that leaving income taxes higher than 9 percent is somehow unfair for those states that have income taxes.

On the other hand, his defense against charges that the plan is regressive isn’t working. He can’t simply say “not true” about the analyses that conclude it would lead to higher taxes for lower- and middle-income families, and expect people to believe him. More broadly, he …

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2012 Tuesday: A quiz, and something puzzling about Romney

During election season, political websites will occasionally steal a page from magazines like Cosmo and offer multiple-choice quizzes to help you find your perfect match. The latest one, from, is even titled, “Find Your True Love! A quiz to match you to your perfect sweetheart GOP presidential candidate,” and puts a heart-shaped frame around your supposed poli-soul mate at the end.

It goes without saying, of course, that these things are HIGHLY unscientific and fraught with selection bias. Someone at Reason had to choose the statements representing each candidate for each of the nine topics, and there’s bound to be a perspective at play — in this case, a libertarian one. Still, I found my results instructive about the election, in an unexpected way.

My match was, to my surprise, Herman Cain. (I should say that I probably would have been surprised regardless of the result, given that I’m far from making up my mind about the candidates.) The quiz doesn’t tell you …

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