Archive for April, 2012

Rising tuition trumps interest rate among students’ worries

Sometimes, it’s the “principal” of the thing. Particularly when “the thing” is a loan.

As lots of homeowners learned, borrowing too much money can lead to trouble even if interest rates are relatively low. If college students are wise, they’ll realize the current debate about the interest rate for their loans is a sideshow compared to rising prices.

President Barack Obama visited college students last week to argue for keeping the interest rate for federal student loans at 3.4 percent. He urged them to tell Congress, “Don’t double my rate” to 6.8 percent, as current law requires.

He was arguing against … no one. Republicans and Democrats alike propose holding the rate steady. As is often the case, they differ only over how to offset the cost (Republicans would cut spending; Democrats would raise someone’s taxes). Obama’s presumptive GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, also favors holding down the rate.

No doubt, a higher rate would be a blow to students. And the …

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Romney closes out the primaries by attacking Obama’s unfairness

The news from last night was not that Mitt Romney easily swept the five states that held primaries; that was assured once Rick Santorum left the race, if not before. Nor was it the prospect, which is being confirmed this morning, that Newt Gingrich would also drop out of the race as a result.

No, the news is that Romney finally gave the speech some of us have been waiting for him to give. (Click here to see a video of the speech, which lasted about 13 minutes, or here to read the prepared remarks; he didn’t stray too far from them.)

The heart of it was the contrast he drew between himself and President Obama. First, what he said about the president:

Government is at the center of his vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it can’t take, consumes a greater and greater share of the economy. You know, with Obamacare fully installed, government would have control of almost half of the economy, and we would have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.

This …

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2012 Tuesday: The long GOP veepstakes begins

The Republican primary resumes today, but it doesn’t matter. When Rick Santorum dropped out of the race a couple of weeks ago, any remaining suspense dissipated. The only question tonight will be Mitt Romney’s margins of victory. (Yes, I realize Newt Gingrich is playing up his chances of winning in Delaware. I also realize that, well, it’s Delaware.)

The conversation quickly moved on to the question of Romney’s running mate, which is a little bit silly. Four months remain before the Republican National Convention, and in my view it would be foolish to name a running mate this far out. If Romney continues to run neck-and-neck with President Obama in the polls or even opens up a sizable lead, he will want to play it safer with his choice than if, say, he falls behind significantly (think Sarah Palin in 2008). It’s too early.

I think the next couple of months will feature more scenes like the one we saw yesterday, with Romney campaigning alongside potential running mates. …

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Here we go: Cynthia McKinney is running for Congress again

A tough slog for Democrats in Georgia may be getting even tougher, thanks to one of their old friends: Cynthia McKinney has filed paperwork to run for Congress in Georgia’s 4th District as a member of the Green Party.

The incumbent, Hank “capsized Guam” Johnson, has made more than his fair share of gaffes since defeating McKinney in 2006 and entering Congress. But compared to her, he’s a statesman of the highest order.

Still, it took a runoff for Johnson to beat her in that year’s primary, and even then she won 41 percent of the vote. This will be a general election, and 41 percent of the Democratic vote would be enough to keep Johnson from winning a majority. The GOP candidate last time out, Liz Carter, won 25 percent against Johnson. Neither she nor any other Republican will win this heavily Democratic district. But the GOP candidate will get enough votes to make it tough for Johnson to beat McKinney — or (shudder) vice-versa — without a runoff. McKinney would need just a …

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A left-wing ‘temper tantrum’ to short-circuit elections and their consequences

Three years ago, the combination of a $787 billion stimulus and multibillion-dollar bailouts sparked the first tea party rallies. The tea partyers protested, yes, but most importantly they pledged to “remember in November” — that is, November of the following year, when the next congressional elections would be held.

Liberals, confident the tea parties would fail, called it a “temper tantrum.” That “tantrum” wound up sweeping many a Democrat out of office. Now, liberals are throwing a fit of their own. But they aren’t waiting for the next elections. They want their way, now.

That’s the upshot of both the threatened boycotts of a conservative legislative group’s corporate sponsors and the attempted recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The left, having lost last time, is too impatient to bide its time.

The conservative group in question, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has been around since 1973. It has been quite active in Georgia since …

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Poll Position: Should marijuana be legalized?

Today is considered “Weed Day” by marijuana smokers because the date, 4/20, corresponds with the numbers they use to refer to the drug. The actual origins of the term “420″ are not as widely known, but you can count on thousands of college students gathering — in some cases, together, and in very public locations — to celebrate doing something that’s illegal.

For now, anyway.

Should marijuana be legalized?

  • Yes (1,088 Votes)
  • No (40 Votes)
  • I don’t know (15 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,143

Loading ... Loading …

There is a growing shift in public opinion about whether marijuana should be legalized, even in the South, with as unlikely a proponent as Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson arguing that particular drug shouldn’t be treated any differently than alcohol. Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico and erstwhile GOP presidential candidate now seeking the Libertarian Party’s 2012 nomination, has called for legalizing and regulating marijuana, citing the ineffectiveness and …

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The latest from the party of ideas

OK, I admit it: I saw this on Power Line earlier today and was convinced it was really a hoax. Then I finally got the email from the Democratic National Committee, with a link to the latest innovation in bumper-sticker politics:

"Change that matters"?

"Change that matters"? Clearly, that's another slogan on its way to the scrap heap.

Yes, this is bound to be a campaign full of substance and thoughtfulness. Yessirree.

Well, if all sides are determined to keep this campaign on the low road, I might finally have to surrender and play along. One can only guess the only slogans that were considered and rejected …

“Democrats: Not to be confused with any other parties”

“Democrats: Alphabetically superior”

“Democrats: Hey, look — George W. Bush!”

“Democrats: Fresh out of short, vapid slogans”

“Democrats: Get our full message on Twitter”

And it’s not even silly season yet. (Sigh.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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How to help wounded soldiers and make our economy healthy

WARM SPRINGS — Georgians who ponder the jobs of the future should see what’s bubbling up now in a place best known for its past.

It was here that Franklin D. Roosevelt died at his Little White House, having visited Warm Springs for two decades in the hopes of regaining the use of his legs. Today, this town of 425 souls, about two-thirds of the way from Atlanta to Columbus as the crow flies, is still host to a rehabilitation center that is under-used but first-rate. The aspiration is to build it into an invaluable resource for wounded soldiers — and a centerpiece of Georgia’s prowess and promise in bio-science.

The Georgia Warrior Alliance, a joint project of businesses and philanthropies focused on health care and veterans, brings wounded soldiers to the facilities at Warm Springs. Here, they can heal their bodies and, soon, learn work skills — from manufacturing and construction to golf course maintenance.

This is “the right thing to do” for our veterans, says an …

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On Newt, Romney and the mortgage deduction question

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system … a real debate of policy and principle in what’s left of the GOP presidential primary.

As the Political Insider already noted, Newt Gingrich is chiding Mitt Romney for his reported idea of limiting the tax deduction for second homes, based on income. Gingrich calls this a violation of “the classical American definition of fairness — that every American be treated equally under the law” and uses the occasion to highlight his proposal for an optional flat tax of 15 percent on individual income.

I agree with Gingrich in the broad sense and in the long run, but I think Romney is just fine in the short run.

The mortgage-interest tax deduction is nothing but a federal subsidy for homebuyers. Period. (Full disclosure: My wife and I are among the millions of tax filers who claim the deduction on our tax return each year.) In an ideal world, we would eliminate it and all other deductions, and offset the change by lowering tax rates — so that …

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Romney: Don’t let this election go to the dogs

Good grief. Or, as a certain presidential candidate might say, “For Pete’s sake!”

It seems the long-running inanity about the time — 29 years ago — Mitt Romney transported the family dog in a cage strapped to the top of his car has finally gotten to the Romney campaign. It has responded by dredging up from “Dreams from My Father” a snippet of an anecdote about Barack Obama, as a child, eating dog meat while living in Indonesia.

Seriously. This is what stands to dominate the news cycle today. It’s already being branded “the dog wars.”

Memo to the Romney campaign: Democrats are not bringing up the Seamus-in-a-cage story because they are confident Americans approve of Obama’s presidency. It’s not a roundabout way to steer the conversation back to taxes and spending, deficits and debt, jobs and the economy, high gas prices and low employment — you know, the stuff voters repeatedly say they care about.

It is the opposite of that. So why do y’all keep falling for it?

Mitt Romney is …

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