Archive for July, 2009

Give us health tax deductions

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) drafts the national health care plan that Congress should consider. Tax credits and deductions give consumers money to purchase medical coverage in the private sector, shopping across state lines. State high-risk pools would cover those with existing medical problems. One vital feature, missing from the Democrats’ plans, are provisions to curtail excessive medical malpractice awards. It is a national policy calamity that a more open and honest congressional debate didn’t occur.

Don’t know Glenn Thomas, a candidate for mayor of Atlanta, but he offers a profound insight into taxes collected by one government and handed over to another to spend, specifically Atlanta’s spending of federal largesse. Said Thomas: “It’s not that we don’t have the money. We don’t know how to spend it.” He was speaking of the wasted $100 million Empowerment Zone money that the Clinton administration shoveled to …

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Liberal Dems best take this health-care deal

Barring a sudden change of fortunes — either the taxpayers’ good fortunes or those of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — liberal Democrats won’t be able to push through the radical remake of the nation’s health care system as they’d proposed.

Centrist Democrats, the so-called Blue Dogs who represent states and districts where the parties are still competitive, balked. In the Senate, three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are working a bill that would drop the government “insurance” option in favor of a “nonprofit cooperative” that would sell insurance.  Gone, too, is a provision that invited large companies to dump medical costs onto taxpayers, though high-dollar benefits may be taxed at 35 percent and companies will be taxed to ”reimburse the government” for the subsidies that would go to those whose income is less than 300 percent of poverty.

Insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to any …

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Thank Sonny we’re not California

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

Drop Sonny a note and thank him for managing the small cuts that keep Georgia from being California, where budget “solutions” are mostly just gimmicks that hide the problem and roll it over into another year. Thank goodness for a constitutional prohibition on deficit spending – and for a governor who started managing the nickels early in the downturn. The gimmee crowd – the teachers’ union, for example – really should shut up. It could be far worse.

Fifteen Georgia counties have unemployment rates above 13 percent. State financial incentives for businesses to locate here should be limited to those with high unemployment caused by plant closings. Once skilled and disciplined workers leave to find jobs in metro Atlanta or elsewhere, they’re not going back, worsening those counties’ predicament. Kelly McCutcheon, executive VP of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, notes that “hundreds of scholarly studies and decades of …

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Bailouts could top $23 trillion — yes, trillion.

Holy Toledo! More than the entire cost of all wars the U.S. has ever fought.  More than the New Deal.  More than the cost of sending a man to the moon.  Almost twice the yearly gross domestic product of the entire United States of America.

That’s the possible cost of the 50 bailout programs to which the U.S. is now committed — $23.7 trillion — according  to Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP). The ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa of California, points out that spending a billion dollars a day back to the birth of Christ would have added up to only $1 trillion. Barofsky’s report is expected to be delivered today to the House oversight panel.

If Congress ever needed a bucket of cold water on its over-heated passion for spending, Barofsky’s warning should provide it.   Some Democrats representing districts where people earn enough to feel threatened by President …

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School chief, Democrats in denial

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

The Georgia General Assembly, following the precedent the DOT might be willing to set, ought to consider a tax on use of the state Capitol, occupancy of college dorms and classrooms, and ridership of trains, planes and buses. Why? To give politicians more money to spend, of course. DOT chairman Bill Kuhlke says the board will consider lifting the ban on charging tolls for already-built, and paid-for, roads. If we can pay twice for roads, why not other paid-for facilities?

It is shocking that the National Superintendent of the Year, Atlanta’s Beverly Hall, refuses to acknowledge that subordinates cheated on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and commendable of Gov. Sonny Perdue to take her to task for living in denial.

But wait! The higher required national minimum wage — up to $7.25 per hour this July 24th from $5.85 two years ago — was supposed to mean more pay. But the average wage small …

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Will Blue Dogs contain health care tab?

Nine months into the new fiscal year and five months into the presidency of Barack Obama, the  federal deficit has hit $1 trillion for the first time in history.  Take note, children, and stop goofing off in school, demanding feel-good, esteem-raising “A’s” for “C-minus” work.  You’ve a heavy debt burden to finance over the course of your working lives, with a far heavier debt burden yet to come.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives add to that burden with a proposal expected today for national health care legislation.  While politicians play games with cost and with financing schemes that are alleged to include $155 billion in future savings from payments to hospitals, the truth is that whatever they come up with will exceed another trillion dollars over a decade.   President Obama says those costs won’t be borne by the middle class.  The Nancy Pelosi Democrats propose to get financing from “the rich.”   Fat chance. “The rich” can avoid taxes, in part by …

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Run, Sarah, run (set the pace, too)

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her publicity-seeking stunts have finally achieved the attention she deserves: One- or two-paragraph stories that run with those that warn us that sheep on the remote Scottish island of Hirta are gradually shrinking because of global warming. Global warming’s shrunk our interest in her, too.

Are pickups prejudiced? Two Dalton people were killed when the motorcycle they were riding was sideswiped by a motorist who apparently crossed the center lane. A motorist driving a car could have done the same thing. Yet pickup drivers — I am one — are presumed to be aggressive and when a lesser vehicle is involved, it’s always noted that the offending vehicle was a pickup.

Not surprising that among the big cities with the lowest unemployment rates is Washington, D.C., with 6.2 percent. Atlanta ranks 18th, at 9.6 percent. The stimulus creates jobs. For government workers.

Atlanta …

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Sarah is the conservative’s Oprah

No question, Sarah Palin is the Republican Democrats love to hate.  They sense in her the small-town, outsider appeal that they find threatening.  She scares them. 

That’s why liberals spend an inordinate amount of time lamenting that she’s not ready for prime time or that poor old unsophisticated Sarah appeals to hayseed conservatives, but otherwise has no possible appeal that could grow the Republicans’ conservative majority into an electoral majority.

I’ve seen her before crowds.  Admittedly, the crowds were Republican.  And one in Middle Georgia was both Republican and Red State. But she has an energy and a connection that few politicians can match.  She’s just as appealing as “former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin” as she would be a “Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.”  Give her three years for the people south of Alaska to see and hear her and she’ll be the Oprah of the conservative movement.  People like her.  People listen.  She connects. She’s real. Oprah picks the books …

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Bills should be required reading

 

That Congress doesn’t work to serve our best interest is not news.  Major legislation, including the $787 billion “stimulus” porker and the cap-and-trade energy tax legislation are essentially written by Democrats in leadership positions and then popped onto the floor for quick votes.  As a result, almost nobody knows what’s in them until after the deed is done.

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Brian Baird of Washington State and Republican John Culberson of Texas, have introduced a resolution to require non-emergency legislation to be posted on the Internet 72 hours in advance of a floor vote.  A number of good-government interest groups, including Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based organization created in 2006 to promote transparency in government, are pushing the effort.  A conservative group, Let Freedom Ring, is attempting to extract a promise from members of Congress that they won’t vote on health care legislation until they’ve …

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Cool down with a fan and iced tea

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

  • I agree with President Barack Obama. What? No lightning strikes me down? On his nomination of U.S. District Court Judge Beverly Martin to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, we are in agreement. She is, as he said, “a first rate jurist with unflagging integrity and evenhandedness.”
  • More worries for taxpayers and their grandchildren: The government agency that pays the pensions of 44 million workers who were employed in failed businesses reports a deficit of $33.5 billion, triple the deficit reported six months ago.
  • More worries, too, for the kiddies: By 2030, the number of U.S. residents over 65 will jump from 13 percent to 20 percent. The world’s elderly population is growing at twice the rate of the general population, reports the D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Hide the piggy banks. Congress plans a stick-up.
  • Change gushes through Washington and creeps through Georgia. But, still, it’s …

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