Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
Think this Congress couldn’t be worse — or farther out? Sunday’s interview with Cynthia McKinney is a reminder that, had she remained in Congress, she’d be important now.
Despite Atlanta’s financial woes, politicians should not be tempted to try the solution that Birmingham embraces: An occupational tax of just under one-half of 1 percent. The mountains and the sea are the first obstacles to job flight.
No question, home schooling should be treated with the same respect accorded other educational choices parents make. Allowing them to participate in the prestigious Governor’s Honors Program, as directed by the General Assembly, is an overdue acknowledgment of parity with public and private schooling.
Appropriate, too, are the $1.4 million in federal grants to help support new charter schools. The feds should have no more than a tiny, tiny role in k-12 education, the responsibility of state and local governments. Funding new educational models is one of them. Four schools got grants ranging from $200,000 to $400,000.
Yes, there is opposition to privatization of public services in Georgia’s largest city south of Dunwoody. No surprise that Mayor Shirley Franklin’s administration “has seen no great reformation,” as AJC reporter D.L. Bennett found. Exceedingly rare is the elected official who can get past the constant naysayers, unions and bureaucrats to turn talk into action. Talk’s cheap.
The future is seen in a photo in Sunday’s AJC. It consists of four women “chanting in support of health care reform at U.S. Rep. David Scott’s town hall meeting.” Three are wearing T-shirts promoting AFSCME — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — and three are carrying mass-produced signs that have, on a dime, shifted debate from “health care reform” to “health insurance reform.” The quick change was to demonize insurance companies. Few trust government to run health care. But public employee unions and politicians? A combination to be feared.
Another glimpse of the future: Smokers, rebelling against a 62-cents per pack increase in the tobacco tax, to $1.01 per pack, are beginning to grow their own. It’s a cottage industry now, for sure. But taxpayers do react to onerous taxes. They change behaviors. They quit. Or they beat the system, as with Prohibition. Taxation is the power to destroy and the tool to create crooks or new undesirable behaviors.
The Troy Anthony Davis case is an example of how public opinion can be manipulated, even at the top of the judiciary. Justice Antonin Scalia nailed it: Even though “every judicial and executive body that has examined petitioner’ stale claim of innocence has been unpersuaded,” the majority of justices directed a district court judge to hear his claim of new evidence in the murder of Savannah policeman Mark MacPhail. That, said Scalia, amounts to sending a federal judge “on a fool’s errand” without meaningful guidance. There’s less to the recanted testimony and “new evidence” than is routinely implied. Pity the poor MacPhail family. A headline captured his mother’s hurt: “Never-ending anguish is aftermath of son’s killing.”
The federal government that can’t process “Cash for Clunkers” rebates to dealers is proposing to run the nation’s health-care system. Half the 425 dealers in the Greater New York [City] Automobile Dealers Association is pulling out of the program because they’re not getting paid. Don’t want the same suspense for my body parts.
No fools here. Officials at the Georgia World Congress Center step up efforts to recruit conventions in industries that are getting federal “stimulus” money. Transportation and alternative energy are among them. Industries without access to free, borrowed, tax-the-unborn tax dollars aren’t spending on non-essentials. Those with access to the public’s money are.