Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Was away early week. Understand Atlanta got drenched. With a reservoir on Atlanta’s land in Dawson County, we could have kept it for drinking.
● President Obama may be having a hard time with America’s Right, but the world’s Left thinks he’s a kindred soul. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised him for throwing Poland under the bus and the Czech Republic spoke admiringly of him, too, following his speech to the U.N. They think their intransigence has been rewarded; that they’ve won.
● At this stage in life, I’ve seen hotshot experts by the score ride to the rescue of a company, department, team or, more routinely, a school or some other aspect of public education. Most flame out, destroying what was there and moving on. Then there’s Bobby Cox. Steady. Reliable. Capable. He built, rebuilt and tried to make average performers better and gifted performers team players. Give me a Bobby Cox to fix anything that’s broken.
● On one point, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is right. Tolls imposed on existing roads or lanes do obligate taxpayers to pay twice. It’s the same as government charging you a monthly mortgage once your home’s paid off. Tolls should be reserved for added capacity.
● It’s déjà vu all over again. Atlanta City Council allows cabbies to operate 10-year-old clunkers, a relaxation of current 8-year-old standards. Government regulated taxis, presumably to get clunkers off the streets. As with the taxis, we’ll get government health care that’s more expensive, with politicians and interest groups in charge.
● A Washington-based education standards advocacy group, Achieve Inc., and others propose national standards for English and math. Georgians are perfectly capable of determining what kids should know and education officials are perfectly capable of designing a system to teach that curriculum. Don’t want or need Ray LaHood or other federal officials to decide what’s best for Georgia and what its public policies should be. These ideas start out harmless, but sooner or later D.C. politicians under the influence of interest groups and education unions will be dictating.
● Charlie Crawford, president of the Private Bank of Buckhead, makes good sense. Unfortunately, few in government listen to good sense anymore. The Federal Reserve is on the verge of regulating bankers’ pay. “I’m a free-enterprise guy, so the less regulation probably is the better,” observes Crawford. Responsibility for setting pay levels should be with management and the board. I’m guessing they’ve learned a lesson on pay packages for short-term performance. Squeeze this pay balloon in one place with regulation and the air merely moves to another.
● Atlanta’s chief financial officer says mayoral candidates are promising too much in pledging to hire more police officers. Any bureaucrat who thinks he should be making the policy decisions or formulating the budget should pay the qualifying fee and run. But, as an AJC analysis confirms, how officers are used is more important than the actual number. Atlanta’s hired hundreds of officers over the past decade, as Alan Judd reports, and the force is about the same size it was three years ago.
● Should the General Assembly be called into special session to deal with lower tax collections, as suggested by the executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Alan Essig? Good heavens, no. The Legislature had ample opportunity to raise taxes. They chose not to in January and they’d choose not to in October. They’d just be coming to town to eat and sightsee. Keep ‘em home.
● Headline: “Obama pushes health plan.” Based on polling results, not very far. But then, pushing is hard when most of America is blocking the door. Most Americans, and all of those with a degree of common sense, know when they’re being scammed.