Archive for December, 2009

Don’t let Detroit be our future

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

● Incoming Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed — he takes office Monday — has been handed a 300-page binder identifying problems the outgoing mayor leaves behind. Reed’s designated chief operating officer Peter Aman says, “The shortage of funds is a theme that runs through every department.” That’s a surprise. The binder should have included a Wall Street Journal interview with Mayor Dave Bing titled “Can Detroit Be Saved?” Clue: Yes, but downsized and with payroll costs brought under control. There, union employee benefit costs run 68 percent of base salaries. Keys to Mayor Kasim Reed’s success will be payroll costs. Unless he can gain control of future pension liabilities, he’ll simply be another in that long line of politicians who roll over exploding personnel costs to the next guy. The solution is to immediately close existing pension plans to new employees and start over with defined-contribution, as opposed to defined-benefit, …

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Rx reform compromise: Let it die

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

● Al Gore and those who attended the Copenhagen conference on global warming should have read Atlanta-based Grier’s Almanac, continuously published since 1807 and once a bible of farmers: “No mathematician or astronomer can possibly cipher out the weather. When such predications are seen in almanacs, they should be regarded as near guesswork entitled to no confidence and as likely to fail as succeed. As with the influence of the Zodiac, however, we put forth the best guesswork for the benefit of those who believe in it.”

● A man robbing the SouthTrust Bank on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive says he needs the money to pay the mortgage. All who think that to be the actual reason the bank was robbed would be very disappointed to know the truth about Santa. Yes and the men who stole 30 cases of beer from a truck making a delivery to Kroger on Monroe Drive were merely thirsty. Ah, Christmas.

● Headline: “Crime falling in recession.” …

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Georgia’s GOP owns the culture it inherited

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

● Had the Obama administration delivered on swine flu vaccine, it could claim credit for success in halting the spread of the illness. Across the nation, and in Georgia, it’s fading away, even though the vaccine never arrived for most. Democrats in Congress and the administration porked-out $789 billion in “stimulus,” and while the jobs saved or created are pure fiction, the administration will claim credit when the economy recovers, as it eventually will. Economic recovery, swine flu. Same-same.

● Linking Ga. 400 north of Atlanta to I-675 on the south by tunneling, and making it a toll road, is a cracker-jack idea. It’s one of the top toll projects the state Department of Transportation is pitching to private investors and road-construction companies. But watch how quickly opponents will inject race, a staple of Atlanta policy-making. Already, it’s cast that way because the tunnel would go under old, established …

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Close teacher-student loophole

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

● The property tax system is inherently unfair to somebody and sometimes — like now — to lots of people. The fairer way to do it would be to let the homeowner, as well as the assessor, declare a value. Then when the home’s sold, the homeowner would be liable, or get a rebate, on the total difference between selling price and the homeowner’s declarations, plus interest. Sign that contract and all disputes are over.

● But: A homeowner who paid more than $1 million for a house in 2002, puts it on the market for this year for $1.3 million, and objects because it was appraised for $857,500 in 2004, leaves me a tad unsympathetic. With property taxes, the unfairness exists in all directions.

● Good question posed by Christopher Johnson of Atlanta in the AJC’s Letter’s column: Why do teachers miss more work than others? Concludes Johnson: “There is no credible reason why teachers should use sick leave at the rate of 1.6 to 2.3 times …

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World peace first, global tax next

Recognizing the obvious — that taxes and regulations imposed by this government push American jobs overseas — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wishes to tax the world.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has introduced legislation to levy a tax on all stock and related financial transactions, including futures contracts and options.  The levy would start small, as they always do, at one quarter of one percent.   As proposed, the levy would give Congress another $150 billion per year in spending money.

The problem, however, is that in the absence of a “global nation,” business takes flight from overly burdensome taxes and regulation.  Even the Left has come to recognize that.  Her solution, therefore, is to try to head business flight off by extending the tax abroad.  ”I believe that the transaction tax still has a great deal of merit,” said Pelosi, but “the concern that many of us or others have had is that it will send…transactions overseas.”  The remedy, therefore, is a global …

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No such thing as free money

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

● Tiger Woods is right, but then he’s a mere celebrity public figure and not one who holds a position of public trust. Said Woods: “No matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. … Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.” To that, I would add one’s sexual preferences. We don’t need to know who’s doing what unless the public business is involved.

● The apparently unsuccessful Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood has life’s priorities straight. On a “too close to call” election night, she announced that the results wouldn’t be known for hours — so she climbed in her car and went home, presumably to get some sleep. Why keep supporters hanging around until the wee hours when Wednesday’s a work day? Three pollsters got this …

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