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 that of the non-teacher workforce.” One of these days politicians do need to screw up the courage to give Johnson a rational reason — or change the system.
● No, despite Gov. Sonny Perdue’s national leadership role and the National PTA’s campaign targeting Georgia, we don’t need a single national education standard. Georgia parents should decide what children should be taught and develop standards to measure the school system’s success in teaching them, as we are now. If Georgia and other states set and raise standards, a national “standard” will evolve. If feds set standards, feds will decide what children are taught. We can influence state and locals. We can’t influence the feds.
● Republicans in the Georgia House will be hard put to find a more able speaker than state Rep. Larry O’Neal of Houston County, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The House needs a calm, mature leader without higher ambitions and with a strong sense of where he wants the state to go. That’s O’Neal. He’ll not be turned by the high-life opportunities in Atlanta.
● Headline: “Fort Hood unit deploys despite loss of soldiers.” What, one might ask, is the suggested alternative? Disband it? These are soldiers, for goodness sakes.
● It’s dishonest, disgraceful and a violation of the public trust for President Barack Obama to take $70 billion in unused borrowing authority — money that wasn’t needed to arrest the feared collapse of Wall Street — and spend it “to create jobs.” Nobody knew what sum would be needed in the crisis because nobody knew the scope of it. Too much was allocated. The excess should now go to reduce the spiraling federal deficit. The federal deficit is $12.1 trillion and Congress may increase that cap by $1.8 trillion.
● The White House Project is a feminist group dedicated to finding, training and pushing “women” to run for public office. Wonder how many pro-life or conservative women they found, trained or pushed to run for office. Most groups claiming to represent or promote “women” run for the hills when a Sarah Palin is the woman.
● I was an early supporter of lawyers advertising their services. After watching trial lawyers solicit clients on daytime TV, I’m close to concluding that I was wrong. They make me want to shower and scrub with pumice stones.
● Please. A 36-year-old Marietta high school teacher and a 17-year-old student were “in love” and therefore he claims absolution for initiating a sexual relationship. The judge says no crime. The Georgia General Assembly needs to make it perfectly clear that any schoolteacher, prison guard, or custodian of others who engages in a sexual relationship is guilty of a crime — and should do time. Nobody in “custody” of a school, jail, treatment center or shelter where they lack full independence is free to give “consent.”