Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The post-partisan president has the country divided 50-50. No end in sight. Gotta tell you. I’m coming to hate politics as exemplified by the deal with U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) to exempt that state forever from the higher taxes imposed by the new health care legislation now being hashed out in Congress. The Georgia Department of Community Health estimates that Georgians would be forced to pay up to $200 million in higher taxes for an expanded Medicaid program starting in 2013 and increasing to $500 million per year over the following six years. We pay for Georgia, plus Nebraska. That’s bound to be unconstitutional.
● I am becoming so radicalized by the direction this country is being taken that, much as I hate cold weather, I’d fly to Massachusetts to vote in Tuesday’s special election to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy if that state allowed same-day registration and voting. It’s a solidly Democratic state, of course, but an upset may be in the making with Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley, the attorney general. The Kennedy replacement is the 60th vote on health care.
● Hallelujah! Sign me up as a front-row supporter of Gov. Sonny Perdue proposal to pay teachers not on the basis of how many years they’ve been on the job, or what degrees they’ve obtained — mail-order degrees included — but on how well they teach. The test for all teachers, instructors and professors is what value-added contribution they make. Test ’em going in and test ’em going out and pay the teacher well for adding knowledge.
● Just curious. Those who speak for the liberal-leaning think tank, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, reflexively oppose “special-interest tax breaks.” Wonder how much state or federal income tax GBPI pays? None, I’m guessing. Alan Essig, GBPI’s director, opposes Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s effort to cut taxes this session. Bad economics and bad policy, he says. Fiscal conservatives cut taxes, both to incentivize work and to reduce the size of government. They should never allow critics to blow them off that effort.
● Wow! Did the chancellor of the University System of Georgia really say that? State colleges and universities (and the private ones, too) have been expanding into new markets faster than Subway sandwich shops, dollar stores and tattoo parlors over the past decade. Now money’s tight. What to do? Said Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. in his State of the University System address: “I would prefer to see more institutions sharpening, honing and tightening their missions rather than seeking to expand them based solely on institutional aspirations rather than true state need.” Tell it all, brother. Colleges are getting like the technical schools once were in training beauticians. It wasn’t because the state needed more beauticians. It was just that they knew how and could find paying students — or, rather, students with a revenue stream attached.
● One line in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s State of the State address should be the honest oath of all Americans, especially those who are elected to public office. Said Perdue: “I am for doing with a little less if it means a lighter burden and a brighter future for the next generation.” In 10 years, that’ll sound quaint.
● One question reporters from all media never ask when children are harmed or at risk: Where’s the father and why isn’t he a part of the solution? A female soldier with a small child misses deployment to Afghanistan and now faces charges. She says her mother was supposed to care for the child while the soldier served out her commitment to her country, but backed out.