Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The former chief operating officer for the DeKalb schools, the woman responsible for the system’s nuts-and-bolts financial details, neglects one teensy-weensy detail about her own life. Patricia Pope said she was “unknowingly” still married when she nuptialized the architect to whom she is suspected of steering school construction contracts. One doesn’t remember buying an extra wrench — not ordinarily taking an extra husband.
● Remember the 1989 spectacle of former House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski being chased down the street by angry seniors objecting to the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988? We’ll see that all over the country if tone-deaf Democrats ignore the nation’s opposition and proceed to pass ObamaCare — especially if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempts a procedural end-run around the Constitution.
● The AJC’s Washington correspondent, Bob Keefe, notes that two of Georgia’s House Democrats are undecided on what all media insists on calling health care “reform.” That’d be U.S. Reps. John Barrow of Savannah and Sanford Bishop of Albany. In ordinary times, both would be in safe seats. Not now. Pollsters warn that, given public anger, the president and congressional leaders could defeat enough red state Democrats to flip the House. Other Georgia Democrats voting for the “reform” are in safe districts. Not the “B” boys.
● Hospital officials at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio dispute the cancer-patient claim repeatedly cited by President Barack Obama that without health care “reform” she’d have to “choose between her home and her health insurance.” Most likely, she’s eligible for Medicaid, regardless of the outcome of ObamaCare. The problem repeatedly with individual stories used to justify an expansion of state and federal programs is that they’re always one critical unrevealed fact shy of full disclosure.
● Great ideas from a seven-member task force appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to identify future economies in state government. One obvious way is to reduce payroll. While revenues dropped 23 percent over the past year, they note, payroll dropped by 7 percent. The top-rated reason that politicians raise taxes is to avoid staff layoffs. The task force identifies $3 billion in possible savings, though some are “politically unviable,” says Cagle. “Politically unviable” proposals require determined and visionary leaders who make the effort to sell their ideas to voters.
● Sandy Springs officials demonstrate one of the sterling features of hiring private contractors to perform public services. With a year to go before its contract with Colorado-based CH2M Hill expires, officials are exploring possible changes, including contracting with several firms rather than just one. Two points: One is that with privatization, government can “fire” one provider deemed to be too expensive or not to be performing adequately and hire another. The other, more important, is that the pension costs, which are crippling Atlanta and other governments, are contained in the contracts. No hidden, embedded costs for the grandchildren to pay off.
● Really, we all should get together in a huge American confab and agree that “victims” who materialize subsequent to major news events — the Toyota recall, for example — and those whose “harm” tends to confirm a popular bigotry stereotype, are probably bogus. We should also require that those who gather to protest cuts in public services should be paying 50 percent of the cost of providing it. (We’ll also consider waiving a requirement for college students that their protest signs have to be grammatically correct.)