Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Caterpillar may have been first to announce that funds that might have gone to create jobs will instead go to finance ObamaCare, but others are ‘fessing up, too. AT&T takes a $1 billion charge, Deere & Co. $150 million, 3M $90 million, and officials of a host of other companies declare that they’ll be transferring tens of millions from the private to the public sector to finance ObamaCare. As the Obama administration would reassure us, nobody earning less than $250,000 will be affected. Unless, of course, they eat or purchase goods and services in America. The end result may be that some companies stop funding drug benefits for retirees, thereby shifting them to Medicare Part D.
● Marietta is wisely developing guidelines on naming the new parks and recreation facilities to be financed by $25 million in bonds approved by the city’s voters last November. The first rule should be this: Name nothing for living politicians or for those whose contribution is to solicit public money or debt. Don’t buy public recognition with the public’s money.
● No policy issue in Georgia in the past 30 years has been more race-baited by politicians and street activists or made polarizing by the media than public transportation. Case in point: C-Tran, the Clayton County bus service that county commissioners decided had become too costly. By pointing out that Clayton bus riders pay taxes to subsidize GRTA service for wealthy suburbanites in Gwinnett — though it also serves Clayton — the allegation is implied that the state is discriminating on the basis of class or race. I hate that line of argument that somebody’s got something you don’t and it’s because of discrimination.
● For Georgia, a milestone in racial politics: Clayton Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell describes the decision to discontinue subsidizing bus service in the county (to the tune of $8 million) as “classism.” Heretofore, it was “racism.”
● As the two-parent family has disintegrated, as evidenced by the alarming rise in unwed births, public schools become the government substitute for the absent parent(s) in raising children. The Georgia House proposes that from kindergarten through 12th grade school teachers are responsible for policing child speech and relationships. Man, you could not march me to the head of a public school classroom at gunpoint. How does government grow? Just like this.
● The sad thing about the Obama presidency is his habit of saying things that turn out not to be true — the promise of transparency in developing health care legislation, for example. It’s therefore impossible to respond quickly to what he says — a proposal to permit some off-shore oil exploration, for example — because it may not be meaningfully true and it may be an inconsequential enticement to something more objectionable, a cap-and-tax scheme on carbon emissions.
● Those who run Head Start preschool programs in Georgia spent “stimulus” money to provide raises of up to 8.5 percent for employees. Those will be counted as jobs saved or created by the $1 billion allocated to Head Start under the $862 billion “stimulus” bill. “This is how we maintain the high-level and well-trained staff in our programs,” defended a spokesman. These are the people who will be managing your national health care program.
● Meals don’t buy politicians, though they certainly should be subject to ethics disclosure. Legislators expect some lobbyist or interest group will pick up the tab. They always eat free if they choose, so they tend not to feel obligated to those who pay. Politicians are “bought” when they or their relatives are hired into an industry or interest group seeking influence or when they earn fees or commissions on services they sell.