Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The owners of Government Motors propose to fine competitor Toyota $16.4 million for allegedly failing to act quickly enough to notify the feds of potential acceleration problems. The government and the United Auto Workers union need to be out of the car manufacturing business. They’re in conflicts of interest.
● Headline: “Americans overtreated?” Of course. When somebody else is paying the bills, as they are with medical care, abuse is inevitable. Unless — as may be the case in the future — services are rationed as demand grows far faster than the supply of nurses and physicians. Georgia is ninth in population and 39th in physician supply, the president and executive director of the Physicians Foundation write in an AJC op-ed. Some 76 percent of primary care physicians responding to a 2008 survey say they were at full capacity or overextended. A 100,000-physician shortage is projected over the next 10 years to 15 years.
● Eureka! A school board learns from past mistakes in this revolving-door business of hiring superintendents. It cost DeKalb taxpayers $410,000 to get rid of former Superintendent Johnny Brown after two years on the job. The current superintendent, Crawford Lewis, has been invited to gas-up elsewhere. Smarter contract sense should keep his pay-out to about $85,000. Note to public hiring authorities: There is no public-body savior, no must-have leader, no can’t-lose flapdoodle expert. Buy integrity and competence at a reasonable salary and leave them be to do their jobs.
● A group identified as “civil rights activists” is alarmed at what an American Civil Liberties Union official calls “an ongoing trend that we are seeing not only in Georgia but throughout the country that funnels children into the school-to-prison pipeline.” That pipeline doesn’t start in the schools. It starts in the never-formed two-parent families. The overwhelmed public schools struggle with the impossible task of salvaging human lives from the broken and missing parts.
● Why, you wonder, do “activists,” such as the Concerned Black Clergy that’s holding press conferences activizing about immigration reform, so consume themselves with issues where they are bit or inconsequential players at the expense of issues in the neighborhood where they could matter — preaching on the importance, for example, of having a married mama and daddy raising children? Speaking “truth to power,” though, is confined to political adversaries, not to cultural trends embraced by those in the neighborhood.
● Most all that the Social Democrats who run Washington do has the effect of devaluing personal responsibility as an essential element in building stronger families and communities. Knowingly buy more house than you can afford? No problem. Government will bail you out and pressure lenders to write down principal. Gamble that you won’t need health insurance? No problem. You can get it when you need it. Save for retirement, nursing home or college? No need. Government will be there.
We’re getting to be two Americas: Those who depend on themselves and their families and those who depend on government. One works to achieve financial security; one votes to achieve the benefits financial security affords. The Tax Policy Center projects that 47 percent of income tax filers this year will pay nothing. As recently as 2007, it was 38 percent. Top 10 percent of earners pay 73 percent of the tax burden. Senior tax policy analyst Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation lays it out: “We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing.”
● See Georgia. It is spectacular this time of year.