Archive for June, 2010

Government always gets gamed

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and a dozen members of City Council deserve the highest praise for promptly confronting a malady that could bankrupt the city. They made a change in the city’s pensions affecting new hires that seems insignificant, but could be the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. It lowered a key multiplier in a formula based on pay and service. The change will save big bucks long-term. The real worry-point for Atlanta taxpayers, though, comes 10-15 years down the road when the new hires gain critical mass and start demanding “fairness” and “equality” in their pension plan. That’s when weak and ignorant politicians buckle.

● Cobb officials delude themselves in believing that employees given a permanent financial incentive to retire are saving taxpayers money. Transferring them from one cost-center to another, while rehiring them at lesser pay, creates paper savings for taxpayers. Real savings would be …

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Mandates turn states to beggars

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Leadership on the spill: This president stacks words the way a college freshman stacks beer cans — sometimes creatively, sometimes artistically, often boastfully and sometimes to impressive heights. But ultimately, they’re just empty vessels.

● In the tragic account of the teenage twins accused of murdering their mother, this is the full reference in nearly a full page of the difficulties of raising two out-of-control daughters: “She [the murdered mother] had raised them alone for years; their father was not a presence in their lives.” The greatest mistake females of child-bearing age make is to make babies with males who are so easily written out of their life stories.

● D.C. Royalty: The district office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi costs taxpayers $18,736 per month, reports Roll Call and Fox News.

● While Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Erroll Davis is to be commended for instructing college presidents to abide by …

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Where are you now, Emily’s List?

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● The headline tells it all: “Failures rise at schools suspected of cheating.” The reference is to schools under investigation because of a pattern last year of changed answers on the important subject-knowledge tests given statewide to measure how well students are being taught. Atlanta students at some elementary and middle schools failed at up to four times the rate they did last year. Georgia doesn’t need national curriculum standards. It needs competent teaching and honest testing on the ones it has.

● Georgia has temporarily lifted limits on class size. Make it permanent. Let local officials make class-size calls and test the results. There’s long been too much regulatory interest in inputs. Outcomes matter.

● Do As I Say Department: President Barack Obama, who routinely blames George W. Bush for his every shortcoming and failing, tells high school students in a Kalamazoo, Mich., commencement address not to make …

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Parents far better than prisons

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Here’s an alternative to prison that will really save Georgia a bundle: Create a culture where the boys and girls come into the world after the adults marry and make a commitment to parent their children. You can’t create this many broken pieces and expect government — either the schools or the criminal justice system — to make them whole. As with the new ways for government to get in debt, there’s no new model for the family that works better for amateurs than the old mom-and-dad structure.

● Ominous news for children: a Centers for Disease Control survey finds that 70 percent of teen girls and 64 percent of teen boys think it’s OK for unmarrieds to have children, up from 65 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys in 2002.

● Al Gore gets on our nerves, too.

● AJC reporter Russell Grantham’s account of local governments, hospitals and universities losing hundreds of millions of dollars in “interest rate swaps” — debt that …

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