Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The NAACP, among the Democrats panicking about the wrath of fed-up voters, trash-talks the tea party. Once proud and with a purpose; now relegated to rhetorical Saturday Night Specials in desperate hope of finding relevancy.
● The primary qualification for Georgia’s next governor is willingness to tackle the embedded structural costs in state government — primarily payroll. The state’s best jobs program is containing the growth and cost of state government.
● Tuesday’s primary election day. Do political endorsements matter? Only if the individual or group making the endorsement shares my values and is not endorsing out of friendship, opportunism or expectation of future reward. It’s amusing, though, that former Gov. Roy Barnes, who is endorsed by the political establishment in metro Atlanta’s Democratic counties, and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the presumed leader in the GOP primary, both cast themselves as “outsiders.” Nobody wants to be an insider this year.
● My candidate for the issue that’s most difficult for conservatives to be believable on is anything related to voter ID. Georgia is asking 4,200 potential voters to provide proof of citizenship — and you’d think from the reaction among those on the left that this legitimate process has them cowering in fear, intimidated from going to the polls. It is worth noting that a watchdog group in Minnesota conducted a detailed 18-month examination of felons voting in the election that sent comedian Al Franken to the U.S. Senate in 2008 with a 312-vote win. In Minneapolis and St. Paul the group, Minnesota Majority, documented 341 convicted felons voting illegally.
● Why, I wonder, would anybody think that the ideal location for a train-and-bus station is in the “gulch” area of Atlanta on the west side of Five Points where it’s boxed in and relatively inaccessible? If built at all, Hartsfield-Jackson is a better fit. Has more parking, too. But the DOT is moving ahead to get proposals on the gulch site.
● Projects to add capacity to I-75 and I-575 through Cobb County will, in addition to tolls, require a projected $350 million in taxes, state Department of Transportation officials say. So be it. Two important points: It’s new added capacity. And, as best I can tell, it’s not tolling a highway to free up money to spend on “alternative” boondoggles that aren’t justified by honest cost-benefit analysis.
● A down economy causes the state to drop its sales-tax waived weekend that was proposed for July 29-Aug. 2. It’s doubtful that it accomplished anything other than moving back-to-school purchases around, just as Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyers’ rebate did. When tax reform comes, exemptions should be measured to determine what, precisely, they accomplish. Most exist because interest groups insisted on them and it was easier for legislators to go along than to resist.
● Bad news, good news: The economy’s in the tank, with joblessness around 10 percent. But, desperate people make for a record take by the Georgia Lottery, generating about $884 million for state coffers.
● The Georgia Public Service Commission had best be very cautious over the next few years in allowing Georgia Power Co. and other energy producers and marketers to put uneconomical “green” energy investments on the customers’ tab. Georgia Power’s being allowed to experiment with solar generation — on the tab of all ratepayers, as opposed to those who request it. The danger always with big business is that it resists uneconomical spending until it’s clear that they can pass it all on to consumers. In this political climate, the five members of the PSC really do have to watch out for the little guy.