Three issues for next governor

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

● Most of the conversation in the gubernatorial campaigns was nearly irrelevant to the real needs of Georgia and to the task that awaits either Democrat Roy Barnes or Republican Nathan Deal. Where now? Here’s what voters should demand:

  1. Run fast as you can from the candidate who promises new public education fixes. Changing course now would be a huge mistake; Georgia needs another decade of slow, steady upgrades. Goal is to have a strong curriculum and students who can pass tougher tests without cheating by teachers and administrators.
  2. Congress is on a spending course that will bankrupt America — and already may have. The next governor has no higher priority than getting Georgia’s financial house in order. It’s silly and frivolous, for example, to talk about teacher furloughs as a serious problem when open-ended and newly created entitlements like indigent defense and a statewide trauma network, along with Medicaid and public pensions are built-in structural costs that are politically uncontrollable. On the spending side, those should be fixed — and capped.
  3. The tax revision effort now under way should shift from income to consumption, should eliminate the decades-long tax break clutter that politicians added because the people who wanted them outnumbered those who opposed. With great care, though, fiscal conservatives should avoid creating a consumption tax structure that spendthrift politicians can easily exploit in the future — primarily on services. That’s one of the mistakes of the Republicans’ tax-with-“fees” approach. Tax revision should eliminate, too, all these add-on fees, fines and court filing charges that are earmarked for the benefit of court and law enforcement officials. Eliminate the corporate income tax and with it the giveaways to lure new industry.

● Atlanta Public Schools’ new motto, provided by an unidentified principal who was told that CRCT test cheating was goosing up the illusion of education achievement: “Shhhhh.” Question: Should the superintendent go? Answer: Of course. Cheating reveals widespread grass-roots corruption. The chain of authority knew or should have known. Atlanta Public Shhhhhools.

● You just knew the first place the Obama administration would find to cut would be national defense.

● The near riot at East Point is a reminder that when free money’s being handed out, a crowd will gather. So it is with voting. Convince people that politicians are the key to their well-being, and they’ll mass at polling places.

● There’s no disputing that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs knows his party’s base. Said he of the “professional left”: “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon” to which he added “that’s not reality.” But, alas, this Congress is not checked by the real-world experiences of Main Street.

● Cobb County lays off 700 teachers and rehires 600. Hope that the 100 are the least competent. But wait. Those employed in the public schools may wind up rolling in cash. Congress just agreed to transfer $26 billion in quality of life from the unborn to protect its public-sector unions from the economic winds. Georgia’s due to get $322 million from the theft. Rehire all deadwood.

● The University System of Georgia reports that one in four freshmen requires remedial instruction and, of those, one in four will graduate within six years. High school graduates not ready for college should be sent to the private sector for remedial instruction. That’s no way to spend public money. An alternative would be to bill local systems for every student retaking high school courses.

75 comments Add your comment

J.B. STONER

August 12th, 2010
7:53 pm

I bet I could go to Athens and ace a degree….

Mid-South Philosopher

August 12th, 2010
8:25 pm

Good evening, Jim,

You and I have bantered about education for the major part of the last decade, but we may “spitting (or something worse) in the wind. Given the direction of this country, education isn’t going to matter. Within 15 – 20 years, it will be up to the new “first world” countries like China and India to send foreign aid to us underprivileged nations!

Rafe Hollister

August 12th, 2010
8:39 pm

With Mike Adams love for diversity, I am surprised that there are any unprepared Georgia students at the University of Georgia. We pay the taxes that make that university affordable and he does his best to fill it with students from everywhere but Georgia.

Lawrence

August 12th, 2010
8:44 pm

Thanks Jim. I agree with you . After reading Cynthia Tucker’s blog is is good to read someone that knows what they are talking about, without an agenda that she has, to push her liberal Democratic views.

retiredds

August 12th, 2010
9:01 pm

Lawrence, Let’s see, CT agenda is her liberal Democratic views. So what do you call Jim’s pushing his conservative Republican views? How about “an agenda”. I know you will disagree, but such is life.

Cutty

August 12th, 2010
9:04 pm

This is the biggest load of cow dung I think I’ve ever read from you.

“Run fast as you can from the candidate who promises new public education fixes. Changing course now would be a huge mistake; Georgia needs another decade of slow, steady upgrades.”

Where the hell have YOU been the last year? Oh yeah, you just want to abolish the public school system altogether. You went to Vietnam, probably benefitted from the G.I. Bill, but don’t want anyone to benefit from the same government you did.

Bill

August 12th, 2010
9:24 pm

Yeah, Cutty, I agree. It sure is sad to see someone end a career like Wooten is doing. It would be more humane for the AJC to cut their losses and just let him go (and would be much better for him). His hateful bile does not really serve any purpose other than to divide us. We really do not need that – unfortunately that is all he knows.

Regards,

Aquagirl

August 12th, 2010
9:41 pm

“Atlanta Public Shhhhhools.” LOL! Along with the new motto, we need a new crop of shhhhhool mascots. How ’bout the Grady H.S. Fightin’ Shushers? The Stubby Erasers? Is there an East Point H.S. we could dub the Section 8 Rioters? Although having seen the news footage of the crazed mob, I think opposing teams would be wise to forfeit. People who riot and then blame authorities for not stopping them from rioting are best avoided.

The Defense budget is a fine place to cut. The military is forced to buy pork-barrel weapons they don’t want or need. The only difference between a defense contractor and one of those Section 8 rioters is an expensive suit. The entitlement mentality is 100% the same. Despite all the conservative whining, the defense contractors are more than a tiny drop in the deficit bucket.

Once again Jim skipped my wished-for topic of the week: the Darwin award winner who shot himself in the head while committing armed robbery. Guess he shouldn’t have slept through weapons class in Thugging 101.

Finally

August 12th, 2010
9:43 pm

Finally we have someone at the AJC with the backbone to make an unqualified call for Beverly Hall’s resignation. Jim take some time out and school the newbie Wingfield on not hedging bets and staying true to his principles when it comes to things like holding government officials accountable for their actions.

Just Nasty & Mean

August 12th, 2010
9:55 pm

Regards the free housing riot: Who were the 30,000 dummies, sweating, wasting days,stampeding, rioting just to get an APPLICATION for Section 8 public housing that might not get approved and not likely to come through for a years?

We have raised a generation of idiots that only knows how to stand in line for a handout.

Just phoning it in

August 12th, 2010
10:21 pm

Jim, do you have a particular quarrel with any of the defense cuts being made, or are you just knee jerking an attack with looking at the merits? That’s a rhetorical question, in case you couldn’t tell.

Just phoning it in

August 12th, 2010
10:22 pm

Sorry, should be “without looking at the merits?”

Just phoning it in

August 12th, 2010
10:23 pm

Just out of curiosity, are you ever going to implement that “common sense” you tout in your tag line for this column? I mean, you are getting to the end of the road, and I’ve been reading you for years without seeing any evidence of it. It’s never too late, Jim. Try it some time.

Just phoning it in

August 12th, 2010
10:30 pm

Sorry, I misread it. You do say “common sense conservatism”, which is an oxymoron, so you’ve been living up to the hype. Sorry for the potshot. Continue with your oxymoronity.

MiltonMan

August 12th, 2010
10:44 pm

Same morons who rioted in East Point are the same morons that voted for Obozo

Cutty

August 12th, 2010
10:51 pm

Same morons who yap about fiscal responsibility are the same morons that voted for the Shrub

Cutty

August 12th, 2010
10:54 pm

Same morons who are yap about ethics are the same morons that voted for Real Deal Steal

Cutty

August 12th, 2010
10:57 pm

Same morons who oppose giving a dime to MARTA are the same morons that want to bailout the XPress and its 5,000 bus riders. 96% of whom have cars.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/xpress-commuter-buses-going-591051.html

Bob Baldwin

August 12th, 2010
11:04 pm

Jim,
I’ve known you for a long time (GaARNG). Can you honestly say that our Defense budget isn’t full of wasteful spending (along with every other section of Government)? Since it is probably a significant part of discretionary spending, common sense should tell us to look there soon, if not first. You can “cherry-pick” any program to find examples of wasteful spending, but our Defense budget is “ripe-fruit”.
As for Democrats being soft on Defense, the Republicans have been a bunch of phonies; all talk and nothing when the rubber meets the road. I will never forget Secretart of Defense Rumsfeld telling a soldier “you go to war with what you have” when the invasion of Iraq was a discretionary act.
If all our heros with the yellow ribbon on their car would join the Armed Forces, we wouldn’t have to pay our contractors so much to support our over extended troops.
By the way. I’m 65 and in Afghanistan with the Corps of Engineers.

Streetracer

August 13th, 2010
2:46 am

Cutty:

Just exactly why do you think I should pay to subsidize MARTA? It is a system that goes from where I’m not to places I don’t need to be.

Just phoning it in

August 13th, 2010
6:50 am

Why isn’t wasteful spending in the DOD a good thing to cut? Isn’t wasteful spending wasteful spending no matter what it is for, deficit hawks? It’s not like they are cutting out body armor for soldiers in the field or armored SUV’s, right, Jim’s band of conservatives? Jim?

UGA Law

August 13th, 2010
7:18 am

“It’s silly and frivolous, for example, to talk about teacher furloughs as a serious problem when open-ended and newly created entitlements like indigent defense and a statewide trauma network, along with Medicaid and public pensions are built-in structural costs that are politically uncontrollable.”

Jim, I have no idea why you’re putting indigent defense into a category of “newly created entitlement” programs. Our adversarial legal system DOES NOT FUNCTION unless the prosecutor, paid by tax dollars, is met with an equivalently well-trained and funded defender. Maybe you’d rather poor people face the machinery of state prosecution without any legal protection or training whatsoever because poor people are less important to America than rich people; we can lock up a few poor innocent people rather than invest in an honest legal system.

Jason T

August 13th, 2010
7:33 am

Obama has the moron vote.

jconservative

August 13th, 2010
7:48 am

I would think anyone who believes that Federal spending must be cut would not frown on cuts in defense. But some cannot pass up the opportunity to score a political point.

The truth is simple: no substantive cuts in Federal spending can be done without cutting defense spending. Without defense cuts all other cuts are insignificant.

Jim for years you have preached against “party first” thinking. Now you are doing that exact thing.

Personally I cannot find anything in the Federal budget that I would not gladly cut.

VietVet

August 13th, 2010
7:59 am

Conservative, liberal, libertarian, anyone can see that the Pentagon is bloated with Congressionally mandated pork. It’s Gates, Bush’s and now Obama’s Secretary of Defense, who’s pushing for the cuts for the sake of real national security. AJC, Wooten’s just embarrassing himself now, do him and yourself a favor and let him go. There are plenty of street corners he can rant on when he feels the urge.

Jim

August 13th, 2010
8:08 am

Mr. Wooten:

I am afraid we have both limited and significantly flawed candidates for governor.

Nathan Deal has no executive experience at any level approaching the level of management of a state. In addition, his very questonable dealings that continue to be investigated and could even result in criminal prosecution is more than troubling.

On the other hand, Roy Barnes has the experience of being the state’s chief executive officer but was turned out by the voters. He is making promises he cannot possibly keep as either Deal or Barnes is going to find out shortly that the state’s economic outlook is considerably more troubling that the Perdue administration is putting forth.

I voted for John Oxendine in the primary but, given the choices I now have, I most likely will hold my nose and vote for Roy Barnes.

I guess it comes down to my feeling that I pretty know what I will get with Barnes and will have to stomach much that I dislike versus going with an inexperienced candidate that may be more occupied with his misbehavior than running the state.

Finally, if Barnes is elected, we will have a democrat governor and a republican General Assembly. I am not certain that a rubber stamp executive and legislative team is in the best interest of the state. Sometimes gridlock is good. I base my concern primarily on what has happened on the federal level.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

August 13th, 2010
8:32 am

Many underachieving students are far ahead of teachers and parents. My youngest son was far ahead of us too. But we caught up to him. By way of a parent and teacher’s conference, my wife and I learned my son was not turning in his home work assignments. And there was a discrepancy between he and the teacher about what was expected. She said this, and he said that. We quickly nipped that in the bud. My wife prepared a homework assignment sheet. It was designed to show what each teacher expected from him on a daily basis. Derrick was to write in each column what the teachers expected, and the teachers would sign off on it. And we asked the teachers if they would give us a call if they encountered any problems. We nipped that thing in the bud…

Not so fast…just when we seem to have everything under control, the girls started calling. But his homework assignments were, if you asked me a little on the soft side, not demanding at all. But we knew the girls could be a problem for us especially by the way he would ‘run upstairs’ to answer the phone. And as a parent, you really want to play this just about right. You don’t want to shut it down completely, but you know he is too young for that, twelve years old.

Since everything was taken care of, my wife and I didn’t attend parent teacher’s conferences… We were busy working at our own professions and didn’t give real meaning to missing a few progress reports. But we noticed a gradual decline in his grades. So we decided to talk to his teachers…well this is what we learned. Our son told the teachers his parents decided to discontinue the homework assignment sheet. And each time the teachers called to enquire about not turning in homework, he would ‘run upstairs’ to answer the phone; girls were seldom calling. He would tell the teachers we weren’t home. At the end of each school day, he would show us a bogus soft homework assignment sheet, and had asked different students to sign the teacher’s name in the respective columns.

From that point forward, it was on y’all. It was just the three of us for years to come. My wife and I toiled in the early morning hours reading one book assignment until Derrick finished another…We asked questions. It was necessary for us to read because in a space of time, Derrick would say, I’m finished, and hadn’t read a thing… But throughout high school, all of his teachers would tell us how they wished for more students like Derrick. I would look at my wife and wink.

Many underachieving students are too far ahead of teachers and parents. But my wife and I caught up.

Scott

August 13th, 2010
8:37 am

I thought that the AJC was replacing this old geezer with nothing of consequence to say a while back. Please make it so. Every other conservative commentator at least provides some food for thought. This is just like drivel from some old man with Tourrette Syndrome.

wiley

August 13th, 2010
8:43 am

Anyone who thinks degrees guarantees performance needs remedial education. Those with degrees do not want a job but a position. Degrees are simply a measuring tool just like 4yrs experience doing the job. Most degrees are earned by memorizing and dumping on a test. I said memorizing not learning.

The new governor should be very careful about using federal bail out money. The state does not want to lose some of its control simply by using federal funds. That would play right into the hands of Obama and the progressive liberals. The state must get a control on retirement pensions. Those pensions that reward 90% or greater of one’s salary as lifetime pension is not substainable. However, lowering the percentage of salary toward pensions does not mean lowering salaries. Zell Miller destroyed the salaries of employees but did lower the pensions liability for the state. One bad thing and one good thing!

wun kwestyun

August 13th, 2010
8:44 am

Eliminate the corporate income tax and with it the giveaways to lure new industry.

What???

Am I reading this correctly or is this a new code phrase from our misnamed fiscal conservatives?

Does Mr. Wooten really dare even broach the subject of corporate welfare? And here I thought that the massive amount of needless giveaways, undeserved handouts, too big to fail bailouts and income redistributionist subsidies was just an urban, liberal myth!

This borders on sedition.

Somebody better be careful or they’ll fail the Republican Purity Test…

Cutty

August 13th, 2010
8:47 am

Streetcar, I feel the same way about GRTA. But if you’re just going to fund one with state dollars, shouldn’t it be the one that has the most need? i.e. ridership?

Doug

August 13th, 2010
9:06 am

Scott, well said and Amen!

sandra

August 13th, 2010
9:08 am

What we have now is the result of politicians pandering to a class of people, growing by leaps and bounds, that expects to have their livelihoods paid for by someone else. The someone else’s are a rapidly declining class in this country, so we are pretty much at the tipping point where the parasites have destroyed the tree that sustains them. This is the result of too much liberalism, too many give away programs. Now all we have is a bunch of whiners and beggers. I bet the people who fought for this country in World War II would be sick to death over what the people of this country have become. There are a few of us still working, but this administration has sworn to pretty much kill us off. I am stopping working next year because I will refuse to pay the increased taxes so anchor babies can be educated, fed and get health care here–and so bums like those in East Point can get free housing. It just isn’t right.

sandra

August 13th, 2010
9:10 am

Scott: You are just what America needs more of. A name calling prick.

Partisay

August 13th, 2010
10:15 am

Let me get this straight….Schools are broke and laying off teachers. So the Federal government is transferring money to help this problem and now those that work in public schools are going to be “rolling in cash.” Really? Rolling in cash?

But it’s not to help the kids or the school systems, but rather it’s just “to protect its public-sector unions from the economic winds.” So that’s the reason? Do you really think the people that made the decision (Obama Admin) to transfer this money actually thought “we need to help the public sector unions so let’s transfer money over there and help them out.” You really think their motive wasn’t to help the schools educate the kids by putting teachers back in the classroom?

And let’s look at one of your solutions for students entering college that are not “ready”. You want schools systems to be billed for every student retaking high school courses? And how are they supposed to pay that bill? What money should they use? What part of the school budget should they take that money out of to pay for this? What should be cut in order to pay this bill?

Never mind that it could easily be the student’s fault. You know, not every student works hard in school. Even the ones that are planning to go to college. Some just coast along by the skin of their teeth, doing as little as possible. And you would be very surprised at the number of students that have learning disablilities that prevent them from learning at acceptable levels. I have seen these students work very hard in high school only to end of taking remedial courses in college.

But never mind all that. It’s all the TEACHERS fault, right Wooten? As a matter a fact, it’s the UNIONS fault! Yeah, that’s it, it’s the unions fault!

I’m not saying there are not bad teachers out there. Gather up all the welders in the area and you find some are not good, downright sorry. Same with accountants, police officers, truck drivers, custodians, doctors, secretaries, lawyers, painters, etc.

And let’s not forget columnists, also.

Streetracer

August 13th, 2010
10:20 am

Cutty @ 8:47:
I agree that one public transportation system should not be favored over another, but still belive that any should be financed by user fees (Fares).

sandra @ 9:10:
While I agree with a lot of your earlier post, this puts you in the same class you assign Scott to, a name caller.

Jess

August 13th, 2010
10:33 am

Agree 100% with eliminating corporate income tax. Needs to be eliminated or severly cut at the federal level as well. The US has some of the highest taxes in the industralized world while Canada and much of Europe are embracing the “old” US model. Canada has been quietly cutting taxes for the past 17 years. Today their corporate tax rate is 18% and going down to 15% in 2012. The US rate is 35%. In the late 90’s they reduced federal spending by 10% and federal employees by 14%. The one area they have been unable to control thusfar is health care, however for the first ime they are experimenting with private clinics in several areas. Meanwhile back in the US………….

Retired Solider

August 13th, 2010
11:11 am

AQ-

We finally agree, wow, never thought that would happen.

Bob Baldwin-

Rumsfeld was correct about “come as you are” wars. I was in the first Gulf War and a member of the second division depolyed to Saudi early after Kuwait fell. Remember, at that point we weren’t sure Iraq would come south to take the oil fields in Saudi. The battalion didn’t have up to date flak vests or desert boots or a number of other things. The troops didn’t complain, leadership didn’t complain, we just went “as we were” and were determined to win with what we had.

It is impossible to have all the equipment needed for all locations of possible combat and for all types of potential enemies. If a decision was made by the National Command Authority to say invade northern Canada to fight a Russian invading force do you really think we would have everything needed to fight there. Of course not. We need to be real and remember there is no “pie in the sky”.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

August 13th, 2010
11:11 am

I’m trying to figure out why there is a problem with what Dr. Laura Schlessinger said on her radio program. She quoted accurately what she heard black comedians saying on HBO…

If a witness heard a defendant say these nggrs are crazy before he torched a building, is she permitted to say exactly what the defendant said before he torched the building in a court of law?

If the answer is yes, you people are the worst kind of hypocrites… If the answer is no, you people are beyond insanity…

Retired Solider

August 13th, 2010
11:13 am

it should be…deployed…

Partisay

August 13th, 2010
11:20 am

So you are comparing a witnss sitting on the stand in court to crazy, hateful Dr. Laura on her radio show?

That’s really stretching it, don’t you think?

If the answer is no, you are the worst kind of bigot that will spew any kind of nonsense to make a point.. If the answer is yes, you are….well let’s just say you are beyond insanity already.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

August 13th, 2010
11:40 am

You tell me how that’s stretching it. The witness is saying exactly what she heard the defendant say. And Dr. Laura Schlessinger is saying exactly what she heard the comedian say. Two people are saying exacting what they heard. How is that stretching it?

The witness is not hateful toward the defendant. She’s answering truthfully in a court of law and barely knows the defendant’s name. And Dr. Laura Schlessinger is not hateful toward the caller. She’s answering truthfully on her radio program and barely knows the caller’s name.

retiredds

August 13th, 2010
11:42 am

Anyone who uses the term “moron” to describe someone else says more about himself or herself than the other being criticized.

Jess

August 13th, 2010
11:51 am

The most telling thing about the East Point riots was a TV interview with one of the 1000’s waiting for an application. This lady said she already lives in public housing, but wants a section 8 voucher so she can live wherever she wants. She then said people have a right to live anywhere they want to. Since the 1960’s we have been training a whole class of people that they are entitled to pretty much everything they want. And guess what? it’s never enough. People do not appreciate “free stuff”.

This reminds me of a story which supposed to be true. A family bought a new stainless refridgerator and put their old one on the street with a sign: works perfect, free to a good home. A week past and he had no takers. A friend at work told the husband he should charge something for it because people don’t value free stuff. The husband went home and changed the sign to: good condition, $50.
The first night it was stolen.

Viet Vet

August 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

You’re factually wrong about the status of corporate taxes in America. They have decreased by half since 1950.* And in the same timeframe payroll taxes tripled. And now having receiving trillions in taxpayer bailouts, Big Finance and Big Business is coming for your Social Security. The middle class has been in decline in America since they bought into the fact free nonsense put out by corporate shills like Reagan, Bush and Rush.

*http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/08/tax-base-as-of-gdp/

Partisay

August 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

If you are saying Dr. Laura is not hateful to her callers, then there is no reason for us to be discussing it. You are far, far from reality if you think she does not talk in a hateful tone to her callers. If not the very least, at least you can admit that!

Big Jim

August 13th, 2010
12:57 pm

Dr. Stan (The Black One).

If indeed you are “black”, you may be Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks.
There is a smile on your face as you type your ignorance. There has to be.
Dr. laura has always been a nasty B. Always. This time, the aroma of power
made her say too much. Corporate America is funding everything we hear and see.
Corporate America, and all it’s moving parts has a degenerated era of music being
pumped into our ears. An ever deteriorating moral code has “christians” saying
anything, supposedly in defense of christianity. No politician does their job by referring
to the Bible.

That would be scary!

Congress has been,is, and always will be,… tax and spend,spend and tax. No matter who’s in
charge! How else do they pay the operation of the Gov’t, with prayer? Or the hot air created by
Neo-Con/Fascist/CLOSETED individuals like rush?

saywhat?

August 13th, 2010
1:05 pm

Is this the same skanky Dr Laura who posed nude and yet feels the need to question everybody else’s morals? I can see why a certain somebody might confuse anything she has to say with something worth hearing.

Just phoning it in

August 13th, 2010
1:56 pm

August 13th, 2010
7:33 am
Jason T writes:
Obama has the moron vote.

That’s wrong. If he did, he would have easily carried Georgia.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

August 13th, 2010
1:57 pm

I don’t listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s radio programs. I was referring to how she answered one particular caller; and there was no problem with her answer. She said what she heard black comedians say on HBO.

You answers remind me of a man that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about. He told his congregation of a man who boasted about the best sermon his pastor had ever preached… The man was asked what the sermon was about. And he said I don’t know, but it was the best one that I ever heard my pastor preach.