Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Atlanta City Council starts the new year right, declining (for now at least) to rename two downtown streets — Cone and Harris — for architect John Portman and broadcaster Xernona Clayton. Legislators are as guilty as any other politicians in tacking new names on old roadways, but state law should require government to compensate those who incur expense because road names are changed, businesses especially. An established address is a business asset.
● I can never be a true Georgian until I get more caught up in where high school football players intend to perform in college. But as a starter, I note that the state’s highest-ranked recruit, Carver-Columbus High running back Isaiah Crowell, has an attitude that all of us should embrace when pursuing sports, a new job, a family, a profession or most anything else worthwhile in life. He’s not sure where he’ll play, but “I feel like I’ll be a difference-maker wherever I go.”
● No question money’s wasted in a war zone, as government auditors report, citing a water park in Baghdad that lies in ruin two years after opening. I’m not defending waste. An army of auditors should be dispatched as a part of every new government spending program, especially those related to health care and jobs training.
● If HOPE is a scholarship, it should reward honestly deserved academic achievement. If it’s an entitlement, it’s a policy mistake that does two things government shouldn’t. One, it sends a message to families that they don’t have to save for college. Two, it encourages teachers and students to game the system by giving and receiving unearned grades, thus putting some kids in college who probably shouldn’t be there. Government should never cultivate dependency or dishonesty.
● For goodness sakes, don’t jail governors and ex-governors for pursuing policies in office that benefit their home counties. We’d have to build new facilities to hold them all — and, no doubt, that facility would now be built in Hall County.
● One of the most useful assertions of PolitiFact Georgia is the finding that Standard & Poor’s chief economist David Wyss was speaking truth when he declared that state governments have little ability to stimulate job growth in the short run. Spending to “create” jobs comes from spending elsewhere. It’s a wash. Long-term, however, public policies favorable to business — like, for example, sensible and limited regulation and taxes — create a climate conducive to growth. On economic development and on public education, politicians should stop looking at four-year cycles and work, instead, to build a state that provides quality of life to the next generation.
● A weakness of truth-squading, demonstrated by the AJC’s pro-con op-eds on whether Obamacare represents a government takeover of health care, is that truth-police efforts tend to rely on the literal language of the law, without allowing for honest interpretations of consequence. The president says that if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. But other factors at work may cause employers to drop coverage, forcing individuals into government-structured plans. Takeover? Literally no, but likely yes.
● Fulton County judges, reacting to the killing of State Trooper Chadwick LeCroy by a career criminal, intend to change the so-called rocket docket that had unelected magistrates prematurely releasing those who should have remained behind bars. The sad lesson here is that all public officials who make decisions with consequential public impact should be elected. Public safety. Transportation. Zoning. Development. Taxation and regulation.
● No question, cost-cutting should be the top priority of the new Congress.