Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Among the more frightening revelations from the effort to keep the HOPE program solvent for future generations is how quickly the intelligent morph into welfare-state grubbers shouting “gimmee.” “HOPE must always fund 100 percent of tuition,” write the presidents of the student bodies at Georgia Tech and UGA in an AJC op-ed. Good students “should not have to go into debt in order to cover tuition.” Most frightening here, assuming that leaders speak for the masses, is that in less than two decades Georgia has turned its best and brightest into demanding dependents of government.
● Coupling HOPE scholarships to the state’s lottery revenues, as opposed to tuition levied, as Gov. Nathan Deal proposes, is a marvelous idea. While both the regents, who are responsible for setting tuition, and the governor and legislators, who are responsible for raising HOPE funds to pay it, have the same employer, it’s always been a bad idea to eliminate the impact of higher tuition on students and their parents. Otherwise, there’s insufficient incentive for the rate setters to consider the impact of higher tuition on the rate takers.
● Parents once saved for college. They should still. Government should do nothing that tempts responsible people from saving for known future needs. And it is OK for students to work and to incur debt to gain a college education. Why is it so critical for Georgia to get its financial house in order? Because Obamacare and other federal efforts to shift costs downward will throw unprepared and high-debt states into financial crisis. The states that will be industry magnates are those that responsibly manage the public work force, debt, and entitlement-like spending — HOPE being one example.
● Clip and save this quote from media fact checkers presented in the AJC on Obama’s claims about deficit reduction: “When we showed this comment to economists on the left and the right, they agreed that the president was so far off that it was hard to believe he meant the comment as he said it.” The fact checkers may be surprised. Conservatives who pay attention to Obama’s rhetoric aren’t.
● After spending decades watching politicians pile up debt, treat themselves to unearned public pensions, impose new programs on top of unexamined and often ineffective old programs this is a time of exhilaration and renewed faith in America’s future. The election of governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Chris Christie in New Jersey, John Kasich in Ohio, Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Ray Scott in Florida offer hope that despite those free-spending decades by self-serving politicians an American majority really is ready to be responsible adults who make allowances for the future quality of life of our children.
● The research director for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute, Sam Shelton, offers an assessment of the biofuel programs that have just gone bust in Georgia — the latest being Range Fuels of Soperton, with $82 million in subsidies. Said Shelton: “Renewable fuels are not going to make big, rapid growth without a lot of energy policy and mandates from the state and federal governments.” When politicians start spending public money to push for rapid growth in untested energy technology and when they mandate how free markets respond, irrespective of costs and practicality, button down the hatches.
● After Democrats side with union demonstrators against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, it is clear that the national party is an extension of its interest groups, primarily the unions of public employees. One thinks in two- and four-year cycles. The other invests its campaign contributions, volunteers and phone banks in growing government. A toxic mix, indeed.