No rush to deal on health care

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

● The 94 Republicans who signed on to a bill that would keep candidates off the ballot who won’t — or can’t — produce evidence of their eligibility is being interpreted as a “birther” bill directed at President Barack Obama. This president should be defeated in 2012 on the basis of his record. Chances are good that he will. Win or lose nationally, he won’t carry Georgia. There’s no need, therefore, for state Republicans to gin up distractions now with legislation such as this. Bring it back in 2013. The state will survive in the meantime.

● Republicans should consider health care deals like the one embraced by Obama this week after three things happen. One is that the U.S. Supreme Court affirms that the Constitution’s commerce clause gives the federal government the power to force individuals to buy a product designated by Congress. Two is that Obama is re-elected in 2012 and has the votes in Congress to uphold a veto. Three is after Democrats retain the Senate and regain the House prior to the 2016 election. The president’s deal this week was an offer that states may be allowed to opt out of Obamacare “if your state can create a plan” that covers as many people at prices as affordable as the federally subsidized coverage and with benefits just as comprehensive without adding to the federal deficit. It’s the illusion of flexibility or compromise — Obama’s specialty.

● State Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, wants to change state law to permit motorcyclists to pass through red lights after pausing 60 seconds. Her argument is that some lights signaled by movement aren’t triggered by motorcyclists. Note to legislators: Not every idea that pops in the head, nor every “problem” identified by a constituent, should be brought before the Legislature. In some cases, legislators should smile, thank the constituent for the suggestion, and offer to take it under consideration.

● There are some Republican-only rules and standards being applied under the Gold Dome. One example is the effort by the state Senate Republican leadership to survey the caucus and determine whether the Sunday booze bill is moved to the floor for action. Leadership did, concluded that it was not worth the effort, and side-tracked the bill — something legislative leaders have done for generations. The bill’s supporters are indignant, insisting that the decision is illegitimate because it was made “in secret.” Nonsense. Never before has there been any expectation that leaders would produce a preliminary count of the yeas and nays and identify who’s for and who’s against.

● Be wary — very wary — of “reforming” the state’s tax structure by extending a sales tax to services, such as haircuts, home maintenance, health club memberships and shoe repair. Fiscal conservatives, to the extent they exist in the Republican Party, won’t be in charge forever. While they are, they should religiously avoid putting in place a tax system that future legislative big-spenders can exploit by slowly creeping up rates while employing a divide-and-tax strategy. Don’t build a life-support system for Big Government. Assuming they’re gone, one day they’ll be back.

● The Government Accountability Office, at the behest of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-
Okla., finds that the federal government has created more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation, 82 to monitor teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 56 for “financial literacy,” 20 for “homelessness,” 17 for “disaster preparation” and 47 for job training. No politician responsible for creating them wants you to know how well they work, or whether they do. That’s because monuments are built based on intent, not results, and success is judged by money allocated, not what it produces and not by what it delivers.

89 comments Add your comment


March 3rd, 2011
8:08 pm

I don’t see why anyone would be “indignant” about this decisions being done in secret, I believe supporters may be “indignant” because these small government, freedom and liberty-loving republicans, won’t let the citizenry “vote” to have the freedom to grab some nice cognac (the horrors!!) on a Sunday.

I never heard you whine when the albatross called the Department of Homeland Security was created.

Same s*&t, different day- Wooten’s specialty.


March 3rd, 2011
8:08 pm

I agree with you about reforming the tax structure. Once it’s done, it will never be changed, and we will be stuck with it.


March 3rd, 2011
8:38 pm

When the straw men have been thoroughly defeated and the handwaving freakoutery peters out, we finally get to hear from Wooten.

Jim, you are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, and the only columnist left worth reading in Atlanta.

Just saying..

March 3rd, 2011
9:00 pm

Did you intend that most of your “course-correction” advisements be aimed at Republicans – or did it just work out that way?

get out much?

March 3rd, 2011
9:08 pm

Well, Mr. Wooten, you are definitely spot on, when have Republicans ever been in a rush on health care.

At least Mr. Wingfield had the guts to call out that “eligibility bill” for what is was.

jerry luquire

March 3rd, 2011
9:39 pm

A sales tax on lottery sales would bring in over a half-billion dollars to state and local governments, and not lose one sale, reports the state of Iowa.

Gator Nation

March 3rd, 2011
10:29 pm

Hey Wooten,

How come you didn’t talk about the bill that is making its way through the state legislature that will allow the monopolistic utility companies to make unlimited donations to Georgia state legislators? Come on Wooten…..don’t let this one sneak by under your watch.

the original and still the best John Galt

March 3rd, 2011
10:35 pm

You are quite right that the proposed Sales Tax on services is a very bad idea. It amounts to a big tax increase in the middle of a worsening depression, and it will be very regressive. Besides all that, the Georgia Department of Revenue is so understaffed that they cannot enforce the Sales Tax laws now. There are without doubt dozens of nonfilers and nonpayers charging their customers Sales Tax and not turning the tax money over to the State. Such nonfilers and nonpayers typically use the tax money they have stolen to pay for the BMW’s, the Rolexes, the inground pools, and the $40,000.00 parties. Adding services to the Sales Tax will only create more nonfiling and nonpaying.

Just Me

March 3rd, 2011
11:13 pm

I. Agree. With. Jim. Temperatures in hell are falling dramatically.


March 3rd, 2011
11:14 pm

Mr. Wooten,

Don’t assume a constituent brought that notion to the attention of the earnest and dedicated Mrs. Purcell.
She rides a motorcycle herself.

Mid-South Philosopher

March 4th, 2011
12:15 am

Good morning, Jim,

A few comments to a couple of your points in “Thinking Right” today.

I thought “election commissions” in the various states were charged with making sure that the several candidates running for every office from “dog catcher” to “president” met the constitutional and/or statutory qualifications for the office they were seeking. If these “election commissions” are NOT doing their jobs, let’s do away with them and “save the money”!

I don’t like Sunday alcohol sales and if it came to a vote I would vote against it, but by the Prophet Jebidiah, those “oafs” in the General ASSembly ought to send it to the people for a vote!

The more I watch Georgia politicians, the more I appreciate the sophistication of the Three Stooges!

Wooten is a Hoot

March 4th, 2011
4:10 am

“This president should be defeated in 2012 on the basis of his record. Chances are good that he will”

Wooten..I still remember that article during the election comparing Obama chances at winning to Walter Mondale..I figured that you retired your crystal ball then…I guess not, lol


March 4th, 2011
7:39 am

Morning Jim!!! I see you took some Geritol, stayed up until 7:36 p.m. to phone in your weekly drivel again! Good for you!!! How about adding another paragraph to your (cough) “column”? Let’s call it “All the reasons that Jim should really just give his job to someone else” Or “Why is Jim still collecting a money from the AJC, (do you think it’s because he filed that lawsuit?) and who’s responsible for that whacked out decision?” Hey, enjoy that check from the RNC and keep on supporting mediocrity for the good of your pockets!! Shalom!


March 4th, 2011
7:40 am

Time to eliminate the State income tax.


March 4th, 2011
7:42 am

@ jerry

i do like your suggestion about the tax on sales of lotto tix. it is related to the “sin tax” which has previously been charged on alcohol and cigarette sales. i am, however, unsure if the state law governing the georgia lottery would allow for such a thing.

jim, i love your point about the proposed sales tax on services, but you left unsaid a much larger point. reeeee-publi-kans nationwide have insisted that state budgets can be balanced without resorting to any tax increases. now comes the georgia legislature with all their sales tax proposals. so far i have not heard any protesting about these proposed sales taxes from the tea party crowd. i would guess that is because they (as a general rule) would be far less hurt by the effect of these sales taxes than the average rank-and-file worker.

dontcha just looooove this session of the legislature. we have serious and substantive issues to deal with, and they choose to get their boxers all in a bunch about birther legislation and possibly making miscarriages a crime. a prospective mother who miscarries is already distraught enough without being faced with the prospect of having to defend herself from needless charges.

one also notes that hardly anything has been heard from young mr. deal about the goings-on in the legislature. even the past governor, sonny-did-not-do-much (i say that since he was certainly not governor sonny-do), was a lot more vocal than the present occupant.

Road Scholar

March 4th, 2011
7:52 am

Simplify the tax code; don’t distribute it to more services and things!

NIght Train

March 4th, 2011
7:55 am

As for the law to allow motorcycles to run red lights, don’t be so condescending Jim. Almost every time I ride I end up intentionally running a red light. I have been ticketed three times over the years for doing this and all three tickets were dismissed by the judge once he/she heard the reason. This law would free up my time as well as the courts time. I will wait for two cycles of the light before running the red light. Either fix the sensors in the roads or allow riders to run the light if the equipment is not working.

Jim, from the tone of your article, you obviously do not understand the issue here. You apparently do not care to know, do not want to know or did not want to take the time to research the details and extent of this problem. Come on, you’re better than that!


March 4th, 2011
8:06 am

Bring it back in 2013.

Yes, because bangin one’s head on the table to get attention, apparently never goes out of style.

The state will survive in the meantime.

With these bungling idiots at the helm? Being a neo-con does seem to have some advantages; such as how nice it must be to live in complete ignorance and denial.

Republicans should consider health care…

Why start now? They haven’t for thirty years. And as we all know, during that time, premiums have dropped like a stone. All thanks to the unerring “free market”.

And why keep screwing around on this Sunday choice bill? Just do what you godly Georgians have wanted to do for 85 years – bring back full blown Prohibition.

And hallelujah, Jim. Your final point is actually a cogent one.

Well done…


March 4th, 2011
8:08 am

@road scholar

your post reminds me of something else about which reeeee-publi-kans have long complained: the complexity of the tax code. these new taxes which are presently being discussed would start simply and then over time be amended with new sections to make them ever more complicated. this is what politicians do: they take simple tthings and make them complicated.

now i read on that the legislature is also looking at a tax on satellite tv service. i am quite surprised that they have not proposed a tax on internet purchases by georgia residents.


March 4th, 2011
8:09 am

oops….mebbe i should have not mentioned a tax on internet sales. that could give our precious legislators the wrong idea.

my bad

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 4th, 2011
8:23 am

Good morning all. The only real virtue of the “birther” bill is that it keeps the legislature from doing something else even more destructive.

Although ObamaCare is lunacy on steriods, it does not therefore follow that the Georgia legislature need not do anything productive to reduce healthcare costs. (1) Allow any health insurance underwriter to underwrite in Georgia. Unleash the free market. (2) Declare “punitive” and “exemplary” damages in any tort action a property of the state of Georgia, as only Georgia has criminal power, and tax such damages @ 98% (it is appropriate to pay the litigating attorney the 2% differential as a collection fee.) (3) Require insurors to accept all applicants, but enact a 2-year “prior existing condition” exception from coverage (comparable to the suicide clause in life insurance policies.)

I like Rep Purcell’s proposal; I’ve always suspected the real purpose for most traffic lights is to generate revenue for the government. But I don’t like motorcycles at all, think they are inherently too dangerous.

Re sidetracking the Sunday alcohol bill, I’ll drink to that.

On sales taxes for services, the big money is in healthcare and legal services. Tax those first, and let’s see how it works out.

Other than the military, is there any Federal program worth retaining? Supposedly Medicare and Social Security are self-funding, so is there anything else within the rest of the Federal budget worth keeping?

Buzz G

March 4th, 2011
8:34 am

Republicans should not be raising taxes, any taxes. They should focus on cutting spending.
Leave the tax hikes to the Democrats. There is nothing they would like better than to blame tax hikes on Republicans. Don’t fall for the trap.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
8:38 am

I must thank Jim Wooten for the last topic in Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Many of us in the black community couldn’t understand why charter members of the integrationist civil rights movement were receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom given a dismal record.

Prior to mandatory integration, 1970, in the south, 80% of black women were married. Very few young black males were in prison, on parole or probation. Black on black crime was practically non-existent. Black teachers, Mrs. Copeland, Mr. Smith etc, did not honor partial credit for partially correct answers…erasure, you know, forget about it. We were a moral God fearing community. Murdering babies via abortion was expressly forbidden.

No integrationist civil rights worker, educator, or politician responsible for creating the legislation and policies wants you to know how well they work, or whether they do. That’s because Presidential Medals of Freedom, monuments are awarded and built respectively based on intent, not results, and success is judged by money allocated, not what it produces and not by what it delivers.



March 4th, 2011
8:43 am

FY 2010 budget report, Georgia will face an FY 2011 budget deficit of $823 million and an FY 2012 budget deficit of $1.94 billion.

So Buzz, I have two questions for you, or anyone else here.

First, where exactly are you gonna cut that kind of money out of the state budget?

And secondly, may I presume that you are OK with you, as an individual, helping pick up the tab for the corporations within Georgia?

Since Crooked deal wants to minimize them further, somebody (You and I) is gonna have to make up for it, correct?


March 4th, 2011
8:44 am

Both political parties have people whose job it is to dig up as much dirt as possible on the opposition. These people are pros and if Obama’s birth place really was in question, we would have long since known about it.


March 4th, 2011
8:50 am

Gator: Balfour knows who butters his bread.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
8:56 am

Given all the pain, suffering, violence, and general ignorance in the black community due to the civil rights movement, many African Americans say with a straight face that they never thought they would see a “black” president in their lifetime… They don’t get it.


Southside Chachi

March 4th, 2011
9:10 am

General ignorance in the black community? What are you smoking Stan? It’s the so-called moral majority that think the President is some foreigner, and wr should cut everything from government except the military and tax cuts for the rich. If that kahu ignorance, then what is. If you are black, which I highly doubt, you need to go back and remember where you came from. It’d obvious that you’ve forgotten.

Capital Idea

March 4th, 2011
9:19 am

Jim, raising taxes is easier than cutting spending and it does not take time away from lobbyist entertainment.


March 4th, 2011
9:20 am

Stan – “prior to mandatory integration”

Are you saying we should go back to enforced segregation?


March 4th, 2011
9:46 am

those who scream and yell about more reductions in spending have apparently not been paying attention to recent legislative sessions. the recently-departed governor sonny-didn’t-do-much did at least order steep spending cuts when state revenues went down. the thing that he did not do was to salt money away during the good times in order to provide for an eventual drop in revenues. i guess it was much more fun to spend millions to tell people that they should go fish.


March 4th, 2011
9:49 am

“Fiscal conservatives, to the extent they exist in the Republican Party,…”

I thought fiscal conservatives in major political parties were extinct. I have not seen one in over 30 years. If there are a few remaining out in the hinterlands out of sight, that would be wonderful.
I hope someone can get pictures, you know, as proof of their existence.


March 4th, 2011
9:55 am


would a picture of oklahoma senator tom coburn do? :D


March 4th, 2011
10:01 am

spaceman, perhaps but Dr. No is no friend to veterans, so f(orget) him!


March 4th, 2011
10:35 am

hey there amvet…..thanks for your response and also for your service to the nation. what branch were you in? my dad was in the marines. he fought in the korean war.

i think that the best way that young mr. coburn could be a friend to veterans is to get out front and mount a huge attack on wasteful defense department spending. most people who complain about too much government spending refuse to talk about wastefulness in defense spending. they would rather divert attention away by (justifiably, mind you) complaining about waste in medicare and medicaid.


March 4th, 2011
12:55 pm

Wooten is so reticent. He only makes a slight concession to clarity when he explores a topic. I have no idea what he just wrote. I think he wants motorcyclist to be able to ride helmetless as they ignore red lights. This brings up the question: Can a motorcyclist ever do a chinese fire drill at a red light? I mean is it technically possible and does it count in the cool ratings? or is it just plain stupid? Wooten wont tell you. I just did.

The laconically desultory Wooten done dids it again!

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 4th, 2011
1:32 pm

Be wary — very wary — of “reforming” the state’s tax structure by extending a sales tax to services, such as haircuts, home maintenance, health club memberships and shoe repair.

A tax increase masquerading as tax reform. The General Assembly has been proposed so many “tax reforms” over the years that were really “tax increases”, that I’ve lost count.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
1:54 pm

People seem to think Dr. Stan, the black one, is not the black one… But if you look beyond the surface, subconsciously that is, they can’t believe that a black man has the capacity to “think” independently of others. But only a few people have that unique ability in the New World Order.

Oh do I remember from whence we’ve come. Let me make it crystal clear. As far as thinking right African Americans are concerned, the only positive outcome of the doctrine of integration is that no person is able to violate the God given rights, Constitutional rights, of African Americans without suffering the pain and penalty of law. Otherwise, segregation/separation was spiritually, mentally, and physically a better system, especially for the vast majority of African Americans.

African American children and others are taught in the government schools etc that there are no advantages to being separate/independent of other races, and children in our country are suffering the consequences of that indoctrination to one degree or another as we speak.

In reference to Jim Wooten’s last topic, a lot people deserve Presidential Medals of Freedom for that horrendous outcome.


March 4th, 2011
2:22 pm

WTF R U saying, Stan, that slaves didn’t know they were slaves? Give us a break with your overstyled vogue. You wouldn’t know a chitlun if it got shoved up your behind.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
2:22 pm

But all is not lost. We will not rest until the New World Order integrationist crowd, their devilish black minions, and corrupt union supporters are charged before an American court of law, tried, found guilty, and hanged by the neck, Saddam Hussein style, until they are dead for the crimes committed against the American people, especially African Americans.

So help us God Almighty.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
2:38 pm

I told you the New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions have limited the ability of Americans to think via government education in order to conquer them, especially African Americans.

Check out the limited ability of WHY? RNC is Y. And I’m willing bet the farm he or she is not a child.

Like I said earlier, in reference to Jim Wooten’s last topic, a lot of people deserve Presidential Medals of Freedom for that horrendous outcome.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
2:45 pm


March 4th, 2011
2:58 pm

Dr. Stan (the stupid one) I have begged you to please take your medication and seek professional help. Going through life fat, drunk, and stupid, is not attractive. Get help son.


March 4th, 2011
3:17 pm

Of course Obama can not win here in Georgia or the whole south, he only carried Florida, people there are not bigots and racist like the rest of the hicks from Ala to Sc.
Thank God for our other states, these hicks state like Georgia rather have Rep run the state to keep our kids last in education, high unemployment and fight over water.
Now if our President was Playing Football or Basketball or singing and dancing for these southerners then he would be labled the Golden Boy, thank God for Florida and the north and west cost.


March 4th, 2011
3:18 pm

Jim, it looks like the hot winds of the voters are telling their conservative representatives to stay away from the “birther” bill. There is some sanity in GA as this bill was none other that stupid.

And regarding alcohol sales on Sunday. I hope the GA legislaturs sees this for what it is, the nanny government in action. Let the people vote and secret meetings are for those who can’t stand the light of day (or be transparent).


March 4th, 2011
4:39 pm

I’ve ridden motorcycles for 15 yrs in GA and run thousands of the unchanging red lights. I started riding young and there were far fewer cars on the road (1984+) and I was often left sitting alone looking at that never changing light. Feeling guilty, I mostly turned right on the red and promptly made an illegal U-Turn immediately. Never got a ticket BTW, usually sat there long enough to always spot a cop. Soon you learn which lights just aren’t going to change, and I wouldn’t even slow down, right, U-Turn, keep going.

Over the years traffic evolved into cars everywhere, and impatient people. As an experienced rider now, I ride in the tire tracks, never the center of the lane because of the oil slick down the center accumulating over the years from dripping cars. (Air cooled bikes generally burn off oil before it hits the road). So, I noticed that when pulling up to lights off-center, cars would pull next to me in the same lane. I didn’t get that, at first. I eventually realized that they wanted to make sure the light changed. Only, they were doing it at lights that I KNEW would change with the weight of my bike.

I would just get the jumpstart on the car in the same lane as me, better than a road rager sitting behind a bike at an unchanging light. California allows motorcycles to share lanes with cars at 30mph or less for their own reasons, but that in combination of giving the motorcycle right of way at a redlight situation would probably be a mitigating solution. As for the lonely light with no side-car, there’s usually the quasi-legal, hang a right, bang a left or straight that I grew up with.

It’s like discrimination using the force of law. Good to know the judges throw out these types of tickets, it’d be nice not to have to show up for court on them, though. No harm, no foul. Just something to consider from a lowly constituent, who grew up on these roads.

74 Dawg

March 4th, 2011
4:52 pm

Hey Jim, spot on as usual. It’s not Conservative so much as common sense. I just now found out you were back. Guess the AJC online wasn’t spotlighting you for some reason, but i will look for you on Fridays now.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

March 4th, 2011
6:17 pm


March 5th, 2011
9:09 am

We as a nation are going down quickly….



March 5th, 2011
10:25 am

The Medieval Ages called. They want their Tea Party back.