Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Every now and then, achievements in science, medicine and technology are breath-taking. Two in the past week come to mind. The first was a stupendous achievement at Emory University Hospital where a team of surgeons led by Dr. Linda Cendales performed a 19-hour surgery to attach a hand to 21-year-old Linda Lu. As a 1-year-old, Lu lost her hand to complications related to Kawasaki disease. It’s a first for Emory, though the surgery was first performed by a team that included Cendales in 1999 in St. Louis. And this week, even without a functioning “black box” flight recorder, searchers operating undersea robots found the wreckage of Air France’s Rio-to-Paris flight resting 2.4 miles below the surface of the Atlantic — and can identify some of the bodies before they are recovered. Even with a daily diet of economic gloom and incomprehensible brutality and murder, some news is worth waking up to.
● I may become a liberal again one day, as I was in the ’60s, when the left starts coming up with ideas that address social problems as beneficially as conservatives like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who heads the House Budget Committee, have. The mistake of liberals is to pretend that the nature of poverty and the values of the impoverished are unchanged by 50 years of public spending, Hence, their solutions: Spend more, require less initiative and personal responsibility. Ryan’s proposal, which would cut $6.2 trillion from spending over the next 10 years, “puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal. He tackles Medicaid and Medicare responsibly and constructively, empowering states and individuals. Such a breath of fresh air in American politics.
● Headlines are really difficult. Few words, little space. A headline over the story about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an Arizona law that allows individuals a tax credit of up to $500 for contributions to tuition scholarship organizations declares “Private schools get break.” Georgia has a similar law. My headline would say “Parents, givers get break.” The first beneficiaries are not private schools, but parents whose children are trapped in a nonperforming public school. Great decision for parents. And encouragement for reformers and would-be ObamaCare repealers: Patience and persistence.
● Republicans under the Gold Dome need not own the good ol’ boy culture they inherited. They can change it. And should. Case in point: Taxpayers put $1.3 billion per year into state retirement systems but are prohibited from knowing who is exploiting the system for unwarranted benefits — the politicians and their kinfolks and the politically connected in particular. That prohibition is responsible, in part, for keeping the system open to political abuse. Republican legislators and state Attorney General Sam Olens need to aggressively push full transparency so taxpayers know which politicians and which friends and kinfolks are ripping us off. Fix it or you own it.
● A surprising discovery after Clayton County decided it couldn’t afford a low-ridership bus system that was costing the county $8 million — half of its projected $16 million deficit. The discovery is that people either moved closer to their jobs or to existing bus lines or formed car pools. The day surely will come when rational discussions direct limited tax revenues to the greatest need. If the solution can be that people move from one apartment complex to another, or go to nearby clinics in the case of Grady Memorial Hospital’s decision to close two neighborhood clinics, we can both serve the needy and do it rationally and affordably.