Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● President Barack Obama’s speech on deficit reduction calls to mind an expression routinely employed by troops in Vietnam to quickly dismiss the unimportant: “It don’t mean nuthin’.” Indeed, it doesn’t. The Observer in Chief stacks words that have no particular relevance to yesterday or tomorrow. In serious times, he’s an unserious man.
● Time’s run out on tax revision for this legislative session. No harm’s done. Republicans, in fact, should be cheered that House Speaker David Ralston pulled the effort to rush through something consequential that, as with the Obamacare debacle, legislators and the public hadn’t absorbed.
● During the tax code rewrite State House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, the driving force behind tax revision, touched on something that conservatives will encounter time and again as they rock the status quo. O’Neal told the AJC that doubt existed as to whether the numbers data legislators were getting from Georgia State University Fiscal Research Center economists were influenced by their philosophical objections to the plan — something their director denied. While I’ve no way of knowing in this instance, it’s no secret that bureaucrats and the policy wonks who control information can and do shape legislation. How? By the way they define problems and options and frame information. Legislators always need experts who understand philosophically what they’re trying to do and who help them achieve those goals.
● This power proposed for Gov. Nathan Deal to remove school boards — Atlanta’s in particular — should be used once in a generation. Clayton County’s may have qualified because the whole county was in turmoil, fueled by a confrontational union and a rapidly transitioning population. Atlanta’s doesn’t. Courts and higher governments should overturn the will of the people with great reluctance, with compelling cause and then only to avoid immediate and uncorrectable harm.
● Good show. Legislators approve a bill to require local school systems to use performance, rather than seniority, as the primary factor when layoffs are necessary. Competence is not necessarily the reason workers survive for years in the public or private sector. Sometimes the worst employees burrow in because they can’t find a better job elsewhere.
● This tell-all first sentence from an Ernie Suggs story in the AJC heralds the onset of the 2012 presidential campaign. Writes Suggs: “Two officials from the White House were in Atlanta on Wednesday night for a rousing town hall meeting that at times resembled a campaign rally for President Barack Obama.” Do tell. Coincidences can sometimes amaze.
● Demonizing a business or an industry — energy producers, for example – is the prelude to a shakedown. BP got thoroughly fleeced by con artists and gougers, including local governments, in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill (to say nothing of the federal government, which coerced BP to set up a $20 billion payoff fund.) Ripoff details were provided to The Washington Post, and carried in the AJC, by ProPublica.
● The new Republican majority moves and shakes. Sunday liquor sales, blocked for decades of Democratic rule, await only the governor’s signature and local approval. A favor, please, from those who voted yes. Declare, honestly, that you favored Sunday sales, not that you favored “local control.” While that’s a traditional dodge for politicians, it’s unbecoming and at least slightly dishonest to think the locals need control over Sunday liquor sales, but not the authority to, for example, decide whether to allow the sale of firecrackers or marijuana. The difference is, of course, that there’s no business lobby pushing the latter.