Economic slump? Just ask 2 cities

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

● Cobb County has hired the school superintendent who just months ago re-promised his love to the Dallas Independent School District. The Cobb board would have done well to listen to the wise philosopher Reba McEntire: “No matter how much I adore you, I’ve got to stand behind the promise that I made.” Hinojosa “came along one promise too late.”

● A bit of information that reveals the shocking impact of this economic slump. The new cities of Johns Creek and Sandy Springs expect a 911 financing deficit this year that will cost both a million dollars each. Reason? The service is funded with a $1.50 per month fee on phone service. The shocker is that since 2007 Johns Creek has lost almost 500 businesses and Sandy Springs about 330.

● Polls R Us: Only 24 percent of us say we share the ideology of President Barack Obama and of members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, according to Rasmussen Reports. Even more disturbing, however, is a Gallup Poll conducted just before tax filing that finds that 71 percent of Democrats believe government should levy heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute the nation’s wealth. After 10 years of the Great Depression, only 35 percent of Democrats responding to a Roper Poll for Fortune Magazine in 1939 thought that a worthy goal of government. An estimated 45 percent of American households pay no income tax at all and, as the Wall Street Journal reported in April, seizing all the taxable income of millionaires and billionaires would amount to a grain of sand on the beach when compared to one year’s federal spending. And here House Republicans are trying to persuade the Obama administration to act responsibly for future generations by cutting spending. There’s a declining constituency for responsibility.

● Atlanta’s elected officials really should not let this moment pass without permanently fixing its defined-benefit public pension plans. Compromises and hybrids that leave the existing plans open are invitations to paper-over future financial disaster. Down the road, while taxpayers are watching “American Idol” and worrying about their water bills, unions and employee groups will be quietly at work with sympathetic politicians to run up benefits and roll over and hide the costs. If politicians don’t know — and most all of those on the City Council didn’t — that they’d already spent the $5.6 million they wanted for the Atlanta streetcar project, you can’t expect them to comprehend the significance of small numbers with big future financial impact.

● U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) creeps me out. He needs to go somewhere out of the limelight — and public office — to work these demons out.

● Liberals and conservatives alike use tax policy to persuade individuals to do something deemed desirable. Thus it is that the president of General Motors tells the Detroit News that he favors a gas tax increase of 50 cents to a dollar per gallon so “people will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.” Not surprisingly, GM president Dan Akerson describes himself as a “Colin Powell Republican, not a Sarah Palin Republican.”

● If ObamaCare’s mandate to buy insurance survives judicial scrutiny, no higher gas taxes would be necessary for government policymakers to drive consumer behavior. But there’s hope in the questions posed by the three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta hearing a 26-state challenge. “I can’t find any case” ever where the courts have upheld “telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market,” said Judge Stanley Marcus. “Is there anything that suggests that Congress” has that power? It is hoped this court and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court will say emphatically “No.”

82 comments Add your comment

Dave from GA

June 9th, 2011
7:29 pm

Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The total disconnect from main street America that we see out of our Congressional leaders
and this Administration is totally unacceptable!! Georgia has two RINOs for U.S. senators and I will be voting against mine when he comes up for re-election in 2012. ALL need to be voted out!

MM

June 9th, 2011
7:38 pm

Yeah, Weiner creeps me out too but so does Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. In fact, there’s no comparison. Vitter not only made repeated phone calls regarding the services of “employees” working for the “D.C. Madam” but then claimed to have “come to Jesus” and received special forgiveness which allowed him to continue service as a U.S. Senator. When announcing his special forgiveness for his actual (not Internet only) sexual cheating on his wife he refused to take any questions. At Least Weiner got up and took the questions like a man. And he did not cover up his shame with a veneer of religiosity. The hypocrisy of Republicans and Conservatives is, as usual, so thick you could not cut it with a knife.

midtownguy

June 9th, 2011
7:41 pm

Wherever Rep. Weiner goes to work his demons out, David Vitter should go with him. And he should resign, immediate following Vitter. What Weiner did was disgusting, what Vitter did was illegal.

TRUTH

June 9th, 2011
7:48 pm

Go ‘Way….

TRUTH

June 9th, 2011
7:49 pm

And take the ReTHUGliKKKans with you…..

MM

June 9th, 2011
7:54 pm

You’re right MidtownGuy. What Vitter did was illegal but the statute of limitations on his crime has expired. I guess the only honorable thing for him to do is resign. Yeah, right! For conservatives the only honorable thing to do is force him to resign. Yeah, right! Vitter was/is a big “Family Values” guy. Apparently “Family Values” inlcudes selective amnesia and major hypocrisy. I’m sorry but those that pretend to be better than the rest of us have a special duty to be better.

Curious

June 9th, 2011
8:45 pm

Does anyone realize the Conservatives are almost to their goal?

Taxes are bad! Less taxes mean more prosperity.

Jim points out that 45% of Americans pay no income taxes; the Conservatives/Republicans are almost there.

At the rate they’re going, soon no one will be paying, except some of us left in the middle.

Glenn

June 9th, 2011
8:48 pm

Jim Wwoten,

That was my cry when I divorced and you know well that it’s my cry, as an educator, in view of the various political sellouts of schoolchildren. Thanks for raising the matter, Man.

Glenn

June 9th, 2011
8:56 pm

Psst. The new cities don’t realize that they are creatures and subdivisions of the General Assembly, which can occupy them or redact their boundaries or abolish them or redistrict them upon the snap of a finger. (Wait! Don’t kill the messenger.). Whoever is legally advising the jurisdictions, if doing so for pay, is a pure charlatan.

Glenn

June 9th, 2011
9:08 pm

When I read this week’s offering from Mr. Wooten I can’t but reflect on our contentiousness here not many years ago when smartasses said this or that in forecast of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents. The really engaged people here, when thoughtful persons of various stripes used to compare with each other here onnacounta Jim’s decency, well, basically the thought was that the GOP was finished, that it was ideologically confused, that it could not possibly muster a credible challenge to Barack Obama’s presidency in 2012.

How bloody silly.

James k

June 9th, 2011
10:03 pm

If I follow your reasoning and your breezy writing style doesn’t seem to be built for information, but more for sending a casual vibe of information without content, kinda like a CNN factoid, what you are saying is 55,555 phone lines have been disconnected in Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.

1.50 911 tax per month = 18$ a year. One Million dollar deficit divided by 18$ equals 55,555
or are you saying these businesses had a combined total of 55,555 lines per community, cause I can do math, but I sure can’t understand your writing style.

yuzeyurbrane

June 9th, 2011
10:12 pm

Re healthcare your continued spouting of your ideological beliefs means nothing. More significant is the currently breaking story about Piedmont Healthcare laying off about 450 people because of lousy accounts receiveables situation. Healthcare Reform Act will pour billions into this state and save this state from the financial failure of many hospitals caused by your so-called “free market” health insurance system.

Evelyn

June 9th, 2011
10:14 pm

I am fairly certain parents are required to acquire vaccinations for their children of a certain age to enroll them in school, or it provides them an opportunity to opt out and home school them instead. Yes, it may feel a lot like coercion. Doesn’t the new health care bill offer citizens an opt-out choice, if you willing to pay a penalty?

Bill

June 9th, 2011
10:31 pm

Jim,

Good to see your usual partisan, superficial, fact-avoiding article. I am really not sure why we complain about Bookman and Tucker when we have you!! Surely, the AJC can do better than this trio (oops, forgot Wingfield!!). BTW, how much does a position on the editorial staff pay?? Based on what I see from this quarter, it is not very much!! It certainly would be appreciated to see some real talent – but that is probably asking too much!!

Regards,

Glenn

June 9th, 2011
11:06 pm

James k:

Fair enough. I’ve been trying to do what you’re talking about better than Wooten does. How would you do? I’ve been failing since I was Seventeen. I’m in my Fifties now, dammit.

Glenn

June 9th, 2011
11:12 pm

Evelyn, are you seriously suggesting that a Christian Scientist need not attempt to enroll her child in the public school system? Are we beginning to suspect that the workings of the system might be a bit more complex than you so deliciously imagine? Quite a bit more mundane? Oh Bother…

Weiner's Wiener

June 10th, 2011
12:05 am

MM thanks for defending me; I will send you a special “tweet”

Weiner's Wiener

June 10th, 2011
12:07 am

yuzeyurbrane

“Healthcare Reform Act will pour billions into this state and save this state from the financial failure of many hospitals caused by your so-called “free market” health insurance system”

For your sake I hope so because you need some meds…and quickly

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
6:46 am

To MM and midtownguy:

Vitter is the EXCEPTION, rather than the rule for GOP miscreants when it comes to resigning when caught (and it should be noted that he never lied about is scandal, unlike Weiner). And to point out what many don’t seem to understand, while both parties have their miscreants like Weiner and Vitter, the GOP has a much better record of doing the right thing when caught then the Democrats do.

Let’s review a few Democrat miscreants and what they don’t do, which is resign their seats when caught.

Barney Frank. Housed a male prostitute who ran a sex ring in Franks basement. Fixed the male prostitutes parking tickets and lied about the prostitute’s criminal record. Reprimanded by the House. Still serving in Congress.

Charlie Rangel. In November 2010, the Ethics Committee found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules, and on December 2, the full House approved a sanction of censure against Rangel. Still serving in Congress.

William Jefferson. Offices raided in 2006. Ran for re-election and won. Indicted in 2007 and still ran for re-election. Sentenced to 13 years in prison. Never resigned or contemplated resignation.

Ted Kennedy. Killed Mary Jo Kopechne. Fled scene. Plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. Never resigned nor contemplated resignation. Was re-elected 6 times following the incident.

Mel Reynolds. Indicted for sexual assault. Ran and won re-election following indictment. Didn’t resign his seat until convicted.

Dan Rostenkowski. Indicted in 1994 for House post office corruption scandal. FORCED to resign all leadership positions. Ran for re-election and lost.

John Murtha. Implicated in Abscam investigation. Never resigned.

Gerry Studds. Censured by the House for having sex with a 17 year-old page. Never resigned. Was re-elected 6 times following censure.

Alcee Hastings. Impeached in 1989 as a judge for bribery. Has served 18 years as a U.S. Congressman.

James Traficant. Indicted and convicted of bribery in 2002. Was expelled by the House. Never resigned.

As you can see, even when caught and convicted, Democrats can’t even do the right thing and resign.

Now, let’s see other instances where Republicans do the right thing when caught.

Tom Delay. Resigned.
Newt Gingrich. Resigned
Trent Lott. Resigned as Majority Leader following states rights comment re: Strom Thurmond. Resigned from Senate in 2007. All because of a comment he made, not any legal issue.
Chris Lee. Resigned.
Bob Ney. Investigated in 2006. Withdrew from race.
Duke Cunningham. Resigned.
Larry Craig. Did not seek re-election.
Mark Foley. Resigned. No charges ever filed.
John Ensign. Resigned.

So, yeah, the GOP has Vitter. They also have a long list of those who resigned office when faced with charges. The Democrats don’t have resignations, even when CONVICTED or censured by their peers. Neither side deserves any accolades for their miscreants, but at least the GOP in large part does the right thing, while Dems do not.

jconservative

June 10th, 2011
6:48 am

“There’s a declining constituency for responsibility.”

What we actually have is an increase in the demand for government services that has been going on since the 1932 election. And both the Democratic and Republican parties are guilty.

The problem was manageable until the early 1980’s when we decided that we could cut government revenue and increase government spending my huge amounts and everything would be A-OK.

Folks the United States is a Socialist Society with a Socialist government because that is the program the voters bought.

exeter south

June 10th, 2011
7:35 am

Can someone please explain why mandated health insurance is so horrible now, but was great when it was the GOP answer in rebuttal to the Clinton plan? While impossible to police, and not perfect, it sounds like what I used to believe would have been a Republican plan to repair an undeniably broken system. What other solution would we pursue here? The party approach, as I once understood political ideology , would have been for the “Left” to introduce a plan that would resemble a system fully funded by government similar to Canada, for example. While the “Right” would push to keep a free market system in place that drives medical innovation and motivates providers via competition to deliver excellence in care. If someone here has read this law in its entirety and can reply without bias to ideology, I would really appreciate it. I sincerely mean that. Thanks

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
7:39 am

“Can someone please explain why mandated health insurance is so horrible now, but was great when it was the GOP answer in rebuttal to the Clinton plan?”

Because the conclusions of a handful of GOP politicians in the ’70’s and “90’s does not constitute a majority of GOP support.

Any other questions?

the watch dog

June 10th, 2011
7:46 am

Anthony Weiner is getting a bad rap. Nowhere is there any verbosity about his ability to do his job. In a renissance era which is also considered an “era of enlightenment” when anything goes, the populance has been quick to jump on Weiner’s indiscretions. The “age of information” has been around for quite some time, and according to all reports is working well.

how well has Congressman weiner been doing his congressional duties? Nobody is asking that. The populance appears to be dumbstruck by his proclivities. I always recall that ancient saying”let thee who is without sin cast the first stone”.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
7:59 am

“how well has Congressman weiner been doing his congressional duties? Nobody is asking that.”

Actually, others are. Bit it is irrelevant to the issue.

This Congressman LIED to the press, his constituents, and to the nation he allegedly serves, then allowed his supporters to attack the messenger who exposed this exposer. As a congressman, he gets to go overseas to represent this country when meeting with foreign leaders. What would YOU think if this liar was sitting across from you and was assuring you of his support?

Why is your standard for an elected official so low?

exeter south

June 10th, 2011
8:01 am

Dave R: “Any other questions?”

Even if it was a small majority, was it a bad idea and why?

exeter south

June 10th, 2011
8:05 am

“small majority” does not make sense. Whoops. Small number is what I meant to say.

DannyX

June 10th, 2011
8:09 am

Dave R, “Republicans that did the right thing,” LMAO!

Larry Craig, REPUBLICAN, a Senator from Idaho, tries to get a hot young stud into a restroom stall so he can pounce on the kid, rip his clothes off, then do countless things not acceptable to say on this blog. We’re talking hot male on male sex. A US Senator, in a bathroom!

Senator Craig did not resign.

Senator Vitter, the family values REPUBLICAN Senator was re-elected, after having smelly gross diaper sex with a prostitute, RE-ELECTED! GROSS.

Hey Republicans…. Boxers or briefs?…Huggies or Pampers?

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
8:14 am

“Even if it was a small majority, was it a bad idea and why?”

I believe it is, because it (in the current bill) fines someone for NOT doing something that isn’t a responsibility of government. The government arguably has a case to force people to have insurance if they want to drive, as the government built the roads.

But healthcare? Private matter, private industry.

The issue has always been one of cost control. The GOP had proposals that would have reduced the cost of healthcare in half, but those proposals never saw the light of day due to majorities in Congress that don’t allow the minority to propose anything the majority doesn’t want. If the problem is health care costs too much, fix the problem.

DannyX

June 10th, 2011
8:18 am

“The GOP had proposals that would have reduced the cost of healthcare in half,…”

Those proposals can be found inside of one Vitter’s used smelly diapers.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
8:21 am

You don’t read very well, do you, DannyX?

Here is my post on Senator Craig: “Larry Craig. Did not seek re-election.”

And this little gem from you: “Larry Craig, REPUBLICAN, a Senator from Idaho, tries to get a hot young stud into a restroom stall so he can pounce on the kid, rip his clothes off, then do countless things not acceptable to say on this blog.”

Really? Tapping your feet can get that to happen? Really? Hyperbole, much?

Now, my post already pointed out the Vitter lack of ethical behavior, while also detailing the GOP miscreants who DID do the right thing.

Why don’t you at least concede that I was right on both sides in this debate. A little intellectual honesty from you would go a long way.

DannyX

June 10th, 2011
8:26 am

Jim you missed one from Gallup…

After being tied last summer Democrats once again have a sizable numbers lead vs. Republicans.

45% say the are Democrat
39% say they are Republican

Keep up the crazy Republicans. (Didn’t take long.)

carlosgvv

June 10th, 2011
8:33 am

The Govt. announced some time ago the recession was over. I wonder how many people actually believed that then or believe that now?

Dabir Dalton

June 10th, 2011
8:54 am

Jim what is it about the expression of a younger man’s normal sexuality that frightens you so? You sound just like the average women stuck in the “boy’s are icky” stage of feminism that has sought to shame men for their sexuality for the past 60 years!

GT

June 10th, 2011
9:05 am

Government mandates car insurance.

“Liberals and conservatives alike use tax policy to persuade individuals to do something deemed desirable.” Why talk about Michigan when the red state of Georgia is all about deception in its taxes and fees.
There is a state tax of one dollar in this state charged for the disposal of used tires tacked on the bill of purchasing new tires. The fee is just one of hundreds the state collects on things including new tires, hunting and fishing licenses and surcharges on criminal fines. This Republican controlled state collect 10s of millions of dollars in these fees. But only a sliver of the total goes to the programs the fees were created to help fund. Part of the problem is the state can’t say how much of the money goes where — a lack of accountability that state auditors have identified twice.

It seems to be the trend that taxpayers have to look over their shoulders to see if their money is going to the right places. It’s kind of misleading, it’s somewhat deceptive.

exeter south

June 10th, 2011
9:07 am

Dave R, I agree with you on the point of costs and gov as a whole being ineffective. In theory, I also agree that health insurance is a private industry, private matter point and all it entails. However, the practical reality is that system as we know is not working. Something must be done, without doubt, so what do we do? Thanks for your responses. Would really like to see more dialogue regarding ideas instead of constant emotion driven back and forth.

GT

June 10th, 2011
9:34 am

exeter south what is your vision of America. Seems that is where we all start. There must be something in common with the left and the right on this level. The left puts a premium on education. The right puts a premium on security. It is like religion. One side of religious people pray for miracles, the other side prays for the strength to accept life the way it is. In order to accept life the way it is you need to know what life is. Education goes a long ways to that purpose. When education is void, fear takes it place. When there is fear there is a feeling of a lack of security. We spend billions on defense and justice department prisons, drug wars while we diminish our quality of life.

I often wonder how the countries like Iraq can train rag tag armies that challenge our forces there, yet we with billions can’t train a local army from the same material that a shoe string budget produces. Homeland defense spends billions yet bodies float in the street of New Orleans in an exact disaster we were told we were spending the billions to prevent. We are willing to let our sick die in the lobbies of hospitals while we fight wars for people who don’t want us. Stop this and we have cure a lot of what is wrong.

Buzz G

June 10th, 2011
9:43 am

Weiner so admires Bill Clinton. For years Bill Clinton did things that Weiner could only dream of doing. Not only that, but Clinton got away with paying no real penalty for doing it. When we let someone with the alley cat morals of a Bill Clinton attain the highest office in the land, we stand the risk of encouraging our kids to think they can do the same and it will be all right. So Bill Clinton set the new standard for the Democratic party. You can give in to your libido, trash the lives of women and still pay no price.

The Beat

June 10th, 2011
9:46 am

Luckovich hit a home run this morning.

The allocation of our resources should have political criteria. It’s obvious that nobody understands the consequence of high/low taxes, high/low spending or behavior-modifying fiscal/monetary policy. Greenspan himself bailed on every single one of his undecipherable market whisperings. Nobody gets it. No, not even you.

It’s politics. Political repertoire alone should rule the flow of funds. Last refuges cloak our scoundrels, and we fall for it every.single.time. That’s why nothing changes. We are automatons (and morons) who vote because we like the beat.

We like the beat….we like the beat……we like the beat.

DannyX

June 10th, 2011
10:02 am

Weiner is just suffering from a bit of geographical bad luck.

If Weiner was from Georgia he could resign his scandalous seat, switch parties and get elected Governor.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
10:27 am

Oh, yeah, and thanks for not manning up, there DannyX.

GT

June 10th, 2011
10:29 am

“So Bill Clinton set the new standard for the Democratic party”

Nixon did that favor to the Republican Party a long time ago.

Churchill's MOM

June 10th, 2011
10:39 am

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
6:46 am

You left out Raw Deal, he resigned from congress to keep from being kicked out.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
10:48 am

Yes, Churchill’s Mom, I did.

Does that change, in any way, the other conclusions regarding my post above? Or are you simply going to ignore the factual data that is provided and point out one I missed, or are you going to be intellectually honest about it and admit I am right?

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
11:03 am

Boy, liberals like DannyX, MM and Churchill’s Mom sure do run for the exits when confronted with unassailable facts. :lol:

GT

June 10th, 2011
11:17 am

Dave R. your ego is showing.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
11:41 am

GT, you are free to refute any of the facts I posted above.

Otherwise, that comment of yours is merely jealousy on your part.

Evelyn

June 10th, 2011
11:42 am

Glenn, no I wasn’t. I was providing just one example that came to mind, where the federal government “requires” the acquisition of a product or service. The “requirement” is not absolute, nor should it be, as you correctly pointed out.

MM

June 10th, 2011
12:19 pm

Reply to Dave R. @ 6.46am,

The question is whether you will call for Vitter’s immediate resignation and encourage others to do so also. Republicans (and many Democrats, too) have such a double standard.

Also, thanks (really) for the run down on Repubs and Demos who have strayed way wide from the straight and narrow. Seems like Craig and Ensign deserve more than average repulsion, again more than the Demos you list they were big “Family Values” advocates which really torques me off as I mentioned.

Dave you seem able to see both sides and that’s certainly a good thing. Again, Weiner really does creep me out. On Capitol Hill there are few true defenders of the poor and middle class so he, like Bill Clinton, deserve to roast in hell at least for a little while.

Hillbilly D

June 10th, 2011
12:38 pm

Liberals and conservatives alike use tax policy to persuade individuals to do something deemed desirable.

They’re both wrong in doing that, in my opinion.

Dave R.

June 10th, 2011
2:40 pm

“The question is whether you will call for Vitter’s immediate resignation and encourage others to do so also.”

1. Why should I call for Vitter’s resignation now? His indiscretion occurred years ago, as did his coming clean of the indiscretion years ago.

2. I did call for his resignation years ago. What does any call for his resignation do now? He has already chosen the re-election route.

3. How many GOP miscreants who DID resign or not seek re-election does it take for you to realize there is a double standard in place here. GOP miscreants resign; Democrat miscreants don’t. Why do you need one more when the Dems haven’t made the first effort?

Calling for Vitter’s resignation is just more deflection from Weiner NOT doing the right thing as his peers in the GOP have done time and time again. And I dispute whether Craig or Vitter deserve more than the repulsion of some of the Democrats on the list. I don’t believe that killing a young woman, or being convicted of bribery, or being convicted of sexual assault – regardless of the party affiliation – rises to the level of cheating on your spouse.