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.”