A lower bar in higher education

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

● Georgia appears to be doing to higher education what Congress did to housing: chasing downmarket candidates in an effort to flim-flam them — this time into college classrooms. AJC reporter Laura Diamond notes, for example, that a new bachelor’s degree in nursing is being offered at Albany’s Darton College, though it’s already available at Albany State, five miles away, and Georgia Southwestern, 30 miles away. Would you take a degree if we could offer a program in your living room? With government services, there’s something to be said for requiring individual preparation, initiative and effort. Only 48 percent of students at Georgia State University graduate in six years, compared to 80 percent at UGA and Georgia Tech. They’re camping, waiting for a better economy or for an answer to the question: Why am I here?

● Clayton County commissioners raised property taxes 34 percent — topping DeKalb’s 26 percent and Cobb’s 15.7 percent. Home values decreased; the millage goes up. This, incidentally, is how most Democrats earn their place in the Political Courage Hall of Fame. They express great angst at the unpleasant options before them, fret, whine and finally muster the courage to raise taxes. Fiscal conservatives earn their place in the hall by eliminating real spending. They are vastly outnumbered.

● Ho-hum. President Barack Obama addressed the nation again. Old policies, new phrases. He repeatedly repeated, again and again, the phrase “balanced approach” to plead for higher taxes along with a higher debt ceiling. The country is pretty much tuning him out. No surprise. He’s a Teleprompter repository of empty phrases market-tested by polls and focus groups.

● Federal regulators are proposing that mortgage lenders either hold 5 percent of the value of home loans they make or require borrowers to make a 20 percent down payment. It’s a response to the collapse of financial institutions caused by efforts among some in Congress and in previous administrations to lure unqualified borrowers into homes they couldn’t afford. Lenders carelessly made bad loans because they could package them up and sell them off. While the housing industry is reacting badly to the proposed regulations, the fact is that when policy makers incentivize no-consequence irresponsibility by brokers, borrowers and lenders, that’s the behaviors we get — or got. Every government program and policy should cultivate personal responsibility, even at the risk of — egad, no! — delaying gratification. The behaviors that enable individuals to be responsible homeowners are learned in saving for the down payment.

● The Georgia General Assembly should make it illegal for any public body to offer financial incentives for a company to move from one Georgia county to another.

● One of the pitfalls of the “green” theology is that government will impose the financial burden of uneconomical technology and tiny market demand on unsuspecting buyers. Business resists the higher costs, but not much if they can pass them along. Public Service Commissioner Lauren McDonald in June gave Georgia Power 30 days to come up with proposals for large-scale solar. It did. It will enter 20-year agreements to buy up to 50 megawatts of the more-costly solar. The relevant voice in this scenario is PSC Commission Chairman Stan Wise. “I am going to support this proposal,” he said, “but just as a notice, I’m going to continue the push-back on prices and subsidies.” When that push-back stops, rate-payer subsidies will blossom. (This is true of all of President Barack Obama’s impose-and-hide energy mandates.)

40 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

July 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

As for your contention that Pesident Obama is losing support, only conservatives think that way.

Jim, do you quit your job when you don’t have another source of income and you owe money? That is what the tax cuts have done. There are two variables in the equation of Surplus (-Deficit)=income-expenses. Yes I agree that spending should be cut, but we have to “belly up to the bar” to pay our debts also. They won’t just go away.Doesn’t one pay as much as he can to reduce the debt, even though it may hurt?


July 28th, 2011
6:56 pm

“The country is pretty much tuning him out.”

Wooten please stay retired and quit wasting my time…in your spare time you can read what the country, at least 65% is really thinking. Psst….BALANCED.

Doris M

July 28th, 2011
7:01 pm

I don’t think the country is tuning out President Obama. I believe the country is in tune with his conciliatory approach to government. He is willing to listen to all and, most importantly, give credit where credit is due. The republicans are the hard-nosed, never give an inch party. All politicians closely follow polls and will say what they think the voters want to hear. Now, whether or not the polls are correct is the question. President Obama is doing a great job; I just wish the republicans would follow suit.


July 28th, 2011
7:03 pm

thought roy barnes tried to keep banks from marauding ga citizens but the right fought against it…which side are you on mr. wooten


July 28th, 2011
7:54 pm

Right on, Mr. Wooten! Glad to see your latest common sense!

Until we OUTLAW the TWO MOST EVIL FORCES that CONTROL us, the democrackkks AND the republicannots, WE the PEOPLE will be tortured by these EVIL forces. ABOLISH them now, for they are NOT Constitutionally required. They are ENEMIES of the state and nation.


July 28th, 2011
7:56 pm

“The country is pretty much tuning him out. No surprise. He’s a Teleprompter repository of empty phrases market-tested by polls and focus groups.”

True that. I like the guy but I’ve been disappointed that he hasn’t shown more leadership on the debt ceiling issue. His lack of real world experience is beginning to show. I had high hopes for BHO, but now I’m looking forward to the end of his reign.


July 28th, 2011
7:58 pm

● The Georgia General Assembly should make it illegal for any public body to offer financial incentives for a company to move from one Georgia county to another.

Jim, yes, it would help to stop desperate, poor decision making escalating in great part due to the bad economy. Your call may make the difference. And, while you are at it, also call federal officials to ask them to make it illegal for the FAA to fund the purchase/sale of an airport already owned by a local government contracted to serve the general public under the Federal Grant Assurances. The FAA is about to help Clayton County to buy Tara Field. Clayton County is so desperate right now it is will to unload Tara Field for close to $20M, and the FAA is willing to pay nearly all of the sales price, essentially it will gift the airport to Henry County, all thanks to the generosity of the US taxpayer. What a sweet deal, but it should be made a crime against the people.

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
8:13 pm

JIm Cut taxes is not the correct answer to every financial issue. In fact it is not the correct answer to many questions at all, inspite of what your party thinks. It takes leadership to actually make the decision to do what is right and not hold your finger up to see what the prevailing winds say. You of course would not understand this because you are use to having your reps checking with your right wing ideologues before they take any position. Our country deserves better than what your cowards offer.

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
8:15 pm

The country is tuning him out? The latest poll says 72% say raise the taxes on the wealthiest!! Tuning your cowards out you mean?? The wealthiest have not been paying their fair share for over 10 years- AND you sir know that!!!

Tyler Durden

July 28th, 2011
8:18 pm

Wow. I thought Kyle was handling the ‘cut&paste Republican talking points’ duties for the AJC. How many dittoheads does it take to echo the same tired drivel day-in and day-out???!!

Tired, unoriginal and with less substance than marshmallow fluff…

Can’t wait until 2012!!! :-)

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
8:19 pm

Of course you would say that the governent made the banks and financial houses do it!!! Of course we saw this movie before with the S&L fiasco but you darn old conservatives continue to worship at their altar and say that they don’t need any regulation. They can self police!! You guys are so predictable- and wrong!!!

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
8:25 pm

While you are at it with your posits for the general assembly why not ask them to take steps to create better ethics and transparency in their dealings; why not ask them to represent all Georgians alike and not just the wealthiest amongst us; why not tell them to actually show some leadership and try and better the state of Georgia’s rankings in most national polls where we rank in the bottom ten percent. Of course if , as I suspect, that goes against the grain of your party then it will be difficult to ask them to do any of those things and so your comment to them might just be- “continue to march”.

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
8:27 pm

BitterEXdemocrackkk Perhaps you could round us all up and then ……? Ya think??? Courage much??? Maybe a good old poll tax??


July 28th, 2011
8:32 pm

“Fiscal conservatives earn their place in the hall by eliminating real spending. They are vastly outnumbered”(when a Democrat is President) What about the drunken sailor spending that has happened the last 30 years when a Republican is in the White House? You all raised the debt ceiling numerous times from 2000 to 2006 Where was the outrage then when we added 4 trillion to the deficit?


July 28th, 2011
8:38 pm

Ga State students are typically from lower incomes and are more likely to be going to school part time while working — unlike UGA and GT. One size fits all criticism doesn’t work any better than one-size fits all govt regulations.


July 28th, 2011
9:25 pm

Jim, the first three commenters today seem to be evidence that Obama’s Rabid Response Team is hard at work, trying to spin a silk purse out of his sow’s ear of an administration. Oh, sorry, meant to say “Rapid.”

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

Just evidence that your Republican tired saws about cutting taxes and not being responsible for wht you have done to this country during the Bush years will not fly and will not be allowed to stand. You love to do two things- cut taxes abd make war. How brave you all are.


July 28th, 2011
10:16 pm

Well, conservatives have certainly tuned out the President. People always want to respect the office if not the man or his politics, but BHO commands no such respect. It’s beyond painful to listen to a leftist Marxist lecture from the bully pulpit and demean people like me who make this country work.

As APS has demonstrated, when your base is a rabble and you have to rely on them to operate, you are in deep trouble.

Actually, on the debt ceiling debate I’ve tuned out BOTH sides. All of this – repeat, ALL of this is nothing but political theater. The miscasting, distortions, and outright lies in the media every day are disgusting. Watching Shep Smith on Fox trump this up every night as an impending disaster is disgusting. Frankly, I’m disgusted these people think so little of us; they certainly don’t care what we think of them as judged by the polls.


July 28th, 2011
10:38 pm

I heard something very interesting this morning. Newt Gringrich was on the radio with Rob Johnson. Mr. Johnson asked him about his campaign debt to which Newt responded that he was going to spend the weekend raising money to close the gap.

As the folks on the right LOVE to compare the running of the country to running a business I would have figure that Newt would have decided it better to cut his campaign spending to reduce his $1,000,000 deficit rather than raising revenue. I mean, it’s common knowledge that raising revenue is a foolhardy way to reduce a deficit.


July 28th, 2011
10:47 pm

The only people tuning the President out are the people predisposed to do so. The rest of the nation, including that vast ocean of independents (who are actually the ones mean something in elections) appear to be listening.

It’s interesting the myopia that sets in when you surround yourself no one other than the like minded. It becomes really easy to believe that you are tuned in to the “pulse of America” if everyone around you is parroting your ideas back to you. All you have to do to witness this phenomena for yourself is to turn on one of the 3000 right wing talk radio programs to witness this particular breed of groupthink.

The unfortunate thing is that I would have thought that someone as intelligent as JW would have the objectivity to see through this and realize that while he may have tuned out the President many Americans (I’d dare say more than half if the polls are to be believed) did not and many of those actually believe that the approach of which he spoke actually makes some sense.


July 28th, 2011
10:49 pm


If you can suggest a way to raise revenues in this economic environment, let if fly! Newt is out..amongst Republicans that is.


July 28th, 2011
10:58 pm

“● Ho-hum. President Barack Obama addressed the nation again. Old policies, new phrases. He repeatedly repeated, again and again, the phrase “balanced approach” to plead for higher taxes along with a higher debt ceiling. The country is pretty much tuning him out. No surprise. He’s a Teleprompter repository of empty phrases market-tested by polls and focus groups.”….

Our president – yes…he’s mine, too… – doesn’t care about fiscal responsibility. He wants to remain in power. He’s not a leader. He is an undeniably cold, shrewd political animal. He “won”. Now what?

Craig Spinks/ Augusta

July 29th, 2011
1:39 am

The behavior of unscrupulous homebuyers, of short-sighted mortgage-originators and “-packagers,” of greedy investment bankers, of naive purchasers of collateralized debt obligations and their “synthetic” cousins as well as of indolent, indifferent financial regulators during our recent financial meltdown reiterate the wisdom of the old Biblical saw, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”


July 29th, 2011
6:26 am

Uhh, Cobb county is generally a Republican bastion and it raised it’s property tax rate. It’s not just Democrats raising taxes. As someone else in the blog said in a different way, when you as an individual cut expenses to the bone, but costs still keep going up, you go get a second job, not quit the one you have.


July 29th, 2011
7:22 am

The all Republican all the time Barrow county chairman and commission are raising property taxes by 25% because property values fell. How is that the Democrats fault again? Did they prevent Barrow county expenses from being cut somehow? Despite the spin, Republicans are even worse about wasting taxpayer money than Democrats.


July 29th, 2011
7:30 am


Take away Barry’s checkbook, and let the impotent little boy fade into obscurity.

Don’t worry, you’ll see him again in January 2013.. knocking on your door trying to get you to join the People’s Union..


July 29th, 2011
7:37 am

This is really funny reading when you think about the fiasco with the republicans in the house last night.

The Republican Party – where the right hand doesn’t know what the “far right” hand is doing.


July 29th, 2011
7:41 am

Wooten = Spam.


July 29th, 2011
8:07 am

That is a lot of cold-hearted rambling. Indeed the ‘balanced’ approach being presented is balanced ‘on the backs’ of those who have significantly less disposable income than the financial-top few percent of the US. I’m pretty sure it’s not green theology… technology was maybe the word he meant; it’s not a very conservative word.


July 29th, 2011
8:16 am

Wooten should not be criticizing anyone for “repeatedly repeated, again and again.”


July 29th, 2011
8:27 am


Wow, nice way to solve the problem there William. Did you want to take W’s checkbook too?

Picking on Education is Low Hanging Fruit

July 29th, 2011
8:29 am

Sure, take the easy way… lets pick on post secondary education. Let’s find even more ways to cut the education budget from what likely is our greatest national treasure…post secondary education. At this point, but likely not in the future, the world sends their best and brightest to the US for their medical training, and doctorate degrees especially including research-related degrees in biomedicine, physics, chemistry, computer sciences etc. Sure, students at GSU take longer. As noted above many are from low income families requiring them to have part time or even full time jobs to survive. This is in stark contrast to UGA and Tech where such students barely exist if they exist at all. Yup, pick on post secondary education. Keep cutting the education budget in Georgia. It won’t matter what the tax structure is here. Companies need educated employees. It costs them tons of money to ship in their employees from elsewhere if the locals are not educated. Wooten… you don’t recognize a strength of our country unless you hear it from one of conservative talking heads on the radio or TV. Do your own home work and do it thoroughly. They are paying you enough to do waaaaaaaaaaay better than this — or retire as you functionally are retired. You are a journalist? Really?


July 29th, 2011
8:35 am

“Clayton County commissioners raised property taxes 34 percent — topping DeKalb’s 26 percent and Cobb’s 15.7 percent. Home values decreased; the millage goes up. This, incidentally, is how most Democrats earn their place in the Political Courage Hall of Fame.”

Didn’t know there were many democrats on Cobb County’s Commission.

Billy Bob

July 29th, 2011
8:43 am

There you go again. Talking about personal responsibility. What a hypocrite. I’ve found that 90% of those folks who talk about personal responsibility only want others to be responsible for their own actions. If we have personal responsibilty people who produce children would be responsible for paying for educating their children. Pigs will fly before that happens.

COL Dave

July 29th, 2011
8:46 am

Jim, I have always enjoyed your writing and our conversations back when we were in the guard together. It’s nice to see your Friday column and know you are still engaged, but you seem to bring out the most hateful left-wingers. I guess they just like to run their mouths and not pay attention to what’s going on or they would have notice that their President, Mr. Bean, is down to 32% approval among independents. I guess they don’t want to talk about that nor the reasons why.


July 29th, 2011
8:52 am

Does anyone know when The Dekalb County Board of Commissioners are due to be voted on? I have every intention of voting every one of those tax raising crooks OUT.


July 29th, 2011
8:53 am

I’ll give President Obama one thing…he has played this perfectly…..what you guys really think the man doesnt know what he is doing??

Next week..the debt. ceiling is raised…Obama looks balanced..the GOP is a mess and the Tea Party continues to frighten average Americans…..lol….Bill Clinton must have his hands in all this….wow, these guys are good.

Mr Woo of China

July 29th, 2011
8:53 am

Mr Woo, of China, is………..RIGHT!!! This time he not only entertained the reader, (he may not have written this, but merely presented an outline to a ghost writer), but he made some valid points that may sway many readers’ assessment of the democrats chances to stay in the white house.

First, he endeared himself to the liberal reader by comparing the cheerleaders at UGA and Georgia Tech to the girl next door getting an online nursing degree in a red state that should know better. I think I’d have to lean toward Tech’s cheerleaders but you may get lucky with the girl next door. Well done, sir.

That first gambit set his next topic up perfectly: using the word courage in a paragraph that projects the cost of conservative’s warmongering in Iraq onto democrats. Sound fiscal policy: Sighted budget. Sank Same.

Teleprompter? Didn’t Lincoln use a teleprompter envelope when he gave a little speech called “The Gettysburg Address”. The one photo we have of the speech shows him looking down at a small piece of paper, man. Come to think of it, we all use teleprompter menus when we order at Mickey D’s. “Yes, I’ll have the meal that weighs more than my car…”

Next come the Keynesian/Freedman controversy in which Mr Woo successfully plays both sides against the middle. If he doesn’t offend everyone then he’s not doing his job. Probably the most efficient explanation of the bank crisis I’ve ever read. You listening Greenspan?

It’s also probably best, as Mr Woo deduces, to delay any foray into solar power. For ever couple of years we wait, the efficiency of solar power quadruples, and eventually, we may actually be able to power our homes for free. Right now, you need an acre of solar panels just to power a george forman grill man. The problems are so confounding now, that only a fool would spend the dough.



July 29th, 2011
8:56 am

I taught at Georgia State for six years, and most of the students there are working their way through school. They are some of the finest young people around, but when you have to work full time, you can’t finish school in four or even five or six years. Imposing this kind of standard on a school like Georgia State (or any other school, really) is wrong.

It might be useful to check on things you’re writing before they go into print. Maybe even go over and talk to some Georgia State students. That’s called reporting. Oh, but I forget, that’s what real journalists do.


July 29th, 2011
9:04 am

COL Dave, and what might the approval rating of the Congress, and Republicans especially be? Last I looked it was somewhere around 22-24%. So it looks like when we compare “apples to apples” the Pres doesn’t look so bad.