A nation of freebies can’t last

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

● The state House minority leader, Rep. Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, accuses Republicans under the Gold Dome of trying to reduce her party’s 23 white incumbents to 10 by merging them into districts with blacks. No such conspiracy is necessary. It’s doubtful that Georgia has more than 10 to 12 state House districts (of 180 total) where white liberals are the majority. The solution to redistricting politics is often presented as surrendering line-drawing authority to a nonpartisan commission. That’s a no-go. Democrats would start out with virtually all seats off the table — minority incumbents protected by the Voting Rights Act — leaving the commission to work its nonpartisan magic on GOP districts.

● The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s fact-checkers decree as “false” a claim made by the Georgia Department of Transportation that work on a highway project in Cobb and Cherokee “is expected to create over 9,700 jobs statewide.” If we leave this economic downturn with nothing else, can’t we all agree that “jobs-created” is a bogus standard for projects that involve public money? Same for “lives saved.” And “spending now will save (some humongous sum) later.”

● If there’s a worse idea floating around than the suggestion by the Obama administration that it might turn thousands of government-owned foreclosures into rentals, please out it.

● One of those often-unnoticed changes in society’s attitudes that surfaced first in news accounts of the closing of Borders book stores, and later accounts of selective closings of Starbucks coffee shops, is how little people think it’s necessary to actually buy something. At Borders, they browsed — and if they found a book they liked, bought it online or elsewhere. At Starbucks, investment in one cup of coffee is presumed to pay the rent for hours of lounging. In some respects, we take the services of chain retailers the same as we take those of government, as freebies that come with no obligation to help pay the freight. Government services are “free.” Just get ’em and go. For a nation, that’s not sustainable.

● Mark my word: The availability of a simple blood test that reveals the gender of a baby at seven weeks, when it’s no larger than a bean, will be widely used to gender-select children. It’s 95 percent accurate, researchers say. It should be regarded as unethical, if not illegal, for physicians to provide that information without compelling medical reason. Such tests should not be available otherwise.

● It’s amusing that President Barack Obama declares — and the public takes seriously — that federal agencies should review and “remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.” Meanwhile, proposed new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-power plants will raise electricity rates from a minimum of 11 percent up to 23 percent and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an industry group. With this administration there’s a serious disconnect between words and deeds. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso points out that during the month of July, the administration has proposed 229 regulations and finalized 379 others, adding $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs. And this week the administration announced new emissions regulations for trucks, to take effect in the 2014-2018 model years, which will add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the per-vehicle costs.

● There’s a ray of hope that a majority of Americans is concerned enough about the size and reach of government that we can save ourselves from financial disaster. In Wisconsin, public employee unions failed in recall elections to oust a sufficient number of state senators to give their preferred politicians the majority. We’re goners when public employees are able, straight-up, to elect their bosses.

59 comments Add your comment

ld

August 15th, 2011
3:12 pm

The intelligence community includes civilian and military groups: a lot more agencies exist than the average person on the street even knows–they are a bottomless pit for tax $ and how it is spent cannot be publically disclosed or audited for reasons of …..drumroll…….national security. Same goes for both cash charge cards in the possession of DOD & civilianintelligence agencies. A good place to start reigning them in would at least be to cancel all the charge cards and quit giving out cash that ‘disappears’.

ld

August 15th, 2011
3:17 pm

Rent foreclosures. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really bad idea. Too many, if not most have been damaged or nearly destroyed and would need to be rebuilt before renting–only to be destroyed by the renters as they abandon them. The bailout $ should NOT have gone to depositors and investors w/over the FDIC max coverage; instead, it should have gone to buy the homes up for foreclosure at principal amount and resold them at new, lower, fmv. Now there’s no $ left to bail out Main Street USA.

ld

August 15th, 2011
3:18 pm

Would be a pleasant surprise to have county lines better respected during redistricting.

sara

August 15th, 2011
4:37 pm

crank up the death panels-geezers on medicare are bankrupting us.

Glenn

August 15th, 2011
5:18 pm

There’s my Lord and Saviour, back from the dead as always! Bored, from the standpoint of Eternity, by the worries of our time except wheresoever they suggest a masturbatory pun. The ruination of the retail trade in literature, high and low, is’t a wee thing. It’s impoverishing all of us. Not only you and Jim and my brother, the working writers, but also those of us who wish to return someday to popular print, all those who asire to publish, and anybody who buys books, periodicals, comix or graphic novels either regularly or casually. Today I hunted for a shockingly thin “Time” magazine for which I paid $5.00, so that I could provide it to a hospital patient, per her requet, together with a bouquet. How things have changed! Same flowers, different rag. Jim obviously is metaphorical, so why not play along? The big bookstore franchises were a blight, not a blessing. They have left a bookstorm culture in their wake. Soil depletion.

Glenn

August 15th, 2011
5:36 pm

Anyway, I welcome Jim Wooten’s exposure of how politicians of both stripes naturally fight like hell against almost any shrinkage of government because they cannot but regard such shrinkage as a shrinkage of their powers. So both sides compete to sell as contrition their latest ideas to retain power as though the schemes actually relinquished something or balanced the People’s books. Georgia voters should wake up to the fact that the people we elect are not responsible, but rather are contestants in an inside game in which we play no part unless we can marshal the werewithal to bribe them.

Politi Cal

August 16th, 2011
1:57 pm

Cutty is so typical of his type…..

Peter

August 17th, 2011
8:58 am

Hey Jim……1/2 million Ga kids living in poverty…… How are the Republican’s dealing with this issue ?

Are they caring at all ?

Glenn

August 18th, 2011
2:18 pm

Simple:Take control of the definition of poverty without changing the condition itself. What you’re talking about is a federal definition, a finite line any legislature can futz with according to calories and proteins and children’s test scores. The more telling statistic is that a third of Georgia cannot read or explain the front page of this newspaper and nobody gives a damn about that fact. If you want statistics, up yours; I’ve proved it here many times before and gotten nothing but the shaft. So go cry in your beer.