Congressman Tom Price on the Fiftieth Birthday of Medicare and Medicaid

July 30, 2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law. They were the crowning achievements to LBJ’s Great Society programs designed to eliminate poverty, improve education, and ameliorate racial injustice. House Budget Committee Chair and Georgia’s Sixth District Congressman Tom Price wrote an op-ed published today in IJ Review addressing their viability and the need to preserve them moving forward. Some excerpts:

For about as long as there has been a Medicare or Medicaid program, there has been a vocal opposition to anything approaching a solution that might improve the programs or make them financially sustainable. It is counterintuitive, but favoring the status quo – which is unsustainable and harmful to beneficiaries – is actually considered politically safer than trying to save and strengthen these programs. Then again, common sense has never been particularly popular in Washington.

After all, federal spending on health care – Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare – consumes nearly $1 trillion each year right now. In the years to come, it is projected to approach $2 trillion annually. By 2040, auto-pilot spending on the nation’s health, retirement and economic security programs will account for 76 percent of total expenditures. In other words, Congress will have little to no control over three quarters of the government’s budget – which is phenomenally disconcerting in its own right.

Medicare and Medicaid are fifty years old today. If they were American workers, by the time they’d reach retirement age, Medicare would be insolvent.

Many of my conservative friends complain about the country’s $18 trillion national debt, and the estimated $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities. They encourage Congress to do something–cut spending, audit government programs, eliminate foreign aid, and whatnot. Most millennials I talk to don’t believe Medicaid or Social Security will be around when they need them.

Since the GOP took over the House in 2010, discretionary spending has been cut. Conservatives should be proud of that, but should also realize that without fixing entitlements, the spending and debt problem isn’t going to get solved. Yet, there’s no real support for reform from the grassroots of either party. When Paul Ryan proposed changes to Medicare funding, those on the left responded with this, and the Republican base offered no pushback.

At a time when Americans go ballistic over a dead lion, maybe it’s time to consider taking some of that energy to support reforms that can get the country out of the financial bind these entitlements have caused.

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Posted in Budget/Finances, Democratic Party, Did you know?, Economy, Federal Spending, History, Medicine/Medicare, Politics, Social Security, State & Local Issues | Leave a comment

North Georgia Tea Party Wants To Elect Democrats

Tea_PotIt’s common knowledge the Tea Party is fed up. If you missed their agonizing screams during session, you might have seen their disgruntled social media presence. Regardless, the Tea Party is taking unorthodox action to gain power.
At a meeting of the North Georgia Tea Party Alliance, first reported by zPolitics, a 50-slide PowerPoint detailing their path to power caused a disturbance in the force. The PowerPoint acknowledged their lack of political power in Georgia, their lack of money, and their lack of outreach. Their past remedies included challenging incumbents with more conservative candidates; however, it has by and large failed.

Their new path to power in the Republican Party is to join the Democratic Party.

For a group dedicated to principle, this development is radically different from their founding doctrine. In 2009, they wanted to restore the Constitution and limit government. It seems their 2015 doctrine is to elect big-government Democrats and raise money. Sounds very establishment if you ask me.

Here’s their plan:

  1. Continue to primary sitting Republicans
  2. Unite the various Tea Party groups
  3. Find candidates to run as Independents to pull votes from both Democrats and Republicans
  4. Identify swing districts and support the Democratic candidate
  5. Inflict pain on Republican leadership
  6. Start a PAC

In theory, their support of Democrats will take the Republican Party back into the minority. After a term in the minority, the Tea Party will back conservative Republican candidates to replace the Democrats they had just elected and return the Republican Party back to the majority.

This, my friends, is their pathway to power. Check out their battle plan in full.

Peach Pundit/GA Politics

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Top Republicans introduce bill to replace dollar with a coin

The savings would come by eliminating the need for the Treasury to spend more on printing money than the actual value of the dollar. (Flickr)

Sens. John McCain and Mike Enzi want to save billions of dollars by replacing paper dollar bills with coins.

The two Republicans on Wednesday unveiled the proposal as part of legislation aimed at reducing waste in the federal government. According to the two lawmakers, ditching the dollar bill for the “more sustainable and efficient dollar coin” would generate savings ranging from $4.4 billion up to $13.8 billion.

The savings would come by eliminating the need for the Treasury to spend more on printing money than the actual value of the dollar.

“I hear from Arizonans every day who are tired of seeing their limited tax dollars spent on wasteful government programs,” said McCain of Arizona. “By reforming and modernizing America’s outdated currency system, and moving forward with commonsense good government practices, this bill would enable our country to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic waste and generate billions in taxpayer savings.”

Washington Examiner/Peach Pundit

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Taming the Tax Hog: Cap Property Tax Reassessments

property-assessment-picture-ConvertImage

They’re Back! Like a horror film sequel, Georgia property owners this year are seeing a return of spiraling property tax reassessments leading to staggering back door tax increases by local governments. It is time to put an end to this practice once and for all by limiting annual increases to no more than 3% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

We attempted to pass this reasonable limitation in the General Assembly in 2009 but fell short of the required 2/3 majority needed for a constitutional amendment to put it into place permanently. The legislature then enacted a temporary freeze to protect property owners in the depths of the recession but that temporary protection has now expired.

Often, proponents of the use of property taxes to fund local governments describe this form of taxation as a “good tax” because it is a “predictable” source of revenue for government. If true, this predictability should be a two way street. This proposed constitutional amendment will allow Georgia property owners to plan and budget their future tax obligations without the threat of rapidly increasing reassessments literally taxing their property out from underneath them.

One of the most important requirements of a government in a free society is to tax its citizens fairly and openly. Our present property tax system does neither. The present system taxes property owners on an artificial unrealized value set by bureaucrats. Not even the IRS is so bold to tax you on an unrealized gain. Furthermore, the present system allows local governments to raise property taxes through back door assessment increases.

This assessment cap proposal protects the family farmer in Wilcox County, the working class homeowner in Clayton County, and the suburban family in Cobb County. By allowing for inflationary increases, local governments can continue to provide for local services if they operate efficiently.   In short, it is a common sense proposal that both protects property owners and encourages efficient and responsive local government.

It is always the right time to do the right thing and introducing greater fairness and transparency into our maddening property tax system is definitely the right thing to do now. The General Assembly needs to put a constitutional amendment to limit property tax assessments on the ballot in 2016.

Peach Pundit/GA Politics
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Posted in Budget/Finances, Campaigns & Elections, Economy, Editorials/ Opinions, Fiscal responsibility, Politics, State & Local Issues, Taxes | Leave a comment

Murray County To Get Inland Port

As was telegraphed earlier, a second “inland port”, similar to a very successful one in Cordele, has been announced for North Georgia, in Murray County.  The Georgia Ports Authority Describes the Appalachian Regional Port from their website below.  What you need to know about it is this:  Currently about 80% of the freight that arrives from the Port of Savannah leaves by truck.  Every container that can leave that port by rail takes a truck off of the road.  By placing these “inland ports” around the state, the first leg of the freight traffic can skip our freeways and get the cargo closer to the end destination before it becomes traffic on our roads.  By placing an inland port in North Georgia, this freight traffic can now completely bypass Atlanta’s gridlock.  …and all the travelers of I-75 through Henry County said “Amen.”

From the Georgia Ports Authority:

The Appalachian Regional Port is a joint effort of Governor Nathan Deal’s office and the State of Georgia, Murray County, CSX and the Georgia Ports Authority. This transportation asset will provide a powerful new gateway to the Port of Savannah, the second busiest port on the East Coast.

  • The Appalachian Regional Port, through CSX, will provide a direct, 388-mile rail route to the Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal. It will create and expand international markets for regional businesses.

  • The inland port offers an efficient option to an all-truck dray to the deepwater Port of Savannah for target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

  • The availability of import, export and domestic transit will benefit shippers and Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO) throughout the region.

  • Located in an industrial belt — including the production and export of carpet and flooring, automobiles and tires — the Appalachian Regional Port will make those commodities more competitive in the global market, while reducing carbon emissions.

  • The inland port sits on 42 acres in Northwest Georgia’s Murray County. The site features easy access to Interstate 75 and U.S. 411, as well as direct rail service to Savannah.

  • The state of Georgia, GPA, Murray County and CSX Transportation recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement, creating a partnership which will provide cost savings, traffic mitigation, and additional operational services benefiting shippers, truckers and steamship lines.

  • The facility will open by 2018 with a capacity of 50,000 containers per year. A 10-year development plan will then double that capacity.

  • Each container moved by rail to the Appalachian Regional Port will offset 355 truck miles on Georgia highways.

    Peach Pundit/GA Politics

 

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Posted in 9th/14th District News, Did you know?, Economy, Employment, Jobs/Employment, Politics, State & Local Issues, Transportation | Leave a comment

Monthly TEA Party has jammed packed program

Tea_Pot6:30 PM Meet and Greet
7:00 PM Opening Prayer: Pastor Ben Mock, Mt Zion Baptist Church, Jasper, GA
Pledge of Allegiance
Announcements
Raffle Ticket Sales for Disney CD
7:30 PM Program:
Mr. Lee Benedict, Candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia
Mr. Paul J. Marino, “Go In Your Might And Save Your Country”
Mr. Dale Cummings, “America Has Expoded! We Are Waiting for the Implosion!”
8:30 PM Drawings:
Mr. Benedict has graciously donated a copy of his book,
“Freedom Heist; The Left’s Theft of Liberty”
Disney CD

The July meeting of the Pickens County Tea Party is overflowing with information, education and motivational ideas for our members and visitors; and we encourage our neighbors and friends to be in attendance and join in the lively discussions.
Paul J. Marino, of Expose Public Corruptors.org, will make a return engagement presentation. His talks have been greatly enjoyed by our meeting attendees; and he always has important news to share. Paul Marino, co-founder of Expose-The Public Corruptors, Inc., has a background as an investigative radio news reporter and talk show host while in undergraduate school; and as a law enforcement officer and lecturer on law enforcement and corrections issues throughout his professional career. Now, working through a new not-for-profit corporation, the management and staff of Expose The Public Corruptors, Inc. spend their time bringing to the attention of the American public information involving the misuse of public funds, the abuse of power, and the corruptive practices of elected and appointed officials in the central government and those in the state legislatures.
Lee Benedict, the newest announced candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Georgia, currently held by Johnny Isakson, will visit with us to tell us about his candidacy. Lee is a Learning Specialist at a Georgia school system, Studied Special Education at Liberty University, and lives in Augusta, Georgia.
Dale Cummings, a Dawspm County resident, will be bringing us information and discussion about our American Way Of Life and The Founder’s Bible. Dale is a committed American patriot, a disciple of American History, and a strong believer in our founding father’s principles.
Please welcome these engaging speakers at our Tuesday, July 28th monthly meeting, at Chattahoochee Technical College in Jasper, GA.
Pickens Co. TEA Party/p. barker

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CAN YOU HELP JANICE FIND POLL WORKERS FOR THE PICKENS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS?

cropped-cropped-5212795cd13e9.preview-300-e13979252024822.jpgHi,
I am the Poll Manager at the Hill City Voting Precinct and I just received a note from Julie at the Board of Elections asking if I knew anyone interested in working the polls in Pickens County.

It seems they have had many folks resign/retire and she is in need of replacements.
If you are interested, or know of anyone interested please let me know. It is not a very difficult job, but it does require you to be at the polling place from 6 am until about 8 pm on election days.
Please pass this request along to anyone who you feel might be interested. You can email me at jduncan52@gmail.com or send me their name and contact info. An application will need to be completed at the Board of Elections (across from the college).
Thanks for your help,
Janice

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▶ Isakson Pays Tribute to Georgia Marine Slain in Chattanooga Attack

Senior US Senator Johnny Isakson paid tribute to Cobb County-native Lance Corporal Skip Wells, who was killed on July 16th during the attack of military sites in Chattanooga, by eulogizing the fallen Marine on the floor of the US Senate today:

Lance Corporal Wells was laid to rest today at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. May he rest in eternal peace.

The full text of Senator Isakson’s eulogy can be read below the fold:

“While we have a pause in our business for a moment, I rise to offer a brief but sincere eulogy. At this very moment in Woodstock, Georgia, Skip Wells, United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal, is being buried and being worshiped. Thousands of Georgians are at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, to attend his funeral.

“Skip Wells was murdered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16th while he was doing his duty as a Marine, recruiting people to come into the United States military. Skip graduated from Sprayberry High School just a few years ago, played musical instruments in his church orchestra. He was a great student, had thousands of friends, and was a young man we would all be proud of. His life was taken from us by an enraged person on a religious tear.

“When a young man 21-years-old dies in the prime of life, we ask ‘Why?’ In particular, as one who wears the uniform of the United States Marine Corps, we ask ‘Why?’ It is inexplicable.

“We also know that in the book of Ecclesiastes, it tells us that there is a time for everything; a time to be born, and a time to die. But is there ever really a time for a young Marine’s life to be taken? And then it causes us to really think about something.

“As we act in this United States Senate, as we guide our country, hundreds of thousands of young men and women volunteer to wear the uniform of the United States of America, and when they put it on, they never know when that day to die might come. But they have all made the commitment that they are ready, willing and able to die for the country they love, the United States of America.

“To Skip’s mother Cathy, to his extended family, to all those that knew Skip, we send our condolences and our best wishes for them to recover over time and heal.

“In Woodstock, Georgia, right now an inscription is being read which I want to read on the floor of the Senate, because these words are comforting, they mean something, and in a time of grief for all of us, I think they are important.
“Skip’s mother wanted this as a part of the ceremony. It’s entitled ‘To Those I Love.’

‘When I am gone, release me. Let me go
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears, Be
happy, we had so many years.

I gave you my love and you can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown
But now it’s time I traveled alone.

So grieve a while for me if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part
So bless those memories in your heart.

I won’t be far away for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near
with all my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and ‘Welcome You
Home.’

“The book of John, Chapter 15, 13th verse says this: ‘Greater love hath no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

“Skip Wells laid down his life for all the people of the United States of America, for his family and his friends. We ask God to bless and bring mercy to his family. We thus ask God to bless the great country that Skip wore the uniform and died for, the United States of America.”

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Posted in History, Home Grown Terrorism, National Defense, Patriotism, State & Local Issues, U.S. Military | Leave a comment

About Those GOP Fundraising Numbers

Almost predictably, after the news got out that the Georgia GOP is financially in basically the same shape it was back in February, I saw social media status updates decrying the financial stewardship of GAGOP chair John Padgett. The complaints were very similar to those made prior to Padgett’s re-election at the state convention. The gist of one was that the party had ignored its base, and the disappointing cash flow was the result.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had on the Sunday after the convention. It was with a big muckety muck who works at a major Atlanta based company. You would know the company if I mentioned its name.

“Who won the chairman’s election?” he asked. “Padgett,” I said. “That’s good,” he continued. “My company usually makes a big contribution to the Georgia GOP, but we were waiting this year until we knew the results of the election.”

He told me that had Alex Johnson won the chairmanship, the company’s money would have gone to a SuperPAC instead of the party. I asked him if he knew if other companies were doing the same thing. He allowed that his was not the only one to hold back. That made me wonder. “So maybe the complaints by Alex’s supporters that the party wasn’t raising enough money were the result of the fact that Johnson was in the race.”

“It was.”

I have no idea whether his company, or any of the others he referenced, made their contributions to the party yet or not. I’m not going to speculate as to why the party’s cash position hasn’t improved much in the last six months. I may not have quoted my conversation with the company exec exactly, but it’s pretty clear that those who think the party would be in a better financial position now if a different chairman had been elected back in May don’t understand where much of the party’s money comes from.

Peach Pundit/GA Politics

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3 Southern Courthouses Designated Historic Places

The National Park Service says the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building in New Orleans and courthouses in Georgia and Alabama have been named national historic landmarks for their contributions to civil rights.

The announcement Monday said the other two are the Elbert Parr Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building in Atlanta and the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

The 5th Circuit had jurisdiction over six Southern states in the 1950s and ’60s — Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and three that were split off in 1980 — Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Officials say the courthouses were involved in several cases that were pivotal in the civil rights movement including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma-to-Montgomery march, desegregation of public schools and more.

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