Kyle Wingfield blog posts

Opinion: What I was most right - and wrong - about in my time at the AJC

Opinion: What I was most right - and wrong - about in my time at the AJC

Several days have passed since April Fool’s Day, so this is no joke: This is my last column for the AJC. It was not quite nine years ago I began, a Georgia native returning home. It was a great adventure, one that alternately exhilarated and humbled me. On Monday I’ll start a new adventure, as head of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a think tank dedicated to free markets and limited...
Opinion: Georgia Senate finally gets it right on school choice bills

Opinion: Georgia Senate finally gets it right on school choice bills

When last we visited the question of school choice in the 2018 legislative session, matters were looking shaky. But, proving once again that it ain’t over ’til it’s over, two bills to boost choice for Georgia families finally crossed the finish line in decent shape before lawmakers gaveled out for the year. Both House Bill 787, which improves funding equity for state charter schools...
Opinion: Senate committee guts charter funding bill; will it be fixed?

Opinion: Senate committee guts charter funding bill; will it be fixed?

What started as a promising legislative session for school choice is threatening to end in the ditch. A conference committee is still struggling to produce a final text of House Bill 217, which would raise the cap on the state’s tax-credit scholarship program, due to senators’ insistence on an automatic sunset date for the program. Now a bill thought to be coasting toward passage has hit...
Opinion: Property-tax relief falls short for Atlanta homeowners

Opinion: Property-tax relief falls short for Atlanta homeowners

Fulton County residents soon will experience a flashback to last summer, and the sticker shock a simple little letter in the mail brought them. It’ll be deja vu all over again when they receive the notice of their 2018 property assessments. Given what happened last year — when most Fulton homeowners were hit with at least a 20 percent increase, and many with increases of 50 percent or...
Opinion: Tillerson’s firing had less to do with Russia than with this country

Opinion: Tillerson’s firing had less to do with Russia than with this country

Those inclined to see a Russian behind every tree are claiming to see another one regarding Rex Tillerson’s firing as secretary of state.  Never mind that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the White House on Friday summoned Tillerson back early from a trip abroad and CIA Director Mike Pompeo was offered the job at State over the weekend -- that is, before the public disagreement Monday...
Opinion: Term limits aren’t the answer to the real problem

Opinion: Term limits aren’t the answer to the real problem

There’s a newcomer under the Gold Dome this year. He’s a polite fellow with a rather quixotic pursuit: Persuading state legislators to endorse a Constitutional Convention to create term limits.  Now, the idea isn’t to limit their own terms, but those for members of Congress. So, he’s having a bit of success. But while term limits are a popular idea, I’ve come to...
Opinion: Trump’s tariffs are a big-league mistake

Opinion: Trump’s tariffs are a big-league mistake

Raising taxes on everything from homes to cars to beer is not normally considered good policy or good politics. But that’s exactly what President Trump said Thursday he intends to do. Trump used the word “tariff” to describe what he’s raising on imported steel and aluminum, but that’s just a fancy word for “tax.” Like all business taxes, tariffs...
Opinion: The business of business is still business

Opinion: The business of business is still business

The NRA-Delta-Casey Cagle flap this week has been a congress of the tin-eared and ham-handed.  Accounting only for the local participants, you had Delta moving — amid political duress, and under the guise of seeking political “neutrality” — to remove a single, political group out of a discount program that is otherwise apolitical. So, the company was moving away from,...
Opinion: Delta tax controversy is a bad, new twist on an old awkward dance

Opinion: Delta tax controversy is a bad, new twist on an old awkward dance

In the beginning, the Georgia Legislature created an ill-advised tax on jet fuel. Ever since then, lawmakers have been tinkering with the tax in even more ill-advised ways -- culminating with their sudden showdown with Delta Air Lines over the latter’s unrelated fight with the National Rifle Association. Before we get to the gory specifics of the NRA vs. Delta vs. General Assembly battle royale...
Opinion: School-choice bills should advance, despite ‘austerity cuts’

Opinion: School-choice bills should advance, despite ‘austerity cuts’

This is shaping up as a pretty decent legislative session on a number of fronts. There’s even a chance we’ll see the first full steps forward on school choice in a few years.  The House last Thursday approved higher funding for public charter schools approved by the state, which has languished well below the state average for years. I’m told the House and Senate are also nearing...
Opinion: Bill to protect faith-based adoption agencies should concentrate minds at the Capitol

Opinion: Bill to protect faith-based adoption agencies should concentrate minds at the Capitol

The Georgia Senate is scheduled to vote today on Senate Bill 375, a measure to prevent faith-based adoption agencies from being forced to choose between placing children with parents who don’t comply with their religious beliefs, and closing their doors. As is the case with any bill involving religious liberty these days, it is opposed by people who call it a “license to discriminate&rdquo...
Opinion: Deal, legislators get it right with latest tax-reform proposal

Opinion: Deal, legislators get it right with latest tax-reform proposal

Well, they did it. After going back and forth about how to address a projected $1 billion-per-year increase to state coffers from the federal tax reform, Georgia’s top lawmakers said Tuesday they will do the right thing and cut the top income-tax rate. The announcement was made by Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston, with a host of House and Senate members at their...
Opinion: A different kind of waiting period when it comes to guns and mass shootings

Opinion: A different kind of waiting period when it comes to guns and mass shootings

It has been five days since the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and so my self-imposed restriction on posting about it has now expired. Now, to those of you who demanded we talk about it on this blog, let’s talk. Let’s start with why I waited five days to write about it. It’s of a piece with my other policy about these shootings, which...
Opinion: Why Georgia Republicans changed their minds about transit

Opinion: Why Georgia Republicans changed their minds about transit

A guy from Blue Ridge, a guy from Dawsonville, a guy from East Cobb, a woman from Johns Creek and a woman from Dacula walk into a bar — I mean, a press briefing — to talk about a bill. They’re all Republicans. Care to guess what the bill’s about?  If you guessed “expanding mass transit,” you deserve an extra cookie for dessert. And a trip down memory lane to...
Opinion: Georgia must get tax-reform basics right the first time

Opinion: Georgia must get tax-reform basics right the first time

A great deal of GOP orthodoxy has been challenged over the past couple of years: on the merits of free trade, on the value of international alliances such as NATO, and on the urgency of taming federal deficits and debt, among other things.  But one constant, at least, has remained. The income tax should err on the side of being simple rather than complicated, broad-based rather than riddled with...
Opinion: State should take advantage of opportunity federal tax reform presents

Opinion: State should take advantage of opportunity federal tax reform presents

“It’s now or never” is a phrase one should be wary of applying to legislation. Even more so than with perennially close-but-no-cigar sports teams — and, sadly, we have plenty of those locally — “there’s always next year” more befits bills that face long odds at the present time.  But I may have found an exception. While it’s not quite &ldquo...
Opinion: Congress keeps the lights on by passing a bloated mess

Opinion: Congress keeps the lights on by passing a bloated mess

I was tempted this morning to declare the death of the tea party (2009-2018) after the spending bonanza Congress approved in the wee hours of Friday. But given that 67 Republicans in the House and 16 in the Senate voted against the bill, perhaps “death” is a bit overstated. It might be more accurate to say those who still opt for fiscal restraint are wandering the wilderness even...
Opinion: The first thing Atlanta needs to do for housing affordability

Opinion: The first thing Atlanta needs to do for housing affordability

Atlanta has a problem with housing affordability, as most everyone seems to recognize. The city’s new mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, even campaigned on spending $1 billion to address the problem.  A fat lot of good even that large a sum will do, though, if the biggest threat to homeowners’ finances isn’t solved in a very real way.  Recall last summer, when homeowners across...
Opinion: Senate’s objections to adoption bill don’t withstand scrutiny

Opinion: Senate’s objections to adoption bill don’t withstand scrutiny

I never like to start an argument by assuming bad intentions on someone else’s part. So I take state senators at their word when they say they worry allowing more adoptive parents to cover certain living expenses for birth mothers will drive up the cost of adoptions.  I just think they’re wrong. The bill that has loomed over this session so far — and was destined to do so since...
Opinion: What ‘the memo’ tells us (and doesn’t tell us) about FBI and Trump

Opinion: What ‘the memo’ tells us (and doesn’t tell us) about FBI and Trump

We now have “the memo.” Click here to read it, not that I expect it to change a single person’s mind about anything.  The biggest claims in the document -- which was created by Rep. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and released Friday after President Trump declassified the information within it -- basically boil down to this: The Justice Department...
Opinion: Giving SOTU credit where SOTU credit is due

Opinion: Giving SOTU credit where SOTU credit is due

It’s become fashionable in some quarters to pine for the days, long ago, when the State of the Union was a written document the president delivered to the Congress once a year rather than the seemingly-made-for-TV spectacle it has become. There are basically two types of people who make these calls: partisan opponents of the president who resent the rhetorical opportunity the SOTU provides,...
Opinion: Which Trump will show up for the State of the Union?

Opinion: Which Trump will show up for the State of the Union?

The overwrought ritual known as the State of the Union address revisits us tonight. The link between presidential pronouncements in this annual speech and actual policy-making afterward has grown tenuous in recent years, because of partisan bickering as well as intraparty disagreements. Still, given the way the national narrative continues to be set in large part by the president, whoever he is at...
Opinion: If this school-choice bill won’t pass, perhaps nothing will

Opinion: If this school-choice bill won’t pass, perhaps nothing will

School-choice proponents have honed their arguments in recent years, taking their opponents’ objections and, where possible, addressing them in the bills they propose. The evolution continues with the latest measure to appear under the Gold Dome.  But here’s the money question: Will it matter? House Bill 482 by Rep. Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, is probably the most bulletproof piece...
Opinion: If it’s worth doing to attract Amazon, isn’t it just worth doing?

Opinion: If it’s worth doing to attract Amazon, isn’t it just worth doing?

Amazon last week eliminated 218 cities from its HQ2 sweepstakes, and Atlanta wasn’t one of them. Instead, Atlanta made the 20-city “short list” of candidates still in the hunt for a $5 billion investment and 50,000 high-paying jobs. Celebration is not only premature but a bit unseemly. There’s a long way to go, and it would have been shocking had Atlanta not made this cut....
Opinion: Don’t let the shutdown kill the filibuster

Opinion: Don’t let the shutdown kill the filibuster

As we await a vote scheduled for noon to end the filibuster and pass the short-term spending measure -- or else allow Senate Democrats to continue shutting down the government -- we once again hear talk that senators should kill the filibuster. Not for the first time, President Trump is making that case (via Politico):  Despite mounting frustration over the shutdown and various...
Opinion: Democrats are trying to claim credit for the impending shutdown. Let them

Opinion: Democrats are trying to claim credit for the impending shutdown. Let them

I still like to think of myself as a young-ish guy, even if I recently removed “30-something conservative” from my blog tag line. (I’m not 40 yet. But I will be soon. Stop asking when.)   But even I’m old enough to remember when refusing to fund the government because you wanted to extract unrelated policy goals from the other party was considered tantamount...
Opinion: Americans are of two minds about Trump, both of them wrong

Opinion: Americans are of two minds about Trump, both of them wrong

This week brought an update on President Donald Trump’s health from the White House physician. Trump is up 3 pounds from his last check-up but his “overall health is excellent,” said Navy doctor Ronny Jackson. He added that, at Trump’s request, he’d administered a cognitive screening test and confirmed, contrary to perceptions in some quarters, the president is not...
Opinion: Is an immigration deal close, despite Trump?

Opinion: Is an immigration deal close, despite Trump?

This is the time of year when I have both eyes on the state’s business under the Gold Dome and maybe half an ear attuned to what’s going on in Washington. (It’s a neat trick: Stare straight ahead at the computer screen, think about your ear until it sort of twists and rises up, and ... LOL, you really tried it, didn’t you? Be honest, now ...)  In any case, I gather there&rsquo...
Opinion: On presidential visits to ballgames and long security lines

Opinion: On presidential visits to ballgames and long security lines

I was there in the security line Monday night outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- a.k.a., the site of the Atlanta/Georgia Sports Curse Vol. LXVII -- when the frustration began to mount, for me and everyone around me. I spent a solid hour in the cold and light rain being pushed and pressed toward the metal detectors and Secret Service screeners, and I heard about many others whose ordeals were even...
Opinion: How this session starts will tell us much about how it ends

Opinion: How this session starts will tell us much about how it ends

Legislative sessions have a particular rhythm. They start slowly, then pick up the pace as more bills are filed and vetted by committees. There’s a rush to the first deadline, Crossover Day. Then a short breather, and an even more furious sprint to the Day 40 finish. At the end there may be suspense. There are sometimes surprises, and often disappointments. But there are no cliffhangers. When...
Opinion: Why the economy could be GOP's saving grace in 2018

Opinion: Why the economy could be GOP's saving grace in 2018

It’s always tempting to look ahead to the next elections, and the results from November’s contests in New Jersey and Virginia, and special elections in Georgia and elsewhere, have our Democratic friends licking their chops about this fall’s midterms. They’re right to be optimistic. Midterm elections are always difficult for new presidents, and the...
Opinion: The electoral map is still growing redder, but not as quickly

Opinion: The electoral map is still growing redder, but not as quickly

The 2020 census, and the reapportionment of congressional seats that takes place afterward, may seem far off. But control of the state legislatures and governor's offices that redraw the lines is up for grabs this November in many states, including Georgia. With so much on the line, it's not too early to peek at what may happen. All the more so after the Census Bureau late last month ...
Opinion: Orrin Hatch to retire; enter Sen. Mitt Romney?

Opinion: Orrin Hatch to retire; enter Sen. Mitt Romney?

Seven terms in the U.S. Senate will be all for Utah's Orrin Hatch, who said Tuesday he will not seek re-election this fall. If only he'd made the announcement a couple of weeks ago. Hatch has denied repeated retirement rumors over the past several months, leading the Salt Lake Tribune to blast him last week in an editorial naming him its "Utahn of the Year."...
Opinion: Welcome to 2018, which is starting off right

Opinion: Welcome to 2018, which is starting off right

Remember what I said about 2018 needing to be better than 2017? So far, so good . Georgia defender John Atkins celebrates beating Oklahoma 54-48 during double overtime in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game on Monday, January 1. (AJC Photo / Curtis Compton) Yes, I am back. My...
Opinion: Hurry up and get here, 2018

Opinion: Hurry up and get here, 2018

2017 is all but over and, as of this writing, the world has not ended. Given the many dire predictions made this time last year, as Donald Trump was preparing to enter the White House, that’s no mean achievement. Life as we know it — the shared, American consciousness — definitely changed this past year, perhaps forever. Whether for good or ill depends on your perspective, though...
Opinion: Why joy in politics is in such short supply

Opinion: Why joy in politics is in such short supply

Joy to the world. Please. I realize the entire world is not the political one, but in those precincts there is precious little mirth these days. The happy warrior is an endangered species. This joylessness is more a feature of those obsessed with politics than of actual practitioners. Social media and comment threads, marches and public hearings — these are meeting places for those who thrive...
Opinion: What you didn't know about tax reform and 'the rich'

Opinion: What you didn't know about tax reform and 'the rich'

The tax-reform bill cleared the House Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be taken up by the Senate soon (though it appears the House will have to re-vote on it after the Senate, for technical reasons). As it marches on toward becoming law, two refrains won't go away: first, that the bill is skewed in favor of "the rich"; and second, that it is unpopular. The...
Opinion: Tax reform is coming, and here's the best part

Opinion: Tax reform is coming, and here's the best part

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the final version of tax reform , and the bill seems all but certain to land on President Trump's desk by the end of the week. So it's time to take stock of what this bill has become . Let's start with the corporate side, which is the only part of this bill that we might reasonably expect to create some...
Opinion: A substantive effort to boost ailing rural Georgia

Opinion: A substantive effort to boost ailing rural Georgia

MILLEDGEVILLE — Almost 150 years have passed since the seat of Georgia’s government left this city built for the purpose. It only feels that long since the rest of the state had as much influence and prosperity as Milledgeville’s replacement, a future metropolis called Atlanta. Injecting new life into far-flung communities long in decline has been the mission of a...
Opinion: What does their Alabama win mean for Democrats in 2018?

Opinion: What does their Alabama win mean for Democrats in 2018?

We now have an answer to the question, what does it take for the Republicans to lose in a deep-red state like Alabama? But be careful, because it's a longer answer than you might expect. Start with a special election to replace a senator (who seems to be in constant danger of being fired from his new job). Add an interim replacement whose appointment came amid somewhat sketchy circumstances. Mix in...
Opinion: Wild Alabama Senate race offers one last twist before the end

Opinion: Wild Alabama Senate race offers one last twist before the end

Here is your weird, no-one-knows-which-end-is-up news of the day (so far), in two headlines: 1.  Roy Moore takes biggest lead in weeks over Doug Jones in new Senate poll 2.  Fox News Poll: Enthused Democrats give Jones lead over Moore in Alabama That's right. This morning, we got one poll that shows Moore -- the Republican who has been credibly...
Opinion: A day of reckoning coming to Congress?

Opinion: A day of reckoning coming to Congress?

Al Franken's announcement Thursday that he will resign from the Senate may not be the beginning of the end of the story of powerful elected officials in Washington brought down by their bad behavior. It might not even be the end of the beginning. The Minnesota Democrat finally stepped down after another woman alleged he'd forcibly tried to kiss her ...
Opinion: An example for Atlanta's new mayor to follow

Opinion: An example for Atlanta's new mayor to follow

A departing administration stained by corruption charges. Campaign issues such as inadequate infrastructure, police shortages, and gentrification’s effect on housing prices. A candidate who’s cozy — maybe too cozy — with the city’s political establishment; who’s dogged by questions about personal tax liens in her personal life; who resorts to accusing her opponent...
Opinion: Dealing with the good and the bad of our falling icons

Opinion: Dealing with the good and the bad of our falling icons

We spent the late summer talking about monuments to dead men, and whether we should tear them down. We’ve spent the fall tearing down the living. Unlike the statues in our parks, the men (they’re all men) being felled by accusations of sexual harassment and/or assault over the past two months are able to speak up for themselves. In most cases, they haven’t really tried. What&rsquo...
Opinion: What Michael Flynn's guilty plea does and doesn't tell us

Opinion: What Michael Flynn's guilty plea does and doesn't tell us

A lot of people spent their morning trying to figure out the larger meaning of this (via the AJC ): Let's try to sort out a few things. First, Flynn is the highest-profile figure so far to plead guilty in Robert Mueller's investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. So it's natural to think his guilty plea and related...
Opinion: Why Mary Norwood is the clear choice for Atlanta mayor

Opinion: Why Mary Norwood is the clear choice for Atlanta mayor

The sprawling field of candidates to be Atlanta’s next mayor produced a splintered electorate . Forty-seven percent voted for one of the candidates in next week’s run-off; 53 percent didn’t. Forty-nine percent voted for a white candidate, 51 percent for a black candidate. One divide was more decisive: Twenty-six percent voted for Mayor Kasim Reed&rsquo...
Opinion: No, Senate Republicans aren't raising taxes on the poor

Opinion: No, Senate Republicans aren't raising taxes on the poor

It seems the latest talking point from the left about GOP tax-reform efforts, specifically the Senate version of the bill, is that it will actually raise taxes on the poor. This is a perfect example of how to use partial information, flawed modeling and deceptive rhetoric to create a false narrative. The basis of this claim is a score of the bill by the Congressional Budget...
Opinion: Who's afraid of the big, bad 'establishment'?

Opinion: Who's afraid of the big, bad 'establishment'?

We’re now six months away from picking party nominees for Georgia’s statewide offices. Most voters probably aren’t paying much attention to the campaigns yet, but some themes are starting to emerge. One theme is a staple of contemporary election cycles, particularly on the Republican side: What is really needed, some candidate says in seemingly every race, is someone who will fight...
Opinion: A humble suggestion to improve our politics

Opinion: A humble suggestion to improve our politics

Angels do not govern men, a fact we face more and more often. The U.S. Senate this week alone featured one member who may face an ethics investigation (Robert Menendez of New Jersey, whose corruption case ended in a mistrial ), one member who asked for an ethics investigation into himself (Al Franken of Minnesota...
Opinion: Tax reform clears a major hurdle, faces another

Opinion: Tax reform clears a major hurdle, faces another

Big news out of the U.S. House just now: That's a more comfortable margin than the razor-thin, 217-213 vote by which the House passed its Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill in the spring. Just 13 Republicans ended up opposing the bill . There were fears of more defections -- more than twice that many House Republicans come from the high-tax states of California, New Jersey...
Opinion: Roy Moore and the 'binary choice'

Opinion: Roy Moore and the 'binary choice'

Harvey Weinstein should've run for president, or at least Congress. Let me explain. Weinstein is by most accounts a despicable man, a Hollywood mogul who stands accused by a slew of women of using his position of power to get away with sexually harassing or assaulting them over the years. He has no business running doughnuts from the pastry shop to the green room, much...
Opinion: The Georgia GOP's real problem going into 2018

Opinion: The Georgia GOP's real problem going into 2018

A special election — actually, three of them — finally went Democrats’ way in Georgia. After the bonfire of the punditries that was their expensive bust in the 6th Congressional District, these successes are heralded as the omen of a blue restoration in state government. Republicans are right to be concerned about 2018, but...
Opinion: Damaging allegations hit Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore

Opinion: Damaging allegations hit Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore

In a December runoff, I guess you get November surprises. This certainly qualifies as one. The Washington Post is reporting Roy Moore, the longtime social-conservative politician and current U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, had inappropriate contact with four teenage girls when he was in his early 30s. Moore is now 70 years old, so these incidents took place almost four decades ago...
Opinion: The big takeaways from 2017 elections aren't good for GOP

Opinion: The big takeaways from 2017 elections aren't good for GOP

We'll get to the meaning of the local races later, but first let's do what I said yesterday we should be wary of doing: Looking at the results from a Republicans vs. Democrats perspective. Why the change of heart? The magnitude of the results. There is no good news here for Republicans. None. They lost a pair of state House seats in which just a year ago Democrats didn't...
Opinion: Today's elections more about ethics, taxes than R's and D's

Opinion: Today's elections more about ethics, taxes than R's and D's

It's Election Day , not that most voters will notice. We can expect poor turnout to elect folks to offices that, while not always staples of headlines or dinner-party conversations, often have the largest direct effect on our everyday lives. Locally, we can expect a runoff at least for Atlanta's mayor , who first and foremost will be called on...
Opinion: How Congress could push Georgia's tax rates lower

Opinion: How Congress could push Georgia's tax rates lower

Republicans unveiled their long-awaited federal tax-reform bill last week. There’s much work left to do, but it gets the ball rolling on one of the GOP’s last chances to enact a major piece of legislation before next year’s midterm elections. It should also give renewed momentum to an update of Georgia’s tax code. If you think the Reagan tax reform...
Opinion: First impression of tax-reform bill? It's a good one

Opinion: First impression of tax-reform bill? It's a good one

Here are some initial thoughts about the tax-reform bill House GOP leaders unveiled Thursday : 1. It's immediate and permanent: There are a few exceptions, but for the most part the big changes in this bill take effect immediately and have no expiration date. There's no phase-in (nor do the changes apply retroactively, i.e. to the 2017 tax year)...
Opinion: Tax reform needs less SALT, more of a spur to save

Opinion: Tax reform needs less SALT, more of a spur to save

Today was supposed to be the day House Republicans unveiled their tax-reform bill. Instead, the roll-out has been delayed until (at least) Thursday. There seem to be two major hang-ups, one that the GOP should push past and one where lawmakers should tread extremely carefully. The deduction for paying state and local taxes, often abbreviated as SALT, is one where Republicans need to bite the bullet...
Opinion: Two (maybe three) big developments in Mueller's probe

Opinion: Two (maybe three) big developments in Mueller's probe

A man who led the Trump campaign for part of 2016 surrendered himself Monday on charges that include conspiracy against the United States. And that was the relatively good news about the president's (former) men. Paul Manafort and a former business associate, Richard Gates, are charged with failing to register or report income from their work as lobbyists for the government...
Opinion: How rural Georgia can help ease Atlanta's traffic woes

Opinion: How rural Georgia can help ease Atlanta's traffic woes

WAYCROSS — This gateway to the Okefenokee was, like a certain city once called Terminus , named in relation to the railroads. The “Ways Cross” from six directions here; in what became Atlanta there originally were only two. Things have changed. But the movement of goods still offers needs and opportunities for both Georgia&rsquo...
Opinion: Here's a Sterling tax plan for Fulton homeowners

Opinion: Here's a Sterling tax plan for Fulton homeowners

The anger of Fulton homeowners largely dissipated after county commissioners froze property assessments at 2016 levels. But it’s clear that was a temporary solution that can’t be repeated every year. Conveniently, there’s an election right now for Fulton’s commission chairman. One candidate...
Opinion: Does D.C.'s establishment understand Middle America yet?

Opinion: Does D.C.'s establishment understand Middle America yet?

The political class, particularly Democrats (since they lost), continue to conduct their post-mortems of the 2016 election that threw so many for a loop. As is often the case, it's questionable whether they are pursuing a real understanding of what they didn't grasp before, or simply looking for snippets to restore confidence in their prior beliefs -- which they can try to sell back to the same folks...
Opinion: Ethics is the biggest issue in Atlanta's mayoral election

Opinion: Ethics is the biggest issue in Atlanta's mayoral election

There are certain things in life you just know to be true. Our local sports teams will probably let you down in the end. A Facebook political rant is bound to change approximately zero minds. And conservatives aren’t the target audience in Atlanta’s mayoral elections. It’s OK; we know the deal going in. If you lean Republican but live in perhaps the bluest part of Georgia &mdash...
Opinion: The most important thing to get right about tax reform

Opinion: The most important thing to get right about tax reform

Tax reform is moving forward after the Senate on Thursday approved a budget resolution authorizing up to $1.5 trillion in new deficits over the next 10 years. This leaves a number of people uneasy about the nation's finances, as it should after Republicans spent the Obama years (rightly) railing against deficits and debt. The question is whether meaningful tax reform can...
Opinion: Bipartisan health deal won't cure what ails Obamacare

Opinion: Bipartisan health deal won't cure what ails Obamacare

We still need to see more details, but there's a pretty good chance the bipartisan health deal announced Tuesday by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is not going to stabilize markets as advertised. The gist of the deal, which covers only the next two years, is an agreement for Congress to fund so-called cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) in exchange...
Opinion: The difficult realities of outlawing partisan gerrymandering

Opinion: The difficult realities of outlawing partisan gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is ugly business; there’s no getting around that. The question pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, and in two federal lawsuits filed in Georgia , is whether judges can impose a remedy that, to borrow from James Madison , is not worse than the disease. As things stand, it doesn’t appear so. Let’s start with the...
Opinion: The real fallout from Trump ending these health subsidies

Opinion: The real fallout from Trump ending these health subsidies

It's an odd spectacle to see Democrats attacking a proper implementation of Obamacare that is projected to reduce health costs for many consumers and soon lead more people to have insurance. But that's what's happening after the Trump administration's decision to stop paying for so-called cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). Headline writers are describing the move as if it will hurt the poor, because...
Opinion: Who lost the culture war? The side that didn't fight

Opinion: Who lost the culture war? The side that didn't fight

The news about film executive Harvey Weinstein, accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and even assault, is being portrayed in part as a political story. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this. One is he’s a prolific donor and fund-raiser for Democratic candidates and causes, and there’s always a certain amount of “gotcha” by the...
Opinion: Another sign Democrats have moved farther from the middle

Opinion: Another sign Democrats have moved farther from the middle

If you think the other side has been moving away from the middle, you're right. No matter which side you're on. But you're a little more right if you think that's true about Democrats. That's the big takeaway from a new survey by the Pew Research Center, which takes a periodic look at partisanship on various issues. The survey shows how attitudes on 10...
Opinion: Better mental health would help with more than mass shootings

Opinion: Better mental health would help with more than mass shootings

The National Rifle Association did something unusual Thursday: It endorsed more regulation of firearms. The organization, usually pilloried as the root of all evil after mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 , asked the federal government to “immediately review” whether bump stocks, which the Las Vegas gunman reportedly...
Opinion: GOP tax reform efforts show early signs of promise

Opinion: GOP tax reform efforts show early signs of promise

Despite efforts by the left to demagogue a tax-reform plan as if they already knew enough details to evaluate its effect on taxpayers and federal revenues, there are signs the "framework" unveiled by key GOP leaders last week is getting the kind of support it needs to win congressional approval. It's early. A lot of work remains to...
Opinion: How not to 'politicize' tragedies like Las Vegas

Opinion: How not to 'politicize' tragedies like Las Vegas

A full day later, we still don't have many answers about the gunman in Las Vegas and why he set out to kill dozens and wound hundreds attending a country music festival. We know he had a lot of guns, both in his hotel room at a casino near the festival and at his home. There are reports he was a big-time gambler and had recently ...
Opinion: The Las Vegas shooting and our 'thoughts and prayers'

Opinion: The Las Vegas shooting and our 'thoughts and prayers'

The news from Las Vegas is heart-breaking. At least 58 are dead, and more than 500 others wounded, after a man believed to be acting alone opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers from his room at a nearby hotel. It is reportedly the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. As the hours pass and law enforcement remains mostly mum about the details of the attack -- other than...
Opinion: The stunning, swift downfall of Tom Price

Opinion: The stunning, swift downfall of Tom Price

This time last year, Tom Price was handing out campaign contributions to Georgia legislators and giving every impression he was gearing up for a run for governor . Then Donald Trump became president, nominated Price to a high-profile cabinet position , and changed everything. Not, as it turned out, for better. Price...
Opinion: Obamacare's death spiral takes another turn in Georgia

Opinion: Obamacare's death spiral takes another turn in Georgia

And you thought last year was bad. That statement could refer to a number of things, but today I’m talking about health-insurance premiums. Georgians shopping on the Obamacare exchange last fall saw double-digit increases for the second straight year. But the rates for 2018, which the state insurance commissioner approved...
Opinion: What we know about the GOP's tax plan (hint: not much)

Opinion: What we know about the GOP's tax plan (hint: not much)

Fresh off their failure to pass another Obamacare repeal bill , Republicans revealed a somewhat more detailed framework of the tax reform they plan to pursue next. But there are still more questions than answers. Let's be clear about one thing from the outset: The framework lacks some details because it's intended to be just that -- a framework...
Opinion: The utter dishonesty about GOP's Medicaid spending 'cuts'

Opinion: The utter dishonesty about GOP's Medicaid spending 'cuts'

It appears the Graham-Cassidy health bill is dead -- for now -- after Sen. Susan Collins of Maine on Monday became the third Republican to say she wouldn't vote for it. In practical terms, this means (barring a reversal by either Sen. Rand Paul or Sen. John McCain, the previous "no" votes among a caucus of 52) health reform is delayed by at least a year, since...
Opinion: President Trump vs. the NFL is peak 2017

Opinion: President Trump vs. the NFL is peak 2017

There is no redeeming quality to the unfolding war of words between President Trump and professional football players. It is a duel of cheap applause lines, especially by each side's defenders, calculated to appeal to the already converted for their short-term gain and our long-term damage. It's a perfect illustration of America's sorry state of discourse in 2017. Until this past weekend, one could...
Opinion: The poor tax Democrats want to keep (and then increase)

Opinion: The poor tax Democrats want to keep (and then increase)

The overriding dynamic in the current health-care debate in Washington is Democrats' unified refusal to go along with anything the GOP can at all claim is "repeal" of Obamacare. That's what is preventing even red-state Democrats from signing on to the various GOP plans, including (so far) the Graham-Cassidy bill . Instead, Democrats say they want to "fix"...
Opinion: Why our health-care politics is so jumbled

Opinion: Why our health-care politics is so jumbled

Repealing Obamacare has proved to be a more difficult task than Republicans imagined. So difficult, in fact, that the latest “Obamacare repeal” bill doesn’t actually repeal Obamacare. It cements much of the law in place, in ways Democrats might appreciate if they weren’t busy peddling fictions about the wonders and feasibility...
Opinion: Poll shows most groups prefer state control of health care

Opinion: Poll shows most groups prefer state control of health care

In Tuesday's post about the Graham-Cassidy health bill , I argued the biggest gain from passing the bill would be shifting more health policy out of the federal level, where it is destined to remain intractably contentious, to the states. Turns out, that's the most preferred option for the public as well. One of the findings of a new poll for Morning...
Opinion: If Congress can't do it, let the states fix Obamacare

Opinion: If Congress can't do it, let the states fix Obamacare

The latest iteration of a Republican anti-Obamacare bill is being bandied about the Senate GOP caucus. The dirty not-so-secret is that, in significant ways, it isn't Obamacare repeal so much as Obamacare reform. But in other significant ways, it could be better than the previous repeal efforts Congress has tried this year. The bill, known as Graham-Cassidy and sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South...
Opinion: The national debt hits the big 2-0 (trillion)

Opinion: The national debt hits the big 2-0 (trillion)

I failed to bring your attention last week to this grim milestone (from CBS News ): The news is pegged to the debt-ceiling increase, because that's what technically allowed the red ink to grow to this level, but as always it's inaccurate to blame the debt-ceiling increase for this development. The debt was essentially incurred the moment Congress authorized spending above...
Opinion: Confirmation that 'red' and 'blue' really can get along

Opinion: Confirmation that 'red' and 'blue' really can get along

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Check out most any list of the most hated teams in all of sports, and somewhere near the top you’re bound to find Notre Dame football. Like the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Fighting Irish are one of those squads that, with its national following and history of success, is reviled by most everyone else. So when I and about 30...
Opinion: Here's what's missing from Atlanta's new 'City Design'

Opinion: Here's what's missing from Atlanta's new 'City Design'

Recently I wrote skeptically about the notion Atlanta will add nearly a million new residents within the next couple of decades, tripling the city’s population. A few days after that column ran, the city unveiled a blueprint for handling the influx . Timing is everything, you know. The plan almost two years...
Opinion: MARTA chief's exit needn't derail state transit funding

Opinion: MARTA chief's exit needn't derail state transit funding

The news last week that MARTA’s chief executive is leaving for another job came at what could be seen as the best of times and the worst of times. The best, because Keith Parker spent the past 57 months turning what had been a $50 million structural budget deficit at the state’s largest transit agency into an annual surplus. He leaves MARTA in remarkably better...
Opinion: No, natural disasters like Irma aren't good for the economy

Opinion: No, natural disasters like Irma aren't good for the economy

Once the storm passes, one inevitability is the calculation of the costs of rebuilding the affected areas. And another is the argument some people will make that this rebuilding is actually a kind of economic stimulus. Which is absolute nonsense. I was getting ready to write a post about this when I saw Jon Gabriel had beaten me to it at USA Today. So I'll let him start the rebuttal...
Opinion: September 11 comes to Georgia

Opinion: September 11 comes to Georgia

Sixteen years ago today, a group of demented men inflicted death and terror on America, setting this date on the calendar apart from the others for the rest of our lifetimes. Across Georgia and surrounding areas today, Mother Nature stands to do something very different, and yet all too similar. Understand, I'm not likening the two actual events. What those jihadist hijackers did on Sept. 11, 2001...
Opinion: What is Trump doing? Being Trump, that's what

Opinion: What is Trump doing? Being Trump, that's what

There were a lot of shocked folks Wednesday when reports emerged that President Trump had agreed to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's proposal for a three-month raising of the debt ceiling tied to Hurricane Harvey relief instead of an 18-month proposal backed by Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and...
Opinion: Franken-fears may threaten another Senate tradition

Opinion: Franken-fears may threaten another Senate tradition

When another Senate tradition falls by the wayside one of these days, keep this senator's statement in mind: The tradition I have in mind is the "blue slip," by which senators convey their approval of federal judges nominated in their states. To be sure, Republican senators have blocked appointments before by withholding their blue slip, but then that's the point of having the practice...
Opinion: Why Trump's DACA move is a prerequisite for immigration fix

Opinion: Why Trump's DACA move is a prerequisite for immigration fix

Here is the price of governing by executive order: The next executive has the power to undo what you've done. And that is what the Trump administration is doing when it comes to deferred prosecution of some immigrants whose parents brought them to this country illegally as children. Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced that the program, called DACA (Deferred Action...
Opinion: Matt Ryan for Atlanta's mayor (sort of)

Opinion: Matt Ryan for Atlanta's mayor (sort of)

Labor Day traditionally marks the unofficial start to Atlanta’s mayoral election, making for the shortest campaign this side of your senior class president. The candidates have been making the rounds for months, but they only recently qualified for the race . Eight are thought to be legitimate. Some are more legitimate than others , but...
Opinion: A story you should read about those fighting in our streets

Opinion: A story you should read about those fighting in our streets

I sometimes post on this blog excerpts of what others have written, because I want to comment on them, or expound on them, or use them to demonstrate a point. Today, I'm posting one because I just want you to go read it. A Beating in Berkeley Go on, read it . It'll take you a bit; count on 10 minutes. But if you are at all interested in what is going on in this country...
Opinion: An about-face from Democrats on corporate taxes?

Opinion: An about-face from Democrats on corporate taxes?

So, we're really going to do this, huh? President Trump gave a speech about tax reform on Wednesday, and it appears we're now going to be subject to a kabuki debate between Democrats and Republicans about whether to cut the corporate income tax rate. Really? After eight years of Democrats from President Obama on down recognizing the high U.S. rate puts American companies at a competitive disadvantage...
Opinion: The perfect day for Georgia to introduce a statue to the world

Opinion: The perfect day for Georgia to introduce a statue to the world

People of faith are fond of observing that the Lord provides all we need in His own perfect timing, if not necessarily the timing we'd have chosen ourselves. And so it is with the statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. unveiled on the grounds of Georgia's State Capitol earlier today. Coming 54 years to the day after King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech...
Opinion: One big thing holding back Georgia's economy

Opinion: One big thing holding back Georgia's economy

The problems ailing rural Georgia are, like much in the realm of public policy, complicated. How to improve schools and boost health-care access in sparsely populated areas? How to connect more small-town homes and businesses to high-speed internet ...
Opinion: Millennials buck conventional wisdom, head to the 'burbs

Opinion: Millennials buck conventional wisdom, head to the 'burbs

Hmmm ... do you think this might have any relevance to a metro area grappling with the issues of transportation, education, affordable housing, etc.? From Bloomberg : I have been skeptical of sweeping statements about an entire generation -- plenty of adult millennials have lived in rural and suburban settings for some time now -- but most especially the popular notion...
Opinion: ESPN and the rise of 'stubiquity'

Opinion: ESPN and the rise of 'stubiquity'

I know it's only August, but we may have reached peak 2017, the year that apparently watched 2016 in all its insanity and said, "Hold my beer and watch this." I'm referring to the decision by ESPN to switch a play-by-play announcer from the upcoming Virginia vs. William and Mary football game to another broadcast because of his name: Robert Lee. The network now...
Opinion: Trump takes his shot at ending the war in Afghanistan

Opinion: Trump takes his shot at ending the war in Afghanistan

The red-headed stepchild of American wars, the one we largely ignore while making more of a fuss over other foreign matters, got what has become its habitual dose of early-administration attention Monday night . That the war in Afghanistan has been going on long enough for me to write that -- it's wrapping up its 16th year and is now under its third commander-in-chief,...
Opinion: And just like that, Steve Bannon's out at the White House

Opinion: And just like that, Steve Bannon's out at the White House

Well, there's at least one thing Donald Trump brought from the private sector to government: The firings come on Fridays. From my news-side colleagues : The details -- did Bannon quit or was he fired? -- and the potential implications -- will he and Breitbart News now go after Trump, or just other members of his senior staff ? -- are still shaking...
Opinion: It's not that hard to be clear-eyed about Charlottesville

Opinion: It's not that hard to be clear-eyed about Charlottesville

I'm back after a couple of days of reporting outside Atlanta. Somehow, we are still talking about the propriety of those who assembled under and against the banners of Nazi swastikas in Charlottesville . Sigh. Folks, this is not that hard: Neo-Nazis are bad. The KKK: also bad. White supremacists: bad today, bad tomorrow, bad forever. ...
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