Morning Reads–Ain’t I Smart Edition

December 3, 2012 7:00 am

by Ed · 43 comments

Two things I knew that everybody else learned this weekend: The New England Patriots* and Crimson Tide are the best teams in their respective forms of gridiron football.

*According to Rick Day, supporting the Patriots makes you a racist. Or you support the Patriots because you’re a racist. Or something. So unite with me you fellow bigots!

The Big Item: Sunday New York Times published the first in a three-part series on states and their subsidy-happy ways to big businesses. In their research, they compiled what is said to be the first nationwide database on local subsidies, although exact figures are impossible to come by, the paper says. Georgia, for its part, spends $1.4 billion annually on incentive programs. All the more relevant considering the recent announcement that the state is increasing its investment in the West Point Kia factory. As the paper’s initial and lengthy report shows, those investments have at best, murky ROI. If you are interested in policy or a lawmaker (one oft does not beget the other) you ought to spend 10 minutes reading Sunday’s article. So what say you, O venerable readers of Peach Pundit?

Georgia News

Speaking of incentive programs… Atlanta looking to develop area around Turner Field (where there is a special taxation zone). While yes, much of that area probably should be developed, I’m not exactly sure another, fragmented and unconnected zone of any sort will be a net gain for Atlanta.


The Governor and First Lady unveiled the state’s official Christmas tree, which also served to re-instate Christmas tours of the Governor’s Mansion. Your intrepid correspondent is making plans to go on said tour. Stay tuned for more existing developments!

Proposed high-speed rail between Atlanta and Savannah doesn’t have a stop at Hartsfield. “ZZZZ! Wrong answer! That’s what the kids call ‘an epic fail.'”

It’s gonna be warm. Cool.

Elections in Brookhaven tomorrow. All I know is that they are happening. Anyone have any info to share?

The biggest news item in Georgia happened on Saturday, and not sure too many want to talk about it still.

Sports/College Football

It was a bad weekend for Georgia-based football teams. UGA…we know. Buzz’s Jackets lost to my Seminoles. The Emory–whatever they are–lost the DIII women’s soccer national championship (see what I did there). Georgia State seems to have been left off ESPN’s FCS playoff scoreboard. I’m sure they will rectify that error.

Speaking of which… the Panthers announced that Trent Miles, the former coach of the Indiana State Sycamores will replace Bill Curry. Reading the comments from the AJC article about his hiring was embarrassing. We’re a third-year program so we’re pretty limited with who we can hire first off. Most importantly, you want to hire someone who can build a program and by all accounts Miles did that. Now are there frankly frightening trends within the program? Yes. Is this one of them? No.

Really glad the Chiefs won on Sunday.

Other

Really, how much like, actual news do you want to digest on Mondays? Everyone (except me) hates Mondays. Seriously, I legitimately like them. I really enjoy the routine of work, even if I hate having to to do so due to my inability to monetize hanging out, doing whatever I want and taking care of bonsai.

A tale on race relations in Mississippi that could be just as easily be written about Georgia from the NYT.

Polls show Obama has a smaller post-election bounce than usual. I have a theory that this is due to increased partisanship in the voting public but I can’t articulate my feelings so just accept that I’m correct…in the highly unlikely scenario you don’t already.

The more I read about San Fran, the more I am so unbelievably happy that I don’t live there. Like, if I had to chose between living in SFO or OTP…goodness. Wow. I mean both are part of the same layer of hell…

Please read this fascinating article from a friend of mine (and former speechwriter for GWB) on Tom Wolfe. It really is excellent, even if quite long.

John Vestal December 3, 2012 at 7:40 am

Ditto on the Chiefs. Have always liked Romeo Crennel, going back to his brief stint as DL coach on Curry’s first Tech squad in ’80. One of the truly good guys in football.

Rick Day December 3, 2012 at 7:54 am

Consulting the Mighty Palm of the Invisible Free Market Hand™ you are allowed to use my name without permission.

Carry on, Yankees.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 8:05 am

lolwat.

Andre December 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

ICYMI: Drew Finding, attorney of indicted Clayton County Sheriff-elect Victor Hill, once again accused the Georgia Sheriff’s Association (GSA) of being racist, after the organization asked Gov. Deal to suspend Hill from office pending the outcome of his criminal trial. Said Finding of the GSA’s request: “It’s a complete slap in the face … of the African-Americans in Clayton County.”(http://bit.ly/UzpNNj)

Bloodhound December 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

Not sure where you are going with your Kansas City Chiefs comment but I do hope people are careful not to honor or pay homage to a murderer or to do as Bob Costas did last night and use this crime as an opportunity to attack the 2nd Amendment.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:14 am

“Not sure where you are going with your Kansas City Chiefs comment”

Gee I don’t know…. Perhaps that it is a good thing for a collection of individuals to have a positive development from a horrific event?

Daddy Got A Gun December 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

In response to the NFL, NBC, Costa, and other’s excitement to ban guns. Let me introduce you to Jeanette Goodwin.

Jeanette lives in the UK where guns are banned. She also has a jealous former lover who has stalked her for months. Mrs Goodwin has made seven reports to police from January last year about harassment and domestic violence. On July 24, she phoned police at 2.40pm to report further harassment, stating five times that she was scared and that her boyfriend had been at her garden fence

Jeanette Goodwin, 47, was murdered in a horrific knife-attack at her home in Southend, Essex, in July 2011. Her jealous former lover stalked the mother of three for months before stabbing her more than 30 times.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225280/Jeanette-Goodwin-Police-slammed-failing-mother-stabbed-death-lover.html

This is the future that NBC, the NFL, and Costa want. No, they demand. They demand the weak and vulnerable be rendered defenseless.

There is no dispute that a firearm is the best self-defense tool. Everyday, they are used by the weak and vulnerable to defend themselves against violent predators.

Costa can roll around in the blood of the victims, but know that there will be more blood if Costa and his ilk get their way.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

Hey, remember the request to not turn this into a Second Ammendment discussion? In case you forgot, posts like yours are also unsought at this juncture.

Bloodhound December 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

Ed? Who requested that we not discuss the 2nd Amendment? I missed that. What I requested is that we not use the actions of a murderer to be used to “attack” the 2nd Amendment. I also would hope that the NFL and outlets such as NBC and ESPN are careful not to honor or pay homage to a coward who murdered a woman and left a 3 month old baby orphaned.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

OK you’re right my mistake, you want this to be an opportunity to only have your political agenda promoted.
Sorry for thinking better of you.

Bloodhound December 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

By all means, if you would like to present a case by which the murderer could not have committed his crime with a fillet knife, curtain rod, #2 rigid shovel or any other number of available implements, please proceed!

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

No because we’re not talking about murder any more.

Daddy Got A Gun December 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

I don’t remember the request? You mentioned the game and situation which unfortunately has been politicized, on purpose by NBC and the NFL. Costa’s comments are all over the inter-tubes and are now the focus of the tragedy.

If Costa had not pushed for gun control, my posting would not have been relevant and you’d be justified in your criticism.

In the coming days, we will learn about about the mental condition of Belcher. From knowing several former pro-players, I’d speculate that he was fighting the twin demons of pain and depression. We, as a society, need to improve our treatments for both and need to remove the stigma associated with getting treatment for both.

If Costa was going to climb up on his soap box, that is something positive that he could have said.

Right now, I’m not sure of your intent for “Really glad the Chiefs won on Sunday.” Are you glad because the Chiefs rose to the challenge and overcame tragedy? Or do you think that any team that experiences tragedy in the prior week should get an win? Or are you a Chiefs fan (not that there is anything wrong with that)?

Finally outside drug and gang related murders, murderers don’t commit murder because of easy access to guns. There is always a mental instability/reason that is the sole driver of the act. The gun has nothing to do with it and is simply a tool. We as a society could solve alot of our crime problems with humane mental health treatment.

Bloodhound December 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

I wonder if Costa remembers the tool of choice OJ used to gut and decapitate his wife & her friend?

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hey Bloodhound/Daddy…

That’s enough.

Thanks.

Baker December 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

“The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.”

Exactly…

“Far and away the most incentive money is spent on manufacturing, about $25.5 billion a year, followed by agriculture. The oil, gas and mining industries come in third, and the film business fourth. Technology is not far behind, as companies like Twitter and Facebook increasingly seek tax breaks and many localities bet on the industry’s long-term viability.”

In short: We don’t have a free market. Everything is in such a morass of incentives, subsidies, loopholes, and regulation I might argue we have something even worse than what the Communists came up with. At least with the Communists you might’ve known where to point the finger. Our markets are a twisted maze of graft and govt.-directed investments. Want to fix the debt? Cut out all this crap.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

“In short: We don’t have a free market”

Welcome to like, all of human existence.

I think the most troubling thing about the manufacturing is that it shows governments across the country are mired in an antiquated worldview that America must be the manufacturing leader of the world, and they’re doing everything in their power to hold on to an industry that is rapidly losing its importance in the U.S. economy.

If there are any industries that should be receiving incentives, it ought to be service or technology industries. You know, the ones actually experiencing growth, even if they don’t fit in to the U.S. economic mythos.

Baker December 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

I think this is definitely a bi-partisan problem, but I’d add that unions spend billions of dollars talking about how amazing manufacturing jobs and doing their damnedest to elect politicians who’ll make sure of it.

My point in saying that bit about the free-market is that there are plenty of conservatives out there who are whining about Obama taking over/ over-regulating/ (whatever verb you want) the free market. That started waay before him. If we really want a free market, we’re gonna have to roll this sucker way back.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

Well you’re never going to get it. The best you can do is hope that there are, for lack of a better term, free-market principles in action–which there are.

You’re attack on unions is strange. I mean, they are self-interested (as any organization is) and come primarily from manufacturing industries. What else would they do? Nor are they alone in spending large sums to keep manufacturing jobs. I guess my point is–that it is strange it single out unions here.

Baker December 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

You pointed out the strangeness of the manufacturing focus, so I pointed out the union connection….

I know we’re never going to get it, but that’s no reason to throw up our hands and say we shouldn’t try for it. These zillions in credits and incentives aren’t free-market principles.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

Pointing out the problem with focusing on manufacturing is to show why it is terrible policy.

Highlighting unions, one actor of many working toward a shared goal, is a political problem.

YMMV.

Harry December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

“Unions…come primarily from manufacturing industries.”

In terms of membership numbers, unions are these days now primarily infested into the government sector. Having managed to kill the unprotected or unsubsidized manufacturing sector host, unions turned to organizing government workers and have proven very successful in Democrat-controlled states and jurisdictions.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

So then you are pro-union?

If they successfully destroyed the manufacturing industry, now they can destroy the government!

And yes, the recent trend has been government employees, but when you think of unions do you think of AFSCME or UAW?

Baker December 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

I’m pretty much with Harry, but I’m sorry I shifted it to unions, both sides are guilty of currying favor with their favorite biz/ trade group and our “free market” sucks.

Kick Them All Out: http://www.kickthemallout.com/ (that link is no endorsement, if they turn out to be weird Bilderberg conspiracy believers or something I’m sorry, they do want to end the Fed which is not possible but something along those lines would be spectacular)

Baker December 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

…..and I don’t mean ending the Fed would be spectacular, I mean kicking them all out…..

Harry December 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Unions often work with their oligopoly partners such as GM and the government (but I repeat myself) to develop ever more anti-free market playing conditions.

Baker December 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

Ed: It’s one of those areas where if Occupy was interested in really being a changing force (which I don’t think they are), and the Tea Party nationally was focused on big change rather than just Obamacare or whatever, these two groups could’ve come together on this type of issue and gotten something done. I’d hazard that few Americans really realize the extent of all these credits and what not. Just the two groups talking about it would’ve made a huge difference.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

And I think it is far more challenging than that. How would Occupy/Tea Party be able to overcome an incumbent saying “I brought X-number of jobs home,” especially when that is the key issue any election anywhere. It is a strong narrative that takes a while to explain after people immediately have a positive reaction.

peachstealth December 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

It was a bad weekend for SOME Georgia-based football teams. It was a good weekend for others.
Georgia Southern defeated Central Arkansas to advanced in the FCS playoffs and Valdosta State
defeated Carson Numan to advance to the semi-final round in Division II.

You Atlanta folks need to realize that the Great State of Georgia extends further south than Hartsfield -Jackson

Max Power December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

Proposed high-speed rail between Atlanta and Savannah doesn’t have a stop at Hartsfield. “ZZZZ! Wrong answer! That’s what the kids call ‘an epic fail.’”

Wrong! High speed rail should run to the city center where people bound for the airport would transfer to MARTA.

Noway December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Do we actually need a high speed rail between Atlanta and Savannah? Sounds like a boondoggle to me.

benevolus December 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Luddite!

Ed December 4, 2012 at 7:21 am

If you want people to use your transit systems, make it easy to get to and use them. In other words, bring them to a lot of people.

Just to throw this out there, every major city that I’ve been to with high-speed rail has a direct link to the airport.

Why would you add a barrier to getting passengers to/from the world’s busiest airport, especially when it will probably be using the same tracks and it isn’t exactly going out of the way to stop at Hartsfield, en route to Savannah.

peachstealth December 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

Railroads pass through the middle of a lot of small towns. If a high speed train stopped or even slowed down for them it wouldn’t be high speed anymore. People in those towns aren’t going to want a train going 100 mph passing through their business district. That means building bypasses.
The only stop should be in Macon which still has it’s beautiful old terminal.
http://www.newtownmacon.com/rentals/terminal-station/

Take a look at a Georgia rail map
,http://www.dot.state.ga.us/maps/Documents/railroad/Georgia_Rail_Map_plain.pdf
there isn’t a straight line between Atlanta and Savannah or Macon and Savannah. The Georgia Central ( originally The Macon, Dublin and Savannah) comes closest but would need a lot of upgrading.

Ed December 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Does anyone even live in those small towns?

Rick Day December 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

lolwut?

Daddy Got A Gun December 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Honey Boo Boo does (McIntyre, Georgia)

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 4, 2012 at 3:13 am

Now that’s a REAL train station that they have there in Macon!

The comments by Mayor Reed about implementing high-speed intercity passenger rail service between Atlanta and Savannah are somewhat extremely misguided at this point seeing as though the most severely pressing need for passenger rail service south of Atlanta is for regional commuter rail service between Atlanta and Macon to provide much-needed traffic relief to an often severely-congested and gridlocked I-75 South.

Talking about building commuter train tracks to be able to also accommodate high-speed intercity passenger trains as demand dictates would be a much more logical and valid starting point for implementing passenger rail service in the I-75 Corridor south of Atlanta.

saltycracker December 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

It is not a healthy situation for citizens to allow their public officials to get into bidding wars on private business from car plants to stadiums.

Rather we put incentives in for categories of desirable industries/employees/ impact. Why should a new car plant get a better offer than an existing one if we want car plants? No incentives should go past taxes due (zero).

SallyForth December 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Ed, thanks for sharing the Mississippi article. This part, which also applies to native Atlantans, bears display:

How could this happen in an area so identified with racial turmoil? It’s easy: beneath the easy assumptions about racial animosity in the South, a different ethos prevails. The races interact daily in these small towns. Despite the oppressive Jim Crow system of the past, people know one another intimately. Trust, it turns out, trumps race. That doesn’t mean racial tension doesn’t exist. But there’s a capacity to look beyond it, born of lifelong intimate contact, that’s rarely found in larger cities.

Each of these towns experienced the civil rights movement. They also experienced mechanization, which displaced the black labor force. When the promise of the civil rights revolution was challenged by the realities of deindustrialization, hope was replaced by disappointment and disillusionment. The moral clarity of the struggle against legal segregation was replaced by de facto segregation and self-segregation — a problem hardly unique to the South.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm

“Proposed high-speed rail between Atlanta and Savannah doesn’t have a stop at Hartsfield. “ZZZZ! Wrong answer! That’s what the kids call ‘an epic fail.’””

Epic Fail…Isn’t that the title of Georgia’s current approach to transportation planning?

Sorry, I forgot, Georgia doesn’t currently have an approach to transportation planning, so nevermind.

Baker December 4, 2012 at 12:43 am

Getting around to the actual Georgia part of that NYT story about incentives, Caterpillar seems to be the top taker at around $78 MILL. Just thought I’d point out that seems to be about $200 MILL shy of what we’re about to give the Falcons. Hmmm….something seems off.

Ed December 4, 2012 at 7:19 am

I think you’ve hit the head on the actuarial nail. There are enough tricks and loopholes so that “incentives” are not actually incentives.

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