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February 20, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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& EDITORIALS "Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not? - Jeremiah 50:2 A 2018, 2017, 2016 winner:. Editorial Page excellence 2018 winner:. Best Headline Writing /O~l~lk,~ 20111, 2017 winn~n Best News Photography I~I)T ~ i'~! 2o18 w~rwr: Bes, Sports Poges ~~,~! o,8 Bes, Se o0 Col O ,he Pe,ch 2018, 2017 winmm Best Humorous Column - On the Porch ~J~" ON THE PORCH by Wilt Davis O "T'ow that socialist nutjob Bernie Sanders has [ become the 10th Democrat to announce for presi- | dent, its time to be blunt: Ifyou live in Monroe County and you vote Democrat in 2020, you're voting for the end of Monroe County as we .know it. Let me explain. Sanders, and most Democratic candidates for president, have already endorsed the insane Green New Deal put forward in Congress by former bartender Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It sounds like the incoherent and contradictory ramblings of a leftist sitting at the end of Cortez's bar. Among its "points" are that the U.S. should achieve "net- zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers:' Now our own Plant Scherer is the most environmentally advanced coal plant in the world. Georgia Power just added $3 lion in cutting-edge technologies to reduce emissions. Further, the plant pays more thin $15 million in taxes to our county and school board every year. But there's only one way Plant Scheref could fit into Demo- crats' vision for America: If the environmental crazies are allowed to bulldoze the plant into Lake Juliette. Because just as there's no way for the human body to stop emitting carbon withouth dying, so you can't bum coal and not emit carbon. Yet a good part of the country has bought -- hook, line and sinker, to use a Lake Juliette analogy -- the false belief that man's activities are changing the weather and destroying the planet. Now there's no legitimate evidence this is true. But they believe it. It's a religious faith and no amount of evidence will change their minds. You may think this is a fringe movement that won't en- danger Plant Scherer. But look at me in the eye: THEY. ARE. SERIOUS. If, God forbid, Democrats ever get power again, there are no limits on what these people, fevered by socialism and hatred for red-state Americans, would do. It's been said that Monroe County without Plant Scherer would be Hancock County, the poorest in Georgi Certainly our taxes would go up about 50 percent. If you don't think it could happen, just look to Germany. There, climate change insanity has spread far and wide, cor- rupting the minds of the youth against freedom and capital- ism. That why recenfljg Germany announced plans to shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over a 19-year span to combat climate change. Now this won't actually save Germany, or the planet. What it will do is make their power bills much much higher. And it will make Germany even more dependent on the Russians and their new natural gas pipeline into Germany. Talk about Russian collusion. In 2008, right before Obama was elected, the San Francisco Chronide released an interview with.the future president in which he admitted that his "dean energy" plan would neces- sarily bankrupt any company that tried to build a coal plant. The only things that prevented the Obama administration from destroying coal plants were lawsuits challenging the le- gality ofhis new regulations and the election of a Republican Congress in 2010. So as we head into the 2020 election year, I encourage Mon- roe Countians to keep a wary eye on the Democratic race for the White House. The candidates will be trying to out-green and out-socialist one another to appeal to increasingly insane Democrat voters, who've been brainwashed at universities about "climate change:' Democrats want to take America back to the Stone Age, in the quest Of an elusive, utopian state of environmental perfec- tion. There's only one place to find such a world: In Genesis 1 in the Bible. Sadly, Adam and Eve were corrupted in Genesis 3, and paradise will only be restored after this life is over. That hasn't stopped dictators around the world over the past 100 years from trying to use brute force to restore paradise. All we have to show for it are millions of graves of those who got in the'tr way Keep that in mind at least until 2020. the Momoe Ctxmty www. MyMCR.net is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. * Will Davis, President Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S, Williams, Secretary-Treasurer STAFF Will Davis ~ i : iiii~ii:~ Publisher/Editor publisher@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Richard Dumas Diane Glidewell News Editor Community Editor forsyth@myrncr.net j news@mymcr.net ~.: Advertising Manager Creative Director ads@mymcr.net graphics@rnymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St. - Forsyth, GA'31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER Re. Box 79.5, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County:. $40 - Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday pdor to issue. Comme~ featured on opinion pages are the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions oflhe Reporter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle WingfieJd say a journey of a thou- sand miles begins with a single step. The implication is that the first step won't be the last. That's the right way to think about House Bill 109, which is intended to address the increas- ingly worrisome debt for Georgia's teacher pension system. It's an initial step toward securing the retire- ment income promised to our public-school teachers past and pres- ent, but it isn't nearly enough to take the system as far as it needs to go. The bill authored by Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican from Jeffer- son and retired teacher, would make a few changes to the pensions of new teachers starting July 1. They wouldn't be eligible for a pension until age 60, even if they've worked the requisite 30 years; their highest average salary would be cal- culated over five years instead of two and capped at $200,000; and they could be required to contribute up to 10 percent of their salary towar l their pension instead of the current. 6 percent cap. But all these changes don't add up to much of a difference for Georgia's Teachers Retirement System. My friends at the Reason Foundation's Pension Integrity Project, who stUdy public pensions around the country, say TRS'S total accrued liabilities by 2037 would fall by less than 2 percent, from about $162.5 billion to $159.5 billion. Total contribu- tions for that year would see less of a change, an increase of about $515 million. However, even with those changes, Reason projects the system's un- funded liabilities would be larger in every year through 2042 with HB 109 than they would be without it. The unfunded liabilities would still shrink over time, but absent any methodological changes they could be about $1.3 billion higher on average if HB 109 were to pass. Why would the effects of liB 109 be so small? There are a few primary reasons First, the changes ap- ply only to new teach- ers. The system already covers some 400,000 current and retired teachers and University System of Georgia employees, and the bill wouldn't change the way their contributions and benefits are calculated. So we're talking about a comparatively small number of people affected, especially in the early years. Second, the bigger problems for TRS are the assumptions that under- gird the plan, none of which would be changed by HB 109. For example, the plan still assumes annual investment retums of 7.5 percent - which are increasingly hard to hit on a consistent basis even by a well-managed system like TRS. The "new normal" for returns from the kinds of assets in TRS's portfolio is closer to 6-6.5 percent. Falling short of that means the system needs more contributions to pay its obliga- tions and remain solvent. Legisla- tors know that all too well, having roughly doubled the state's annual contribution to TRS to $2 billion in recent years. Finally, the bill avoids some of the biggest, but most controver- sial, changes. A recent state audit identified one of them as raising the minimum retirement age to 62 - higher than the 60 proposed in HB 109, but still lower than the 67 required for Social Security. (Not all of Georgia's teachers participate in Social Security.) Another big one cited in the audit is lowering e cost-of-living adjust- ment, or COLA, paid to retirees. The prevailing COLA is 3 percent per year, even though the audit found the actual rate of inflation has been lower than that in 21 of the past 26 years. Aligning the COLA with inflation would keep retirees from losing purchasing power while low- ering TRS's expenses by anywhere from $17 million to $700 million per year ,depending on the magnitude of the change, the audit found. Teachers tend to view any changes to TRS as an attempt to rob them of benefits they've been promised That's understandable, but not true. They should be much more wor- ried about what will happen to their benefits if lawmakers don't shore up the system HB 109 is an appropriate first step, but it can't be the last one. The president and CEO of the Geor- gia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens 1 | II ecently I wrote an article expos- ing some of the and follies of a few of our current representatives and senators in our govern- ment today. In the article I explained that I had a dream and my wife had intewreted this dream. As a writer I sometimes enjoy using sat- ire as a way of getting a point across. That is exactly what I was doing in this particular article. I assumed any readers would understand where I was coming from and the point I was trying to get across. Apparently I was not dear in the way I wrote this article. Since the artide was published someone has asked my wife if she could really in- terpret dreams. To darify the definition of satire to myself, I looked up the definition of satire and here is how the dictionary defines satire: Satire: The use of humor, irony, exaggeration or ridi- cule to expose and criticize people's stUpidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Synonyms: mocker ridicule, derision, scorn, caricatUre. 1) A literary work holding up human vices and fol- lies to ridicule or scorn. 2) Trenchant wit, irony or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly. Please understand that I truly did not have this dream and my wife does not interpret dre 'fis. In fact neither my wife nor I believe in people who daim to have this ability. We do believe God had given this gift to a few of His chosen people throughout our Bible, but please believe me when I say my wife and I are not, nor do we pretend to be, interpreters of dreams. For my inability to make it clear that my article was truly meant to be a satire of the political world around us, I sincerely apologize. Since it's rather difficult to go any further with this explanation I thought it might be fun to show a few other examples of humorous and clever 'one liner' satire that I enjoyed reading. Some may think that satire is never hu- morous while others do use humor to get their satire across with a small amount ofhnmor. Some- times writers, or speakers, gently criticize human fol- lies and foibles, inspiring us to smile or even laugh. I hereby chose some satire with a little humor: Will Rogers once said, "I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat:' Will Rogers also said, "You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people:' Oscar Wilde: "Experi- ence is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward:' Maya Angelo: "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do bet- ter:' Elvis Presley: "When things go bad, don't go with them:' Peter Golkin: "My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: tiding a bike to the library:' Martin Uzochukwu Ugwu: "The world could be frowning all day long but don't be deceived. It needs your smiling face. So, smile anyway." Martin Uzochukwu Ugwu once more: king to his palace, a bird to its nest, but a home filled with love and laughter remains the best." Stephen Colbert on George Bush: ':Mad I like the guy. He's a good Joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half, and polls show America agrees. Mark Twain: "Food decisions come from e llerience. Experience co es from making bad decisions" Mark Twain again: "You've got to be an op- timist to be a Democrat, and you've got to be a humorist to stay one." Finally: Mark Twain one more time: In "The Ad- ventures of Huckleberry Finn" Mark Twain uses satire to show hypocrisy among his gang. "The young men will rob, steal and murder each day but Sunday. That's the day they go to church:' God bless! Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County. MONROE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Greg Tapley Chairman 478-256-9277 Larry Evans District 1 394-0451 Eddie Rowland District 2 808-9354 John Ambrose District 3 960-0764 George Emami District 4 706-207-0383