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December 26, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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Declare & EDITORIALS among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; Jeremiah 50:2 20111, 2017, 2016 ~ Editorial Page excellence 2018 w Best HeadLine Wriling 2018, 2017 ~ besl News Photography 2018 ~ Best Sports Pages 2018 winner:. Best Serious Column On the Porch 2018, 2017 w Best Humorous Column - On the Porch ON THE PORCH by Will Davis Coal for the congressman Toffer a giant coal lump for the stocking this Christmas for II our congressman Auslin Scott, a member of the agricultural II committee that helped impose the big-spending fam bill .ALigned by President Trump last week. The outgoing Republican majority in the House, and the grow- ing majority in the Senate, had a good chance to reform badly- flawed U.S. farm policy this year. To paraphrase comedian Ron Whir "They had the right, but they did not have the abfli~' A farm bill basically covers two things. The biggest is food stamps. Conservatives for years have advocated imposing work requirements on food stamps, making our fellow Americans get a job like the rest of us to be digible for funds. As the Good Book says, if a man does not work, neither should he eat. Given that we're $21 trillion in debt, this seems like a good idea. So of course it went nowhere in the new farm bill. The other main part of the farm bill is the generous regime of subsidies and payouts to farmers, most of them wealthy friends and campaign donors to Scott. Scott used to come to Forsyth with a Powerpo'mt presenta~on to tout his alarm over the federal budget when he first ran for Congress. Scott chided his 2010 opponent Inn Mar- shall for conUnualty increasing the debt ceiling to $13.5 trillion while doing nothing to address spending. Scott was right about the pmblen~ He was wrong to pretend he would do anything about it. It was just a lie Scott told to get dected. He doesn't care about spending and his record X,~,~h~X~ since joining Congress in 2011 proves it. The debt is now $21.5 trillion, a 60 percent increase since Scott and the Republicans took the majority in 2011. And he's voted for almost all the spending that has become law since arriving. It may be one good reason why they have lost the majority. Anywa); Scott, who hails from Ashbum and the farming area around Tifton, succeeded in delivering millions of dollars in subsidies and handouts to his rich farming buddies, and in killing any reforms. National Review reports: '~D~ite efforts to dose a loophole that allows family members of farmers to receive subsi- dies even if they do not live or work on a farm, the [law] exvands that loophole to allow distant rdatives such as cousins, nieces, and nephews to qualify for subsidies? The magazine continues: "The subsidy is worth up to $125,000 a year, about twice 201Ts national median household income It's nice work if you can get it. And you don't even have to bother with the actual work part. So long as you fill out the paperwork and claim some sort of management responsibili~ you can be eligible for subsidies, as can your spouse and all your family members7 Maybe Oprah can go to Scott's home in Ashbum and do a show with him, telling audience members: '~knd YOU get a farm sub- sidy, and YOU get a farm subsid~ and YOU get a farm subsidy." Remember than most farm subsidies go not to the poor, struggling dirt farmer, but to wealthy corporations that buy new $300,000 John Deere tractors every few yearn One study found that the smallest 80 percent of farms received)ust 10 percent of all subsidies. The magazine notes that the new law is, "like its predecessors, a huge jumble of subsidies, quotas and price setting that dole out welfare to corporate agricultural interests. It creates barriers for new farmers, wastes resources, and creates risk for farmers and taxpayers alike7 The law shidds the U.S. sugar industry from mpetition, which hdps keep U.S. sugar prices double those of the rest of the wodd. And while both House and Senate versions of the farm bill had reforms requiring work for food stamps and limits on subsidies, none of those reforms, of course, made it into law. It's a law which Scott gave his full-throated support and endorsement. Concludes the National Review: "This farm bill represents everything that is wrong with Washington." And few p~ple represent what is wrong with Washington bet- ter than our own congressman, Austin Scott. oo# If you're the praying type, send one up for our old friend Inez GriswelL She lived in Forsyth for many years before returning to Mississ' pi due to health issues recently. Even after moving awa) Miss Inez has kept loving this newspaper and this community, writing ns regular letters telling us so (even if she did brag on her Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets some). We understand this maybe the last Christmas for Miss Inez, who is in her late 90s. We love you, Miss Ine~ You've reflected the light of Jesus welL See you on the other side. 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 OUR STAFF Publisher/Editor publisher@mymcr.net News Editor forsyth@rnymcr.net Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager ads@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Diane Glidewell Community Editor news@myrncr.net Brendon Park Creative Dimcl:or graphics@mymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth SO N. Jackson St. - Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER - PC). Box 795, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION I~: In County: $40 - Out of County:. $48. Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday pdor to issue. Commems featured on opinion pages are the creation of the write~ the do not necessarily reflect the opiniom of~e Reporter rnanagement Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield hristmas begins ;week. That's right: "begins." Traditionally Christmas lasted 12 days, although in recent times we have largely truncated it to a single day. Pos- sibly the holiday was cut short due to a shortage of turtle doves and maids a-milking. Possibly not. Either way, and as a tradition- alist, far be it from me to deprive ~0~ /'~/'@~ anyone of what's due them over Twelvetide. I don't have any golden rings, drummers or pip- ers to offer, but I will give you a dozen good ideas for Georgia in the new year: 12 Regions Without Certificate of Need: One of the few ideas the federal leviathan has cre- ated and then completely disowned is "certificate of need" the idea the gov- ernment should decide how much healthcare service is provided in a given community. Rather than letting the market decide the supply of care, a state agency considers applications from would- be providers - and lets their competitors widd what nearly amounts to a veto. The House Rural Development Council recommended ending CON in Georgia and relying only on the state's existing licensure regime. The key is ensuring this change leads to more choice for consum- ers through competition. 11 Waivers: That is the techni- cal term for seeking more flexibility in how Georgia spends federal Medicaid dol- lars, and it's fast becoming one of the most popular ideas under the Gold Dome. A pilot program at Grady Health System in Atlanta sparked much of the interest, but there are several other requests the state ought to make to ensure tax dollars are being spent in the best possible way to improve access to health- care for low-income Georgians. l O- Week Runoffs Shortened: Tired of never-ending campaigns? One of the reasons we endured so much cam- paigning this year is the lO-week runoff period for federal elections imposed by a court order to ensure TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens Many years ago Ohio was known for its steel production. Steel mills once blossomed in larger towns outside our country home. Em- ployment was high. People were happy. Recently my wife and I drove past some of those dead, steel miUs. Today rusted metal is piled high in lonely graveyards surrounding those same run-down steel mills resembling third world countries once devastated by long- ago wars. Two weeks ago GM announced its future clo- sures of its manufacturing plants in northeast Ohio, Maryland, Michigan and Ontario, Canada. March 1st, 2019 GM will end its production of the Cruze automobile in Lordstown, Ohio. Buick La Crosse, Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Im- pala in Detroit, Michigan will soon follow. After 50 productive years in Lordstown, a small town in Trumbull County Ohio, nearly 1,600 men and women will soon be unemployed. Previously, a second shift was ended putting nearly 1,500 people out of work. Nationwide 14,700 blue-and-white-collared workers will be moving to other towns in search of new jobs. Children will be uprooted from their local schools and closest friends in hopes that their moth- ers or fathers, or both, will be blessed in their search for new em- ployment. Why? What pos- sible reason could GM instantly an- ~tgd/e ~ t'~e~ nouncesuch catastrophic news to so many people? Some who have spent 10, 20 and even 30 years of their lives working so loyally to GM, rearing their families in towns they truly love. "Money!" Mary Barra, GM chief executive officer boldly informed the press, "We will save 6 billion dollars in cash by the end of next year! Definitely, the new Chevrolet Blazer SUV will soon be built in Mexico:' Each of the two senators in Ohio, Sharod Brown and Rod Portman, have met with Mary Barra to discuss the possibilities of building another car, rather than the Cruze in Lordstown. "To retool its factories would cost hundreds of millions of dollars" Mary has told the senators. "It spent $351 million at Lordstown to make the Cruze: overseas voters, especially military personnd, can participate. Other states have shortened their runoffs by using instant- runoff or ranked-choice voting for those who are abroad. It's time Georgia looked into this, among other much-needed elec- tion reforms. 9 Ways to Strengthen Charters: Charter schools are public education in- novators, using flexibility from some regulations to use new educational methods in exchange for tougher accountabil- ity. But they operate on substantially less funding than traditional public schools, especially when it comes to capital fund- ing. The Georgia Charter Schools Association has a good list of nine ways to strengthen charters, from greater funding for facilities to a streamlined renewal process for high- performing schools. 8th Year of Criminal Justice Reform Needed: The FIRST STEP Act that Congress approved this past week is not only a triumph for sensible fed- era1 reform but a tribute to the groundbreaking work done to improve Georgia's criminal-justice system. We shouldn't stop while we're ahead; there's too much left to do. A good start would be to reauthorize Georgia's Criminal Justice Reform Unemployment is a terrible monster. Families are uprooted. Parents are depressed. Children are hurt. Towns are destroyed. Where do you go from here? My wife and I grew up in a small town in Trum- bull County, very near Lordstown. A few years ago my older brother, Earl, had retired from the GM plant in Lordstown with 31 years of grateful employment. We remem- ber well the joy that once filled Lordstown. Most people were excited in Lordstown. A new school was built. A friend of mine became superinten- dent of the rapidly grow- ing Lordstown school sys- tem. Small shops began to blossom. Hundreds of people were employed by GM. Joy filled the streets and spread to neighbor- ing towns. For 11 years I worked in a sister GM plant in nearby Warren, Ohio. At Packard Electric we made the wiring harnesses for GM cars. At the time I worked at Packard Elec- tric there was talk in our plant that some day our work may be transferred to Mexico. Our union fought hard and long to keep us employed. It worked. But today, decades later, my wife and I returned to the Packard Electric plant where I once worked. As we drove past the main plant that once housed the salaried workers, I Council, which drove these policy reforms for seven years but expired this summer. 7-Day/24-Hour Access to Your Doctor: So much discussion about health- care reform focuses on coverage, or perhaps pay- ment. But what matters most is ensuring patients can actually see a qual- ity healthcare provider when they need one. New arrangements such as Direct Primary Care allow people to contract with a family doctor for a slate of routine care and, often, discounts on labs, specialists and other types of care - all for much less than a comprehensive insurance policy costs. They can pair such a contract with catastrophic coverage for true emergencies, cutting their overall expenses. But Direct Primary Care won't take off in Georgia until lawmakers clarify that it is not insurance and shouldn't be regu- lated as such. What, that's only six? Well, you'll have to come back next week for the rest! Until then, I wish you and yours a merry (start to) Christmas. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. nearly cried. The build- ings were empty. Win- dows were broken. Grass was growing throughout the paved parking area that was now surrounded by a broken-down wired fence. Houses that were once the dwelling places of many of those work- ers joyfuUy lined nearby streets. Now the houses look sad. Small businesses have barred windows. The joy is gone. Unemployment hurts small towns, middle-sized towns and large towns like Detroit. Its fingers reach out to neighboring towns and beyond. Its an- ger touches small towns, counties, states and finally nations. "Perhaps we can build another small car in the same Lordstown plant where retooling will not be so expensive!" Senator Rod Portman pleaded. "If so, we could even offer a $3,500 discount when a person buys any car made in America!" Keep pleading and pray- ing Senator Portman and Senator Brown. I applaud your sincere desire to help your people and your state. As I said, "Unem- ployment is a monster! It spreads like fire. It's fingers reach out to neigh- boring towns and beyond. It touches small towns, counties, states and finally nations" God bless! Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County. 1