Fletcher's feasible five-step financial fix

Opinion column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

A working class hero is something to be.

— John Lennon (respect)

Correspondence: "You think you know so much, but you're always talking about something that you think is wrong. I never see you offer any solutions."

Response: "I don't think anyone would listen too closely to my ideas, but ..."

... Since you asked, I have come up with a carefully-considered five-step program that will genuinely help this community, state, region and country with their financial woes. This is not, as is typical, a knee-jerk reaction: "Just fire everybody ..." "Quit giving anybody anything ..." "Close everything down ..." Implementation would be easy, and the end results would be savings or increased income.

1. CURTAIL TRAVEL (for the local school system): When David Maschke ran for the Dougherty County School Board four years ago, he asked for and received a copy of travel expenses paid by the local system. The list was stunning, the cost astronomical, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars. Many of the trips, it turned out, were taken by several teachers from the same school who traveled to their destination separately and secured separate accommodations, all charged to the system.

Sorry, folks, but with amazing advances in technology, these "fact-finding" and "in-service" trips are no longer a necessity, other than to provide a taxpayer-funded vacation. If a conference is actually justified and can benefit the school system, an IT person can hook up a teleconference in a matter of minutes. Cut out the needless travel, and you can put more money where it belongs, in the classroom.

2. NO MORE FREE RIDES (for the state of Georgia): I did a story a while back about the state Regional Commission-sponsored travel program that provides transportation (yes, the little blue-and-white buses) for citizens to and from appointments. Meant for senior citizens and others who have no means of transport, the millions-of-dollars-a-year program is abused on a daily basis by the greedy segment of the population always looking for — and usually finding — a way to beat the system.

How frequently do we see these little buses tooling around the state with only one — two at the most — riders on board? And, as I learned while working on the story, if an individual has a medical appointment in, say Atlanta, he or she can secure a ride and count on doorstep-to-doorstep service. Sorry to those who don't game the system, but this money-waster should go away now.

3. WORK FOR WELFARE (for the nation): No, America should not quit taking care of its disabled or its widows and orphans. But it should stop giving money to able-bodied men and women who can't find — or refuse to look for — work. Give people a short — very short — period of grace, and then make their next check dependent on them completing 40-hour work weeks. Despite the acclaimed shortage of jobs, there are roads that need to be maintained and cleaned and projects that can utilize skilled and unskilled labor.

And, while we're here, it's time for prisons to be about more than "three hots and a cot." We need a return to the "Cool-Hand Luke" concept of road gangs sweating it out in the summer and working off the cold in the winter. (Where's Dragline when you need him?)

4. NO MORE LOOPHOLES (for the nation): Yes, in order to receive the necessary services that our various governments oversee, we should pay taxes. But should multi-billionaires — and presidential candidates — really be paying less money than their secretaries because they can afford to hire slick CPAs (an oxymoron?) to find ways around paying their fare share? I think we all can give a big "hell no" on that one.

The answer? A flat tax. Nobody escapes. Pick a rate — 15 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent — that's fair, and no one gets a penny until the tax is paid. It doesn't matter if you make $1,000 a year, $100,000 or $100,000,000, you pay your percent before the loot comes rolling in. No more government sissy-fighting over which group should pay what share. We all pay the same.

5. LEGALIZE (for the whole world): No, Sister, I don't smoke weed. But it's the world's No. 1 cash crop, and the only people making money off it are the Mexican, Afghani, Russian and Colombian cartels who would execute their mothers if they were two days late on a payoff. Let adults grow it, possess it and, yes, smoke it, but regulate the sales and manufacture just as you do booze.

Folks in Colorado and Washington can't be the only ones smart enough to see the benefits here.

You're welcome.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

Pay attention, Fletcher. I referenced "contact high". You get it from second hand smoke coming from the other fifty year-old hippies you hang with at them music fests.

It's nice to know that you read my comments, tho.


RedEric 2 years, 5 months ago

  1. If the system can operate with you gone then why do we need to pay you. I never liked to travel because the work continued to pile up. Evidently that is not the case here. Maybe RIF is in order.
  2. I have seen the short buses in liquor store parking lots. Must be filling a prescription.
  3. Won't work, violence will result. Gimmedats think they are due that money. A Senators office finally acknowledged. You make more on welfare than the average wage earner makes per year.
  4. Flat tax would result in a mass of no contributing IRS workers going on welfare...it would be worth it. Nobody understands the entire tax code.
  5. A friend with severe khrons (sp?) couldn't eat and was sent home to die. Smoked the weed and was able to eat. Weed saved his life, it is a medicine. Good grief, I agreed with Fletch on 4 out of 5.

dingleberry 2 years, 5 months ago

Can go along with most of this but have reflux on the pot. Reminds me of the moonshiners that would still be out in force if not for the price of sugar. The illegal unregulated sales will still be there and we will wind up with a larger number of pot heads blowing dope, robbing, and driving while we pay for a big regulation force, and a federal "dope czar"..

The "blue and whites" are greatly abused and are extremely costly. But this is where folks like Destiny get their money and it will never change now that the wheels are rolling. I was at Walmart at this time last year just in time to see two "big 'uns" loading gifts of EBT food and Christmas presents as the driver remarks "she can't have that many bags so we will say some of these are yours" to the bagless one. But if we cut it out, what would the poor, medically deficient, hefty folks do since we certainly can not expect them to provide anything for themselves?

While we are cutting out travel for the school systems. let's take a big whack out of crime and quit hiring so many "consultants", the Daryl Sabbs, Washingtons and the like. Some of the so-called consultants not talked about are nothing but former employees continuing on the dole.

Bah humbug, you politicans quit giving the money away as you pander for votes.


waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

Very good, all ideas previously expoused here by many. I well remember the trips to Jeckle Island for the Vo-Tech. Don't remember anything useful being accomplished. Other than eating and surf fishing. Wasn't really that good a time to fish either. What a waste of taxpayer money. I hate to say it, I agree with you. As to the Class warfare, you do have to reduce the numbers somehow, and if they are attacking you, that is self defense. Now about the cost of the burials?


Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

Fletch, are you turning Republican with Libertarian leanings on us or are you finally grasping the Tea Party platform?


FryarTuk 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree with one modification on item 4. No taxes for individuals on the first $12,000 and on families with children $20,000. No deductions, no tax shelters, capital gains inclusive. 20%.


chinaberry25 2 years, 5 months ago

Also, no earned income credits either. Thousands upon thousands given to no taxpayers for having more babies. And as far as medicaid, it should only cover the babies, let mama bear do without. And during labor, a mid wife is used and no epidural to kill pain or let them pay for it up front. This will curtail many babies if it hurts to get them here.


Trustbuster 2 years, 5 months ago

I would favor decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes only.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

But then crappy gimmedat docs will be handing out marijuana scripts like they hand out handicapped parking stickers now. Right?


FryarTuk 2 years, 5 months ago

Actually, if we want to inflict big damage on crime and criminal organizations, let's reword the 21st ammendment as national legislation. Tax mj and a lot of issues are addressed. The enforcement issues will be a lot less of a problem in every dimension.


Tonto 2 years, 5 months ago

If you don't pay taxes, you don't vote..that sounds about right. Will stop the pandering to the mass of hanger-ons since they can't influence election or re-election. Maybe the good of the country and not the good of the mob could become the focus again. Or we just put sand down in the civic center, make convicts into galdiators and throw bread to the crowd..we're about there anyways.


Outtahere 2 years, 5 months ago

I love them all! I could think of a few more "restrictions" for welfare (I have mentioned these in the past),but overall I think these five will work for now.

To elaborate more on what Red Eric wrote, I have seen what some of these welfare queens receive in montly assistance and it is more than what a lot of people make earning wages!! THAT IS A HUGE PROBLEM!!! If I have to budget my money and sacrifice things to live within my means, THEN THEY SHOULD HAVE TO TOO!!

Chinaberry, I thought I had an genious way to solve the epidemic of generational welfare, but you gave me a new idea. PAY UP FRONT AND NO EPIDURAL! My ideas, plus this will curb system abuse, GUARANTEED!!!!


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