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Georgia editorial roundup

August 5, 2014

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

August 2

Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, on NFL punting on domestic violence:

A player who smokes weed in the National Football League could be suspended for four games.

But if he knocks his wife or girlfriend unconscious, then drags her limp body across the floor by her hair, he sits out two games.

That’s outrageous. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for knocking out his wife (then his fiancee) for two games this upcoming season, should be ashamed.

So should the entire league.

If this is what professional football thinks about domestic violence, then serious sports fans should rethink their support of America’s favorite fall pastime. Who wants to root for brutish millionaires —Rice signed a five-year deal in 2012 for $40 million — who get slaps on the wrist for treating women like punching bags?

Incredibly, a top NFL executive, Adolpho Birch, tried to justify the commissioner’s coddling of one of the league’s players. “I think the way we did that is the way that we determined discipline in all of these types of cases, and that is, the commissioner elicits a number of perspectives,” said Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president of labor policy, on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio program this week. He went on to say that Goodell “ultimately makes a decision that he thinks is appropriate based on both the conduct and the importance of making the right message for the league and others going forward.”

What’s that message? If you’ve seen the grainy footage of Rice dragging Janay Rice out of an elevator at an Atlantic City casino, it’s this: It’s the woman’s fault for not ducking.

Goodell must dish out tougher punishment. In the meantime, people who dish out big bucks for NFL tickets and memorabilia should consider donating that money to shelters that help the victims of this crime.




August 3

The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle on corporate tax problems:

It’s probably foolish to hope all the attention currently focused on “tax inversions” - the paper practice of headquartering U.S. companies overseas to cut tax expenses - will lead to meaningful corporate tax reforms. It’s much easier and politically expedient for the Obama administration to simply denounce corporations as unpatriotic scofflaws.

“I don’t care if it’s legal” to move a corporation overseas, President Obama said in Los Angeles during his recent three-day fundraising swing. “It’s wrong.”

That’s a darling election-season sound bite to excite anti-corporate liberals and cajole Democratic lawmakers into pushing for a ban on corporate tax inversions. Unfortunately, it draws attention away from what is really wrong: America’s outdated and punitive corporate tax code.

It’s our 30-year-old tax laws that make more than a dozen U.S. multinational companies - such as banana distributor Chiquita Brands and medical-device maker Medtronic - want to go through gymnastic contortions to broker inversion deals. Drugstore chain Walgreens wouldn’t be proposing a similar deal if the United States didn’t have the highest tax rate in the developed world - an effective federal-state rate of 40 percent.

Indeed, of the 32 developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, all but the United States have reduced corporate rates during the past two decades. The U.S. rate has been unchanged since the last tax-code overhaul in 1986.

Even with special-interest loopholes and generous deductions, the United States still taxes corporations higher than Canada, China and the United Kingdom. And America is one of only a scant few countries in the world where its citizens and corporations are subject to taxes on income earned abroad.

Passing a law that simply blocks inversions, as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has called upon Congress to do, is a finger-in-the-dike exercise. Corporations eventually would find a loophole to exploit or, worse, eschew paper mergers altogether for bona fide ones that would lead to more jobs and investment going overseas.

The Obama administration is well aware that an inversion ban is a nonstarter in a divided Congress. But it’s not going to pass up an opportunity to throw red meat to its Big Labor voting bloc by characterizing tax relief-seeking companies as unpatriotic.

Republicans are wise to oppose any quick-fix inversion ban that doesn’t include comprehensive corporate tax reforms. In the long term, one without the other is meaningless.

There is nothing inherently wrong with cross-border commerce. America’s economy is strengthened when our companies do well overseas and when foreign companies make investments in the United States.

With global commerce being what it is today, multinational companies essentially can choose where they want to live.

Let’s make the United States the kind of place where an American company wants to stay.




August 2

Albany (Georgia) Herald on talk of impeachment:

Just when you thought Washington couldn’t get any messier, our elected officials in the nation’s capital prove it can.

Case in point: impeachment.

There’s a lot of talk out there about impeaching President Barack Obama for what his detractors contend is illegal action he has taken on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And congressional Republicans will be yelling foul again when he takes unilateral action on immigration in the coming weeks.

While we’ve underestimated politicians’ ability to engage in self-destructive activity in the past, it’s hard to believe that GOP lawmakers will mount an impeachment effort against the president. For one thing, it will be a hard sell to the general public and provide a carnival sideshow during the mid-term elections.

In fact, our guess is that Democrats who are concerned about hanging onto control of the Senate would like nothing better than to see a serious impeachment effort. The political repercussions might well be strong enough to ensure that the GOP doesn’t take control of the Upper Chamber.

Decisions made on the November ballot should be about how opposing candidates view issues and governance, not simply a litmus test on whether the candidate is for or against impeaching the president. And if the House were able to impeach Obama, there’s little chance that the Senate would convict, even if the Senate vote came in 2015 and the GOP had managed to acquire a slim majority.

The problem facing our federal government is the inability to reach a consensus. With few exceptions, actions that are taken in Congress these days contain poison pills that one side know the other won’t accept. It’s easy for Republicans to blame Democrats and for Democrats to blame Republicans, but the fact is both sides engage in the practice and have adopted the attitude that compromise means the other side acquiescing altogether.

Sadly, it looks to be an attitude that is settling in for the long haul. These are decisions being made by people who worry about jobs — theirs. Our nation’s population is split just as badly, and these folks are going to do what they have to in order to preserve their political base. We’ve already seen this year what can happened to lawmakers thought to be entrenched in their leadership positions when they don’t pay attention to the people who elected them.



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