Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Everything With Nothing"

I've always wondered how so many people can continue to vote Republican in Georgia, even as the so-called "conservatives" (who have controlled the state, and most localities, since 2002) have overseen the near wholesale dismantling of every advance the state had made over the last two or three generations.

At every turn, they have talked the talk of "tax relief," "fair (sales) tax," "small government," "run government like a business," and "do more with less." I mean, when, exactly, are the 8 years of bending over for corporate interests, lobbyists and the super-rich going to pay off? All y'all got was this lousy real-estate bubble, a bunch of empty McMansions in Atlanta and whole lot of discount golf down on the coast.*

How is that working out for y'all, nowadays? I mean, this couldn't have gone worse for the state than if this was the actual plan.

I guess this means we can party like it's 1877 and start calling right now the era of "Deconstruction."

You're about to start tearing apart one of the South's great university systems. Maybe the plan is to just sell it to the Athletic Association and we can privatize UGA too. I mean, since everybody else is doing it, why can't Georgia?

As one of the comments on the above links made clear, the logical result of the do-more-with-less theory of government is that, eventually, you are trying to do everything with nothing.

* Not that there is ever anything wrong with discount golf down on the coast, but I thought maybe y'all public education would have been given a higher priority by actual, you know, legislators.



Dante said...

It's working out pretty well. Since 1995, Georgia has outpaced national unemployment figures. If our median home prices were the national numbers, there would be no housing bubble. Hell, the economy is so bad in Georgia that I can't find a damn parking spot at the mall on weekends. It's too bad nobody has any money or jobs here. There are empty mansions and cheap golf course everywhere these days. The faux rich are always the first against the wall when the economy craps out. You'll find the same thing in the best of state economies.

If you're upset about the cuts to UGA, I can understand that but don't pretend the state as a whole hasn't continued prospering both before and after the Republicans took over the state legislature.

Personally, I think UGA should make lemonade out of this situation and use it as an excuse to fire the 2/3 of University employees who don't do a damn thing from the time they show up to work until the time they leave. Then your department wouldn't need to keep a hidden contact list of the people in each department to call or email if you actually want anything done.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Then why do so many Georgians I talk to complain about the lack of properity back in the Empire?

Every time I come home to visit, I'm looking at more businesses closing. Every mall I go to has plenty of parking, and plenty of retail space for rent, because it is right next to another mall.

More banks failed in Georgia than in any other state?

I remember how much things changed for the better in the mid-90's, and I used to joke that Zell Miller left the state in such great shape, Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue were just now making a dent. That was back in 2005.

The 2000 - 2005 boom was aided by too-easy credit and too-cheap labor from illegal immigrants. That's a ripe situation for overspeculation, which is still a problem. Your home values are still too high for places people actually want to live.

Georgia's got problems that these so-called conservative, hyper-development policies were supposed to mitigate. It may not be California bad, but that ain't sayin' much.

At some point, you have to ask yourself if the people selling you those policies aren't actually implementing them (for 8 years) or if the problem lies with the policies themselves.

Dante said...

Georgia is no Texas, but it's still doing far better economically than the rest of the nation. That doesn't mean they've avoided hard times but it does mean it's worse in most of the country. Pat, your Georgia home is a tourist spot. Newsflash: in tough economic times, tourism gets hit really really hard. If your home were Detroit, you'd think things were really bad as well.

As far as store closings, that's as much a factor of consolidation as it is of the economy. I've seen many 5 and 6 pad malls now in deep trouble because there just aren't 5 or 6 department stores left to fill them. Federated bought them all. Then they have to go low rent like Burlington or the Forever 21 big box concept, and the amount spent per person at the mall plummets.

There's also a lot of fat-cutting where companies are finally having to close down places that just never were profitable. (Media Play, I'm looking at you.)

The bank closings in Georgia are pretty alarming but at the same time Georgia has had fewer complete FDIC takeovers* than elsewhere in the country. The banks' lost their charters but in almost every single case so far in the state of Georgia, the FDIC found a buyer.

Personally, I don't think our Republican leadership has done us any favors. But at the same time, they haven't left us in the lurch just yet. I am interested in seeing how this higher ed thing works out though. I still think that firing the deadbeats would be the optimal solution.

* I'm not an accountant so it's I don't know the exact term here. There are basically three levels of hell in FDIC takeover. The first is that the FDIC finds a buyer. The second is that the FDIC takes some of the toxic assets and then finds a buyer. The third is the FDIC takes over completely. The third is what I'm referring to. I looked this up when my bank was shut down recently.