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Column: Message to Georgia’s so-called leaders: We don’t trust you
by Dale Cardwell
August 08, 2012 02:56 PM | 6892 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dale Cardwell
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My very first car was a Pontiac Sunbird. It pretty much got me from A to B without a lot of fuss. A couple years later, things started going wrong. The dash lights became really dim, and it would fail to start at the most inconvenient times — despite a relatively new battery.

Still, not enough reason to make a change; but then it happened. I was taking Kelly Smith on a date — Kelly Smith! (I know that doesn’t mean anything to you, but at 17 — it was a big deal to me). We were headed to a movie and my Sunbird wouldn’t go over 40. I was mortified. Everybody and their grandmother passed me, and I couldn’t do a thing about it.

Friends, that’s where we are with our political system, and the evidence is the recent defeat of T-SPLOST. Our leaders (Pontiac Sunbirds if you will) told us paying an extra penny on pretty much everything we buy would a) reduce congestion, b) create jobs, and c) be spent wisely. The people of Georgia said no, in fact you said HE—NO, by a two to one margin. Here’s why:

Incumbents, we don’t trust you. Congressional approval is at an all-time low of 10 percent. If someone did a poll, I’m certain the results would not be much better for Georgia’s legislators. We’ve witnessed our leaders (overwhelmingly represented by longtime incumbents) tell us one thing, and then do another.

Here are a couple examples. They promised to remove the tolls off Ga. 400 when the bonds were retired. They didn’t do it. (Gov. Nathan Deal’s last-ditch pitch to remove the tolls in 2013? Too little too late). A significant majority of the T-SPLOST promoters had committed – in writing — to not support any form of tax increase. They did anyway. The incumbents’ offensive was led by the leaders of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Really?

This is the same group that did its best to cover up the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. The star political pitch man for T-SPLOST?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who presides over the contracting process at the Atlanta airport, perhaps the most corrupt process this investigative reporter has ever investigated.

Second reason: Make do with what you have. This is a lesson every Georgia family has had to learn the hard way — especially since 2008. The average American works until April 17 to pay his and her state and federal taxes.

That means more than one-fourth of our income – is taken by government. Enough! Voters have told incumbents again and again – use what you have – and don’t take any more! Why can’t they get the message?

The solution? Term limits. I have never been a fan. I’ve always believed elected leaders, well-versed in areas of expertise, are a plus. I now believe that benefit has been overwhelmed by the incumbents’ indebtedness to their benefactors.

Study after study proves you can’t get elected unless you can raise money. Our system, state and federeal, favors incumbents who stay in office by serving the needs of their contributors, not the voters. Want to reduce congestion?

Join a movement to elect legislators who will commit to a real problem-solving agenda, and agree to serve one term and one term only. It’s far from perfect, but it will be a lot harder for the entrenched system to “buy” those one-termers.

When I hit 18, I’d suddenly had enough of my Pontiac Sunbird. I traded it for a shiny used Datsun. It’s time to do the same with our so-called leaders.

For great consumer advice and companies you can trust, visit Watch Dale on TrustDale TV, weekends on WXIA 11 Alive, and don’t miss his consumer problem-solving radio show, Sunday afternoon at 5:00 on WSB AM and now 95.5 FM.

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