If the puppy could talk
The automobile slowed and stopped on the nearly deserted country road. A door opened and a small brown puppy was set on the side of the road. The door shut and the car sped off. If the puppy could talk. “They must want me to chase them. They’re going so fast, I’ll have to run fast. Where did they go? They must be over that hill. They’re not here! Where did they go? I’ll just run down this road, but wait, there’s a crossroad. Which way did they go? I know they’re waiting for me right down one of these roads. I’ll just run fast and find them. I’ve run a long way and can’t find them. I’m so hungry and thirsty. Why can’t I find them? It’s getting dark. And I’m so hungry and so thirsty — and so afraid.”
It won’t work now
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Donald Trump has said if Congress passes his package of tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations that we will see our economy take off like a “rocket ship.” This is the old ‘trickle down” economics of the Reagan era, what George H.W. Bush called “Voodoo Economics.” It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.
Republican congressmen and senators who campaigned on promises of adding nothing to the debt are telling each other that it’s OK to pass a tax reform that adds $1.7 trillion to the debt because the economy will grow that much in 10 years.
A few years back the Federal Reserve analyzed data from states and found “little evidence” that corporate tax cuts lead to more jobs. One comparison can easily be made today. High tax California is booming and low tax Kansas where the Republican governor and Republican legislature has “cut, cut, cut” is in economic crisis, having to make deep cuts to education and other services.
When your congressman says, “I voted for the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and the economy will grow to make up the cuts,” don’t believe him.
True tax reform?
Congressional Republicans are determined to reduce corporate taxes. Their bill does not eliminate loopholes. It adds $1.7 trillion to the debt. They claim it will create jobs, increase wages and eventually increase tax revenues. To pay for their tax cut, congressional Republicans are eliminating some personal deductions. They want to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes and medical costs not covered by insurance. They want to cap deductions for mortgage interest and 401(K) contributions. They want to eliminate the death tax that benefits the top 1 percent of taxpayers.
I do not think congressional Republicans will resolve their differences and pass a tax bill this year. The best way to quickly stimulate the economy is to enact a one-time repatriation tax to allow corporations to bring the $2 trillion they have off-shore back to the U.S. This would result in a $1 billion increase in tax revenue. Congress should lower individual tax rates. This will pump millions of dollars into the economy. Neither of these adds to the debt. Both consumers and corporations will have more money to spend in 2018.
Congress could stop its bickering and enact true tax reform.
School is more than numbers
L.H. Williams Elementary School in the historic Pleasant Hill community is being considered for closing as of this submission. Doing so, however, would be a huge mistake. This educational icon anchors the neighborhood in which it sits as the primary nearby public grade school platform. It has served in this capacity for generations. Now it is being considered for closing by some members of the Bibb County School board. The reason? The school is only 68 percent full during school hours, short of the preferred BCSD minimum of 70 percent.
But L.H. Williams is more than numbers. It is a needed resource for children and families that live in its vicinity. It is where the annual Pleasant Hill Family Reunion is planned and coordinated each year. It is the practice site for the Pleasant Hill School of Taekwondo. It is a source of inspiration for those walking its hallowed halls past walls of wisdom filled with quotes and artistic expression of Pleasant Hill heroes like music legend Little Richard, community activist Mattie Hubbard Jones and Vietnam War era Marine Sgt. Rodney Davis — Macon’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Another important reason to keep L. H. Williams operational is its potential to go the way of the historic Tremont Temple Baptist Church and home of Douglass Theatre founder Charles Henry Douglass. Built in 1897, the former once served as a place of worship for the black community and as a Civil Rights era gathering place for locals leading the struggle for equality. The latter, a 19th century French styled and furnished mansion, sat two doors away from the downtown church and was the place where Douglass found respite from the daily grind of being a fearless, visionary black male entrepreneur in segregated Macon during the 1920s.
Unfortunately, neither Tremont Temple nor Douglass’ home now exist. In recent years they were razed to make way for commercial development, which has left some members of Macon’s black community stinging from the losses with feelings of resentment and disdain due to the lack of real or perceived sensitivity toward the two institutions as important relics of black power and progress.
Lastly, L.H. Williams serves as a distinguished member of famous Pleasant Hill institutions. The seamless flow of Saint Peter Claver Catholic Church and School, L.H. Williams, Linwood Cemetery and the former campus of Macon Charter Academy — the historic site of Macon’s first black library — serve as a source of pride for people with ties to these locations and a means by which the Pleasant Hill community has distinguished itself for over a century as an educational, economic equalizer for the city’s black residents.
With all this said, it would behoove the school district to strongly consider leaving L.H. Williams intact. While neighborhood schools are the best natural resource for families, it feels as though the ones that don’t reach the threshold are bound to be boarded up. If this is inevitable, the district should consolidate in the manner prescribed previously. This will ensure that L.H. Williams Elementary remains the relevant community resource that it has been for decades.
Clarence Thomas Jr.,