The Madison County Journal
January 26, 2000
the unneeded bureaucracy
Governor Roy Barnes is
taking Georgia in the same mistaken direction as the federal
government. He is creating another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy.
First, he decided to bypass the highway commissioner with a new
organization to direct transportation policy in Greater Atlanta.
Now he wants to steal power from the state Education department
with a new education oversight commission.
Both are nothing more than a power play by the governor. These
new commissions, especially the one on education, will duplicate
the work of existing constitutional offices, but without the
direct influence of the voters. They will be expensive. They
will, as all government bureaucracies do, find ways to grow,
expand their power, and create more problems than they solve.
We do not need more government, we need less. We do not need
new bureaucracies, we need to consolidate and eliminate most
of the ones we already have. That is true at the state and national
level. We were intended to be a nation of the people, not of
bureaucracies. In order to recapture that principle, power must
be transferred from the federal to state level, then from the
state to the local level, and then back to the people.
State government should involve itself only with those problems
that cannot be solved locally. That means a vastly expanded home
rule, allowing city and county governments to act on behalf of
the people without having to submit each plan to the state for
some bureaucrat's approval. Less state government would mean
less state spending and less need for state taxes. Georgia could
easily eliminate the state income tax if its bureaucracy were
cut to a reasonable size.
The federal government should only have the powers originally
granted to it by the states. If that were enforced, the federal
budget would drop dramatically. If the federal government were
limited to the powers listed in the U.S. Constitution, we could
eliminate the federal income taxes as well. And we would have
the freedoms we were promised by our founders.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: "he who governs best governs
least." We already have more government, national state
and local, than we will ever need. Rather than build more bureaucracies,
Governor Barnes should be actively reducing the size of state
government to that needed to solve problems too large for local
governments. Georgia would then become the model for other bureaucracy
choked states, and the vastly overgrown federal government.
Oh, I forgot. Barnes is a Democrat. All they know how to do is
tax and spend. I guess I am just dreaming.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
Madison County Journal
January 26, 2000
solution for elderly pharmaceutical costs
Everyone agrees that pharmaceutical cost for the elderly is a
problem that requires an affordable solution, and I have a proposal.
I am a primary care physician who sees mainly geriatric patients
who battle the cost of multiorgan illnesses without any insured
benefit for drug costs. In contract, I see managed care patients
who only pay a nominal amount for any brand name pharmaceutical.
In addition, drug costs are substantially less for premium quality
pharmaceuticals in both Canada and Mexico.
In effect, our present system charges our retirees retail, which
appears to subsidize discounted drug sales to managed care and
export. In this scenario we are seeing record profits and mergers
in the pharmaceutical industry.
All the presidential candidates are giving lip service to the
need for Medicare Pharmaceutical Benefit, but no one has an affordable
method to foot the bill in a balanced federal budget. Here is
1. Prescription drug charges to Medicare beneficiaries can not
exceed the lowest charge to any current managed care contract.
Pre-existing pharmaceutical Medicare supplementary coverage,
rare as it is, will not be affected.
2. Export pharmaceutical charges can not be less than sales to
This method would incur no medical cost to the government and
would substantially lower each retiree's prescription cost. Administration
of such policy should be folded into the HCFA responsibility
and overseen by AARP.
The only loser in this proposal is the pharmaceutical companies,
who certainly have enjoyed exceptional profit margins in the
past, which will most likely continue if this idea is fully implemented.
The weak link in this concept is the amount of political influence
the pharmaceutical companies hold over our elected officials.
I implore you to make the ethical choice for your retired constituents.
I appreciate your attention to this urgent matter and anticipate
your written response to this proposal.
J. Michael Cobb, M.D.
The Madison County Journal
January 26, 2000
Ready for springtime
I don't like this time
of year. These cold, gray days just aren't for me. I have tried
to think of a few of the things I do like about winter and I
did come up with a few: the smell of wood smoke (although it
gives me a headache), bundling up under the covers for a long
night's sleep, sitting at the window and watching the birds at
the feeders in our yard and snuggling up with a book and a cup
of coffee in front of a fire.
That's about it.
But I must admit I did enjoy Saturday afternoon, when the snow
and sleet started. I was walking my little dog Crickett to the
mailbox when it began.
I had been looking up at the cold gray sky when I saw the first
white flake go drifting by. Although I was expecting it, I still
wondered if I was seeing things. So I stopped and held out my
hand. Sure enough, one of the ice crystals drifted down and landed
delicately in my palm. Despite my "bah humbug" attitude
about all things winter, I couldn't help but feel a little thrill
I hurried back toward the house to tell everybody. Crickett was
too busy watching the squirrels and birds to care about the snow.
But I stopped to watch my son Zack's yellow lab puppy Buddy.
He was sitting in the back yard looking puzzled, head cocked
to one side and trying to catch the flakes as they went by. I
think he thought they were bugs.
I yelled "it's snowing!" just like a kid when I came
in the house covered in the white stuff and then we all gathered
around the windows to watch it come down.
Then I did what every self respecting Southerner does when they
I headed for the grocery store.
My husband Charles rode along with me and once there, we found
we were certainly not alone. After several circles around the
parking lot, we finally found a parking space and joined the
throng of folks going inside for bread and milk. There were no
shopping carts or baskets, so while I got started, Charles went
outside to look for one. He came back pushing a cart, grinning
Seems he had helped a bag boy unload a lady's groceries and then
brought the cart back in the store with him. He hadn't reckoned
on the line of women waiting on an available buggy just inside
Once facing them, he had to sprint by, holding the buggy tightly
and refusing to meet their gazes. He swore one angry lady was
still staring at him when he looked back as he turned the corner.
Although we had mainly come for bird seed, we left with $30 worth
of groceries, and I couldn't resist the impulse to buy some bread.
Zack, who couldn't wait to get outside, was lying in the hammock
when we got back, letting the flakes fall on him. He was clearly
in seventh heaven. It brought back memories of those rare snow
days of my own childhood, especially when school let out early
because of the weather. I can remember standing out in front
of the middle school on one of those days waiting for my mother
to pick me up. I hadn't even worn a thick coat that day, it had
been so warm and flowers were blooming, but the excitement of
the big fluffy flakes hitting my face was almost more than I
could contain. I couldn't wait to get home and get out in it.
But this past weekend it didn't take long for the snow to turn
to mostly ice and then to the dreaded freezing rain. I kept expecting
the power to go off. Luckily, it didn't, and the sight of the
icy covered woods the next morning I have to admit was beautiful.
But not as lovely as those same trees budding and flowers pushing
up through the ground.
Come on spring time.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager of the Madison