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Go fish

'The Middle-class Squeeze'


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Georgia's schools suck. Our roads are a mess. As this week's cover story notes, our tax code is a love letter to special interests.

On top of that, Atlanta's air isn't getting any cleaner. We're running out of water. And our streams and land are being savaged by unfettered development.

What's Sonny Perdue's solution? Go fishing.

That's right. Our esteemed governor announced a major initiative last week in his state-of-the-state address called "Go Fish, Georgia."

Now, before you get all judgmental on Sonny's big ambitions, you gotta admit he's addressing a serious problem. "We are behind many of our neighbors in attracting anglers," he warned legislators, lobbyists and the media.

Much as John F. Kennedy warned in the 1960 presidential campaign that the United States faced a "missile gap," Perdue has sounded an alarm: Georgia is threatened by a fishing gap!

"We will no longer sit by and watch as tourists drive through Georgia on their way to surrounding states to fish," the governor boldly promised.

Next up: Boat ramps. Bass tournaments. Ads on what a great place Georgia is to go fishing.

Maybe that way, people won't notice that we're 49th in the nation in SAT scores. Or that 1.7 million of us don't have health insurance. Or that University System budget cuts are forcing tuitions skyward. Or that Atlanta's traffic is making it more difficult to attract new employers. And maybe people won't notice that our crumbs-for-regular-folk/feasts-for-special-interests governor isn't tackling those problems.

Now hold on there, you might say. Sonny and his buddies in the Legislature have all kinds of solutions. They're planning to build more roads, to start health savings accounts, to cut taxes for, uhm, the right people.

But those solutions aren't really solutions. Are they? Our transportation mess won't be solved by more of what created it. People who can't afford health insurance won't be able to put away money for health savings accounts. And tax cuts for special interests won't lighten the load on the middle-class folks who carry most of the burden.

OK, then. Sonny's got another idea: He noted that 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

"Heritage tourists will be commemorating this occasion," he said. "... So in order to prepare for the upcoming milestone, I am recommending that we invest $5 million to develop Resaca Battlefield, and to revitalize and restore our historic Civil War sites."

Now you're talking, governor. That'll solve everything.


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