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Oglesby: Crystal ball sees a GOP House takeover
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A longtime Times' tradition was me giving Johnny Vardeman a sealed envelope the afternoon before the general election with my predictions for winners in local county offices, state legislators representing our county, our congressman and statewide constitutional officers excepting judges. He would open them after lunch election day.

I had a good batting average, not because of ability but because most of those years Georgia was a solid Democratic state and county. I usually picked the Democrat even when I supported a Republican. In one exception, I picked Republican Bo Callaway, who actually got the most votes in a three-way race with former governor Ellis Arnall and Lester Maddox but just shy of outright majority. The legislature elected Maddox.

This column's deadline was 10 day before the vote. Much could happen in 10 days. To keep tradition going, here they are directly to you. No write-in candidate and no Libertarian will win. This will be a rare year of a solid GOP sweep. Possibilities of governor, school superintendent and attorney general runoffs remain, and all bets are off in runoffs. Ask Karen Handel.

Nationally, the GOP will win the House and a majority of governorships vital to redistricting. The tea party's several poor selections and their excesses and embarrassments may prevent a Senate takeover by 2-3 seats though a GOP possibility remains, with turnout the key.

I've been asked my thoughts about Roy Barnes deducting nearly $10,000 depreciation on a rental house not owned since 2007. He disclosed it himself (IRS wouldn't have).

I have no reason to doubt his claim of a clerical mistake he would correct, just like Deal's failure to list fully collateralized business loans on his state disclosure form even though they were disclosed on his congressional form.

The main difference is Barnes' accelerating ways of painting Deal as corrupt, indicating arrogance. There's a double standard in his favor when he's involved. One could think his fiction that Deal is corrupt is his only platform. We hear little of what he would do. And even that lacks how he could pay for it.

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Switch gears. All people subject to income taxes will be hurt financially unless Congress acts quickly. The Bush tax cuts expire Jan. 1 unless extended or new rates for 2011 are enacted. If they are extended, you'll owe one amount. If not, you'll owe more.

Most people's withholding covers most of their tax bills. IRS can't set withholding tables until Congress acts. Employers, especially big ones using payroll service firms, can't program their payroll systems until IRS completes its work. Large, multistate employers need many weeks to program, test and implement their systems.

If not enough is withheld, you could be subject to a much larger bill when you file your 2011 return plus under-withholding penalties and interest. If too much is withheld, your paycheck shrinks, depriving you of money you could be using. Either way, you lose. It should be the very first order of business when Congress returns.

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Another switch, I lost a good friend and Gainesville a fine citizen when Glenn Martin died at 90. He was a highly decorated WW-2 veteran, printer and lithographer, husband of over 68 years, father of Glenda and a master woodworker.

A treasured possession I have moved with me from Holly Drive to two different Tommy Aaron Drive homes is a large, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookcase and cabinet set. I bought the materials. He built and installed them. Not only he wouldn't let me pay him, he carved a large wooden rabbit for my wife who still speaks to it every day.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of The Times. He can be reached at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears biweekly on Tuesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com.

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