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– “The EPA just announced that the artificial sweetener saccharin is not a cancer threat after all. Or as I’ll be reporting the story 10 years from now, ‘The EPA just announced that the artificial sweetener saccharin is definitely a cancer threat after all.'” – Jimmy Fallon
– “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. They said he has single-handedly changed the way we waste time at work.” – Jay Leno
– “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816
The economy and taxes
– Affluence and giving: Author Claire Guadiani describes the “virtuous cycle” of the relationship of philanthropic investment to our economy and democracy. “The cycle begins when philanthropists make unregulated investments that create opportunities such as educational scholarships and research grants. This generosity builds opportunities for advancement that would have been impossible otherwise. Thus, the second step in the cycle: Opportunity builds prosperity. Prosperity inspires gratitude. People grateful for the prosperity they experience want to give back. Gratitude inspires generosity, and they freely give generously – beginning again this cycle that defines American affluence.” Source: San Francisco Examiner
– Taxing the rich: Why is it in our self-interest to have very low taxes on Warren Buffett’s capital? Read John Goodman’s excellent essay explaining here:http://tinyurl.com/29fg8hk. Everyone should read this essay before Georgia’s Tax Council makes its final recommendations in the next few weeks. It appears the council will follow good economic advice like Goodman’s. (At least, that’s our Christmas wish!)
– Taxing the fewest: A 2008 study of 24 leading economies by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development concludes that “taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States,” even more so than Sweden and France. While the credit is given to generous tax credits for the poor, another study cites the fact that the upper 1 percent of U.S. income earners pay 41 percent of the individual federal income tax and concludes that “no other major country is so dependent on so few taxpayers.”
– On the “play nice” list: Expect to see some federal transportation programs shrink or disappear as Congressional election signals are translated into a push to trim federal programs and cut federal discretionary spending, Kenneth Orski told transportation leaders of the National Conference of State Legislatures this month. Orski, publisher of Innovation NewsBriefs, predicts the most likely candidates will be activities deemed not to be of national significance, such as “transportation enhancement” and “livability” programs that cater to local political objectives, as well the so-called “executive earmarks” such as the TIGER grants, “not just to save money but because many Republican lawmakers have grown to distrust the way the Obama White House has been making funding decisions without consulting Congress.” Read more athttp://tinyurl.com/3ag7mve. Source: Innovation NewsBriefs
– The Grinch that Stole Christmas: Two days before Christmas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards under the Clean Air Act in 2011. The agency is “moving forward on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries – two of the largest industrial sources, representing nearly 40 percent of the GHG pollution (known in unbiased circles as ’emissions’) in the United States.” No word on the financial burden Americans face for EPA’s “commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change.” Source: Environmental Protection Agency
What’s happening at the Foundation
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Have a Blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays.
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)