Category: The Forum

Chances are extremely high that you know someone who receives Social Security or Medicaid or unemployment compensation or another federal benefit payment.  If so, they may be scared. More than 1.6 million Georgians receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income monthly benefits.  Some receive both.  Nobody knows what they will receive starting next week when direct deposits and paper checks are due on August 3 and 10.  That’s just one way that you can look at the real world impact of adults behaving angrily in Washington political circles. The federal debt limit ceiling fiasco that has Washington in volcanic gridlock has become some weird super energy cell that drives politically testy conversations and it holds a lightning bolt over real… View Article

Friday Facts: July 29th, 2011

It’s Friday! Quotations – “The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go; with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.” – F.A. Hayek – “We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork.” – Milton Friedman Education – With the media spotlight on the efforts to grow Georgia’s public universities amid state budget woes, serious questions should be raised about the cost of a postsecondary degree to taxpayers and students. Nate… View Article
Georgia has many examples of failures where municipal governments tried to compete with the private sector to provide Internet access, telephone service, cable television and other services. Taxpayers were left holding the bag. As Bartlett Cleland of the the Institute for Policy Innovation reports below, Phildelphia is the latest example of government mission creep. The article also explains how North Carolina has wisely put in place some protections against this behavior. Philadelphia taxpayers left stranded, again, with a failed municipal wi-fi network might wish Philly was in the Tar Heel State. In spring, the North Carolina legislature debated the value of municipalities building their own wi-fi networks and decided against it.  The legislation passed and was made law by the… View Article
Georgia congressman Tom Price warned Thursday that the outcome of the debt ceiling limit battle in Washington could send President Barack Obama down the road toward a successful re-election bid unless Republican Party members decide to hang together and vote together. “It is imperative to stop the madness in Washington,” Price said during a call with health care policy analysts from around the nation.  “The bill that will be on the (U.S. House of Representatives) floor this afternoon is not at all what I would have wanted it to be, nor likely what you would have wanted it to be, but it is I believe the only kind of construct that can get through the Senate and force the President… View Article
Christine Vestal at the website Stateline writes today about possible changes to the Medicaid funding formula.  The administration’s so-called “blended rate” proposal would change how federal money is divided among the states.  Here’s an excerpt: “If Democrats and Republicans in Washington ever come together on a deal to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget, it almost certainly would require changes to Medicaid, the state-run health care program for the poor that consumes about 8 percent of the federal budget. “House Republicans already have voted to convert Medicaid into a block grant program, a controversial move that would save the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars. During the federal debt ceiling debate, the Obama administration has issued its… View Article

Friday Facts: July 22nd, 2011

It’s Friday! Quotations – “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” – Milton Friedman  – “Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.”  –  F.A. Hayek – “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution … taking from the federal government their power of borrowing.” – Thomas Jefferson (Letter of November 26th, 1798) Taxes and spending – There’s no need to panic despite the hype about the debt ceiling – the total amount of money the… View Article

AFVs, HOVs and HOTs

When the new High-Occupancy Toll lanes open on I-85 this summer, buses, motorcycles and Alternate Fuel Vehicles may travel at no charge, as can vehicles with three or more occupants. Single- and double-occupant vehicles may choose to use the lane for a variably priced toll. Georgia’s current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes allow free passage to vehicles with two or more occupants (even if the second occupant is an infant), transit buses, motorcycles and as well as AFVs. It’s high time they were put to better use — and a network of HOT lanes is a great use. Still, it’s a mystery to me why a lane aimed at reducing congestion would offer free access to AFVs, no matter how many… View Article
Georgia is shopping for ideas.  In particular, ideas that will shape a competitive state, one that is fundamentally attractive to investors, corporations considering relocation and industries that might want to be created from scratch here.  In an ultra-competitive society it is not too much to suggest that the state with the best ideas will produce a post-recession dynamic economy. On Monday, Governor Nathan Deal’s Competitiveness Initiative held a conference at Georgia Tech.  The general theme went like this:  The state must pass next year’s transportation sales tax; it is crucial to growth and jobs.  Incentives matter.  Smart regions require lots of smart people. Georgia has the political will to succeed.  As Atlanta goes, so goes Georgia.  And so on. Then… View Article
State schools superintendent John Barge believes chances are “slim” that Georgia will meet the federal government’s No Child Left Behind 100 percent proficiency requirement in three years.   The first-year superintendent made that clear Thursday when the Department of Education released 2011 AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress – and graduation rate reports. Notably, the state did not release 2011 AYP results for the Atlanta Public Schools system which is embroiled in a test cheating scandal.  The DOE website said results are being withheld until it “can determine which data are impacted by the investigation findings.”  Some 179 educators were identified as possible test cheaters after a ten-month special prosecutors’ investigation.… View Article
Thursday will be a headline maker when the state releases 2011 graduation rate data and AYP – the Adequate Yearly Progress reports that are tied to the No Child Left Behind initiative. The state will not break out its voluminous data into special subsets – for instance, Atlanta Public Schools that were identified for test cheating during a recent special prosecutors’ investigation. Last week a department official said DOE would report two graduation rates – the traditional “Leaver Rate” that has been used for years with AYP evaluations and the new “Cohort Rate” that all schools nationwide must use starting next year.  DOE has data for both methods but on Wednesday a spokesman said it will hold back reporting the… View Article

It’s so often a lack of information that keeps us from getting involved. The Foundation is doing for the public what many could not do for themselves. Anytime that we’re given the truth, people can make good decisions.

Deen Day Smith, Chairman of the Board, Cecil B. Day Investment Company more quotes