– Thank you for your support! About 400 friends and supporters celebrated the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Celebration and Freedom Award dinner on Monday evening at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. At the event to honor our Freedom Award recipient, Rogers Wade, were Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. We also took the opportunity to recognize Hank McCamish for his role as our founder.
– More tricks, less treat: Halloween candy prices are monstrously high this year. What does that have to do with the price of sugar? Nearly everything: U.S. sugar prices are twice as high as the rest of the world because government price controls hinder competition, the National Center for Policy Analysis explains. The government provides U.S. price supports (subsidies), establishing an artificial floor on sugar, and restricts imports, so that U.S. sugar prices are not brought in line with the rest of the world. Plus it dictates how much sugar each company is allowed to sell. A second reason is you’re no longer paying peanuts for peanuts. The price hike is blamed on shortages caused by the weather, farmers switching to better-paying cotton crops and increasing consumer demand. In Georgia alone, the peanut crop is 30 percent less than last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
– “Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist seeing the rich man and his fine home says, ‘No man should have so much.’ The capitalist seeing the same thing says, ‘All men should have as much.'” – Phelps Adams
– “By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” – Frederic Bastiat
– “The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They are at the helm and steer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to obey unconditionally the captain’s orders. The captain is the consumer. … [Consumers] make poor people rich and rich people poor. They determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities.” – Ludwig von Mises
– Hillsdale College’s Free Market Forum is being held in Atlanta this week. Don’t miss the forum, which is being Webcast; Go to www.hillsdalefmf.com to register and view the schedule of events.
– If you weren’t able to attend the Foundation’s second annual Legislative Policy Briefing, missed one of the presentations or you just want to hear Bernie Marcus again, the video of every speaker and copies of every PowerPoint presentation are now available at http://tinyurl.com/3n43d8p.
– Americans For Prosperity Foundation holds its fifth Annual Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5. Speakers at this national gathering of grassroots activists include Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Andrew Breitbart, Ken Cucinelli, Grover Norquist, John Fund, Jonah Goldberg, Phil Kerpen and Tim Phillips, with dozens of strategic training sessions. Discounts are available for groups, couples and students. Find out more and register at www.DefendingTheDream.org.
Taxes and spending
– Jobs program: Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the United States by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2 million jobs in total, according to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper. Georgia should be poised to take advantage of these new jobs, but the state’s tax code is making it harder to compete with neighboring states. That’s yet another important reason to address and embrace Georgia tax reform in 2012.
– Demand outstrips supply I: Two New York taxi medallions – aluminum plates that grant the right to operate a yellow cab – have changed hands for a record-high $1 million apiece, the New York Times reports. Since the city of New York issued its first batch of medallions in 1937 at $10 each ($157.50 in current dollars), their value has continued to grow rapidly, while the number of medallions available for purchase has been tightly controlled. The city has more than 8 million residents and just 13,237 taxi medallions.
– Demand outstrips supply II: The city of Atlanta, population 420,000, limits the number of taxi medallions to 1,600; there were 1,558 assigned in 2010 to 23 licensed taxicab companies, according to taxi litigation specialists Taxi Risk. Taxi drivers must be affiliated with a taxi company licensed by the city; to be licensed, a company must own or lease at least 25 medallions, known as Certificates of Public Necessity and Convenience. The published price for a medallion is $6,000, but historically high demand causes the city to put available medallions through a bid process. Taxi Risk puts the average published price paid in 2010 for a medallion at $36,958; the highest was $60,000.
– Bus for a buck? Megabus.com, a city-to-city express bus company, expanded service to the Southeast with a seventh hub in Atlanta. Atlanta residents can now travel to 11 cities in Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida for as low as $1. Service will begin Nov. 16. Customers can begin booking travel at http://www.megabus.com. The Friday Facts quoted Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute in June: “Unlike both Amtrak and urban transit buses, private intercity buses aim to meet market demand, not political demand.” Source: Metro Magazine
– Rail fail: Major Texas metro areas are confirming failures in their rail transit, Tory Gattis writes in NewGeography. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin are among the nation’s 20 fastest-growing major cities. But the three cities with various levels of rail transit – Dallas, Houston, and Austin – all have declining transit ridership trends and fewer absolute transit riders today than they had a dozen years ago. “They have spent billions to implement and promote transit with a heavy focus on rail transit. … Increasing the proportion of a region’s transit funds being spent on rail transit leads to less cost-effective overall transit and degraded transit for the majority of transit riders who still ride buses.”
– Wal-Mart has announced that it will no longer provide health insurance to new part-time U.S. employees working less than 24 hours a week and will charge more for workers who smoke. Wal-Mart, which has 1.4 million employees in the United States, will also increase coverage costs for all employees, as health costs rise. The changes affecting Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates, will take effect in January. In July, Friday Facts cited a Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services estimate that government – American taxpayers – would be covering half the cost of health care by 2020, reflecting both the rising cost of health care and the fact that millions more people will access it under Obamacare.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “State must Ensure Motorists Warm Up to HOT Lanes,” by Benita M. Dodd
Have a great weekend.
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org/. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gppf.
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.)