Quotes of Note
Correction: Two of the Quotes of Note in last week’s Friday Facts were incorrectly attributed to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. Our apologies; as Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!”
“I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end… I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Posterity – you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” – John Adams
“Under this republic the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them. The only constitutional tax is the tax which ministers to public necessity.” – Calvin Coolidge
Saturday: I hope to see you tomorrow at the E3 Summit in Kennesaw hosted by Americans For Prosperity Georgia. The conference will focus on the “3 E’s” driving Georgia’s future – economic freedom, educational choice and energy freedom. I will be on a panel to talk about education reform, but the real stars include The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore, Junk Science’s Steve Milloy and Georgia Tech professor and internationally renowned economist Christine Ries. Find out more and register at www.georgiae3summit.com.
September 21: Registration is open for the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, September 21, at the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. This year’s event includes President of the Foundation for Economic Education Lawrence Reed, Carpe Diem Schools Founder Rick Ogston, Texas Public Policy Foundation President Brooke Rollins, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and former Florida Commissioner of Education Gerard Robinson.Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Registration for this daylong event, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $100. Register at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/legforum.
October 16: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turns 87 on October 13. The Foundation marks the birthday of this remarkable leader with a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Thatcher advisor and longtime friend John Blundell, who is author of, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of The Iron Lady.” This event is at the Georgian Club. Registration is $60 and includes a copy of Blundell’s book. Register by Friday, October 12, at http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk. Seating is limited; register early!
Higher spending offset by fewer visits: The Congressional Budget Office released its updated economic forecasts this week. In the health care sector, CBO made some significant updates to its baseline, reflecting both economic and technical changes. Because economic productivity has lagged, and because most Medicare payment rates for hospitals and other providers are linked to “market-basket” updates of goods and services, CBO raised projected Medicare spending. The report reflects an indictment on the Obama economy, according to Chris Jacobs, U.S. Senate policy analyst for the Joint Economic Committee: “[L]ower productivity growth raising Medicare spending, offset only by people cutting back on health expenditures because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. That’s not evidence Obamacare is working – that’s evidence the ‘stimulus’ didn’t.
Taxes and regulation
Regulations burden manufacturers: The average number of major federal regulations — those expected to have an economic impact in excess of $100 million – that have been finalized each year has risen with each recent administration. Under President Bill Clinton it was 27 per year; under George W. Bush it was 35. It stands at 44 per year between 2009 and 2011 under President Obama. Researcher David Montgomery, whose company investigated for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, noted that “the cost of regulation has been growing substantially faster than industry output.” Source: Washington Post
The One Percent: Looks like the protesters have targeted the wrong economic system. In the U.S. capitalistic economy, the top 1 percent control 43 percent of the nation’s wealth. In communist China just under 1 percent of households control more than 70 percent of the nation’s private financial wealth, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chinese state-owned and affiliated enterprises – the moneymaking machinery of the Communist Party – account for about half of nonagricultural GDP. “State intervention and government ownership are the causes of China’s inequality,” writes Zhang Weiying, an economist at Peking University. It encourages “official corruption and the collusion between the government and business.” More importantly, earned success is morally superior to political cronyism.
Get set for more regulatory grab: As of June 2011, 95 percent of all Americans had access to broadband Internet from cable, DSL, fiber or other wired services. That’s up from 15 percent as recently as 2003 and zero percent in 1996, when high-speed Internet didn’t even exist. Yet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) three Democratic commissioners, for the third year in a row, have announced that broadband deployment in the United States is just not happening fast enough. Released this week, the eighth annual Broadband Progress Report noted, “further implementation of major reforms … is required before broadband will be available to the approximately 19 million Americans who still lack access.” Source: Forbes.com
Broadband success story: According to the Broadband Progress Report, Georgia ranks 10th highest in the nation in broadband access, with 92 percent having access to the fastest service measured in the FCC study (6 mbps) and 97 percent with access to 3 mbps or higher service. Just 3 percent lack access to wired broadband, compared to the national average of 6 percent. Mobile broadband coverage is even higher. Georgia has been a leader in deregulating telecommunications in order to encourage investment, and the private sector responded by deploying broadband across a large geographic area with large areas of low population density. Georgia has the seventh highest level of broadband access (90 percent) for rural areas. We still need to develop a strategy to get access to the last 3 percent, but Georgia should be proud of its track record.
The case for educational options: The American Enterprise Institute has released a report summarizing recent research that yields important insights into America’s mathematics problem. It notes, “Stated succinctly, the root of the problem is an excessive emphasis on equality in curriculum. Given the inherent variability in students’ math aptitude, equity can be achieved only by delivering a suboptimal education to at least some students.”
Georgia scores: Results released this week show that Georgia high school students who took the ACT college entrance exam posted the highest composite average score (20.7 out of a possible high of 36), tied only with Oklahoma, among students in the 16-state Southern Regional Education Board region. The number is relevant, in part, because more than 50 percent of Georgia graduating high school seniors now take the ACT, one of two primary college entrance exams, the other being the SAT.
This Week in The Forum: In November, Georgia voters will decide whether the state will share the responsibility of charter school authorization. Go to The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, to find a series of short educational articles focusing on Georgians’ questions:
More articles will follow. Also on The Forum, Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne discusses whether traditional or tablet computers have the edge in digital. In Checking Up On Health, Benita Dodd writes about Medicaid, Medicare and what bosses think about the 2010 federal health care law. And Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner says just because you have a Medicaid card, that doesn’t mean there is a doctor who wants your business. Read these and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
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Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Policy Forum Brings Innovative Solutions to Georgia,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)