Category: The Forum

Friday Facts: December 21, 2012

It’s Friday! Quotes of Note “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” – Aesop “I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better – from the great boarding school where we are forever working at our arithmetical slates, to take, and give a rest.” – Charles Dickens Support your Foundation Reminder: An influential Christmas gift as 2012 draws to a close is a tax-deductible contribution to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation! To contribute any amount to our mission of a better Georgia, please go to georgiapolicy.org/get-involved/donate/. Your support is greatly appreciated.… View Article
By Ross Mason Ross Mason, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation When the governor paints the state’s financial picture as “daunting” and Medicaid is at least $700 million in the red, you know it’s time to get serious about the state budget. Such is the task before Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly when the Legislature convenes in January to adopt a 2014 fiscal plan that not only is in balance but meets all the state’s critical needs. With less revenue and a lingering recession, the state could reduce its health care costs by more than $700 million annually if it scrapped its broken medical malpractice system and replaced it with a no-blame, administrative compensation system that gives… View Article

Public Sector Pension Plans to Face Tighter Scrutiny

By Steve Metz Steve Metz Government pension plans have been in the news a great deal the past few years and it hasn’t been pretty – due in large part to poor investment performance these public plan costs have skyrocketed along with their unfunded liabilities.  Governments all over the country have been hit hard with huge increases in legally required pension contributions that are devastating their budgets.  New accounting rules coming soon will bring even more attention to these issues. Before we go too much further, it is important to note that determining the value of pension plan unfunded liabilities is an inexact science. For example, the magnitude of the liabilities is extremely sensitive to certain assumptions such as future… View Article

It’s the Spending, Stupid

It’s very unfortunate to see all of the time being wasted in Washington on tax rates when the real problem is federal spending. This chart shows that despite top tax rates ranging from 28% to as high as 94%, federal revenue as a percentage of GDP has remained amazingly consistent around the long-term average of 18.5%.  (Of course, most economists would argue that the economy grows faster when marginal tax rates are lower.) Even if President Obama gets his way and raises marginal tax rates, revenues over time will still average 18.5% of GDP. However, the chart here highlights the real problem: federal spending as a percentage of GDP is projected to skyrocket to well above 35% of GDP. Why… View Article

Checking Up On Health: December 18

    Benita Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Health Policy Briefs Compiled by Benita M. Dodd The fault lies in our genes: Normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes, according to researchers. It’s been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It’s been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone’s genes. Researchers analyzed the DNA of 179 people from the United States, Japan, China and Nigeria who had volunteered to have their entire genetic blueprints deciphered through the 1,000 Genomes project. Now, in a paper appearing in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the… View Article

Friday Facts: December 14, 2012

 It’s Friday!  Quotes of Note  “When you can’t afford what you’ve already got, why would you try to buy into more?” – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, explaining why Georgia will not expand its Medicaid rolls  “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Taylor (May 28, 1816)  “With President Obama’s reelection and his commitment to investing in infrastructure, one cannot blame the transportation community for feeling hopeful. But with the country’s budget realities and debt limit negotiations constraining the president’s ability to push for ambitious new spending programs, transportation policy is not likely to receive high priority… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia would establish a two-tiered system for felonies committed by juveniles younger than 18 years old if the 2013 General Assembly adopts recommendations unanimously approved Thursday morning by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform   As currently written, it builds on principles similar to adult criminal justice system reforms enacted this year. The Special Council final report will be released on Governor Nathan Deal’s website next week.  It also contains a small number of adult system proposals.  Notably, the Council repeated its 2011 recommendation that judges be allowed to depart from mandatory sentence minimums in some drug trafficking cases and under specific circumstances.  Drug convictions are largely responsible for the… View Article
(Georgia Public Policy Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne attended the Foundation for Excellence in Education conference in Washington, D.C.  He wrote this article for The Forum.) Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Eric Wearne Who among us would send our child to a public school in the District of Columbia, chosen at random?  This question may be uncomfortable, but it is one that could be asked about many, many low-performing school systems across the country.  It is a question Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City School system, posed at the recent Excellence in Action Summit. As noted earlier in another Forum article, the Excellence in Action summit included significant discussion about innovation in education,… View Article

Checking Up On Health: December 11, 2012

Benita Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Health Policy Briefs Compiled by Benita M. Dodd Americans are living longer, with fewer deaths from heart disease and cancer, but more chronic illnesses, according to the 2012 America’s Health Rankings. The report highlights troubling levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and sedentary behavior. Medical advances are allowing more people to live with those conditions. Americans “are living longer, sicker” with more chronic illness, says Reed Tuckson of the United Health Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation that sponsors the report with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention. Where did Georgia rank among the states? No. 36. No. 1 was Vermont; tied for the bottom of the… View Article

Could Competency Based Learning Save Common Core?

By Michael Horn Michael Horn, Education Executive Director, Innosight Institute After spending a week in Washington, D.C., I was struck by how nervous folks in education circles are about whether states will stick with the Common Core state standards once the Common Core assessments arrive in the 2014-15 school year. The behind-the-scenes buzz on Common Core touched on everything from how different the assessments really will be from what some states have today to whether Common Core will doom testing and the accountability movement more generally because of the length of the assessments to whether governors will stick with Common Core once the first year of assessment results come out and people see how students perform poorly on them.… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes