Friday Facts: February 15, 2013

Friday Facts
February 15th, 2013 by Leave a Comment

It’s Friday!

Today is the deadline to register for the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. on Tuesday, February 19. Keynoted by the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole, “American Dream, American Nightmare,” is an explanation of the forces at play in the housing market in Georgia and in the nation, and how to rebuild the American Dream of homeownership. This event is open to the public and will cost $25 to attend. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/avnapnh. Register here: http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk. A limited number of O’Toole’s book, “American Nightmare,” will be available for purchase at $20 each.

Quotes of Note

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” – H.L. Mencken

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.” – Dr. Richard Lindzen

Events

February 21: Baruch Feigenbaum, the Reason Foundation’s Transportation Policy Analyst and a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, discusses, “Realistic Solutions to America’s Transportation Problem,” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Tech College of Business in Room 101. The event is sponsored by the Foundation for Economic Education and Reason.

March 19: Capitalism has been demonized; markets are not so free and individual responsibility is becoming passé. How does America turn that around? Join Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, for the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The topic is, “Morality and The Marketplace.” Brook is co-author of “Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government.” This event is open to the public and will cost $25 to attend. Register online at http://tinyurl.com/9wcmz5p.

March 27: Mark your calendar! Invitations will be out soon to the Foundation’s Annual Dinner, which takes place Wednesday, March 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Ballroom. The keynote speaker is Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal.

Health Care

Med-mal malaise: Highlighting the cost high cost of defensive medicine and our ineffective medical-malpractice system, The Wall Street Journal notes, “The medical-malpractice system is dysfunctional in many ways that harm both physicians and patients, and there is a limited association between litigation and the quality of patient care. Moreover, even though many states have adopted reforms limiting malpractice liability, these efforts have as yet done little to address defensive medicine.”

Meanwhile, in Georgia: Legislators are working to address these challenges and make Georgia an innovative leader in addressing medical malpractice. “The Patient Relief Act” would replace the state’s current medical malpractice system with a no-blame, administrative model that would reduce health care costs. The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association complained that the bill “would strip Georgians of their ability to seek justice in the courtroom.” An interesting take, given that most Georgians have no real access to justice: 97 percent of those injured by medical negligence currently get zero compensation. The only people well compensated in this system are the lawyers.

Education

High-tech High: Georgia is poised to lead the nation in providing resources to teachers across the state designed to enable personalized learning for every child. The investment in technology must facilitate this. A step in the right direction is a proposal in the General Assembly to allow up to 5 percent of state capital outlay funds be used for “the adoption of digital learning using high speed internet connections across Georgia schools.”

Useless piece of paper: The Bachelor of Arts degree wreaks harm on a majority of young people and is grotesquely inefficient as a source of information for many employers, Charles Murray of the Cato Institute writes in, “The Coming Collapse of the BA Bubble.” “And, perhaps most importantly, it’s implicated in the emergence of a class-riven America. … The reality is we have a piece of paper that for most students in most majors is close to meaningless. It is serving a gateway function that the majority of Americans cannot reasonably aspire to attain. And it exists in the context of a culture – and a president – that says everyone should go to college.”

Energy and environment

Energy fact: The Bakken shale oil formation in North Dakota is “ground zero for America’s energy renaissance.” Oil was discovered there in 1951; horizontal drilling technology eventually made extraction cost-effective and production has grown so fast that the state now produces more oil than OPEC member Ecuador. The Bakken Formation (named after the farmer who owned the land where it was initially discovered) spans some 200,000 square miles in Western North Dakota, Eastern Montana and Southeastern Saskatchewan. (The state of Texas is 262,000 square miles in size.) Source: EnergyandCapital.com

Technological innovations: The shale oil industry is still in its infancy, but has the potential to reach up to 12 per cent of global production, potentially pushing down oil prices by as much as $50 per barrel by 2035, according to a new report by consultancy firm PwC. Lower oil prices could make alternative low carbon technologies less attractive, said Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC. Not to be outdone, alternative energy proponents are taking aim at extraction methods, especially fracking, and questioning their environmental impact. Source: The Guardian

Regulation

Kudos to Attorney General Sam Olens, who announced this week that the State of Georgia has moved to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal takeover of the financial industry known generally as Dodd–Frank. We’ve talked about the negative impact this law have already had on Georgia, and we have yet to tackle the downright scary aspects of the law such as the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

Media and social media

Foundation in the news: This week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, quoted my response to a study that reported that expanding Medicaid would benefit Georgia’s economy: “McCutchen said low-income Georgians need access to health care, but he pointed out that the state can’t afford its current Medicaid program. ‘You would have a large economic impact if you drop $4 billion out of a helicopter, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,’ McCutchen said. ‘The issue is what is the best way to address the uninsured in Georgia, and is it sustainable?'” Look for the Foundation’s proposals on this issue soon.

This Week in The Forum: Legislators are tackling an overhaul of juvenile justice in Georgia that includes a proposal to completely revise the state’s 32-year-old juvenile Designated Felony Act by creating two classes of more and less serious juvenile felony crimes, Foundation Editor Mike Klein reports. In this week’s “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd shares health policy briefs on the latest technology, the latest on ObamaCare and the need for transparency in health care.

Social media: The Foundation’s latest Quotes of Note, Policy Points, EduFacts and photos are on Facebook! Join 1,863 Foundation Facebook fans at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy for daily Foundation updates. Then add to the ranks of nearly 860 Twitter followers at twitter.com/gppf.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read my latest commentary, “When It Comes to Jobs for Georgia, There’s an App for That.”

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen 

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