If you missed the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday night, you missed a great event. About 250 supporters heard a rousing keynote speech from The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore. To see the Foundation’s brief video presentation at the Annual Dinner, go here: http://tinyurl.com/boxm5k5.
Mission accomplished! Thank you to all our friends, who helped us meet our goal and even pushed us beyond 2,000 “likes” on Facebook in the middle of our Annual Dinner! View the latest Quotes of Note, Policy Points, EduFacts and Foundation photos at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/gppf.
Quotes of Note
“Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” – Daniel Webster
“A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government.” – Joseph Story
April 23: “Telehealth: Taking Health Care to The Next Level,” is the topic of the Foundation’s next Leadership Breakfast, at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The moderator is Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald of the Georgia Department of Public Health, with telemedicine expert panelists Dr. Jeffrey English, Dr. Jeffrey Grossman and Paula Guy of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth. The cost is $25 to attend; register online at http://tinyurl.com/ck6v4yt. (Attire: business, business casual.)
March 31 is the deadline for college students and recent graduates to apply to attend a summer seminar at the Institute for Humane Studies. Nine weeklong seminars focus on the foundations and applications of liberty. Learn about principles that transcend politics, discuss world-changing ideas with participants from around the globe, and hear about careers that make a difference. Find out more at www.TheIHS.org/summer-seminars.
March 31 is the deadline for high school and college students to apply to attend a summer seminar with the Foundation for Economic Education. FEE will host 10 seminars in six cities across the country. Find out more at www.FEE.org/seminars.
The hits keep coming: Atlanta-based AAA Parking, which employs more than 1,600 companywide, has announced it will move about half of its 500 full-time hourly employees to part-time status next month, in response to the federal health care law. In a memo to employees, the parking garage operator said the coverage mandate’s impact for AAA Parking is “dramatic.” AAA Parking estimates the cost of the coverage mandate at $1.2 million a year; even with the workforce shift, it anticipates paying $300,000 more annually in employee health care insurance. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
Energy and environment
Cautionary tale I: North Carolina’s renewable energy mandate, passed in 2007, “fails to meet its stated purposes, worsening consumers’ energy needs with higher prices, undercutting ‘energy security’ and indigenous energy by incentivizing subsidies to out-of-state energy providers while not counting shale gas, harming energy investment, and making questionable choices for air quality,” according to a study by Jon Sanders of North Carolina’s John Locke Foundation. The mandate does “contribute to higher electricity prices for captive ratepayers,” Sanders writes in the study, “Power to the People.”
Cautionary tale II: Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, this nation has some of the lowest energy costs in the world and is even becoming a natural gas exporter: Britain has just signed a 20-year, $10 billion deal to import American natural gas, which will heat as many as 1.8 million British homes. Britain, which only recently reversed its ban on fracking, has seen its gas reserves plummet to historic lows. A prolonged winter has plunged gas reserves; heating bills are at such record highs that many Britons are turning off their heat because they can’t afford it. Source: Energy and Capital
Energy and manufacturing: U.S. manufacturing is coming back to life, powered by cheap, domestic natural gas, NPR reports. “We are entering a new era,” says economist Jerry Jasinowski, a former president of the National Association of Manufacturers. Industrial production has grown at a 5 percent annualized rate since the economy began recovering – and that’s more than twice as fast as the economy as a whole. The question remains: How long will it last? Environmental activists are trying hard to shut down fracking, blaming the technology for numerous detrimental impacts.
School vouchers upheld: In a huge victory for school choice, Indiana’s Supreme Court this week unanimously upheld a law that lets taxpayer funds pay for private schools. The court rejected the argument of the state’s largest teachers union and other plaintiffs that the nation’s broadest voucher program violates the state Constitution because it uses public funds to support religious education. The judges, upholding an earlier trial-court decision, ruled that as long as the state maintains a public-education system, using Indiana tax dollars to help fund the private-school educations of low- and middle-income children doesn’t violate the state Constitution. Source: Wall Street Journal
Lowering the boom on higher education: A higher education bubble looms as the value of college declines and online education is poised to address the imbalances, policy experts say. College tuition has risen at an annual growth rate of 7.45 percent, burdening graduates with more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, more than total credit card debt or total auto loan debt. Many students of private and public universities alike are graduating with more than $100,000 in debt, and applications have plummeted as the costs appear to outweigh the benefits. Source: Reason Foundation
Suing the WWW (whole wide world): The state of California has essentially filed a civil case against everyone, seeking to validate $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds for its $69 billion high-speed rail project. The lawsuit titled, “High-Speed Rail Authority v. All Persons Interested,” is meant as a pre-emptive strike so the state can confirm that it’s legal to issue some of the bonds needed to begin construction this summer. By citing an obscure California civil code, the state can use the “sue now or forever hold your peace” strategy to prevent a string of future lawsuits and, instead, deal with the legal issues in one fell swoop. Source: MassTransitmag.com
There’s an app for tolls: A new product promises to turn the newest generation of mobile phones into multiprotocol toll transponders. Called GeoToll, it will allow a 4G mobile phone to act as a transponder usable on any toll system in North America. According to Tollroadsnews.com, Atlanta could be one of the first cities to access the app.
Media and Social Media
Foundation on YouTube: View some of the comments of Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal, keynote speaker at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on March 27: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
This Week in The Forum: In her “Checking Up On Health,” blog this week, Benita Dodd shares news and views on the latest in health care, including allergy-free apples, a better Botox and more drugs in the pipeline for the nation’s aging population. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Time to End the Medical Device Tax,” by Tim Lusby.
Have a great Easter weekend!
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Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.