March 19: There’s just one week left to register for, “Morality and The Marketplace,” a Foundation Leadership Breakfast with keynote speaker Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. The event begins 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This event is open to the public and will cost $25 to attend. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/btp5nge; register online at http://tinyurl.com/9wcmz5p.
March 27: The Foundation’s Annual Dinner is Wednesday, March 27, beginning 6:30 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Ballroom. The keynote speaker is Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal. Tickets are $125 per person; sponsorships are available. To attend the dinner, register at http://tinyurl.com/b6m7au5.
Mark your calendar: “Telehealth: Taking Health Care to The Next Level,” is the topic of the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Details to follow.
Quotes of Note
“For ourselves, we consider that Government is and ought to be nothing whatever but the united power of the people, organized, not to be an instrument of oppression and mutual plunder among citizens; but, on the contrary, to secure to every one his own, and to cause justice and security to reign.” – Frédéric Bastiat
“The method of living at home modestly and within our income, laying a little by systematically for the proverbial rainy day which is due to come, can almost be listed among the lost arts.” – George Washington Carver
“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.” – Calvin Coolidge
Where’s the digital divide? The United States boasts broadband connections for 95 percent of Americans. Just 2 percent of European Union households have access to broadband download speeds of 100 Mbps or greater, while at least 50 million U.S. homes, or nearly half of all households, are able to connect to networks offering at least 100 Mbps. Only half of European Union households have service at even 30 Mbps. Writing for the Free State Foundation, Sarah Leggin notes, however, that, “Rather than celebrating the good news of remarkable U.S. progress in broadband deployment, which is at least partly attributable to the FCC’s deregulatory broadband policies, the ‘talking broadband down’ crowd continues to criticize the current marketplace and downplay positive statistics and reports in order to advance a pro-regulatory agenda.”
Taxes and spending
What’s a balanced approach? According to Michael J. Boskin, a professor of economics at Stanford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, “An economically ‘balanced’ deficit-reduction program today would mean $5 of actual, not hypothetical, spending cuts per dollar of tax hikes. The fiscal-cliff deal reached on Jan. 1 instead was scored at $1 of spending cuts for every $40 of tax hikes.” Further, Boskin points out, “Even if the $110 billion in annual sequestration cuts are allowed to take place, the Congressional Budget Office projects that annual federal spending will increase by $2.4 trillion to $5.9 trillion in a decade.” Source: Wall Street Journal
Where’s the problem? State and local government debt was down 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the Federal Reserve’s quarterly “Flow of Funds” report. The report, which provides a snapshot of the finances of U.S. households and corporations and the government, also noted that the federal government’s debt jumped at an annual rate of 11.2 percent.
Milestone in Private Enterprise: This year is the 50th anniversary of the first Chair of Private Enterprise in America, created in 1963 at what was then Georgia State College, by Dr. Michael H. Mescon, a Management Professor at the college. Today, there are hundreds of Chairs of Private Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Family-Owned Businesses that all trace their beginnings to that Chair.
Online Learning: Not every aspect of online learning will be beneficial, even though the net is positive, economist Alex Tabarrok agrees. But online learning can compete with the “live” classroom experience in that it allows the teacher to perfect the lesson. Drawing an analogy with music, he notes, that recordings let musicians, “truly hear and thus compare, contrast and improve. Most teachers will also benefit from hearing and seeing themselves teach. With recording, teaching will become more like writing and less like improv. How many people write perfect first drafts?”
Making schools like barbeque: What makes barbeque the great egalitarian experience that it is? Quality and availability. It is inexpensive and thus available to almost anyone in the city. At the same time it is the most delicious thing you’ll ever eat. Unfortunately, notes Michael McShane of the American Enterprise Institute, “Unlike Kansas City’s famous barbeque restaurants, Kansas City schools failed to focus on their core product, and spent the lion’s share of their time and resources on the bells and whistles that look great, but don’t keep folks coming back.” Making better schools may be like making better barbeque: by focusing on the core business and de-emphasizing the bells and whistles, McShane proposes.
Energy and environment
Efficiency vs. increase in electronics: For decades, heating and cooling accounted for more than half of all residential energy consumption. By 2009, however, 48 percent of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 58 percent in 1993. The shift occurred even as overall per-household energy consumption steadily declined. But residential energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise with the increase in such devices. Source: Today in Energy
Media and Social Media
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This Week in The Forum: In Checking Up On Health by Benita Dodd, find out about the dangers of Medicaid expansion and what businesses are doing to ward off higher health care costs under ObamaCare. new national report written for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice reports Georgia was among 21 states that employed more non-teaching staff than teachers in 2009. The author of the report is Foundation Senior Fellow Benjamin Scafidi. Foundation Editor Mike Klein discusses Georgia-specific data in an article on The Forum. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
YouTube: Almost 40 new videos have been posted on the Foundation YouTube site in the past three weeks. You can view them at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/videos/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “In Lean Times, Road Diets Leave Slim Pickings for Commuters,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend; don’t forget to spring forward!
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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.