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.)
Quotes of Note
“The problem we have had in almost all Western countries is that nominally they say they are decentralizing, but effectively they’ve [given] more and more power to the central government. You want decisions to be spread out. Government debt is a result of centralization, and typically the cause of more centralization. It’s a very bad circle.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest free credit, etc., etc. And it is the aggregate of all these plans, in respect to what they have in common, legal plunder, that goes under the name of socialism.” – Frederic Bastiat
“The standard of living of the common man is higher in those countries which have the greatest number of wealthy entrepreneurs.” – Ludwig von Mises
Fallout from indictments: The criminal indictments of Atlanta educators accused in a far-reaching cheating scandal could have widespread fallout and potentially undermine efforts in other school districts to improve the academic achievement of poor and minority students, according to a report in Education Week. “The wider repercussions of the Atlanta case are very troubling,” said one education administration official. “The problem is that any school systems that have accomplished great turnarounds of schools are going to become suspect, and people will assume that there must have been some cheating involved.”
Silicon Valley of the South: Rod Martin, a founding member of the Paypal team and a 2012 Foundation event keynote speaker, writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that, “the Atlanta region can become the ‘Silicon Valley’ for the cutting edge of 21st Century science: curing the big diseases of our time.” He adds, “Though our backgrounds are in Silicon Valley, we have just finished moving Galectin Therapeutics, a biotech company working diligently toward cures for cancer and liver and kidney fibrosis, to Atlanta. The area’s pro-business, pro-biotech ecosystem made our decision easy: The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), named by Forbes one of the world’s top ‘incubators’ for business, is by itself a crown jewel; but there’s also UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center; Georgia Tech; the Emory School of Medicine; the Centers for Disease Control; and perhaps most important, Georgia’s sixth-in-the-nation ranking for ‘business friendliness.'”
But for Alabama: Georgia gets an A-minus rank overall for small business friendliness in a national survey of small businesses by Thumbtack.com in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation. Among its Southeastern neighbors, the state’s ranking was beaten only by Alabama’s A-plus.
STEM innovation: The United States is trailing in job-ready workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to an article by former U.S. Sen. John Sununu and Maria Cardona. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 9.2 million jobs will be created in STEM fields over the next decade. From 2008 to 2018, STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent compared with just 9.8 percent for non-STEM jobs. Yet only 8 percent of college graduates enter the workforce with a STEM degree. Legislation in the U.S. Senate would not only double the number of high-skilled workers allowed to enter the United States, it would require that fees for the workforce visas and green cards are used to fund a grant program to promote U.S. STEM education and worker retraining. Source: Politico.com
Taxes and spending
You’re working for Uncle Sam five days longer this year! Tax Freedom Day is April 18 for the nation, five days later than last year, according to the Tax Foundation. In Georgia, it comes April 9, ranking the state 33rd in the nation. Earliest are Mississippi and Louisiana (March 29); latest is Connecticut (May 1). The nation is working longer to pay off federal, state and local taxes mainly because of the fiscal cliff deal that raised federal taxes on individual income and payroll. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act’s investment tax and excise tax went into effect.
Farming has a lesson for physicians, Atlanta physician Jeffrey Grossman makes a fascinating analogy between the introduction of the tractor to farming and technology for physicians. In a commentary for the Foundation, he writes: “Physicians must be able to leverage technology and become more productive. For physicians, the metaphorical tractor may well be telemedicine.” Read more here: www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=9017. (Join Grossman and other experts at the Foundation’s April 23 Leadership Breakfast to find out more about telehealth in Georgia.)
Union OKs defined-contribution vote: Last week, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace – the Boeing technical union representing 7,350 technical professionals – ratified a new contract, with 87 percent voting in favor. The contract puts all newly hired union employees in a defined-contribution pension system. Bob Williams of State Budget Solutions has a great op-ed on what Illinois can learn from Boeing’s pension reforms. Source: ALEC
Transportation When it comes to overhauling MARTA, Georgia’s General Assembly should require partnerships among the numerous providers delivering transportation options in our area, not merely privatization, transportation consultant John Keys suggests in a commentary published in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog.
Energy and environment
Not-so-good Friday: The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations on Good Friday that will require a reduction in the amount of sulfur in gasoline to an average of 10 parts per million (ppm) by January 2017, down 70 percent from the current average of 30ppm today. The regulation is similar to those standards of California, Japan and South Korea. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), reducing sulfur to 10ppm will increase gas prices 6-9 cents per gallon. API mentions that if the EPA proposes an additional vapor reduction regulation, that cost increase will skyrocket to 25 cents per gallon. Source: Heritage Foundation
Media and Social Media
The Foundation’s Facebook page has 2,018 “likes!” View the latest Quotes of Note, Policy Points, EduFacts and Foundation photos at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy. Join the Foundation’s 925 Twitter followers at twitter.com/gppf.
Foundation on YouTube: View videos of presentations at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner, including keynote speaker Stephen Moore, at the Foundation’s YouTube page, www.georgiapolicy.org/videos/. View the Foundation’s brief video presentation at the Annual Dinner here: http://tinyurl.com/boxm5k5. View the speech by Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute at the March 19 Leadership Breakfast here: http://youtu.be/dLIApfKWjNM.
This week in The Forum: In “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd shares the latest news and views on health care and policy, including new allergy treatments, limited insurance options for small business and more. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Slow Going, But Georgia’s Moving on Tackling Congestion,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
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As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.