June 14, 2013
Today is Flag Day. Do you know the proper way to handle the American Flag? Find out here: hwww.usa-flag-site.org/etiquette.shtml.
Quotes of Note
“The Federal government will not start or carry on any commercial activity to provide a service or product for its own use if such product or service can be procured from private enterprise through ordinary business channels.” – Bureau of the Budget Bulletin 55-4, January 15, 1955
“The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers.” – Thomas Jefferson
“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” – James Madison
“All trips on a roadway are not the same, therefore, all lanes on a roadway should not be the same. Motorists value their time differently – whether driving to a job, getting to the airport to catch a plane or picking up a child at day care, versus more leisurely trips for shopping or movies. Urban corridors need to provide choices for motorists who can evolve into customers of priced managed lanes, a mobility option available to motorists when they need it.” – Matthew Click, HNTB
Energy and environment
Fueling price hikes: Overall, the Renewable Fuel Standard program led to higher prices for staple foods all over the world, a Mercatus Center report explains. “By some estimates, up to 70 percent to 75 percent of the increase in food prices was due to biofuels and the related consequences of low grain stocks, large land use shifts, speculative activity and export bans.” Worse, the spike in food prices, coupled with the global economic crisis, halted and even reversed the long-time trend in reducing malnutrition.
Bad ban: Contrary to the myth propagated by environmental lobbyists, plastic bags are not a significant source of waste, the National Center for Policy Analysis points out in an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. The op-ed opposing a proposed ban on plastic bags in Dallas notes that the bags are frequently reused and recycled. “Indeed, the national 2009 Keep America Beautiful study does not even include plastic bags in its top 10 sources of litter. A recent study found that plastic grocery bags make up less than 0.6 percent of the overall waste stream.”
A great case for congestion pricing: Matthew Click, HNTB’s Atlanta-based priced managed lanes director, maintains that, “there is no capacity building strategy that can fully solve congestion, and even if there was, it is not affordable or sustainable. The only strategy that can solve congestion is an operational strategy using the congestion pricing concept with deployment strategies like priced managed lanes. Not only do priced managed lanes provide a mobility option for automobile customers, they also provide a reliable transit corridor for buses at a much lower cost than traditional fixed-rail transit.”
Demonizing curbside bus service: Intercity bus services such as Megabus have grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, becoming the fastest-growing segment of intercity passenger travel. But a 2011 study by the National Transportation Safety Board claimed that the curbside buses were unsafe. Dozens of news stories reported that curbside bus companies were “seven times more likely” to be involved in a fatal accident than conventional bus operators. The study has now been exposed as bogus by Jim Epstein of Reason.TV. One example: of the 37 fatal accidents allegedly occurring on curbside carriers, 24 were actually on conventional Greyhound. Overall, Epstein verified that 30 of the 37 accidents had actually occurred on buses operated by conventional carriers.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aim to do for Science what Common Core does for English language arts and math: define “college- and career-readiness,” according to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Fordham gives the standards a C grade, for 5 points: “The NGSS grade is clearly superior to grades we granted to the science standards of 16 states and the PISA framework in the State of State Science Standards 2012 but clearly inferior to those of 12 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the NAEP and TIMSS frameworks.” Georgia was among the seven states Fordham considered “too close to call,” earning a C grade but one point more than the NGSS.
July 11: Education expert Jay Greene is the keynote speaker at the Foundation’s annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, which will be marked with a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Athens Country Club. ($30.) Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/nz9at52; register at http://tinyurl.com/ojcs5fp.
Mark your calendar: The fourth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum takes place Friday, October 11, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Last year, hundreds of Georgia’s legislators, businesspeople and interested citizens attended to hear national policy experts discuss free-market solutions to Georgia’s challenges. Details to follow.
June 19: How will ObamaCare impact your business? Find out at the Georgia Chamber’s 2013 Federal Health Care Conference. Details and registration at http://tinyurl.com/k2vjobl. (Foundation members who are not Georgia Chamber members can contact Ashley Cody (email@example.com) to take advantage of the Chamber member rate for this event.)
We’re heading toward 2,100 “likes” on the Foundation’s Facebook page! Join us at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicyto get daily policy news, views, updates, Quotes of Note and photos. Nearly 1,000 Twitter followers get their Foundation news at twitter.com/gppf. Find out about student scholarships to attend Foundation events at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicySOSProgram.
YouTube: We’ve recently been adding to our archives. For some Georgia history, take a look at speeches from our 1995 Freedom Award Dinner honoring the late former U.S. Attorney General Judge Griffin Bell, the late Senator Herman Talmadge and Bo Callaway. Subscribe to the channel to make the best use of our resources: http://tinyurl.com/agkm5h5.
This Week in The Forum: In “Checking Up on Health,” Benita Dodd writes about higher premiums for young people, a greater doctor shortage, great news for temporary workers, and how Americans are not warming up to ObamaCare. Find this and other recent posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Putting College in Students’ REACH,” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/gppf.
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.