June 21, 2013
Quotes of Note
“Sincerity of purpose is not the same as honesty of procedure.” – Thomas Sowell
“The North and South have come to resemble a couple who, although married, dream very different dreams. The South, along with the Plains, is focused on growing its economy, getting rich, and catching up with the North’s cultural and financial hegemons. The Yankee nation, by contrast, is largely concerned with preserving its privileged economic and cultural position – with its elites pulling up the ladder behind themselves.” – Joel Kotkin
“There’s a lot to be said when … kids have friends in prison who are receiving a far better education than they are outside of prison. What messages are we sending when we spend more money on educating kids in prison than on our kids struggling on the outside?” – Kevin Chavous
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.
Driving home a good point: Policy-makers have taken a balanced approach so far in their suggestions for regulation of autonomous vehicles, and that is promising, writes Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. “In the future, lawmakers must be careful not to block progress and innovation. Driverless cars are inevitable, and they offer a host of benefits to society. My fear is that we will overregulate the technology in the name of ‘safety.’” Source: Daily Caller
Only 11 percent of our nation’s elementary school teacher preparation programs are providing “adequate content preparation for teachers in the subjects they will teach,” according to a report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality. Of the 2,400-plus teacher prep programs evaluated, only 23 percent are doing enough to provide teacher candidates with concrete classroom management strategies to improve classroom behavior problems. None of the 1,130 higher ed institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia earned top billing.
Bad international ranking: The United States has slipped 10 spots in both high school and college graduation rates over the past three decades, according to a new report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Renewing America initiative. It found the United States is the fourth biggest spender with little to show for it. How the money is spent is part of the problem, but so is the quality of our programs.
Criminal justice reform
The “Sesame Street” TV show’s latest puppet demonstrates just how worthwhile is the Foundation’s (successful) campaign for both adult and juvenile criminal justice reform. “Sesame Street” now has Alex, the first Muppet to have a dad in jail. The Today Show reports that one in 28 of the nation’s children has a parent in jail. There is such a strong correlation between schools and prisons that prison management companies are looking at fourth grade test scores to plan for future growth.
Risking health: The authority granted to the Internal Revenue Service “over ObamaCare’s mandates, taxes, penalties, reporting, and other requirements is unprecedented,” Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute writes in Forbes.com. Members of Congress are preparing legislation to protect Americans by defunding the IRS and barring the agency from implementing the law. “When it comes to an individual’s personal health care decisions, no American should be required to answer to the IRS — an agency that just forfeited its claim to a reputation of impartiality,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, who has introduced legislation to prohibit the agency from implementing or enforcing any piece of the law.
Escaping attention: The primary costs of regulation are not direct costs but rather opportunity costs: the wealth-creating activities forgone because of regulation. A Competitive Enterprise Institute study estimates that the costs of federal regulations amount to 48 percent of the total federal budget. Economic growth is being crushed by regulatory and other interventionist policies. Yet, while Congress finally seems to be becoming aware of the unsustainability of our current tax, spending and entitlement policy regime, the hidden and growing burdens of regulation have largely escaped attention, CEI notes.
Low-density lifestyle: Despite the prevailing conventional wisdom and urban planning that assumes a shift toward more crowded living, the urban future will continue to evolve in contradictory directions, Joel Kotkin writes in NewGeography.com. The continued dispersion of America’s population is evidenced by the persistent, and surprising, strength of suburban towns and low-density cities. He predicts, “The key to growth in the next decade may depend largely on whether these rising municipalities can continue to create the jobs, favorable educational environment and amenities necessary to attract more newcomers in the future.”
Doom and Gloom vs Economic Growth and Innovation: “The Limits to Growth” warned humanity in 1972 that devastating collapse was just around the corner, that by 2013 the world would have run out of aluminum, copper, gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten and zinc. Instead, despite recent increases, commodity prices have generally fallen to about a third of their level 150 years ago; technological innovations have replaced mercury in batteries, dental fillings and thermometers; oil and natural gas were to run out in 1990 and 1992, respectively; today, reserves of both are larger than they were in 1970, although we consume dramatically more; and within the past six years, shale gas alone has doubled potential gas resources in the United States and halved the price. Source: Bjørn Lomborg, “The Limits to Panic“
Energy and Environment
Defying the odds: Despite its efforts to limit coal consumption and focus on alternative fuel sources, China’s thermal coal demand is expected to double by 2030, MiningWeekly.com reported this month. Meanwhile, back home, President Barack Obama is expected to target carbon emissions from power plants as part of a second-term climate change agenda expected to be rolled out in the next few weeks, according to news reports. The president will take several steps to make tackling climate change a “second-term priority” that builds on first-term policies.
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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: Benita Dodd blogs about proposals to combat carbon emissions in, “Some Cool Ideas to Combat Hot Air.” 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, “A Shore Uncertainty: Rising Seas, Geologic Faults,” by Harold Brown.
Have a great weekend.
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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