October 11, 2013
We look forward to seeing you at the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum today!
Quotes of Note
“Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” – Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.” – Thomas Sowell
Bumpy roads, by the numbers:
$377: Amount the average driver loses each year to vehicle operating costs (VOC) due to the nation’s roads that need repair
$80 billion: Amount drivers collectively lose each year to VOCs caused by rough roads
37 percent: The increase in overall vehicle travel from 1990 to 2011
49 percent: The increase in large commercial truck travel from 1990 to 2011
25 percent: Projected increase in overall vehicle travel by 2030
64 percent: Projected increase in heavy truck travel by 2030
$156 billion: Shortfall in costs the U.S. faces to maintain roadways through 2032. Source: TRIP, Better Roads
Lessons for America: Founded in 1948 on the premise that health care should be made available to all without charge, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is a vast bureaucracy boasting 1.7 million workers – the fifth-largest employer on the planet, according to the BBC. The NHS budget more than tripled between 1997 (the first year of Tony Blair’s Labor government) and 2013 and now stands at roughly $160 billion, roughly one-sixth of government spending and nearly triple Britain’s defense budget. Source: Washington Examiner
EduFact: The nation spends an estimated $15 billion annually on salary bumps for teachers who earn master’s degrees, even though research shows the diplomas don’t necessarily lead to higher student achievement, The Wall Street Journal reports. About 52 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million public elementary and high-school teachers held a master’s or other advanced degree in 2008, compared with about 38 percent of private-school teachers, according to the most recent federal data.
Education Savings Accounts: Arizona’s education savings accounts are the most innovative way for parents to find a great education for their child. The Arizona Department of Education deposits 90 percent of an eligible child’s funding from the state funding formula into a parent’s private bank account. Families then use a debit card or an online payment service such as PayPal to pay for such expenses as textbooks, private school tuition, online classes and tutors. Each account results in a cost-savings to the taxpayer, demonstrating that a high-quality education can be provided for less than what taxpayers pay for public schools. Source: Goldwater Institute
Energy and environment
Mission impossible I: The average U.S. coal plant emits over 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (lbs CO2/MWh). The average natural-gas plant emits around 850 lbs CO2/MWh. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a regulation to limit CO2 emissions to between 1,000 and 1,100 lbs/MWh, depending on the size of the plant and method of emission monitoring – a standard not yet met by any coal plant. The EPA says the standards “will result in negligible CO2 emission changes, energy impacts, quantified benefits, costs, and economic impacts by 2022.” So why do it?
Mission impossible II: Politicians cannot ignore the basic physics and math of the world’s $5 trillion-a-year appetite for energy, according to Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Bryce points out that any transition away from our existing energy systems will be protracted and costly. The 32 percent increase in CO2 emissions that has occurred globally since 2002 – about 8.4 billion tons – has nearly all taken place in the developing world. In the United States, CO2 emissions were 8 percent lower in 2012 than they were in 2002, largely because shale gas production has reduced coal use. Source: Bloomberg News
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The Forum: In “Checking Up On Health” this week, Benita Dodd shares updates on ObamaCare, stem cell regulations and how to know when you’re working with a psychopath. Find this and recent posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Move Transportation Policy with PR, PPPs, the Penny and Prioritization,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)