October 18, 2013
About 200 people attended the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on October 11. Visit our Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/k7xd84g to view photographs of the event; view video of the sessions on our YouTube channel at http://tinyurl.com/l8mswe7.
Quotes of Note
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” – Senator Barack Obama, March 2006
“As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse.” – President Barack Obama, October 3, 2013
October 27-29: “Preserving the American Dream,” the national conference of the American Dream Coalition, takes place in Washington, D.C., with panels on land use, transportation and grassroots campaigning. Among the speakers are the Reason Foundation’s Bob Poole and Baruch Feigenbaum, Cato Institute’s Randal O’ Toole and national experts including Wendell Cox, Tom Rubin and Kenneth Orski. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Benita Dodd will moderate a panel discussion on transportation funding. Find information and registration details at www.americandreamcoalition.org.
‘Glitches’ continue: Healthcare.gov, the federal ObamaCare Web site, cost taxpayers more than $630 million, nearly seven times its original estimate of $93 million, new figures reveal. When it was rolled out on October 1 the Obama administration blamed the glitches in part on all the Web traffic created by people overcome with excitement about the exchanges. The Washington Post reports, “The number of visitors to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America’s online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week.” One estimate says just 36,000 people signed up. The Web site is still broken.
Universal health care? As ObamaCare implodes, prepare for calls to move to a single-payer system. What’s not to like about free, universal health care? It’s not free, for one. In Canada, for example, the average family of four pays approximately $11,320 in taxes for hospital and physician care. Despite the high cost, Canadians often can’t access care in a timely manner, with waiting lists among the longest in the developed world. Source: The American
Bumpy roads, by the numbers:
$374 billion: Shortfall in costs the nation faces to make modest improvements to roads
$670 billion: Shortfall in costs to make significant improvements to roads
$36.5 billion: Amount all levels of government currently spend each year on road rehabilitation and preservation
$44.3 billion: Amount the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates it needs annually to maintain roads
$70 billion: Amount the DOT estimates it needs annually to significantly improve roads – a 91 PERCENT increase in annual funding
$38 billion: Approximate amount the federal transportation law (MAP-21) provides annually for transportation infrastructure annually in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Source: TRIP, Better Roads
Big costs to small farms: The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a rule establishing standards for the production and harvest of raw fruits and vegetables to reduce foodborne illness. Analysts at the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center used the FDA’s own analysis to show that the costly provisions of the rule will be toughest on small farms and that the rule should be retrospectively evaluated to ensure that the proposed standards are effective at reducing foodborne illness.
Tear down this fence: The city of Atlanta continues to stymie street vendors trying to get back to earning a living. Vendors checked their usual spot at Five Points; despite a third court ruling ordering the city to issue vendors permits, a fence has been embedded in concrete to block the area, according to the Institute for Justice, which had joined vendors in filing suit. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/lcm984o.
‘Tis the season for job and sales growth: This year, online holiday sales are projected to rise 15 percent over last year, to as much as $82 billion. Total holiday sales will experience an estimated 3.9 percent growth, to $602.1 billion. Amazon.com, the world’s largest e-commerce company, will hire 70,000 full-time seasonal workers to meet holiday order demand, a 40 percent increase over last year. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and adding another 70,000 part-time and full-time workers. Source: shop.org
A simple plan: “Nebraska’s tax reform plan is relatively straightforward, writes tax expert David Brunori in Forbes. “It is revenue neutral, reduces personal and corporate income tax rates, reduces incentives, expands the sales tax to more services, and simplifies administration. Moreover, belying the assertion that conservatives hate poor people, it doubles the earned income tax credit, greatly increases the personal exemption, and indexes the tax rates. In other words, the plan is consistent with virtually every notion of sound tax policy. It would make the Nebraska tax system fairer, simpler, and more conducive to retaining people and firms.”
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The Forum: In “Checking Up On Health” this week, Benita Dodd shares updates on allergies, ObamaCare, pink slips in the health care industry and more. 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, “The False Promise of Universal Health Insurance,” by Greg Scandlen.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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