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Quotes of Note
“There is only one boss – the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
January 28, 2014: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and education experts Eric Wearne, Jim Kelly and Ben Scafidi at Cobb County’s Georgian Club for an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast and panel discussion celebrating National School Choice Week: “School Choice and Georgia: An Update.” The first 50 people to register for this event will receive their very own school choice woobie – and you can wear it to the School Choice Rally at the Capitol that day! This event is $25 to attend. Register by Friday, January 24, 2014, online at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/SchoolChoiceandGeorgia.
The Georgia Chamber is partnering with the Heritage Foundation to host the 2nd Annual Civil Justice Forum on Thursday, December 12 at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. Governor Haley Barbour is the keynote speaker. More details and registration here: http://www.gachamber.com/2013civiljustice/
Taxes and spending
Midlife crisis: As Americans age, more and more of the tax burden will be borne by older taxpayers. In 1997, 61 percent of all income taxes were paid by taxpayers over age 45. Today, that burden has jumped to 74 percent. Source: Tax Foundation
Money’s not the answer: The United States ranks fifth in spending per student. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland spend more per student. The 2012 report from the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012 notes that, among developed countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.” Source: TheAtlantic.com
Energy and environment
Fracking fools: If Hollywood celebrities don’t like hydraulic fracturing, then maybe they should stop flying in jets, heating their swimming pools and undergoing plastic surgery, according to a video released this week. “Celebrities: You Don’t Know What You’re Fracking Talking About” is the Western Energy Alliance’s response to “What the Frack,” a star-studded video produced by the Environmental Media Association and released three weeks ago by Americans Against Fracking. About 60 percent of oil and 98 percent of natural gas wells use hydraulic fracturing as part of the extraction process, which typically lasts three to four days in the life of a 30-year well. Source: Washington Times
Hot air and global warming: The 2013 hurricane season officially ended November 30, the quietest season since 1982. In fact, a mere two hurricanes (both category 1 strength) formed. Gary L. Bauer explains the significance: “When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Al Gore predicted that global warming would cause such super storms to become the norm. As usual, Gore got it wrong. … Why does this matter? Because the administration is aggressively pursuing environmental policies that will dramatically affect the economy and your standard of living based on a theory that is increasingly suspect. … The left is using environmental alarmism as one more way to expand the size and scope of big government.” Source: Patriot Post
Insurance mandates: Over the last 25 years, the percentage of the population without health insurance has been fairly constant at around 15 percent, recently rising to nearly 18 percent during the recession. One of the most controversial aspects of ObamaCare is the individual mandate, which attempts to force Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Auto casualty insurance, which is much less expensive than health insurance, has been mandated in states for many years, yet an estimated 14 percent of drivers nationally remain uninsured.
Arbitrary application: Oklahoma and several other parties have filed suit against the federal government because ObamaCare would penalize states that refused to set up their own health care exchanges. “Congress specified that credits and subsidies are only to be available in states that set up their own health-insurance exchange for a reason: It could not force states to set up exchanges,” writes Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in The Wall Street Journal. “Instead, it had to entice them to do so. Oklahoma’s lawsuit is about preserving the state’s authority to make a policy decision granted to states under the Affordable Care Act.”
PC bargains for Christmas? Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall a record-breaking 10.1 percent this year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Interest in PCs has remained limited; at these rates, total PC shipments are barely ahead of 2008 volumes. Even in emerging markets – a primary growth engine of the PC market – shipments are projected to decline in 2014. Meanwhile, smartphones and tablet shipments are soaring; IDC projected earlier this year that tablet shipments would surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014.
Media and social media
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The Foundation’s Twitter account has almost 1,100 followers! Get your Foundation news at twitter.com/gppf.
The Forum: Find the latest this and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Government Role in Long-Term Care: It’s Getting Old,” by Stephen A. Moses.
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.
I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)