February 26: Tired of Washington’s out-of-control spending? The Georgia House of Representatives passed three different approaches to a federal balanced budget amendment yesterday. Which one is best? Feel like you need a constitutional scholar to sort out the arguments? You are in luck! The deadline is MONDAY to register for the Foundation’s February 26 Leadership Breakfast, focusing on the “The Case for the Compact for a Balanced Budget.” Keynoted by Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute, the 8 a.m. event at the Galleria Centre in Cobb County is open to the public; registration is $25 per person. Find out more here; register online by Monday, February 24, at http://bit.ly/LewuTz. (Please note: This event is NOT at the Georgian Club.)
March 5: The Foundation celebrates 23 years of promoting liberty in Georgia at its Annual Dinner at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The keynote speaker is Daniel Garza, a first-generation American who is the inspiring executive director of the LIBRE Initiative. Find out more about Garza and the event here.
Quotes of Note
“[P]eople are smart enough to realize that every dollar poured into the economy via government spending must eventually be taken out of the productive economy in the form of taxes. The way to jolt an economy to life and to sustain long-term growth is to create more incentives for people to work, save and invest.” – Wall Street Journal
“If we can’t be serious, we have no right to send young Americans out into the hell of war.” – Thomas Sowell
“The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.” – T.J. Oshie, star of the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team’s victory over Russia, after a reporter referred to Oshie as a hero
Aiming higher: The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) graduation rate is 51 percent, nearly 20 points lower than the state’s rate of 70 percent. Imagine if APS were to pass the state average. That’s exactly what has happened in New Orleans, whose school districts “beat the state average (72 percent) with 77.8 percent, a staggering 25 percentage points above the 2004 rate.” A key reform: “The highest performing schools are given the resources to expand while … those schools that fail to perform – which includes public and charter – are abruptly closed and their students must enroll elsewhere,” according to the Marquette University Law School blog.
Line-jumping: Time is money. Which is why Americans will put up with just about anything except waiting in line, Andy Kessler writes in The Wall Street Journal. “It’s no coincidence that nearly every important technology development of the past 20 years also happens to be a line-killer.” Among his list: print-at-home boarding passes, automatic hotel checkout, bar code scanners, to name a few. “This productivity revolution based on queue-quashing has just begun, yet even now you can almost live your entire life without waiting in line.” Think about it how many ways you avoid lines: Ticketmaster, Peach Pass, Amazon Prime, Uber, Fandango, OpenTable … Or do you simply pay someone to hold your spot?
Taxes and spending
Cut taxes? Georgians are ready for tax reform, judging by the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s recent online Pulse Survey of readers. It found that 88 percent of readers support eliminating or reducing the 6 percent state income tax. Of 1,326 responses, 1,026 supported eliminating the tax.
More higher-paid, fewer jobs: President Obama signed an executive order this month mandating that federal contractors pay a $10.10 minimum wage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports Tuesday that such a hike nationwide would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs – and perhaps as many as 1 million – by 2016. CBO said, “Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.”
Energy and environment
Environmental shock: In the vast majority of states, the significant carbon debt associated with the production of electric car batteries outweighs recent reductions in carbon emissions from power generation and efficiency improvements of some electric vehicles. Source: Climate Central
Truth and subsidies: Green energy proponents cite total dollar amounts of subsidies without reference to the amount of energy being generated. Free market analysts typically examine the amount of government subsidies going to renewable energy versus traditional energy weighted by the amount of energy that they produce. But “what is economically more relevant is net subsidies, which includes not only policies that subsidize the relevant industries but also the value of policies that penalize those industries,” according to the John Locke Foundation.
Media and Social Media
Foundation in the news: Foundation President Kelly McCutchen for an article on Georgia Medicaid expansion in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He said legislative approval should be required for fundamental changes in state programs, including an expansion of an entitlement program like Medicaid. “We’re talking about billions of dollars.”
Web site of the week: www.ij.org is the virtual home of the Institute for Justice, this nation’s top litigation group for civil liberties. Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice represented Susanne Kelo in the eminent domain abuse case that changed the nation, represents Atlanta’s street vendors against the city’s unfair regulations, and is leading the campaign to reform civil asset forfeiture in Georgia.
Social media sites: More than 2,200 “likes” on Facebook; more than 1,140 Twitter followers and more than 40,000 views on the Foundation’s YouTube channel. Be sure you join us!
YouTube: This week the House passed legislation involving a constitutional convention process to compel the federal government to balance its budget. View Foundation Editor Mike Klein’s coverage of testimony, then sign up by Monday to attend the Foundation’s upcoming event, “The Case for the Compact for a Balanced Budget.“
The Forum: Benita Dodd’s Checking Up On Health this week shares the latest news on technology, innovation and policy in health care. Find these and more posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “The Truth Behind the ‘Staffing Surge’ in Georgia Public Schools,” by Ben Scafidi.
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.)