Friday Facts: May 30, 2014

Friday Facts
May 30th, 2014 by 1 Comment

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of Note 

“There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally. … As nearly as we can, we must put ourselves in the place of those who uttered the words, and try to divine how they would have dealt with the unforeseen situation; and, although their words are by far the most decisive evidence of what they would have done, they are by no means final.” – Judge Learned Hand

“It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” – Frank Luntz

“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up –if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.” –  Naval Adm. William H. McRaven (Commencement Speech, University of Texas at Austin, May 17, 2014)

Events:

July 9: If you live in Macon or environs, mark your calendar. The Foundation takes its Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day on the road again!  The annual celebration marks the birthday of the late Milton Friedman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and a longtime contributor to free market causes who championed school choice. Friedman was born July 31, 1912, and died November 16, 2006.

Economic opportunity

Giving up: Nearly half of the unemployed have given up on trying to find work, according to a recent survey. The Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States has been falling steadily in recent years, dropping to under 63 percent, its lowest level since 1978. The Reason Foundation suggests some unemployed people need “a nudge.”

Overregulated, overtaxed: The “ever-spiraling debt and high taxes” are putting the middle class under stress, writes Bartlett D. Cleland of the Innovation Policy Institute. The U.S. middle class is no longer the most affluent middle class in the world and, “Even worse, poor Americans are even poorer than the poor in Europe.” But the solution “is not dependent on government redistribution of income schemes as liberals favor. Rather, internationally competitive sound tax policies and telegraphed regulatory forbearance leads to growth via robust capital expenditures, resulting in more jobs and finally real relief for the middle class.”

Cheapest: Augusta, Ga., ranks No. 10 Kiplinger’s list of top 10 cheapest cities. Augusta’s cost of living is 12.9 percent below U.S. average, it has a median household income of $38,714 and its median home value is $102,800. The cheapest city is Harlingen, Texas; three Longhorn State cities are in the top 10.

Beaches: St. Simons Island was named “America’s Favorite Beach Town” in this month’s Travel + Leisure readers’ poll for its “triple threat of southern charm, serenity and affordability.”

Tech booms: Metro Atlanta ranks sixth on Newgeography.com’s list of cities with the fastest-growing information sectors, with a 7.7 percent expansion in information employment since 2010. “Less expensive than the West Coast hotbeds or Boston, Atlanta could be emerging as a player in the sector,” the report notes.

Energy and environment

Lofty goals: The Obama administration’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 42 percent by 2030. Even with its aggressive proposed carbon regulations for power plants, the United States will fall short and reduce global emissions by less than 2 percent, according to the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Worse, the regulations are projected to cost the nation in jobs and GDP; $10.5 billion and nearly 60,000 jobs in the Southeast alone.

Do no harm: Public policy that threatens the reliability and affordability of energy will harm the poor most, Dr. Ben Carson warns. “America can be the world’s undisputed energy leader if we are smart enough to leverage three simple advantages: We are blessed with vast natural resources of every kind, we are constantly improving technology that allows us to develop it in a safer, cheaper and more effective way, and because of our democratic system of government, we can create tough but sensible regulations that both protect our environment and ensure fairness.”

Cost of no-build: California has exorbitant housing prices because, “‘open space’ is virtually a religion,” Thomas Sowell asserts in a recent column. “What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything. … Much as many liberals like to put guilt trips on other people, they seldom seek out, much less acknowledge and take responsibility for, the bad consequences of their own actions.”

Education

School Choice is big, easy: New Orleans’s Recovery School District shut its last five traditional public schools this week. Next school year it will be the first district in the country made up completely of public charter schools. Despite complaints, results speak for themselves: Before Katrina, the city’s high school graduation rate was 54.4 percent. In 2013, the rate for was 77.6 percent. Source: Washington Post (View the Foundation’s recent event, “School Choice: Big Gains in the Big Easy.”)

Health care

Health spending hurts: Since 2008, federal Medicaid grants to states have increased 35 percent, while transportation grants have fallen 9 percent and education grants have declined 10 percent, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Media 

Web site of the Week: The Patriot Post at http://patriotpost.us has an excellent daily roundup of the latest in news, views, cartoons and quotes that  promote “Essential Liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.”

The Forum: Benita Dodd’s Checking Up On Health reveals IRS plans for the boss who pays your premium on a health exchange, the latest on GMOs and more in her health policy news and views. Foundation Editor Mike Klein writes about changes coming this summer at Provost Academy Georgia, which operates brick-and-mortar and online learning charter schools.  Read these and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Social media: The Foundation has almost 2,250 “likes” on Facebook and almost 1,200 Twitter followers!

YouTube: We’re closing in on 50,000 views of events and interviews on the Foundation’s YouTube channel!

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Minimum Wage: No Such Thing as A Free Lunch,” by Jeffrey Dorfman.

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.

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