Friday Facts: July 25, 2014

Friday Facts
July 25th, 2014 by 3 Comments

July 25, 2014

It’s Friday! 

Radio talk-show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain joins an exciting lineup of speakers at the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Sept. 19, hosted by the Foundation and the Conservative Policy LeadershipLegislativeForumSplash Institute! Current plans include his keynote speech and a live broadcast of his program from the venue, the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly.

Reserve your seat today for an informative day of free-market policy ideas with a theme linked to the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, “Tearing Down Walls.” For information and registration, go to http://bit.ly/WFmqJz.

Another Forum keynote speaker, Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute, co-authors an op-ed this week with Jeb Bush in The Wall Street Journal on the “Border Disorder,” offering solutions and pointing out: “A chief reason so many people are entering through the back door, so to speak, is that the front door is shut.” 

Quotes of Note

“When unions get higher wages for their members by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced. When government pays its employees higher wages, those higher wages are at the expense of the taxpayer. But when workers get higher wages and better working conditions through the free market, when they get raises by firms competing with one another for the best workers, by workers competing with one another for the best jobs, those higher wages are at nobody’s expense. They can only come from higher productivity, greater capital investment, more widely diffused skills. The whole pie is bigger there’s more for the worker, but there’s also more for the employer, the investor, the consumer, and even the tax collector. That’s the way the free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people. That’s the secret of the enormous improvements in the conditions of the working person over the past two centuries.” – Milton Friedman

“We cannot continue to bombard the people in Washington, telling them they need to cut spending, they need to reduce the burden on taxpayers in this country by reducing their expenditures, and then when something like sequestration occurs, be the first to complain we’re not receiving as much federal money.” – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Education

A winning loss: Former State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan lost her bid Tuesday in the runoff elections to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for Georgia’s State School Superintendent in the November elections. So why highlight the losing candidate? Because this champion for school choice garnered 46 percent of the Democratic vote, reinforcing the recent school choice poll released at a Foundation event that school choice is a nonpartisan issue.

Tools that work: Congratulations to the Georgia Department of Education, which has unveiled its Student Growth Model Web site. Its data visualization tool reveals where schools and systems fall on a matrix showing both student achievement and student growth. Georgia parents have never had a better way to evaluate our schools. The Foundation has maintained that student growth is a critical component, but it has – until now – been unavailable to parents. 

Health care

Diagnosis confirmed: There were many concerns about the potential for fraud in the Affordable Care Act. As part of a “secret shopper” investigation, according to a Government Accountability Office report, GAO created 18 fictitious identities to apply for premium subsidies through the federal health insurance exchange by telephone, online at HealthCare.gov and in-person. In all but one case, they got Premium Tax Credits and health insurance with fake information through telephone and online applications. The total amount of credits was $2,500 per month – $30,000 per applicant per year – and is currently being paid out for insurance policies for these fictitious individuals. Source: Accounting Today

Subsidy dispute: Two court panels on the Affordable Care Act came up with opposing rulings on whether the Internal Revenue Service could extend premium subsidies to enrollees in the federal health exchanges, even though the law specifies subsidies only for the state exchanges. The opposing rulings make it likely the issue will get a speedy hearing from the U.S. Supreme Court, analysts say. (Read more in Benita Dodd’s Checking Up On Health post.)

Transportation

The good, the bad … Driverless cars may one day be able to save lives by cutting down on accidents. But they also have potential to be used to create deadly weapons, according to an FBI report obtained by The Guardian newspaper. The report says the technology “bad actors will be able to conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one’s eyes off the road which would be impossible today.” Source: CNet.com

Economy

Guide to the Issues 2014: In a fair comparison of spending (state and local spending as a percentage of personal income), Georgia ranks 13th highest in corrections, 14th in K-12, 48th in highway spending and 49th in debt service payments. Find out more in the “Fiscal Overview” of our Guide to the Issues 2014.

Upward bound: Forbes magazine ranked Atlanta at No. 14 on its list of Best Places For Business and Careers 2014. Raleigh, N.C., which leads the list, “also prospers from small businesses facing low regulatory hurdles compared to other cities,” Forbes noted. Also, “Atlanta is the only one of Forbes’ top 20 places to lose jobs over the past five years, but the outlook is strong.”

John Blundell, who was policy advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, spoke to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in October 2012. He died on July 22.
John Blundell, who was policy advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, spoke to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in October 2012. He died on July 22.

Events

Sept. 22: Mark your calendar for the showing of “Rockin’ The Wall” – about the impact of music on the Fall of the Berlin Wall – sponsored by the Foundation at the Earl Strand Theatre in Marietta.

Media

Foundation in the News: The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed by Benita Dodd on MARTA’s role in mass transit for Clayton County.

The Forum: In Benita Dodd’s latest “Checking Up on Health,” read about the rulings this week on ObamaCare. Read this and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Partisan Politics and Procrastination Hinder a Border Solution,” by Michael Carnuccio.

A personal note: Our condolences to the many friends and family of John Blundell, who was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s policy advisor, among the many hats he wore. Blundell, who visited us in October 2012 to talk about his book, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady,” died this week. He was a champion of liberty who will be sorely missed but whose legacy will continue to lift many into liberty and prosperity. Watch the video of the Blundell event here and see the event’s photographs here.

Have a great weekend! 

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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