July 29: Mark your calendar! The Foundation takes the annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day event to Savannah for a Policy Briefing Luncheon. The speaker is Dr. Ben Scafidi, Georgia’s foremost expert on education funding. $30. Register here.
October 15: Registration is open for the sixth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursday, October 15, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. The theme is, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity.” Review the 2014 Forum here. Registration is $125 per person; an Early Bird rate ($100) applies until Friday, September 4. Register here. Sponsorships are available; contact Benita Dodd.
Quotes of Note
“But the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.” – James Madison
“Guns are not ‘violent.’ Criminals, who use guns and other weapons to injure and kill, are violent. Second Amendment supporters should not frame their arguments using the same ‘gun violence’ language 2A opponents use. Even Fox News host Megyn Kelly reported last night, ‘Gun violence is up 64 percent in Baltimore.’ No – criminal violence is up 64 percent in Baltimore.” – Mark Alexander
Education Savings Accounts: Nevada became the fifth state to pass an Education Savings Account bill with Gov. Sandoval’s signature this week, joining Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi. Georgia could become the sixth state next year: ESA bills were introduced in both legislative chambers this year. An analysis by Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne found ESAs would benefit Georgians.
School choice: Jason Bedrick, policy analyst at the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, testified before the Georgia Education Reform Commission recently and presented recommendations for improving Georgia’s school choice programs.
Best cities for minorities: The best places for economic opportunity for minorities are, “neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs,” according to NewGeography.com. “Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation.” For African-Americans, 13 of the top 15 cities, including No. 1, Atlanta, were in the South.
Up, up and away: Many Georgians could face double-digit increases in their health insurance premiums next year, based on initial rates sought by insurers, according to Georgia Health News.
Pre-ObamaCare costs: The Manhattan Institute has developed a map illustrating the effect of the Affordable Care Act on individuals who do not get health insurance through their employers, or through government programs like Medicaid or Medicare. ‘Facts’ fail the drug test: Despite what many believe, most developed nations spend more on pharmaceuticals as a percentage of health care expenditure than the United States. Brand-name pharmaceuticals are cheaper in many of these countries due to stringent price controls, but generic drugs are much less expensive in the United States, where generics represent 87 percent of all drugs sold.
Bus ridership down: Fewer people are riding the bus because there are fewer buses to ride, Angie Schmitt writes in Streetsblog.
Driving up: The Federal Highway Administration reports Americans drove 720.1 billion miles in the first three months of 2015, beating the previous record of 705.7 billion set in 2006. “The new figures reaffirm the trends identified in Beyond Traffic, a report issued earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which projects a 43 percent increase in commercial truck shipments and population growth of 70 million by 2045,” the agency reports.
Teleworking up: Working at home, much of it telecommuting, has replaced transit as the principal commuting alternative to the automobile in the United States outside New York. Atlanta ranks sixth in working at home, with a 5.96 percent market share; transit use (3.08 percent) is barely half that share. Source: NewGeography.com
Getting the federal government out of export financing would save taxpayers from having to cover the bank’s $2 billion shortfall projected over the next decade by the Congressional Budget Office, writes Stephen Moore in the Washington Times: “In a world without an Export-Import Bank, which finances just 2 percent of U.S. exporters, private financing firms can supply the insurance and credit these companies need, but at market rates that reflect default risk.”
Getting the federal government out of transportation would increase accountability, Robert Krol writes in The Hill. “We can reduce the incentives to move forward on high cost, low benefit [transportation] projects if we stop waving federal dollars in front of state and local officials.”
Getting the federal government out of states and taxpayer pockets is crucial, judging by how the federal Environmental Protection Agency conducts its business. Not only has the EPA been caught writing the script for activist groups in “public” comment on its regulations, The New York Times reported that the EPA also used social media (and taxpayer dollars) to lobby in “a significant public relations campaign … to boost public support” for its regulations.
This month in the archives: In June 1995, the Foundation published, “The Unlimited Savings Allowance (USA) Tax Proposal,” by U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. He wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that it is time to scrap the current individual and corporate income tax and replace it with a new tax system that works.”
The Forum: If you want to live longer, you need to walk faster, Benita Dodd points out in her latest, “Checking Up On Health.”
Foundation in the media: AM 750 aired an interview on the Eric Erickson Show Tuesday with Benita Dodd about her op-ed, “A Streetcar Named Denial.”
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.