August 26, 2016
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award (honoring a notable Georgian) takes place November 11, 2016, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The keynote speaker is program host and analyst John Stossel of Fox Business Network. Ticket details to follow!
Quotes of Note
R.I.P. Sir Anthony Jay, co-creator of the British satirical political TV comedies, “Yes Minister,” and, “Yes, Prime Minister,” who died this week at age 86. This, “Yes, Minister,” excerpt reminds us of our efforts sometimes to explain free-market think tanks:
Sir Humphrey: Didn’t you read the Financial Times this morning?
Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Never do.
Sir Humphrey: Well, you’re a banker. Surely you read the Financial Times?
Sir Desmond: Can’t understand it. Full of economic theory.
Sir Humphrey: Why do you buy it?
Sir Desmond: Oh, you know, it’s part of the uniform.
Sir Desmond: It took me 30 years to understand Keynes’ economics. And when I just caught on, everyone started getting hooked on these monetarist ideas. You know, “I Want To Be Free,” by Milton Shulman.
Sir Humphrey: Milton Friedman?
Sir Desmond: Why are they all called Milton? Anyway, I only got as far as Milton Keynes.
Sir Humphrey: Maynard Keynes
Sir Desmond: I’m sure there’s a Milton Keynes …
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the Atlanta Braves advanced to the World Series for the first time in 33 years. The team moves from Atlanta to a new stadium in Cobb County in 2017. But it last won the World Series in 1995 and hasn’t moved into contention since 1999.
Hug a trucker: Kudos to the members of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association who volunteered their time and trucks to transport the more than 100,000 pounds of supplies donated to the “Convoy of Care” in Atlanta to help flood victims in Baton Rouge, La. GMTA joined WSB-TV and law enforcement agencies in the effort.
Epic failure: The manufacturer of EpiPen treatment for anaphylaxis is under fire over a massive price increase over five years. While some are demanding price controls, The Wall Street Journal points out the problem: The maker, Mylan, has a monopoly on the drug, which has been around since the 1970s. “Competitors have been trying for years to challenge Mylan’s EpiPen franchise with low-cost alternatives – only to become entangled in the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory afflatus.”
Welfare reforms: Instead of liberals and conservatives declaring welfare policy a failure and seeking to reverse reforms, they should build upon the obvious successes of the reforms enacted 20 years ago, according to the American Enterprise Institute. These include reductions in child poverty and in household poverty, especially among single-mother households.
Long-haul shortfall: The funding shortfall for state pension plans narrowed in 2014 (latest data), but it’s expected to be a temporary reprieve. State-run retirement plans reported a cumulative $934 billion gap between assets and liabilities, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. That’s better than 2013’s shortfall of $1.1 trillion. But pension fund assumptions of a 7.5 percent return on investment is overreach, considering ultra-low interest rates. “The gap is still formidable, and it’s set to grow,” analysts predict. All the more reason for 401(k)-type defined contribution plans.
Criminal justice reform
Veterans graduate: Cobb County’s Veterans Treatment Court graduated seven more veterans from its 18-month intensive treatment program, an alternative to a jail sentence for military vets. The court’s first two graduates completed the program in May. Source: Marietta Daily Journal
Body cameras: Atlanta police are joining the move by law-enforcement agencies around the nation to implement body cameras as part of officers’ standard equipment.
This month in the archives: In August 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Bumps in Study on Speed Humps.” It noted, “Advocates of speed humps and other traffic delaying devices will need better research using more data addressing the full range of the impacts of these devices before anyone can conclude that speed humps are a good idea.”
Energy and environment
Water efficiency: The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District cites some impressive statistics since the 15-county, 92-city district was created 15 years ago. It reports a 10 percent reduction in total water use since 2000 despite population growth of a million-plus; a decrease in per capita water use of more than 30 percent since 2000, and a 50 percent reduction in the number of sewer spills since 2001.
Park it: The National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary this week. There are now 84 million acres in the system, including 59 national parks (20 added after 1980) and 353 national monuments, battlefields and historic sites. Despite massive support for national parks management, the park systems and monuments are struggling. Adding more parks makes matters worse, Terry Anderson warns in The Wall Street Journal. To help, he proposes, give the parks operating-budget autonomy.
Social media: Visit the Foundation’s Facebook album of photographs from the August 22 Policy Briefing Luncheon with British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.
Foundation in the News: The Citizen published Harold Brown’s commentary, “Who’s Manipulating Climate Change Data?” The Journal of Buena Vista, Waycross Journal-Herald and Macon Community News published Benita Dodd’s commentary on welfare-to-work reforms. The Quitman Free Press published the Foundation’s Friday Facts.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Lower the Hurdles to Economic Opportunity for Georgians,” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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