The Georgia Public Policy Foundation regrets to inform friends and supporters of the July 19 passing of Marcia Wade, 76, wife of Rogers Wade, the Foundation’s former president and current Chairman of our Board of Trustees. The couple, who met while students at the University of Georgia, had been married 54 years. A memorial service will take place Friday, July 28, at 11 a.m. at Sandy Springs Chapel, with visitation at 10 a.m.
Quotes of note
“The conflation of words with violence is not a new or progressive idea invented on college campuses in the last two years. It is an ancient and regressive idea. Americans should all be troubled that it is becoming popular again – especially on college campuses, where it least belongs.” – Jonathan Haidt, Greg Luikanoff, “Why It’s a Bad Idea to Tell Students Words Are Violence”
“We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.” – Margaret Thatcher
Energy and environment
American Dream conference: Register here to attend the 2017 American Dream conference, August 6-8 at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Va. Experts will scrutinize the new administration and new Congress and what they are doing to protect the American dream of freedom, mobility, and affordable homeownership.
Bee aware: Honeybees are surviving and thriving. In 2016, there were 2.78 million honeybee colonies in the United States – 16 percent more than when “colony collapse disorder” hit in 2006. In fact, there are more honeybee colonies in the country today than in nearly 25 years. Honey production also shows no pattern of decline. Source: PERC
And then there was no one: Bill Nye the “Science Guy” suggests that climate change will be accepted once all the old people die, according to The Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, another study suggests the way to combat climate change is to have fewer children, The Washington Times reports.
Above and beyond: President Trump’s administration, on orders to kill two regulations for every new one, has eliminated 16 old rules for every new one in the first six months, according to the new administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget, Neomi Rao. Source: Washington Examiner
Criminal justice reform
Civil asset forfeiture: It’s a disappointment to hear U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions return to the regressive and unfortunate approach of civil asset forfeiture. As Justice Clarence Thomas noted, “This system – where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use – has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses. These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings.”
Gaming the system: In 2016, more than 12.7 million people signed up for coverage through the Obamacare exchanges, but by the end of the year only 9.1 million remained – a 28 percent decline. Source: HHS
Pending any change: Medicare will remain solvent through 2029, enabling it to escape mandatory spending cuts this year, according to a report by Medicare’s trustees that also warned, “Medicare’s actual future costs are highly uncertain for reasons apart from the inherent challenges in projecting health care cost growth over time.”
Pension funding: Georgia’s future pension obligations are 81 percent funded, the 16th highest rate in the nation. Our neighbors Tennessee and North Carolina (95 percent) made the top 10 and Florida (87 percent) came in 11th. Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts
This month in the archives: In July 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Good Intentions on the Road to Energy Hell.” It noted, “The best thing to do for world energy markets is to strike all energy subsidies, tax the verifiable environmental harms energy creates and let markets sort out the rest.”
Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen testified this week before a Georgia Senate study committee reviewing special interest tax breaks. In addition to encouraging them to look at opportunity costs, we shared the Foundation’s take on the issue in this paper: “Legislators Should Heed the Forgotten Man.” Benita Dodd appeared on FaceBook Live from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution headquarters to debate welfare work requirements, an issue that she has been quoted on extensively in the media.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.