Friday Facts: February 2, 2018

Friday Facts
February 2nd, 2018 by Leave a Comment

It’s Friday!

Quotes of note

“The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed. And I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you, in the pleasing though arduous task of ensuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect, from a free and equal government.” – George Washington, from his First State of the Union, 1790

“You don’t need government calling the shots to bring meaningful reforms, and you certainly don’t need the government taking over health care the way Warren Buffett says he’d prefer. What you need are private companies experimenting with solutions, competing for consumer dollars, and reaping the rewards when they succeed, or paying the price if they fail.” – Investor’s Business Daily

“The government is not your salvation. The government is not your road to prosperity. Hard work, education will take you far beyond what any government program can ever promise.” – Mia Love

Quotes of note

February 20: “Pension Solvency and Public Education: The Case for Reforming Georgia Teacher Pensions,” a Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, February 20. Speakers are Len Gilroy, Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project and Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, and Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Chairman of the House Budget and Fiscal Oversight Committee. 8 a.m. at the Georgian Club. $30. Registration and information here.

February 26: The Foundation co-sponsors Georgia Justice Day 2018 at the State Capitol, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., highlighting criminal justice reforms, juvenile justice reforms and removing barriers to re-entry. Find out more here.

Economic opportunity

Road to success: According to Professor Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, a child born in the United States need only do three things to avoid living in poverty: Graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age 20. Source: The Federalist

Energy and environment

History in the making: Thanks to fracking and shale oil production, U.S. oil output surged past 10 million barrels a day in November, the highest monthly production since November 1970, according to the Energy Information Administration. Source: Bloomberg

Nuclear energy: France gets 72 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, but is struggling to fund the sector amid Europe’s lovefest with renewables. The industry is reminding the country that nuclear plants can provide a steady stream of power and are flexible enough to complement a large fluctuating supply of renewables. Source: Bloomberg

Taxes and spending

Retiring debt: California Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for reforms of the state’s unsustainable public-sector pensions. “Absent the ability to alter pensions, states and localities have to devote more and more of their taxes to cover the costs of retired workers. Worse still, they often raise taxes to cover rising costs, typically at the expense of providing basic services such as police and road maintenance,” writes Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation. Source: Press-Telegram

Amazon HQ2: As Amazon considers 20 finalists for its second headquarters, Tony Lima argues in NewGeography.com, “Many, including me, believe that Jeff [Bezos] has already made his decision. The true objective of having 20 finalist cities is to encourage competition among them for the HQ. This competition includes various tax breaks, tax incentives, and outright payments from the city’s coffers.”

Education

Spending: Citizens are much less likely to support increasing school spending once they know how much schools are already spending. Two recent surveys, a 2016 Harvard study and a 2017 national survey published by EdChoice show dramatic reductions in support for increased spending once respondents are informed about current spending levels. 

Transportation

 A safety first: Waymo, the Google spinoff, has announced it will test fully self-driving vehicles in metro Atlanta, making Georgia the first Southeastern state to have autonomous vehicles on the roads. Source: Wired

Health care

A new plan: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., with a combined workforce of 1 million, announced plans for an autonomous health care enterprise “that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints.” It will be interesting to see how innovative the effort will be. Key to quality, affordable health care are personal ownership, transparency and consumer-driven health care in a competitive marketplace.

Waste: A study by the Washington Health Alliance of insurance claims from 1.3 million patients in Washington state found that at least $282 million went toward unnecessary medical tests, procedures and treatments over the course of one year.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In February 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Georgia Water – A Public Resource or a Commodity: What Are the Real Policy Questions?” It noted, “Being ‘for’ or ‘against markets makes no more sense than being ‘for’ or ‘against’ water use permits – everything depends on the provisions and protections of specific laws and proposals.”

Media

Foundation in the news: The Atlanta-Journal Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on school spending.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “College Fees: Sticker Shock for Georgia Families,” by Lee Brewer Jones.

Have a great weekend.

Benita Dodd

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