Quotes of note
“A market that’s driven by subsidies rather than by economics always fails. Subsidy begets subsidy until the system collapses into absurdity. In Australia’s case, having subsidized renewables, allegedly to save the planet, we’re now faced with subsidizing coal, just to keep the lights on.” – Tony Abbott, “Daring to Doubt”
“Vigorous disagreements, expressed with civility and respect, strengthen a democratic and pluralistic culture. Conformity of ideas leads to stagnation and mediocrity.” – Arthur Brooks
“[W]e must work together make smart reforms to our safety net programs that restore the dignity of work and guide Georgians out of the cycle of poverty and into the middle class. Every single person has a contribution to make, but too many have been forced to the sidelines by a system that hinders instead of helps those who want to move up the socioeconomic ladder.” – Drew Ferguson
March 27: Register by Friday, March 23 to attend the Foundation’s March 27 Leadership Breakfast, “Second Chances,” 8 a.m. at the Georgian Club. It marks Second Chance Month in April, which celebrates brighter futures for those who have repaid their debt to society. The panel comprises three Georgia leaders who champion “second chances:” Bill McGahan of Georgia Works!, Jay Neal, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia, and Andrea Shelton of Heartbound Ministries $30. Registration information at georgiapolicy.org/events.
April 19: Mark your calendar for “End of Discussion,” a Foundation noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta! This book forum features conservative journalist and commentator Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson, Political Editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor, discussing their (recently updated) book, “End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free!” (Details to follow.)
Direct Primary Care: In 2017, the Georgia Senate unanimously approved legislation that would make clear that direct primary care (DPC) agreements do not violate insurance regulations. The legislation awaits House action as Day 36 of the 40-day legislative session convenes Monday. If the bill does not pass out of the House, it must start from scratch next year. The Foundation provided testimony in 2017; find out more about DPC as an affordable, quality health-care option here.
Cost of care: Two main factors drive higher U.S. health care spending, according to a new Harvard study: higher prices across a wide range of health care services, and administrative costs. A 2015 Wall Street Journal article noted, “Countries with national health systems tend to feel ‘we are all in this together’ and ‘we can’t afford everything for everybody at any price,’ said Steven Pearson, a physician who founded the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.” He added, “In America it’s more, ‘Well, I’ve paid my insurance premium and I don’t want anyone to tell me no. I don’t want anyone to get in the way of me and my doctor.’”
Graying of America: By 2035, according to Census Bureau projections, older adults will outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history. People age 65 and over are expected to number 78 million, while children under age 18 will number 76.4 million.
Taxes and spending
Tax cuts: Thanks to the recent federal tax cuts, more than 430 companies have announced pay raises, bonuses, or 401(k) hikes that benefit more than 4 million Americans, according to the White House. Read about more Georgia companies involved on Americans for Tax Reform’s list here.
Customer savings: Georgia Power announced customers will save about $1.2 billion resulting from the recent federal tax cuts. Savings include $130 million in reduced taxes on financing costs for the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion, $330 million in direct credits to customers during the next two years and $700 million in future benefits, to be incorporated in Georgia Power’s next rate case.
Big savings: Cox Enterprises, Georgia’s largest privately owned company, is providing nearly all of its 60,000 employees with bonuses of up to $2,000 because of the $1.5 trillion tax bill. Cox employs more than 8,700 workers in Atlanta. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
Doing the math: Governor Deal’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposes a 3.7 percent budget increase for the Georgia Department of Education. About $293 million of that $353 million increase will go toward propping up the Teacher Retirement System: The fiscal budget reflects an “adjustment in the employer share” (i.e. increase in taxpayer contributions) which will go to about 21 percent from about 17 percent. Visit here to view the Foundation’s February 20 event on teacher pensions and insolvency with Len Gilroy of Reason Foundation and Georgia Rep. Chuck Martin.
Tariff fallout: In an open letter to President Trump in The Wall Street Journal, Alan Blinder, former Federal Reserve vice chairman, warns, “[R]remember that tariffs are effectively taxes. Industries that consume steel employ far more people than those that produce it, so a government-mandated increase in steel prices is almost certain to kill many more jobs than it creates.”
This month in the archives: In March 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Good Government is Open to – and About – Lobbying.” It noted, “A part-time Legislature such as Georgia’s can make a 40-day session drag out to what seems like an eternity, but even then, lawmakers don’t have the time or the staff to digest and discern the value of every piece of legislation. Georgia’s lobbyists are, in fact, invaluable resources. Specialists in their areas of expertise, the well-informed lobbyist can help decipher the overwhelming information in a legislative session.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Sunshine Week 2018 Shines a Light on Ongoing Need for Transparency,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)