ICYMI: A news release last week announced that Kyle Wingfield, opinion columnist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has accepted the position of Foundation president and CEO. Kyle will join the Foundation April 9, succeeding Kelly McCutchen, who moved on in December to become executive director of HINRI, a venture philanthropy organization. Kelly will continue to participate in Georgia policy as a Foundation Senior Fellow.
April 19: Register here 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!” Registration is $60 and includes parking and the cost of the book. Authors will sign books.
Quotes of note
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it.” – George Washington (1793)
“On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823
“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” – Clarence W. Hall
Sine die: The Legislature has adjourned sine die and, given the typical last-minute rush of bills, it will take a few days for the dust to settle and analyze the 2017-18 session’s successes and failures. As Groucho Marx famously said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
Your vote, your choice: Writing about a push in some states for universal voter registration, Jeff Jacoby notes that there are rarely obstacles to voting. “On the whole, Americans who don’t vote don’t want to vote.” Census data on nonvoters consistently confirm that difficulties with registration account for only a minuscule fraction of uncast votes. “Far more Americans choose not to vote because they didn’t like the candidates or issues (24.8 percent), were too busy (14.3 percent), or simply weren’t interested (15.4 percent),” Jacoby points out.
Crowd out: Ten years ago, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt warned that Medicaid costs were projected to grow so fast that within 10 years they would “crowd out virtually every other category of spending.” These days, Medicaid and public-employee health and retirement costs consume about one out of every five tax dollars collected by state and local governments, The Wall Street Journal reports. “The more we stare at the data, the more we realize all roads lead back to Medicaid and pensions,” said one expert.
Job growth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released the final 2017 metro area job numbers. The Atlanta metropolitan area ranks No.16 on the list, with a 2.24 percent increase in job growth. The top five were Riverside-San Bernadino, Calif., Austin, Nashville, Orlando and Jacksonville. Source: NewGeography.com
Safety: The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks the most dangerous jobs in the country, based on the number of fatalities. The worst is the transportation industry, particularly truck drivers and material moving occupations, which saw 1,388 fatal injuries in 2016. “This helps explain the tremendous interest in autonomous vehicles,” David Blanchard writes in EHSToday.com. Ninety-four percent of crashes are caused by driver error, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
It’s your head, not your hands: Georgia drivers could soon have a law mandating hands-free cellphone use, even though this is an issue that can be solved by technology, not criminalization. Existing laws cover distracted driving already, and most research finds the problem is the phone conversation, not the device itself, that distracts drivers.
Funding: With state revenue estimates $194 million higher than expected, Governor Nathan Deal amended his budget recommendation to add $167 million for K-12 education. “These funds will ensure the state is fully funding the Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula and providing local school systems with 100 percent of the state’s share in financing for local schools,” according to a news release.
This month in the archives: In March 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “The Real Skinny on Obesity.” It noted, “[Government involvement should be limited to education and advice and it doesn’t take dozens of agencies and legislative acts to provide it. Slim Jims or Jeans shouldn’t have to pay the government to reinvent the wheel for this simple lifestyle equation: Fat equals calories eaten minus calories used.”
YouTube: Did you miss the Foundation’s “Second Chances” Leadership Breakfast on criminal justice reform? View the event on the Foundation’s YouTube here.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read recent commentaries.
On a personal note: The Foundation mourns the passing of Zell Miller, the charismatic Democrat who led the state as Governor and U.S. Senator. He was honored in 1998 with the Foundation’s prestigious Freedom Award, presented to notable Georgians who have exemplified the principles of private enterprise and personal integrity. Watch the (very entertaining) 1998 awards ceremony here.
Have a great weekend and a blessed Passover and Easter.
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To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.