May 23: Mark your calendar! Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, keynotes a Leadership Breakfast co-hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Georgia Center for Opportunity. Details to follow!
Quotes of note
“In the usual progress of things, the necessities of a nation in every stage of its existence will be found at least equal to its resources.” – Alexander Hamilton
“The American Dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard. If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.” – Barbara Bush, former First Lady who died April 17 at age 92
Slow go: President Donald Trump’s first year in office saw the creation of fewer new federal regulations than any year since the National Archives started tracking regulatory rules in 1976. Even so, the administration created more than 3,200 new rules during 2017, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. That’s still 34 new regulations for every single bill passed by Congress. Source: 10,000 Commandments
Taxes and spending
OPM: Washington will spend a near-record $33,054 per household and collect $26,198 per household in taxes this year, Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute writes in The Hill. The resulting budget deficit of $6,856 per household will bring the total national debt to nearly $170,000 per household, and he warns that unless spending is reined in, “tax increases must eventually result.”
Higher ed: The University of Georgia awarded 143 Ph.D.s to African-American students over the past five years, more than any other university in the country, according to the National Science Foundation Survey of Earned Doctorates. That was about 6 percent of the total 2,439 Ph.D.s earned at UGA over the past five years. Source: Athens Banner-Herald
Charters: Outlining the higher expectations of charter schools – and, in particular, state-authorized charter schools – Gregg Martin, deputy director of the State Charter Schools Commission points out, “[W]hen a charter school fails to meet academic standards throughout its charter term … quality charter authorizers require the charter school to close. While this will require the students and staff at the school to transition to another educational option, traditional schools with poor academic track records may remain open indefinitely.” Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Prescriptions: Much of the campaign against drug abuse and overdoses has focused on reducing opioid prescriptions. The decline in opioid prescriptions that began in 2011 accelerated last year, according to the latest data. Meanwhile, opioid-related deaths continue to rise. “The opposing trends show the folly of tackling the ‘opioid crisis’ by restricting access to pain medication,” Jacob Sullum writes in Reason.
Density: Among those under 35, 80 percent of all homes purchased nationwide are single-family houses and virtually all surveys of millennials express an overwhelming desire for this kind of residence, Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox write in an op-ed in The Orange County Register highlighting the high cost of density-oriented policies.
Internet sales: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., about how and when online retailers must collect and remit sales and use taxes to states. Appellants want to overturn a 1992 decision holding that states cannot force sales tax collection by vendors who do not have personnel or property in a given state (the “physical presence” standard). The states’ tax landscape grows increasingly complex; there are nearly 11,000 tax jurisdictions in the nation and Georgia alone has 162, according to the Tax Foundation.
This month in the archives: In April 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Transparency Can Bring Clarity to Georgia Taxpayers.” It noted, “Lambasting transparency efforts as a conspiracy to embarrass government officials is shortsighted. It’s a way for every taxpayer to ensure that programs are being funded appropriately; that costly duplication and redundancy are not burdening agencies and that efficiency and effectiveness are the goals of government.”
On a personal note: Flags across the nation and in Georgia were flown at half-staff this week as Americans mourned the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush at age 92.
In her memoir, she wrote words to live by:
For heaven’s sake enjoy life. Don’t cry over things that were or things that aren’t. Enjoy what you have now to the fullest. In all honesty you really only have two choices; you can like what you do OR you can dislike it. I choose to like it and what fun I have had. The other choice is no fun and people do not want to be around a whiner. We can always find people who are worse off and we don’t have to look far! Help them and forget self! I would certainly say, above all, seek God. He will come to you if you look. There is absolutely NO down side.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Federal Prison Reform Initiative Informed by Georgia Successes,” by Doug Collins.
Have a great weekend.
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)