Category: General

(Corrected version to reflect that SPN was established in 1992 and 150 organizations attended the 2014 SPN conference.) By Benita Dodd BENITA DODD When the State Policy Network was established in 1992, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was one of just 12 independent, free-market, state-focused think tanks around the nation. Its leaders could have met in someone’s garage. Twenty-two years later, the movement has grown and flourishes. At the SPN annual conference in Denver last week (September 23-26) 900 attendees from 150 organizations representing all 50 states met to strategize approaches on free-market, limited government solutions to public policy. If you haven’t heard of SPN, the think tanks’ “umbrella,” visit www.spn.org to find out more. You can be sure the… View Article

Checking Up On Health: September 2, 2014

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd (This Labor Day week, the reference to the CBO quote about the Affordable Care Act is the extent of the “Health Policy News and Views!”) BENITA DODD Around Labor Day weekend, the squeaky wheels turn to the issues of equal pay for equal work and raising the minimum wage to a “fair” wage. And yet, how do you count equal work? And who decides what is an acceptable “fair” wage? A long time and another career ago, I was notified of my annual pay raise after receiving a glowing performance review. My supervisor raved about my hard work, talent and ingenuity. So when I saw what the raise was destined… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation History is fickle with heroic humans, even when they loom over their generation in service to humanity. Even presidents suffer the fickle hand of history, especially when events in their administrations overshadow them. It happened to Herbert Hoover. From the 1930s onward, most Americans associated him with a failed administration and economic deprivation that spawned terms like “Hoover buggy” (a dilapidated horse-drawn cart with an automobile axle and tires), “Hoover gravy” (without any meat flavor),” and “Hooverville.” John Steinbeck wrote in “Grapes of Wrath” about California, “there was a Hooverville on the edge of every town,” explaining, “The rag town lay close to water; and the houses were tents… View Article
By Michael Carnuccio The United States is the land of opportunity. Our country’s heritage is a rich tapestry interwoven from Native Americans and immigrants of all colors and cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, today’s discussion of immigration is dominated by short-term politics and the immediate results of the federal government’s failure to defend our borders. It’s time to change the conversation about immigration, refocusing on how best to unleash human potential. Our country’s future depends upon genius born here or drawn here. Our country’s security depends both on securing our borders and on holding true to our motto, e pluribus unum: from diversity, unity. This does not, of course, mean simply throwing open the doors or throwing up our hands. History counsels… View Article
Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Mike Klein President Barack Obama has signed legislation that will provide nearly a half billion federal dollars to deepen the Savannah River and Harbor, a project that is essential to Georgia’s economic future when larger ships begin to move through the Panama Canal.  Georgia congressional delegation members attended Tuesday morning’s White House signing ceremony. The President said, “As more of the world’s cargo is transported on these massive ships we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got bridges high enough and ports that are big enough to hold them and accommodate them so that our businesses can keep selling goods made in America to the rest of the world.” The Port of Savannah… View Article
  BENITA DODD By Benita M. Dodd As Memorial Day approaches, the word of the week is “summer.”  Unfortunately, the true meaning of the holiday more often takes a back seat to barbecue. What is now simply the “unofficial start of summer” once was “Decoration Day,” honoring the troops who died in the Civil War. Today, it honors all the Americans who have died in military service. The context is important. Schools are preparing to close after a year of struggling to impart not just academics but character. In some cases, it’s even tougher to teach character: Students’ role models have devolved. Yesterday’s “Hannah Montana” is today’s twerking Miley Cyrus. Many students go home to workaholic parents, single parents, low-income… View Article
(This article was published on Forbes.com and is reprinted with permission by the author.) By Jeffrey Dorfman JEFFREY DORFMANProfessor of Applied EconomicsUniversity of Georgia President Obama and the Democrats continue to push for an increase in the minimum wage. Against much evidence that such a law is very ineffective at reducing poverty, the administration is still touting the benefits they claim would help millions of workers. Yet, it turns out that, for the sort of worker about whom we should be most concerned, such a policy actually benefits the federal government more than the worker. That’s right. As I will show below, a hypothetical single mom with one kid would see more than half of the proposed minimum wage increase… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd March was eventful at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. More than 200 supporters attended the Annual Reception and Dinner to celebrate 23 years of promoting free markets, limited government and individual responsibility in Georgia. If you were a liberal looking for fault, you could have a field day alleging “right-wing tokenism” on this red-letter day for the Foundation. What does that mean? Several years ago, a local resident newsperson and his guest made a visit to the Foundation offices to seek advice on how to start a think tank – a liberal think tank. The staff assembled and gave advice freely, believing Georgia has room for all viewpoints and may common sense win. In fact, liberal… View Article

The Poor Are Not Getting Poorer

The rich may be getting richer, but the poor are definitely not getting poorer. In fact, most Americans got richer over the last 35 years. President Obama likes to stress that income inequality has increased in the United States, but it is hardly “the defining challenge of our time,” as he has called it, says Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent for Reason Magazine. Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless used data from a December 2013 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study to show that from 1979 to 2010 (this was the last year with available data) the bottom quintile’s after-tax income in constant dollars rose by 49 percent. For the second lowest, middle and fourth quintile, those incomes increased by a respective… View Article

Hispanics Understand Free-Market Principles

Excerpt from the keynote address by Daniel Garza, executive director of The LIBRE Initiative, at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 2014 Annual Dinner on March 5, 2014. Garza’s family immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Garza, who as a child worked alongside his father and brother in farm fields, became an elected official, a White House staffer and now is executive director of The LIBRE Initiative. By Daniel Garza  My parents saw America, I think, like a lot of immigrants did before them: as the Promised Land. I like to quote a song by Woody Guthrie that he wrote about the Joad family in the novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.” He’s talking about the family coming to California and… View Article

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.)

Governor Nathan Deal more quotes