Category: General

  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 parents, immigrant… View Article
(This article was published on Forbes.com and is reprinted with permission by the author.) By Jeffrey Dorfman 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 offset by a reduction in benefits from… 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

What Do Y’all Do?

By Benita M. Dodd Kelly McCutchen, the Big Guy at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, came into my office this morning to show me the Google Analytics for the Foundation’s Web site. For those who don’t know Google Analytics, it’s Google’s breakdown of where people alight on the Foundation Web site. (For those who don’t know the Foundation’s Web site, it’s www.georgiapolicy.org!) The page with the most visits? “Who We Are.” I’m not surprised. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle read us and heed us – or not.  Georgia State Senator Fran Millar, for example, says, “The ability to call on the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and its network of experts for research and feedback… View Article

Atlanta’s Icy Logjam a Beacon of Hope for The Future

By Benita M. Dodd The metro Atlanta region came to a standstill this week, its interstates, highways and side streets glazed over with ice after a sudden snowfall, and thousands of commuters left stranded. Children spent the night at school, people bedded down in churches, restaurants, hotel lobbies and grocery stores. The rest of America chuckled good-humoredly at those silly Atlantans who can’t even drive in a dusting of snow. The fingerpointing and soul-searching began early. Whose fault? Why didn’t government learn from the last ice storm? What can policy-makers do better next time? What is wrong with motor-centric Atlanta that it won’t embrace mass transit? Why isn’t Georgia spending more on (fill in the blank)? None of that matters.… View Article

Upward Mobility Has Not Declined

A new study finds that the odds of moving up the income ladder are the same today as they were 20 years ago, says the New York Times. The findings contradict widespread claims that a person’s chance for upward mobility is lower today than in the past. The study also examined another report by researchers who had observed children born between 1952 and 1975. Combining those results indicates that intergenerational mobility rates have been steady for the last 50 years. Absolute mobility — the measure of a person’s income compared to his parents’ — has also improved in recent years. Median family income is close to 12 percent higher today than it was in 1980, meaning that most adults… View Article

Georgia 8th in Latest Economic Freedom Report

Georgia ranked 12th overall and 8th in the United States in the the ninth annual Economic Freedom of North America report. The study examines key indicators of economic freedom based on the size of government, taxation, regulation, rule of law and property rights and other relevant factors in 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces.… View Article

Nelson Mandela: Pragmatism that Saved a Nation

By Benita M. Dodd I came from a simple family; neither of my parents graduated high school. But my mother had a nose for trouble back in the days when the grapevine still worked. Somehow she learned that I was one of the students behind plastering my high school in South Africa with protest posters in 1976 during the Soweto riots. “Free Mandela,” was scrawled on one of the posters. My mother, always the disciplinarian, beat the living daylights out of me for it. Looking back, I know it’s because she was worried about what could happen to people who supported Nelson Mandela during the apartheid years. I know, because some of them were my friends. They “slipped on the… View Article

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