Category: Commentaries

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Remember when India was a poster-country for overpopulation and starvation? In just one sign, The New York Times carried more than 100 articles per year from 1965 to 1980 that linked India’s name and population. How times have changed. In August 2017, an article in The Times of India proclaimed, “Govt raises foodgrain output to record 275.68 tonnes” (metric). In 1961, the harvest was less than 100 metric tons. This tripling of cereal grain production occurred with almost no change of the land area used for these crops. (See attached chart.) India’s food supply per person has increased over 20 percent since 1970, even as the population more than… View Article

The Unintended Consequences of Trade Protectionism

By Jeffrey Dorfman Jeffrey Dorfman The International Trade Commission has ruled that imported solar panels from China and other countries were injuring U.S. manufacturers, which will provide President Trump with the opportunity to impose tariffs in order to protect American solar panel producers from this “unfair” foreign competition. However, to protect the jobs of Americans who manufacture solar panels, the President would have to endanger the jobs of a larger groups of Americans: those who install the solar panels at our homes and businesses. Thus, solar panels are a perfect illustration of the dilemma inherent in opposing free trade. Justin Worland reports in Time magazine that solar panel manufacturers employ about 8,000 Americans while another 240,000 U.S. jobs are related… View Article

Time is of the Essence in State Health Care Reform

State-focused health care reform is a major component of the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on October 13. Register today here By Kelly McCutchen With the failure of health care reform in Congress, Georgia faces decision time: Accept the status quo or lead a state-based effort to address the issue. The decision state leaders make — one that must be made quickly – will have long-lasting effects. On the negative side of the ledger, the gridlock in Washington leaves many challenges unaddressed. It’s not pretty. Nearly all of Georgia’s rural hospitals are struggling to stay in business. Medicaid recipients search in vain for doctors willing to take new patients.  Several hundred thousand low-income Georgians are unable to afford insurance.… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd John Goodman, “the Father of Health Care Savings Accounts,” discussed health care reforms with Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen at the 2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. This year’s Forum focuses on state options amid Congressional deadlock. Education and health care are two of Georgia’s biggest challenges. Effective – and cost-effective – solutions have been state goals since long before the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established in 1991. Through events and publications such as the Guide to the Issues, the Foundation has offered Georgia-specific, limited-government, market-oriented policy solutions and alternatives. In 2010, the Foundation followed in the steps of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, then in the eighth year of its annual Policy… View Article

A Celebration in Education: 25 Years of Charters

By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Public Policy Foundation helped establish Tech High, a STEM charter high school in Atlanta Public Schools. The school was successful academically but succumbed to the bureaucratic burdens of the school district. Twenty-five years ago this month, City Academy High School opened in Saint Paul, Minn., the first charter school in the nation after Minnesota’s state law authorized the opening of eight “results-oriented, student-centered public schools.” As it celebrates its silver anniversary, City Academy can take credit for inspiring 165 charter schools with nearly 54,000 students in Minnesota today. But wait, there’s more! By the 2016-17 school year, there were more than 6,900 charter schools operating across the nation, with more than 3.1 million students,… View Article

Commonsense Recommendations for SPLOST Reform in Georgia

By Ron Sifen and Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an optional 1 percent county sales tax used to fund local capital projects for a county and participating municipalities. Thirty-two years after lawmakers passed the SPLOST law, lessons learned prove the SPLOST is sorely in need of some updates. Implemented in just 12 counties in the first year it was established (1985) and 15 more the next year, today the tax is imposed in all counties except DeKalb, Fulton and Muscogee, according to the state Department of Revenue. (DeKalb and Fulton have a MARTA tax; all three have an education SPLOST). The tax, which can last up to six years, is routinely renewed;… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In rural Georgia and across the country, the uncertain future and closure of emergency rooms and hospitals are all too common. A primary factor is the long-term impact of a federal law that requires hospital emergency departments to treat and stabilize all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. This law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), made the nation’s ERs the default health care provider for the uninsured. The federal government doesn’t cover the full cost of providing this care, however, making EMTALA a massive unfunded federal mandate. Imagine addressing other social problems like this: Eliminate hunger by requiring all restaurants to serve hungry people regardless of their ability to pay the bill. Combat… View Article

Free Speech Must Persevere on Campus

By Eric Wearne As a new college year begins, consider these quotes: “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be [here].” “We confronted an angry mob as we tried to exit the building. … One thug grabbed me by the hair and another shoved me in a different direction.” “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!” A scene from the civil rights era? From a character in a Solzhenitsyn novel, sentenced to a Soviet Gulag camp? From a dissident in Cuba held political prisoner by Castro? None of the above. These recent statements involve college professors who experienced protests or, in some cases, assaults by students on their campuses. Such… View Article

States Must Seize Opportunity for Health Care Reform

By Kelly McCutchen With the failure of the federal government to address this nation’s health care crisis, the job now falls to the states. Fortunately for the states, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides them broad authority to restructure federal funding and regulations through the underutilized State Innovation Waiver. Georgia is well-positioned to seize this opportunity and serve as a model to show the rest of the nation the way forward on health care reform. “Crisis” is an overused word, but it describes the situation for many Georgia families. Premiums for policies on the Georgia ACA exchange have more than doubled over the past four years, and they could increase by up to 40 percent next year. In exchange for… View Article

Transit Needs a Ticket to Transparency

At its second meeting August 2 at MARTA headquarters, the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding heard from MARTA CEO Keith Parker. By Benita M. Dodd In March 2017, the Georgia House of Representatives voted to establish a Georgia House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding that sunsets by December 2019. The resolution cites the need to study developing a “unified regional governance structure;” “creating efficiency and coordination among providers;” “regional, integrated and comprehensive mass transportation,” and, “an analysis of potential methods of funding.” The commission is charged with undertaking “a study of the conditions, needs, issues and problems mentioned above or related thereto and recommend any action or legislation.” The commission met in June and August 2.… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes