Category: Commentaries

The Future Path of The Supreme Court

By Hans von Spakovsky Hans von Spakovsky The sudden, unexpected death of Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia is a tragedy not just for his extensive family and many friends, but for the Supreme Court, the nation and all those who believe in the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution. This was his 30th year on the Court, and in those 30 years, he helped change the course of the law with his profound legal analysis and his single-minded determination to bring the Court back to applying the Constitution as it was written and understood by the men who wrote it. Scalia had a visceral contempt for activist judges who legislate from the bench, rewriting statutes and the Constitution… View Article

The Dangers of Municipal Broadband

The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity published this roundup on February 17, 2016, of municipal broadband project initiatives around the nation. Find the article online at  http://franklincenterhq.org/12493/watchdog-government-broadband. The Internet of tax dollars: Watchdog covers the dangers of municipal broadband By As the economy continues its full-throttle transition into the digital age, government-run Internet projects have become all the rage among lawmakers in statehouses, counties, and cities. Bolstered [1] by a Federal Communications Commission ruling last year that struck down laws preventing local governments from building out and competing with other broadband networks, these “municipal broadband” projects lead governments to sink tens – if not hundreds – of millions of dollars into Internet infrastructure. Much of these… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD A Georgia Senate committee heard this week from proponents and foes of a sales tax increase to fund public transportation projects including an 11.9-mile MARTA heavy rail expansion up Georgia 400. Witnesses represented developers, environmentalists, Millennials, elected officials and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Foundation’s Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum, a transportation analyst with the Reason Foundation and an affected metro Atlanta resident, testified that, “for one MARTA heavy-rail expansion we could provide 20 high quality bus rapid transit expansions.” Transit activists frequently portray the Georgia Public Policy Foundation as “anti-transit” because our experts consistently rail against rail in metro Atlanta – heavy, light and commuter rail as well as streetcars. The “anti-transit”… View Article
The Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, chaired by Sen. John Albers, held a hearing February 9 on legislation for a local countywide sales tax increase to fund transit, including 11.9-mile MARTA rail line expansion along Georgia 400. Albers invited Baruch Feigenbaum to testify. Below is Feigenbaum’s testimony.   Members of the Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, my name is Baruch Feigenbaum. I am the Assistant Director of Transportation Policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank. I am also a Senior Fellow with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For almost four decades Reason’s transportation experts have been advising federal, state and local policymakers on transportation matters. My Credentials on Today’s Topic I am a… View Article

Georgia Needs Direct Care Now

By Hal C. Scherz The Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed with the promise of decreasing the high costs of health care and increasing access to care by making health care insurance more affordable. Almost six years later, it appears that this experiment to remake American health care has been a failure. The average American now pays over $4,000 more for health care insurance, with deductibles in the $6,000 range. Meanwhile, 10-15 million Americans still lack health insurance. The ACA has disrupted the health insurance market, making it difficult for healthy young Americans to purchase insurance. Of the 23 Federal-state insurance co-ops, 11 have declared bankruptcy and all are in the red except one. All insurance companies participating in the insurance… View Article

Five Reasons for Education Optimism in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd  BENITA DODD Georgians marked National School Choice Week Jan. 24-30, a week of events highlighted by thousands of yellow “woobie” scarves and celebration of the innovations in education in Georgia. Among the more than 16,000 events held around the nation was the Foundation’s January 27 Leadership Breakfast, a panel discussion with legislators Hunter Hill and Mike Dudgeon and education innovator Mike Davis. The event was followed by a massive noon rally at the Georgia State Capitol. Championing choice with one voice at the rally were Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, rapper Ludacris and an all-grown-up Keisha Knight Pulliam, who you may recall as The Cosby Show’s Rudy Huxtable. All week, the enthusiasm for school choice was overwhelming… View Article
By Robert Krol Each year, state and local governments decide on which transportation infrastructure projects to build. Often, priority goes to projects directed at reducing highway congestion or air pollution. The economic backbone of the decision process is supposed to be an objective cost-benefit analysis. However, calculating the costs and benefits of any major project is technically difficult. Cost estimates require a determination of labor and material quantities and prices. Benefit estimates require forecasting economic growth, demographic trends, and travel patterns in the region. Clouding the analysis is the fact that this decision process takes place in a political environment. Politicians love the publicity they get at the opening of a high-occupancy vehicle lane or the expansion of a mass… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd In his State of the State address to the Georgia Legislature this week, Governor Nathan Deal succinctly justified his resistance to expanding Medicaid to low-income, able-bodied Georgians. Deal recited the costs already imposed by the Affordable Care Act: Reporting requirements alone add $2.1 million in state spending, and even without Medicaid expansion, enrollment increased due to heightened eligibility awareness. This “woodwork effect” increased program costs 15.7 percent from fiscal years 2013-17, to $3.1 billion. Unsurprisingly, critics denounced the governor for “leaving” federal money on the table and poor Georgians uninsured while missing an economic opportunity. But “no” to expanding this entitlement program does not equate to “no” to health care or to economic opportunity in Georgia.… View Article

A 2016 Legislative Wish List for Georgia

By Kelly McCutchen Conventional wisdom says a budget surplus plus an election year equals a legislative session that adjourns quickly to maximize time for campaigning and fundraising, but not before spreading government funds as widely as possible to maximize voter “happiness.” But Georgia, like many states, faces real challenges so one can hope for leadership on real reforms instead of politics as usual. The current political debate over income inequality distracts attention from a more important issue: economic opportunity. With Georgia’s high level of poverty and a middle class feeling like they are economically stuck in the mud, it’s more important than ever that our policies focus on empowering individuals with every opportunity to climb the economic ladder and tearing… View Article
By Ben Scafidi Humans seem to always want more – more time with our families, more health care, more funding for roads, more tax cuts. More funding for our public K-12 schools. And more student achievement. When it comes to getting “more” of something, however, we either (a) have to accept less of something else or (b) increase the productivity of what we’re doing. Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly have been blessed with extra tax revenues over the past two legislative sessions, thanks to their smart economic stewardship and the ingenuity of everyday Georgians. And, in the spirit of “more,” they chose to devote over a billion dollars of those extra revenues to additional funding for our… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes