Category: Commentaries

By Harold Brown 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 and weed-thatched enclosures, paper houses, a great junk… View Article
(Paul S. Atkins and Peter Wallison are the speakers at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s August 28 Policy Briefing Luncheon, “Unaccountable Government in Action.” Find information about the luncheon here.) By Paul S. Atkins  Even with the stock market reaching all-time highs and many Americans smiling at the look of their 401(k) valuations, storm clouds are gathering in Washington and abroad that may mean higher costs for investors, lower returns in the long run, and less freedom to cash out when that rainy day comes.  If you are trying to save for retirement, college tuition or a down payment, it is worth paying close attention to this unfolding debate on whether central planners in Washington should impose… View Article
By Dr. Brian E. Hill and Wayne Oliver During the next few weeks, many of Americans will receive some very bad news at work or in the mail: Health insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket for 2015 because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The PwC Health Research Institute projects double-digit rate increases for health insurance plans in Florida, North Carolina and Iowa, for example. With health insurance becoming so unaffordable, many will be wondering why the ACA didn’t take steps to reduce health care costs. One linchpin Washington politicians skipped in addressing the health care crisis was addressing medical malpractice reform. ObamaCare did nothing to protect physicians and hospitals from frivolous lawsuits or to deter the costly practice of… View Article

Capping Scholarships, Capping Opportunity

By Mike Klein Carlethia Ingram easily could have become one more lost teenager. Her mother died four days after the birth of her youngest sister. For 10 years, Carlethia and two sisters lived with their grandmother in Savannah public housing until Barbara Ingram passed away last year. “When their grandmother died we kept them,” said Anthony Phillips. “No court has ever said they belong to you. It just happened.” Phillips and his wife, Donna, are retired U.S. Army officers. He owns a logistics company and serves on the World Trade Center Savannah board of directors. Donna Phillips is a dentist and board member at a small Christian academy that was a large part of Carlethia’s life through ninth grade, when… View Article

School Choice, A Way to Fix Public Schools

By Ben Scafidi This excerpt is adapted from a speech by Dr. Ben Scafidi on July 10, 2014, at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Friedman Legacy for Freedom celebration in Macon.   I’ve been a Milton Friedman fan since I was an undergraduate and I am honored to be a Fellow at the Friedman Foundation. He has influenced me and influenced national policy so much. The legacy Friedman chose is the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. I want to read you some quotes from Milton and Rose Friedman about school choice. This is from 2003: “Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its… View Article
By Lindsey Burke Erika Hartley has two sons with Autism, which means she can explain in one sentence what being able to customize their education means to her family. “If you’ve met one child with Autism,” she says, “You’ve met one child with Autism.” Fortunately, for her sons, Hunter, 11, and Jackson, 7, they live in Arizona, home to the first-in-the-nation education savings accounts. ESAs enable Hunter and Jackson attend Pieceful Solutions, a school that specializes in teaching children with special needs. The Hartleys can use any money left over after tuition for private tutoring, books, educational therapies and to pay for other education-related services and products. Now, some families in Florida will have access to this innovative approach to… View Article

Education Excellence Can’t Be Achieved From Above

By Jason Bedrick Education in America in the 21st century is moving away from the standardization of the Industrial Era and toward greater customization. As parents increasingly tailor their children’s education through course choice, scholarship tax credits, education savings accounts, homeschooling, online and blending learning, and so on, top-down accountability schemes will become increasingly untenable. As our education system becomes more decentralized and complex, the locus of accountability should shift from government to parents. The best form of accountability is directly to parents who are empowered to choose the education providers that meet their children’s needs—and leave those that do not. Since low-income families often cannot afford anything besides their assigned district school, the government school system has had to… View Article

State needs power to fix problems

By Benita M. Dodd What’s a state to do when the federal surface transportation program heads toward its Sept. 1 expiration date with little promise of a new transportation bill and the Federal Highway Trust Fund’s expenditures outpace tax receipts about $1.25 billion a month? The good news is nobody expects Congress to allow the program to lapse. Washington will slap on some Band-Aid legislation taking states into 2015 (hint: November elections) but the wounds of partisanship will continue to fester. What Georgia should not be doing is holding its breath. State transportation leaders should hold their noses instead; forge ahead with new and growing independence from the federal government. Gov. Nathan Deal is doing so already, having approved the… View Article
  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

Taxes Do Matter to Migration

By Jonathan Williams, Will Freeland and Ben Wilterdink The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently released a new study that purports to show that state taxes have a negligible effect on the decisions of Americans to migrate from one state to another. The study criticizes research done by Dr. Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams in the yearly publication, “Rich States, Poor States,” and other publications that arrive at the conclusion that states should seek to adopt competitive tax and fiscal policies as a way of promoting economic growth.   The author of the CBPP report fundamentally misinterprets what the data really means and/or grossly misrepresents the actual position taken by advocates of lower state taxes. For the… View Article

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