Category: Commentaries

Teachers Unions, Faulty Economics and School Choice

By Jeffrey Dorfman JEFFREY DORFMAN School choice is one of the most controversial and hard-fought public policy debates of the past few decades. Most liberals, who get significant funding from public school teachers unions, line up against any form of school choice, while many conservatives favor allowing some form of market to introduce competition amongst schools for education tax dollars. The argument against school choice always seems to focus on how it would “defund” public schools by “draining” monies away. This argument, however, is based on faulty economics and should be discarded or strongly rebutted by school choice proponents. School choice comes in a variety of flavors. Some public school districts let residents choose their preferred school within the district;… View Article

Lessons and Opportunities from The Election

By Kelly McCutchen It’s not always as good, or bad, as it seems. The same can be said of this year’s national election. Conservatives and liberals should temper their enthusiasm and despair; this election was not an endorsement of any ideology. It was a revolt, as Peggy Noonan so aptly puts it, by the “unprotected” against the “protected.” At its core were middle-class Americans, who had done everything they were told to do, but were frustrated by rising taxes and higher education and health care costs as their wages remained stagnant. They had lost hope in the future, for their children and in the American Dream. They felt disgust at the ruling political class and their crony friends and corrupt… View Article

Health Care: Another Foundation Frontier

By Benita M. Dodd This month, as the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates 25 years of policy over politics, many Georgians are getting ready for a 25 percent increase in health insurance premiums. It’s a clear case of politics trumping policy; a congressional sledgehammer was taken to a problem needing precision surgery. The Foundation has worked for a quarter-century to bring incremental improvements that facilitate individual opportunity instead of socially engineering Georgians’ options. It takes time to turn the tanker of state government, but the timeline demonstrates how ideas planted by this state-focused free-market think tank have taken root and flourished. Some examples: Education choice: When the Foundation was established in 1991, public school choice was nonexistent; children from… View Article
A legal memorandum by John-Michael Seibler of the Heritage Foundation proposes, “Seven State Criminal Justice Reform Measures for Congress to Consider.” It points out: “A number of states—those laboratories of democracy—are leading the current push for genuine reform that does not involve issuing get-out-of-jail-free cards to those deserving of punishment. The federal government would be well-served by looking to the modest, measured pieces of legislation states have crafted to battle overcriminalization and enact effective criminal justice reform.”  Read the memorandum in its entirety on the Heritage Foundation website here. The measures are  Enact Mens Rea Reform to Decriminalize Morally Innocent Mistakes or Accidents Repeal Outdated, Unnecessary Criminal Laws Codify the Rule of Lenity (guides judicial interpretation of… View Article

Tough Choices on Tax Reform for Georgia

By Kelly McCutchen Tennessee just became the second state in U.S. history to eliminate its personal income tax. Florida and Texas do not have a personal income tax. With Georgia’s unsuccessful attempts over the last decade to shift to a more pro-growth tax structure by lowering its personal income tax, it’s worth asking the question: How do these states manage it? Do they spend less? Do other sources of revenue make up for lower income taxes? Or is it something unique that Georgia can’t duplicate? Georgia’s personal income tax brings in more than $8 billion a year, or $878 per capita. The challenge is to identify $878 per capita of spending cuts or other revenues to make up the difference.… View Article

Give Prisoners a Second Chance

By Gerard Robinson and Elizabeth English On October 12, 29 prisoners and 45 Baltimore-area experts in criminal justice congregated in the Jessup Correctional Institution library. Most were members of the University of Baltimore community or other academics. All were eager to see the inauguration of a Department of Education pilot program that could change the lives of participants for years to come. In June 2016, the university was chosen among 67 colleges and universities nationwide to participate in the Obama administration’s $30 million Second Chance Pell Grant Experimental Sites Initiative. Under the program, approximately 12,000 of America’s 2.2 million incarcerated will receive federal aid to pursue a higher education. Upon release, they will retain the Pell funding to finish… View Article

Tempers in a Teacup Dilute Women’s Issues

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week sums up stormy presidential politics: “2016 race devolves into ugly fight over treatment of women.” Many believe the battle over which presidential candidate is more endearing to women is the crux of the women’s vote. It isn’t. Not every woman is a “victim” seeking protection and a “safe place.” Not even most of them. There are working mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home moms and women who chose not to have children. They are wives, single women, retirees and senior citizens, welfare recipients, homemakers, home-based workers, professionals and business owners. Just like the lifestyles women choose or prefer, their policy issues run the gamut. They believe in limited… View Article

Resistance Grows to Civil Asset Forfeiture

By Ross Coker Ross Coker While the discussion and debate over reform for civil asset forfeiture remain ongoing, most Americans still probably do not even know what it means, much less how it is being wielded by law enforcement. Among the think tanks and policy organizations explaining the concept and grading individual states are The Heritage Foundation and The Institute for Justice. They call it “policing for profit.” In brief, the concept of civil asset forfeiture is that two different burdens are proof are used to determine if an individual is guilty of a crime and to determine if the individual’s property is “guilty” of being used for the crime. This presents the strange legal fiction where a car View Article

Reacting to the 2015 FBI Crime Report

By Ross Coker Ross Coker Atlanta – The FBI released its comprehensive report on 2015 crime and crime rates across the nation today (September 26). The report, “Crime in the United States,” highlights some potentially troubling statistics, among them, a 3.1 percent overall increase in the relative overall comparative violent crime rate While this statistic is troubling on its face, there are several crucial points to bear in mind when interpreting the data. First, the rise in crime was relative to the year before. Violent crime has fallen steadily for decades now (and was in fact at half-century record lows) and therefore is more pronounced as an uptick simply because of the low starting point. Furthermore,… View Article

Price Gouging Laws: Good Politics, Bad Economics

Forbes Magazine published a column on September 23, 2016 by Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of economics at the University of Georgia, “Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics.” The column is published in its entirety below; access it online here. Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics By Jeffrey Dorfman A leak in a gas pipeline in Alabama this week caused a gasoline shortage in several states in the southeastern United States, including my home state of Georgia. Both luckily and unluckily for motorists in Georgia, the state has an anti-price gouging law. These laws, commonly employed by governors to stop price increases after natural disasters, make consumers happy but also stop markets from alleviating… View Article

The Foundation always tells the truth.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes