Category: The Forum

By Kelly McCutchen As has been well reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta’s next mayor faces a ticking time bomb – the city’s water and sewer system. Due to years of neglect and poor design, raw sewage continues to flow into Atlanta’s rivers and streams, polluting the waterways for both Atlanta citizens and Georgians living downstream. Even more frightening is the recent finding that the city’s drinking water is at risk of contamination. In addition, the lack of sewer capacity threatens to freeze economic growth – growth that is crucial to Atlanta’s and Georgia’s future. Where is the public outrage? Where is the Sierra Club? If the Dow Chemical Company had flagrantly dumped more than two million of gallons of… View Article

Mugged by Reality

Eight Lessons We’ve Learned About the Epidemic of Crime and What to Do About it Eugene H. Methvin In the 30 years since Congress first established a federal agency for the study of crime, we have spent millions of dollars on criminological studies. That investment is finally bearing fruit. Aided by powerful new computers crunching reams of data, social scientists have learned a lot about criminal careers, how they develop, and how society can thwart them. The most serious offenders against people and property in this country generally hit their criminal peak between 16 and 18 years of age. The hard-core young thug-to-be starts stealing from mama’s purse before he’s 10. By the fourth and fifth grades, he is skipping… View Article
By Cameron Meierhoefer and Melissa Kelman Since the passage of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been laying the federal groundwork for deregulated wholesale competition in the electric power industry across the country. At the same time, states across the nation have begun evaluating retail competition, where individual customers can directly benefit from competitive pricing. In an effort to protect their regional monopolies, a number of utilities have warned that market forces cannot protect the public and ensure reliable service to meet all future demand. Yet, industrial users and local economic development authorities have supported careful deregulation as a safe and effective way to achieve lower electricity prices. As a consequence, state governments across… View Article

Making Transition to Privatized Social Security

By Mike Tanner Social security is in serious financial trouble. Only by privatizing the system can we avoid the huge tax hikes and benefit cuts required to keep the system solvent — tax hikes and benefit cuts that will worsen an already bad deal for today’s young workers. However, any proposal for privatizing Social Security must deal with the difficult question of financing the transition to a new privatized system. Put quite simply, regardless of what system we choose for the future, we have a moral obligation to continue benefits to today’s recipients. But if current workers divert their payroll taxes to a private system, those monies will no longer be available to pay current benefits; the government will have… View Article

Why Georgia Needs a New Approach to Testing

By Dr. Franklin Shumake Georgia spent $4 million in 1995 (test development, administration and training) evaluating students using Georgia-designed tests that compare Georgia students with other Georgia students. Moreover, the tests are geared specifically to a Georgia curriculum. Ironically, this testing program is not only very costly, it perpetuates mediocrity and prevents parents and teachers from knowing how Georgia students compare with students from other states and regions. Individual Scores and National Comparisons Student achievement will improve in Georgia on a student-by-student basis. Teachers can best assist students when they have a clear picture of the academic strengths and weaknesses of individual students. A testing program should provide teachers with this data, enabling them to teach a student rather than… View Article
By Sunny Park Sunny Park was born in 1942 in Seoul, South Korea. After coming to the United States in 1967 and gaining full citizenship in 1974, he became a successful businessman and an active member of his community. As a relative newcomer to this country, he is concerned that America’s youth are not being taught, and consequently do not fully appreciate, the principles their forbearers fought for in creating the freest nation on Earth and how fortunate they are to be Americans.  As an immigrant, I have personally learned and benefitted from the tremendous value of this great country, the United States of America. I think it can be summarized as follows: • Freedom — A people willing to… View Article
By Dr. Steve Morse Executive Summary In 1994, the Governor’s Development Council created Georgia’s Business Expansion Support Team (B.E.S.T.) for the purpose of attracting new companies to Georgia and helping existing Georgia businesses expand. To support the Georgia B.E.S.T. program, the 1994 Georgia General Assembly passed the Georgia Business Expansion and Support Act, authorizing tax incentives to attract businesses to Georgia and allow the state to more effectively compete in the multi-state bidding wars with neighboring states Alabama and South Carolina. Supporters of tax incentives argue that Georgia must offer concessions at least equal to neighboring states or risk losing new business and job creation opportunities. http://www.georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/taxcred.pdf View Article

Has Government Abandoned Its Founding Principles?

By Amos R. McMullian History does not repeat itself. Human nature repeats itself. It is the nature of humans to stray from the straight and narrow — from sin, and back again; from peace to war and back again; from poverty to prosperity and back to poverty again. It is the nature of humans to forget this, and they need to be reminded. This cycle of human nature goes on in both the people and in their leaders. Sometimes the people are wrong. Sometimes the leadership is wrong. Sometimes both of them are wrong. Bad public policy causes people to suffer. Our Founding Fathers understood human nature. They understood that incentives matter and they knew that government can destroy wealth… View Article

What Ever Happened to the Tenth Amendment?

By Kelly McCutchen “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” — Tenth Amendment, Constitution of the United States of America The best way to check the powers of government is to keep government close to the people.  The Tenth Amendment represented an attempt by our Founding Fathers to protect the states from the federal government.  Unfortunately, this protection has been trampled by Congress, and the primary means used has been through unfunded federal mandates. Federal mandates are laws or policies passed by Congress, such as the Motor Voter Law or the Clean Air Act, that state or local governments… View Article

Finally, a one volume resource from an independent source that gives those of us in public life a new view on which to make public policy.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes