Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians' Lives
Since 1991
Friday Facts: April 25, 2014

It’s Friday! 

Events 

May 7: ‘Concierge Care for the Little Guy,” is the topic at the Foundation’s 8.a.m. Leadership Breakfast at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The keynote speaker is Dr. Lee Gross, co-founder of Epiphany Health, a Direct Primary Care company. He will explain how individuals can afford coverage and care. This event is open to the public and is $25 to attend. Register by Monday, May 5, 2014, online at http://bit.ly/1gRToJZ.

Health Care Forum May 7: At its May 7-9 Forum at the Galleria Centre, the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism hosts the first face-to-face “Great Debate” between two of the nation’s most influential health care experts on the future of health reform in the United States: John Goodman, a key thought leader for free market solutions and Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, who worked in the Clinton administration on “HillaryCare” and has been key resource to most every Democratic presidential nominee during the last 20 years. For a special price of $159, Foundation members can attend the events of Wednesday, May 7. This includes a four-hour pre-conference presentation, “Physicians Report on State of Health Care in America,” by Docs 4 Patient Care; the Great Debate and the Opening Night Reception. Find out more at http://www.theihccforum.com/2014-ihc-forum-and-expo/

Quotes of Note

“[T]he cost of living (and the value of labor) varies so widely that a much higher federal minimum wage that has little effect in some places (both in terms of raising wages and keeping people out of the labor force) may have huge effects in others.” – Patrick Brennan

“Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. [I]ndustry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Patients – and physicians – say they feel the time crunch as never before as doctors rush through appointments as if on roller skates to see more patients and perform more procedures to make up for flat or declining reimbursements.” – USA Today

Education Bad teachers: By eliminating only the bottom 5-8 percent of teachers, research indicates that American student achievement could rise to the level of achievement in Canada. What would this mean? All workers would see an average paycheck increase of 20 percent each year, for the next 80 years. Source: Hoover Institution

Transportation

Shortsighted policy: A new organization opposed to tolling is dismissing two user-pays approaches. It’s unfortunate, because they will have to be seriously considered for future funding as gas taxes lag transportation infrastructure needs. “Not a single state has successfully placed tolls on existing interstate capacity to date, and VMT pilot programs are in their infancy at best,” the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates says. “These assumptions are completely unrealistic for the foreseeable future.” Source: Forbes.com

Government reform

Civil asset forfeiture: A Minnesota couple is suing the Iowa City Police Department to return almost $50,000, arguing police wrongfully seized that cash. Kearnice Overton was driving with his four children on I-80 when Iowa City police pulled him over for speeding. Police brought a K-9 unit and based on the dog giving a “silent indicator on the vehicle,” police searched Overton’s car. They found $48,000, which the he says had been intended to purchase property. Legislation intended to protect Georgians from such seizures did not make it out of the 2014 session.

Taxes and spending

Taxing statistics: Now that North Carolina has a flat tax of 5.8 percent, Georgia has the second highest personal income tax rate in the Southeast. See the Tax Foundation’s map to see how Georgia compares.

How to tax: The potential benefits of moving away from taxing investment to a consumption tax are well documented, The Wall Street Journal reports in, “How to Energize a Lackluster Economy.” A 2005 Tax Advisory Panel estimated from Treasury data that moving to a consumption tax by removing taxes on investment would result in a 5-7 percent increase in GDP.

Family structure as income inequality culprit: The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76 percent of African-Americans and nearly 97 percent of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30 percent for blacks and 70 percent for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50 percent in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25 percent of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12 percent). Source: Wall Street Journal

Economy

Who works more? Overall working hours have fallen over the past century. But the rich have begun to work longer hours than the poor, the Economist reports. Figures from the American Time Use Survey, released last year, show that Americans with a bachelor’s degree or above work two hours more each day than those without a high-school diploma. Other research shows that the share of college-educated American men regularly working more than 50 hours a week rose from 24 percent in 1979 to 28 percent in 2006, but fell for high-school dropouts. The rich, it seems, are no longer the class of leisure.

Health care

Enrollments: From the moment ObamaCare enrollment numbers began coming in, there has been debate over how best to interpret them. According to Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, it is not how many are enrolled that matters, but rather how they were enrolled. Indeed, the Obama administration is touting high “sign-up” figures which do not accurately reflect the number of people who have actually “enrolled” in a health insurance plan, and more importantly, how many of them are paying for it.

Media

Web site of the week: With more than 1,000 authors, KevinMD.com shares personal news and views on health care and medicine by primary care doctors, surgeons, specialist physicians, nurses, medical students, policy experts and patients.

YouTube: Kelly McCutchen offers updates on the Compact for America balanced budget amendment process, the May 7 Leadership Breakfast and September 19 Legislative Policy Forum. Thanks for watching the videos of Foundation events, which are available online within a couple of days of each event. Become one of the more than 47000 visitors to the Foundation’s YouTube channel!

Social media:The Foundation has 2,240 “likes” on Facebook and 1,178 Twitter followers!

The Forum: Foundation Editor Mike Klein investigates whether the state’s College and Career Ready Performance Index is the best measure for alternative schools like Provost Academy, which focuses on dropout students. In Benita Dodd’s Checking Up on Health, she shares news about ObamaCare enrollments and payments in Georgia and more. Read these and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Steer Clear of Overregulating Autonomous Autos,” by Benita M. Dodd

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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