August 20, 2010
“At times I am happy when Congress does nothing. But in this case, doing nothing will increase taxes and damage the economy.” — Lee E. Ohanian, professor of economics at UCLA, on the federal tax increases scheduled to take effect in 2011.
Taxes and spending
– U.S. Debt Load Among World’s Worst. This year, U.S. public debt is projected to reach 62 percent of the economy — up from 40 percent in 2008 and nearly double the historical average, according to recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. By 2030, the CBO projects that debt will more than double to 146 percent of gross domestic product.
– Taxes are at unsustainably low levels? No, government expenditures are at unsustainably high levels, says the Reason Foundation’s Nick Gillespie. Since the 1950s, federal revenue as a percentage of GDP has clustered around 18 percent, despite endless attempts to squeeze more money out of the economy and into government coffers. The great variable in the federal balance sheet has been spending, not revenue. Debt comes from spending more than you have, not from having too little.
– The domination of third-party payors stifles innovation in health care, says John Goodman. “Wherever there is third-party payment, the goal of innovation is to produce more products that qualify for reimbursement, even if the effects on patient outcomes are only marginal. Wherever there is no third-party reimbursement, innovators are focused on ways to lower cost and raise quality.”
– Watch for a feature this weekend on a great public education success story: Tech High School. The interview with Dr. Graysen Walles, parents and students will air on WSB Channel 2 on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
– In 2000, just 3.5 percent of the state’s 44,000 prisoners were aged 55 and older. Today, that percentage has doubled to 7 percent as the total prison population grew, too, by 10,000. Georgia has 27 inmates in their 80s and 218 in their 70s. And their numbers are a ripple compared to the tidal wave of prisoners sentenced to life as young adults under the two-strikes-and-you’re-out legislation who are approaching middle age. Providing medical care for a prisoner over age 65 is nearly nine times higher, averaging $8,500 per year compared to just $961 for younger inmates. We suppose former Governor Lester Maddox would say we just need a healthier group of inmates!
– Visit www.gppf.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Restore Trust in the Highway Trust Fund” by Robert W. Poole and Adrian Moore.
Have a great weekend.
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