Friday Facts: February 24th, 2012

It’s Friday!

 

Events
– March 22 Leadership Breakfast: 
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider arguments regarding the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Georgia anticipates the aftermath, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will provide a timely, “Georgia Health Care Update,” at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/874bfjsRegister online by Tuesday, March 20, at http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk. This Leadership Breakfast will cost $25 to attend.

Quotes of note
– “[E]conomic liberty and creative entrepreneurship are the basis of any solution to today’s social and economic difficulties. Blaming business, setting wages and attempting to run the economy by decree from Washington only exacerbates the problems. Consider the minimum wage. It seems so simple: Tell business to pay its workers more. But a hike in the minimum wage is essentially a tax, punishing precisely those companies that hire workers with the least skills.” – Doug Bandow
– “If the provisions of the Constitution can be set aside by an Act of Congress, where is the course of usurpation to end? The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war growing in intensity and bitterness.” – Justice Stephen J. Field

Fiscal policy
– Georgia housing affordability: One in four Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loans outstanding in Georgia was 30-days-plus delinquent as of January. FHA insures about 18 percent of all mortgages (by count) outstanding in Georgia. As of January 2012, Georgia had 87,218 delinquent FHA loans, representing about one-third of all the state’s delinquent loans. To put this in perspective, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports that Georgia now has 48,866 seriously delinquent FHA versus 30,672 seriously delinquent self-denominated subprime loans.FHA Watch of the American Enterprise Institute proposes steps for government to end the distortion: Step back from markets that can be served by the private sector; stop knowingly lending to people who cannot afford to repay their loans; help homeowners establish meaningful equity in their homes, and concentrate on homebuyers who truly need help purchasing their first home.

 

Taxes and Spending
 
Who says income tax rates don’t matter? Paging Dr. Laffer: British officials believe that well-off taxpayers are “maneuvering” to avoid paying new higher tax rates after the British Treasury received just £10.35 billion in income tax payments from those paying by self-assessment in January. It was a drop of £509 million compared with January 2011; most other taxes produced higher revenues over the same period. The figures will add to pressure to drop the higher levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad. This is the first year following the introduction of the 50 [percent] rate, which had been expected to boost tax revenues from self-assessment by more than £1 billion. (Hat tip to Dr. Frank Stephenson.)

 

Government
– “We hold these truths to be self-evident” … and yet they’re not. It’s no surprise that the Georgia Tea Party last week unveiled the Marietta Declaration, which “strongly supports a redefinition of the role of the Executive Branch of the federal government consistent with the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.” It includes a call for presidential candidates “to support the constitutional role of the Executive as envisioned by our Founding Fathers, and to swear to uphold the Constitution while in office” and maintains that “for nearly a century, the Executive Branch has exceeded its authority in numerous ways.” Read this commendable document at http://tinyurl.com/7y8vnj3.

Education
– EduFact: Georgia parents clearly want start-up charter schools. Last year more than 5,000 students were on waiting lists to attend the state’s few start-up charter schools. This may be why an overwhelming majority of the Legislature wants to change the state Constitution to make start-up charter schools a viable option for Georgia families.

 

Social media
– This Week in The Forum: Read my op-ed from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Georgia’s need for a personal income tax rate cut to spur economic growth in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog. Forum Editor Mike Klein posted articles about criminal justice reform and a charter schools constitutional amendment resolution that passed the House this week. Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd wrote how federal budget cuts in Medicare and Medicaid could end up costing states more money to support unfunded federal mandates. Read these articles and more at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/.
– Facebook: Were you at the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast with Rod Martin, co-founder of PayPal? See the event photographs on our Facebook page athttp://tinyurl.com/7kenmdp. Tag yourself. While you’re there, don’t forget to join the more than 1,500 Foundation supporters that “Like” the Foundation’s Facebook page.
– FoundationTV: If you are unable to attend Foundation events, you can watch them streamed online after the fact. Click here to hear the status of the Foundation’s policy priorities in the 2012 legislative session. Click here to watch PayPal co-founder and entrepreneur Rod Martin discuss radical innovation and changes needed in public education. Click here to watch an excerpt from American Legislative Exchange Council economist Jonathan Williams on Georgia tax policy competitiveness. (Turn up your volume for this clip.)

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read my commentary, “Georgia’s Innovation Promise Rests in Bold Leadership.”

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site a twww.georgiapolicy.org/. Join The Forum a thttp://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation onFacebook and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gppf.


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