Friday Facts: March 15, 2013

It’s Friday!

Events

Today is the deadline to register for, “Morality and The Marketplace,” a Foundation Leadership Breakfast with keynote speaker Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. The event begins 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This event is open to the public and will cost $25 to attend. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/btp5nge; register online at http://tinyurl.com/9wcmz5p. Dr. Brook’s book, “Free Market Revolution,” will be available for purchase at $20 per copy; $10 with student ID.

March 27: The Foundation’s Annual Dinner is Wednesday, March 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Ballroom. The keynote speaker is Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal. Tickets are $125 per person; sponsorships are available. To attend the dinner, register at http://tinyurl.com/b6m7au5.

Mark your calendar: “Telehealth: Taking Health Care to The Next Level,” is the topic of the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Details to follow.

Quotes of Note

“The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.” – John Stuart Mill

“We might think of dollars as being ‘certificates of performance.’ The better I serve my fellow man, and the higher the value he places on that service, the more certificates of performance he gives me. The more certificates I earn, the greater my claim on the goods my fellow man produces. That’s the morality of the market. In order for one to have a claim on what his fellow man produces, he must first serve him.” – Walter Williams

“The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak out or the right to travel, is, in truth, a ‘personal right’.” – Potter Stewart, Lynch vs. HFC (1972)

Education

Root of progress is STEM: America’s new manufacturing workforce comprises skilled workers that require higher education and specialized degrees: engineers, data scientists and software developers, John Stuart of PTC writes in IndustryWeek. “Because of this, lagging achievement and enrollment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in the United States is and will be one of the larger issues facing our domestic ability to fill those employment opportunities. Securing the future of domestic manufacturing must begin with a strong commitment to the advancement and encouragement of STEM education.”

Economy

Far from out of the woods: Wall Street may be smiling these days, but Main Street isn’t, Joel Kotkin points out in a NewGeography.com article. The weakness of smaller, and particularly newer firms, is one key reason for the current, persistent job shortfall; larger businesses came out of the economic recovery stronger. “Big businesses often drive the economy but newer, smaller ones, historically, have created the jobs.” Why is this small business recession persisting? Kotkin cites ObamaCare’s costs; higher taxes on incomes in some states; the decline of community banks since the passage of Dodd-Frank; the weak GDP growth that has kept consumer spending at a low level, “a particularly rough condition for smaller, start-up businesses,” and corporate cronyism under the Obama Administration.

Unproductive progams: A new study released this week by Georgia State University finds that many government welfare programs discourage poor people from adopting productive behaviors, including finding jobs and marrying.

Health care

Unaffordable law: The Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid to all individuals earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down ObamaCare’s Medicaid mandate it made the expansion optional for states. Since then, governors and state legislators have been considering their options; Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal wisely rejected expansion. As the Heritage Foundation’s Nina Owcharenko explains, Medicaid expansion will result in states spending money they would not have previously spent as eligibility expands and reimbursement decreases. With Medicaid already consuming 23 percent of state budgets, expanding coverage could mean cuts in other state priorities like education, emergency services, transportation and criminal justice. 

Transparency

Letting in the sunshine: The Foundation campaigned hard for transparency in Georgia government, which is why I’m particularly pleased to announce that Georgia now ranks among the nation’s most transparent state governments online. It is one of only nine states to get an “A” grade for how it discloses information quickly and clearly on its Legislature’s Web site, www.open.georgia.gov, according to the Sunlight Foundation

Energy and environment

Going green or costing green? Dublin High School in Middle Georgia broke ground this week on a project that would install 4,000 solar panels and, officials say reduce the school’s energy costs by roughly 40 percent. Bonds from the Dublin-Laurens Development Authority will finance the plan. The solar panels will generate 1 megawatt of solar energy, officials say. “With expected energy savings, the high school will be able to reduce the number of furlough days to a minimum and save critically needed teaching positions,” according to news reports. We look forward to the results.

More subsidies? Germany’s Eon utility wants European governments to help operators of gas-fired power plants, who are suffering losses because wholesale prices have plummeted as renewable electricity generation has surged. Johannes Teyssen, Eon chief executive, stressed that gas-fired plants can guarantee supply even on cloudy and windless days, the Financial Times reported.

Media and Social Media

GPPF in the news: Morris News asked me to comment on a Georgia State University study released this week that found that welfare programs discourage work and marraige. I responded, “U.S. taxpayers support over 100 anti-poverty programs spending nearly $1 trillion each year –  an amount equal to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three. Yet, the poverty rate remains high, and welfare recipients are all too often trapped in multi-generational cycles of poverty.” Benita Dodd’s recent op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution warned about the new strategy by proponents of renewable energy: “the call for legislators to embrace alternative energy sources because ‘it’s good for the economy and the right thing to do.'”

Like us yet?? Help the Foundation reach 2,000 Facebook friends by March 27, so that we can celebrate the milestone at our annual dinner. Plus you can view the latest Quotes of Note, Policy Points, EduFacts and Foundation photos at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/gppf.

This Week in The Forum: Foundation Editor Mike Klein reports that a new Pew survey found overwhelming approval statewide for juvenile justice reforms currently moving through the General Assembly. This week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 242, based on the 2012 Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations. In her “Checking Up On Health” blog, Benita Dodd shares the growing burden of ObamaCare, the latest in medical innovations and the increased oversight of direct-to-consumer marketing of drugs. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at https://www.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Health Care is Key to Rehabilitation as Female Incarceration Rates Explode,” by Albert Woodard. 

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen  

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