Friday Facts: April 19, 2013

 April 19, 2013 

It’s Friday!

Events

April 23: Today is the deadline to register for, “Telehealth: Taking Health Care to The Next Level,” the Foundation’s next Leadership Breakfast, at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The moderator is Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald of the Georgia Department of Public Health, with telemedicine expert panelists Dr. Jeffrey English, Dr. Jeffrey Grossman and Paula Guy of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth. The cost is $25 to attend; register online at http://tinyurl.com/ck6v4yt. Find out more at www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=9075. (Attire: business, business casual.)

Mark your calendar: The Foundation’s May 23 Leadership Breakfast at the Georgian Club will feature education entrepreneur Sajan George discussing, “The Future of Education.” Details to follow!

Boston bombing

A helping hand: Scott Rigsby, who was just three minutes from the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday before the explosions, is launching Aid for Boston, a campaign to support the victims that have loss of limb or mobility from the tragedy. Scott, whose Scott Rigsby Foundation is headquartered in Marietta, Ga., will offer his services to these family members as they begin to address the personal challenges ahead. Visit www.scottrigsbyfoundation.org to participate in this global campaign. The Scott Rigsby Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspire, inform and enable individuals with loss of limb or mobility, to live a healthy, active lifestyle. As a founding member of the Georgia Warrior Alliance, Rigsby’s Foundation is also sponsoring the Greater Atlanta Veteran Hiring Expo, May 3, 2013, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Watch Rigsby’s television interview here. 

Quotes of Note

“States like California and New York are living off the accumulated capital of past economic freedom. Now that the political tide has turned decisively against economic freedom in those states, they are shedding people and jobs and growing more slowly than the rest of the country. Places like the Dakotas, Carolinas, Oklahoma, and Texas, which have reversed their anti-market policies of the past, represent America’s dynamic economic future.” – Jason Sorens

“No one disputes President Obama’s and the infrastructure advocates’ claim that some of America’s transportation facilities are reaching the limit of their useful life and need reconstruction. Nor does anyone disagree about the need to expand infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population. But fiscal conservatives among infrastructure advocates (and we count ourselves among them) contend that this does not rise to the level of a national crisis requiring a massive $50 billion federal crash program as proposed in the President’s budget message, or the expenditure of more than $100 billion per year as recommended by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in its latest ‘Report Card.'” – Kenneth Orski

“In 1790, the nation which had fought a revolution against taxation without representation discovered that some of its citizens weren’t much happier about taxation with representation.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

Education

Happy freshmen: Kudos to Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia for making the Moneywatch list of top 25 universities in freshman retention. Georgia Tech was 14th, with a freshman retention rate of 94.3 percent and the University of Georgia was 15th, with a retention rate of 94.1 percent. Topping the list was the University of California-Los Angeles, with a retention rate of 96.9 percent.

School choice works: The first experimental study of the long-term outcomes of school voucher programs has found that the percentage of African-American students who enrolled part-time or full-time in college by 2011 was 24 percent higher for those who had won a school voucher lottery while in elementary school, and had used their voucher to attend a private school.  An analysis of the study, “The Impact of School Vouchers on College Enrollment,” will appear in the summer issue of Education Next and is now available online at www.educationnext.org.

A step forward: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Charter Schools Act of 2013 into law this week. The Center for Education Reform said the law is “a step forward” for Mississippi, but emphasized that the legislation is not as bold or aggressive as parents and students deserve, noting that, “after sixteen years of debate in a state where only 21 percent of 8th graders can read at proficiency, parents and students deserve better and more aggressive action from their elected officials.”

Energy and environment

Global warming’s benefits? Consumers spent 2.7 percent of their household income on home energy bills last year, the lowest percentage in 10 years. Warmer weather contributed to lower energy consumption in 2012, and because household energy expenditures reflect both prices and consumption, these changes resulted in lower household energy expenditures. Source: Today in Energy

Emissions decline: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its 18th annual report of overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions this week, showing a 1.6 percent decrease in 2011 over 2010. “Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather,” according to the report. In other words, nothing benefits air quality quite like an economic downturn to reduce output and keep drivers at home!

Economy

No jobs, no taxes: Government assistance becomes a costlier burden when unemployment rises in developed countries. Fewer people working mean fewer to pay the taxes that big government depends on to fund programs and services, especially in Europe’s high-tax, high-social-services environment. According to the latest figures released, the unemployment rates in 10 European countries were roughly four percentage points higher than in the United States. These include the poster children for the European debt crisis, Spain and Greece. Spain’s unemployment rate is 26.3 percent, while Greece’s is even higher, at 26.4 percent.  Source: 24/7WallSt.

Health care

Train wreck: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who helped write the Affordable Care Act, “stunned administration officials Wednesday, saying openly he thinks it’s headed for a ‘train wreck’ because of bumbling implementation,” the Associated Press reports. “I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” the Montana Democrat told Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a routine budget hearing. Baucus is the first top Democrat to publicly voice fears about the rollout of ObamaCare. Expect more to follow.  

Social media

The Foundation’s Facebook page has 2,033 “likes” at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy  and we have 938 Twitter followers at twitter.com/gppf.

This Week in The Forum: In this week’s “Checking Up On Health” by Benita Dodd, find out about Louisiana’s efforts to privatize hospitals, the technology to build kidneys, cancer drug research and more. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Earth Day: For Many, Not Much Cause for Celebration,” by Benita M. Dodd.

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 at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/gppf.

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