April 24: Matt Candler, founder and CEO of 4.0 Schools, keynotes, “School Choice: Big Gains in The Big Easy,” the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This event is open to the public and is $25 to attend. Find out more at https://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=12626. Register at http://bit.ly/1lmETV5.
May 7: Foundation Members get a discount rate of $159 to attend “Health Reform 2.0: The Great Debate,” the first face-to-face debate between two of the nation’s most influential health care experts: John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a key thought leader for free market solutions and Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, who has been a key resource to almost every Democratic presidential nominee of the past 20 years. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism at the Galleria Centre in Cobb County. Registration covers Day 1, including the debate and opening night reception. Register at http://www.theihccforum.com/2014-ihc-forum-and-expo/register/.
Quotes of Note
“The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts
“ObamaCare lines might have been impressive if they’d begun to form in the last days of September. At the end of open enrollment, the White House boast is akin to the IRS’s citing a ‘surge’ in filing of tax returns two weeks from now as evidence that the income tax system is popular and well designed.” – James Taranto
“In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens.” – Charles Koch
School choice: New studies show rising student achievement, higher incomes and higher property values in neighborhoods with new charter schools.
Overruled: Congratulations to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for thwarting New York City Mayor de Blasio’s assault on charter schools. Cuomo required the city’s school district to find space for charter schools or provide a $3,000 per-child subsidy for private space. Here in Georgia, a similar effort to find physical space for public charter schools was blocked by the Georgia Senate.
Degrees of usefulness: While college graduates 25-32 working full time can earn more than peers with a high school diploma, not all degrees are equally useful. And given how much they cost – a residential four-year degree can set you back as much as $60,000 a year – many college grads end up worse off than if they had started working at 18. Meanwhile, the cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983, and graduate salaries have been flat for much of the past decade. Source: The Economist
Did you know?About 45 million vehicles in the United States now have transponders to pay tolls electronically, often without stopping or even slowing down. Drivers pay $7 billion a year using those transponders, and states are cooperating to enable reciprocity in toll collecting and catching scofflaws. In Georgia, Peach Pass transponders increased 254 percent – to 270,564, since the I-85 HOT lanes opened in October 2011. Source: Tollroadnews.com
Taxes and spending
How low can we go? Georgia ranks 35th in the nation and second in the Southeast in the Tax Foundation’s latest analysis of state and local tax burdens, as a percentage of total state income. The Foundation determined that the 2011 Georgia tax burden is 8.8 percent. New York placed first – make that worst – with a burden at 12.6 percent. Wyoming placed 50th, at 6.9 percent.
Energy and Environment
SBD cows? It may sound like something out of a Far Side cartoon but, according to a study published this week in the journal Climatic Change, if we really want to cut down on global greenhouse emissions, we’re going to have to do something about gaseous cows. The world needs to eat a lot less meat because 37 percent of human-caused methane emissions come from the worldwide agricultural industry. And methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the United Nations. (SBD: silent but deadly.) Source: National Journal
‘Affordable:’ The first ObamaCare enrollment period came to a close March 31 – sort of – and insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015. Insurers say the first group of enrollees under the Affordable Care Act represents a higher rate of older and costlier members than hoped. To keep their health plans from losing money in the coming years, many expect monthly premium rates to rise by double-digit percentages in some parts of the country. Source: Reuters
Change you can believe in: By the Galen Institute’s count, there have been more than 38 significant “changes” made to the Affordable Care Act: at least 21 that the Obama Administration has made unilaterally, 15 that Congress has passed and the president has signed, and two by the Supreme Court.
Healthy counties: If you live in Forsyth County, you’re in Georgia’s healthiest county. The County Health Rankings examined all 50 states to determine health based on 29 outcomes and factors, including smoking, obesity, excessive drinking, high school graduation rates, violent crime, unemployment, housing problems and more.
Telemedicine savings: Florida TaxWatch recently released a report that found increasing the use of telemedicine in Florida to provide the appropriate level of care to more patients could save Floridians more than $1 billion annually.
Web site of the week: The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is at www.edchoice.org and was founded in 1996 to advance a system of K-12 education in which all parents, regardless of race, origin or family income, are free to choose a learning environment that is best for their children.
YouTube: We’re closing in on 46,000 views on the Foundation’s YouTube channel!
Social media: The Foundation has 2,237 “likes” on Facebook and 1,164 Twitter followers!
The Forum: Read Benita Dodd’s, “Checking Up On Health,” to learn about apps for walking, a heart attack test you can’t find in the United States, and the odds of you receiving the wrong antibiotic while in the hospital. UGA Professor Jeffrey Dorfman shares how U.S. antitrust laws can stifle innovators like the auto manufacturer Tesla. Foundation Senior Fellow Ron Bachman discusses Medicaid expansion and alternatives. Find about alternatives to Medicaid expansion in Indiana, Florida and Alabama.
Read these and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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