Friday Facts: May 9, 2014

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of Note 

“[N]ow that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: to the superiority of their women.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” – Milton Berle

“When I think of my children and grandchildren, yes, they’ll have to fight. Liberty can’t be had on the cheap. But it’s not a hopeless fight. It’s not a hopeless fight by any means. I remain basically an optimist.” – Gary S. Becker, University of Chicago economist who died May 3 at age 83

Events

May 13: Should public funds subsidize private stadiums? Attend a debate in Atlanta between economists Bruce Seaman (Georgia State University) and Victor Matheson (College of the Holy Cross), hosted by America’s Future Foundation 6:30 p.m. at the Georgia Pacific Auditorium, 133 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303. Information:http://tinyurl.com/kpmtepr.

May 14: Attend “Climbing the Ladder: Overcoming Obstacles to Achieving the American Dream,” a forum at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgia Pacific Auditorium, 133 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303. Hosted by the Charles Koch Institute, the panel’s participants include the Foundation’s Benita Dodd. Find out more at http://charleskochinstitute.org/econopps/.

Free enterprise

Kudos to Georgia: Nothing says summer like barbecue and, according to TripAdvisor, nobody in the nation does barbecue better than Georgia. Not only does Georgia lead the nation, but three Georgia restaurants make the top 10: Jim’s Smokin’ Que in Blairsville, Blue Ridge’s Joe’s BBQ and Savannah’s Wiley’s Championship BBQ.

Education

Lesson learned: North Carolina’s Board of Education approved a policy allowing students to earn course credit based solely on their demonstrated mastery of the subject, replacing the existing policy based on a seat-time requirement. This encourages students to progress at their own pace versus a one-size fits all model based on time spent in a classroom. Source: Foundation for Excellence in Education

Taxes and spending

Flat income taxes don’t endanger public finances or create inequality, according to a new study by the Tax Foundation.

Energy and environment

Government inaction: How times have changed. Just a few short years ago, Georgia’s Elba Island was one of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) candidates for storage expansion to accommodate LNG imports. Now, there’s export opportunity. This month, five U.S. Senate Democrats lent their support to expanding U.S. exports, and sent a letter to President Obama urging action. Since the first application was filed in 2010, only seven export applications have been approved by the Department of Energy. Regulators continue to sit on over two dozen pending applications.

Wind energy subsidies: The 2.3-cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of wind-power electricity produced is sometimes worth more than the energy it subsidizes, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee writes in The Wall Street Journal. “Sometimes in some markets, for example in Texas and Illinois, the subsidy is so large that wind producers have paid utilities to take their electricity and still make a profit.”

Government

Permission to overregulate: Did you know that Washington, D.C., requires tour guides to pay $200 and take an exam or be jailed for 90 days if caught? That adds up: Segs in the City, one company, employs a dozen guides, the Economist reports in, “Undercover on a Segway: Tourists Beware.” Join the Institute for Justice at a free screening in Atlanta of “Locked Out,” a new short film that questions government’s barriers to economic mobility. Find out more here.

No creativity here: Just one-third of federal employees surveyed said their agency rewards creativity and innovation, according to the 2013 “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” survey, And while 90 percent of the employees reported that they are always looking for better ways to do their jobs, only 55 percent felt they are encouraged to do so. Source: Washington Post

Transportation

Squeakiest wheel: The number of people commuting to work by bicycle increased about 60 percent over the last decade, USA Today reports. How big is that? From 2008-2012, about 786,000 Americans commuted by bicycle; there were 488,000 in 2000. Bicyclists account for just 0.6 percent of commuters.

Media 

GPPF in the news: This week Atlanta Journal-Constitution published Benita Dodd’s op-ed, “Free trade agreements benefit Ga. job creators,”and the Athens Banner-Herald published Kelly McCutchen’s op-ed on mastery-based student testing. 

Web site of the week: Georgia Health News, at www.georgiahealthnews.com, is the go-to Web site for Georgia-focused health-related articles. Site owner Andy Miller reports this week, for example, on the potential risks of well water, pointing out that one in five Georgians drinks from well water.    

YouTube: Dr. Lee Gross of Epiphany Health addressed, “Concierge Care for The Little Guy;”  view the May 7 event here. Join nearly 50,000 viewing events on the Foundation’s YouTube channel!

Social media:The Foundation has almost 2,250 “likes” on Facebook and almost 1,200 Twitter followers!

The Forum: In Benita Dodd’s Checking Up on Health, find out what they’re doing in Chinese hospitals to protect doctors from patients irate over poor care. Foundation Editor Mike Klein reports on why the number of reports of suspected child abuse or neglect has soared. A report from the Galen Institute discusses the avalanche of new taxes that are a direct result of ObamaCare. Read these and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Get Moving Again on Transportation,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend and Happy Mothers’ Day!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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