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Aug. 28: “Unaccountable Government in Action: Capital Markets in the Fed’s Cross-Hairs” is the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Former SEC Commissioner Paul S. Atkins and the American Enterprise Institute’s Peter Wallison discuss the dangerous regulatory expansion of the Dodd-Frank Act. $30. For more information and to register, go to https://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=13956.
Sept. 19: Register now to reserve your seat at the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. Talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain is one of the keynote speakers at the forum, whose theme centers on, “Tearing Down Walls,” in recognition of this year’s 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Experts will discuss tearing down the walls to tax, education and health care reform in Georgia. For more information and registration, go to www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=3264.
Sept. 22: Mark your calendar for the showing of “Rockin’ The Wall” – about the impact of music on the Fall of the Berlin Wall – sponsored by the Foundation at the Earl Strand Theatre in Marietta.
Sept. 15: Health Connect South brings together Georgia’s top-tier health leaders and innovators on September 15 to figure out how to work together to solve problems and make Georgia a leader in health care. Register today at healthconnectsouth.com.
Quotes of Note
“There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters.” – Daniel Webster
“The American people are doing their job today. They should be given a chance to show whether they wish to preserve the principles of individual and local responsibility and mutual self-help before they embark on what I believe to be a disastrous system. I feel sure they will succeed if given the opportunity.” – Herbert Hoover
“A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.” – Grover Cleveland
“The first Bill of Rights, which became part of the Constitution, emphasized free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion and assembly. They were freedoms from government interference. The right to speak freely imposes no obligation on anyone else to provide the means of communication. Moreover, others can listen or leave as they see fit. But a right to a job, a house, or medical care imposes an obligation on others to pay for those things.”– Burton Folsom
Misinformation: Populist critics of tolling could derail sound, market-oriented transportation policies, Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation warns. “The Internet makes it easy for their ideas to spread from one group to another, to be re-packaged and tailored to local circumstances. And that also increases the odds that misinformed or malicious arguments will get picked up and spread by commentators who know little or nothing about tolling or P3 concessions.”
Sound familiar? The goal of one of the nation’s most expensive new transit projects, Washington region’s Silver Line is more economic development than transportation, according to the “Dr. Gridlock” column in The Washington Post. “That is why the first section reaches only to Reston and not Dulles International Airport, the purported objective of the line. From the beginning, the major drive in support of the Silver Line came from the developers and landowners of Tysons [Corner], and the project would have failed except for the heavy lobbying by these interests.”
Employee freedom: It’s National Employee Freedom Week, a grass-roots campaign by 68 organizations across 40 states informing union employees about their rights to opt out of union membership. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public-sector unions may not extract union dues from payments to home care and child care providers. “The ruling means that for the first time in recent history, my fellow home care and child care providers will have a real choice whether or not to financially support a union they don’t want or need,” writes Jennifer Parrish in The Washington Times.
No harm, no foul: Seventy-eight percent of Georgia residents believe employees should be able to leave their union without force or penalty, according to a recent survey released to coincide with National Employee Freedom Week.
A lemon: A new study finds the government’s Cash for Clunkers program hurt the industry it intended to help, leaving taxpayers to cover the $3 billion price tag. The Texas A&M University study reveals that any benefit “was completely offset” by a consumer’s tendency to purchase cheaper vehicles with the federal credit. Altogether, researchers estimate the auto industry lost $3 billion. There were 790,000 vehicles destroyed – cars that could have been in the reach of low-income families improve their job prospects.
The hidden half: The number of non-teaching staff in the United States has grown by 130 percent since 1970, according to a study by the Thomas Fordham Institute. Non-teachers – more than 3 million strong – now comprise half of the public school workforce. (Of course, our Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi pointed this out several months ago in “The Truth Behind the ‘Staffing Surge’ in Georgia Public Schools.”)
Energy and environment
Sauce for the goose: The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan expects utilities to use best available technology to reduce carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency, which writes the regulations, is supposed to base its economic impact projections on “the best available science.” But the agency’s projections are based on data from 1983, “and may not have represented the regulated entities addressed” in its impact analysis, according to the Government Accountability Office. Why is this important? “EPA regulations account for the majority of the estimated benefits and costs of major federal regulations.” (See Benita Dodd’s testimony on the regulations here.)
Healthy savings: Telehealth could save U.S. companies a whopping $6 billion, according to a new study by Towers Watson. Swapping face-to-face physician and urgent care visits with telemedicine interactions to achieve these savings “requires a shift in patient and physician mindsets, health plan willingness to integrate and reimburse such services and regulatory support in all states,” said Dr. Allan Khoury, senior consultant at Towers Watson. (Editors’ note: Georgia is well-positioned as a leader in telehealth to take advantage of this trend.)
Measure twice …Georgia’s Medicaid numbers were expected to grow as people who were eligible but not enrolled in the entitlement program came “out of the woodwork.” According to federal figures, Georgia’s Medicaid and PeachCare enrollment jumped 16 percent since October – the highest of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But Georgia’s figures show just a 5.6 percent hike in enrollment since October, according to Georgia Health News.
The Forum: Foundation Editor Mike Klein has written a series of articles on some of Georgia’s newest public charter schools: the Academy for Classical Education in Macon; THINC College and Career Academy in Troup County and Tapestry Public Charter School in DeKalb County. Read these articles and more at www.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
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Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Getting with the Program on Georgia Transportation,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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