Happy New Year! The Foundation celebrates 25 years in Georgia in 2016. All year, we’ll mark this milestone anniversary with a “Then and Now” Friday Facts category!
Then and Now
Did you know? In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, the nation’s eighth-largest airline had shut down after failing to recover from a crippling 1989 union strike. About 10,000 Atlantans lost their jobs; more than two-thirds were employees at Eastern’s Atlanta flight hub.
January 27: Georgia State Sen. Hunter Hill, State Rep. Mike Dudgeon and Great Teachers’ Academy executive director Mike Davis are panelists at the Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week celebration. Register now for, “Georgia Education: Reforms and Recommendations,” a Leadership Breakfast 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 27 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This panel discussion is event is open to the public. $30. Free parking. Information here; register to attend here.
VIP: We need your input. Will you please take a few minutes to take the Foundation’s brief, “Very Important Poll” on Education Savings Accounts? Click here!
Quotes of Note
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin
“If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege.” – Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878
“We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land – nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution.” – Daniel Webster
Ruling class: The Federal Register, where federal agencies’ daily rules, regulations and notices are published, hit an all-time record in 2015, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. More than 81,611 pages were published in 2015. In 2014, there were 77,687. The previous record was in 2010 with 81,405. The Obama administration is accountable for six out of the seven yearly all-time high page counts.
Who’s on first: The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s 2015 Unconstitutionality Index for found that for every law Congress passed in 2015, federal agencies passed 39 rules.
Don’t try this at home: Denmark has been working for decades to overcome problems created by the introduction of the welfare state, writes Otto Brens-Peterson of Denmark’s Center for Political Studies. “It would certainly be ironic if the Danish case were to become an excuse for politicians in the United States, Greece, or other countries to avoid fiscal consolidation and economic reform.” Source: Cato Institute
Gloomy outlook: Growing central power is hurting small companies, who are unable to handle the regulation, Joel Kotkin writes in, “The End of Localism.” “Overall for the first time in recent memory, more businesses are being destroyed than created. Concurrently, if unsurprisingly, the middle class is shrinking, and seeing its share of the economy steadily diminish.
Energy and environment
Green energy: Georgia Power Co. offers “renewable” energy in blocks of $3.50 (biomass) and $5 (biomass plus solar) for its customers to purchase voluntarily. Its latest report to the Public Service Commission (third quarter of 2015) shows the $3.50 program averages 2,265 customers and 4,785 blocks a month. The $5 “premium” blocks averages 1,464 customers per month and 3,700 blocks. For reference, Georgia Power has 2,422,054 customers. Choice is good.
No Lexus lanes here: The I-95 express toll lanes in the District of Columbia turned a year old last week. The Washington Post reports the lanes are filled with Toyotas, Hondas and Fords; just 3 percent of users are Lexus drivers. Forty-three percent of drivers earn $50,000-$100,000; 37 percent earn $100-plus. More important: While HOT lanes travel saves time and provides consistency, the data revealed drivers in the regular lanes of I-95 were better off than in the previous year.
R.I.P: The FAST Act “marks the beginning of the end for the Highway Trust Fund as we have known it,” transportation analyst Kenneth Orski maintains. “The $305 billion, five-year measure draws heavily on general funds (to the tune of $70 billion), and relegates to a virtual anachronism the ‘user pays’ principle that was the philosophic foundation of the federal-aid highway program for the past 60 years.”
This month in the archives: In January 2006, the Foundation published, “Insure All Georgians.” It noted, “One-hundred percent coverage is achievable, through market-based solutions, private and corporate efforts, tax incentives, direct public subsidies, strong community support and faith-based outreach programs. Personal responsibility, individual ownership, portability and health care consumerism are the hallmarks of such a system.”
Foundation in the news: The New York Times quoted Benita Dodd in an article on the Atlanta Streetcar System. The Coastal Courier published Ben Scafidi’s commentary, “State Should Propose School Vouchers.” The Augusta Chronicle published Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “A Success Story Emerges in the Battle to Help Lower-Income Workers.” Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker cited Foundation research in his op-ed opposing rail transit expansion in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Johns Creek Herald, the Milton Herald, the North Fulton Herald and the Alpharetta Roswell Herald.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.