Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, we urged in the LaGrange Daily News: “We must free parents to choose the school their child will attend. It should be obvious that parents, not government, know what is best for their children.” Twenty-five years later, resistance to school choice continues.
Guide to the Issues 2016: Find out what the Foundation proposes on issues such as transportation, health care, education, taxes and more. Currently available online, each chapter includes principles for reform, facts on the issue, background information and, in most cases, positive solutions to the challenges facing Georgia.
Quotes of Note
“Mob rule is not democracy. It threatens democracy, as it threatens lives – black or white – and all lives should matter.” – Thomas Sowell
“Nearly always people believe willingly that which they wish.” – Julius Caesar (12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC)
“Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples – while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose. But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit – by shared commitments to common ideals.” – President George W. Bush
Milestone moment: Get ready for big things in Georgia’s economy! The first ship arriving through the expanded Panama Canal locks was at the Savannah port this week. At a capacity of 10,100 twenty-foot equivalent containers, the MOL Benefactor is the biggest ship ever to dock in Savannah. Source: Georgia Ports Authority
Not so affordable: Two-thirds of the federally funded co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act to sell health insurance to individuals and small employers have folded. Of the 23 co-ops in 2014 just seven remain; each posted annual losses in 2015, according to the National Alliance of State Health Co-Ops. Source: Kaiser Health News
Single-payer system: Many critics of the Affordable Care Act maintained that the law was designed to fail so it would move the nation toward a single-payer option. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admitted as much in 2013. This week, in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, President Obama proposed a government-run insurance plan, or a “public option,” that would exist alongside private health insurance.”
Passing the bucks: The nation’s health care tab this year is expected to surpass $10,000 per person for the first time: $3.35 trillion, or $10,345 for every man, woman and child. According to the Associated Press, “The new peak means the Obama administration will pass the problem of high health care costs on to its successor.” Source: PBS.com
Next stop, Zika? A neighborhood in Piracicaba, Brazil, saw a 91 percent drop in dengue fever cases after genetically engineered mosquitoes were released there. The effect, which compared the number of cases with 2015, surpassed the 52 percent reduction in dengue fever seen elsewhere in the municipality. Source: MarketWatch
Autopilot: Recent Tesla wrecks, including one fatality, have some people up in arms about autonomous cars. With Tesla’s beta Autopilot product, drivers are supposed to keep hands on the wheel. Still, “When you look at the numbers, driving with Tesla’s Autopilot on is actually safer than driving without it, or in a car that doesn’t have it,” notes Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation. “The recent Tesla incident is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94 million miles.”
Criminal justice reform
Police shootings: In 2015, there were just nine officer-involved shootings in Atlanta police officers’ more than 1.5 million interactions with citizens, according to Mayor Kasim Reed. Source: Creative Loafing
Energy and environment
Hot air and free speech: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined the American Legislative Exchange Council and 20 other free-market public policy organizations in a letter to U.S. Senate Democrats after internal emails revealed that 19 Senate Democrats planned a coordinated attack to intimidate and silence conservative and free market groups. [Download the Coalition Letter Here]
Turtles race: Georgia’s loggerhead turtle, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, this week surpassed a key recovery goal of more than 2,800 nests on the state’s barrier island beaches this year. The Department of Natural Resources reports it expects 3,000-plus nests, about a third more than last year’s 2,335 nests – which was the highest since comprehensive surveys began in 1989.
This month in the archives: In July 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Presumptions on Water Quality Can Pollute Minds.” It noted, “Much like the adage that good news is no news, good water management practices don’t usually create headlines.”
Foundation in the news: The Marietta Daily Journal quoted Benita Dodd in an article on municipal budgets in Cobb County. DrBicuspid.com published Nicoleta Serban’s article on Georgia’s dental disparities. The Athens Banner-Herald published Kelly McCutchen’s commentary opposing Medicaid expansion in Georgia. Georgia Health News quoted Kelly on Medicaid expansion.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.