September 21: Health Connect South 2016, an annual event that connects more than 400 health leaders, innovators and students, takes place at the Georgia Aquarium. Georgia Public Policy Foundation members receive a discounted admission price. Click here.
November 11: Tickets and sponsor opportunities are available for the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award, which honors a notable Georgian. The keynote speaker is John Stossel; the Freedom Award recipient is Dr. Michael H. Mescon, “The Pied Piper of Private Enterprise.” Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Centre. $125 per person Early Bird Rate through September 25. Click here for information; reserve your seat here. (Checks accepted, too!)
Quotes of Note
“People who are looking for grievances are not going to be stopped by facts, especially if they are in politics.” – Thomas Sowell
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Independent of parties in the national legislature itself, as often as the period of discussion arrived, the State legislatures, who will always be not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens against encroachments of the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the voice, but, if necessary, the arm of their discontent.” – Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers: No. 26
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the unmanned probe Galileo (launched in 1989) became the first spacecraft to encounter an asteroid when it passed about 990 miles from 951 Gaspra. Today, space tourism has a viable future and a Georgia legislative committee is studying the benefits of a spaceport in Camden County.
Changing lives: Chicago’s Midtown Educational Foundation is the focus of a report by the Capital Research Center, “Doing Good: Effective Alternatives to the Welfare State.” In 2015, the Foundation celebrated a half-century of helping low income students graduate high school and enter college through a series of summer and after-school programs. Last year, the organization celebrated its 16th year of 100 percent graduation and college acceptance for its students. Character education and parental involvement are the keys to its success.
Energy and environment
What peak oil? A Houston-based oil exploration company announced this week it had made a “significant discovery” in West Texas’s Permian Basin, estimated at 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 3 billion barrels of oil. That’s nearly the equivalent of an entire year of U.S. crude production. Source: fuelfix.com
Plastic ban’s profit: In 2014, the California Legislature approved a statewide ban on plastic bags, effective July 2015. After it was discovered the ban would line the pockets of grocers at the expense of consumers, opponents gathered enough signatures for a November 2016 referendum. Grocers would have been allowed to charge 10 cents per paper bag as compensation for compliance costs. Source: NCPA.org
Moving forward: Transportation planners would do well to plan for a future focused on new technologies, not old modes. An article in TechCrunch highlights some results of technology: “The Insurance Information Institute found a 33 percent decrease in automobile deaths in the past three years. The same survey found that nine models registered zero fatalities per vehicle per million. Mobility has also become more accessible with ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft delivering more than one million rides a day in more than 60 countries.”
New transit: Transit-oriented development is all the rage in many cities, but self-driving cars will eliminate premium pricing for housing units near rapid transit stops, Bill Conerly predicts in Forbes magazine. Self-driving cars will lower the cost of shared-ride services and speed up car traffic, while transit is likely to be provided by Uber and Lyft, not legacy taxi companies. “[B]ut the crucial factors are that drivers won’t be needed, and that electronic apps will make car-pooling more common.” Read the Foundation’s proposal for innovative transit in metro Atlanta.
Old transit: The Chatham Area Transit Authority in Savannah is among 61 projects recipients in 41 states to receive a grant from the federal Bus and Bus Facilities Program. It was awarded more than $1.6 million to buy paratransit vehicles. In metro Atlanta, MARTA has outsourced paratransit, pointing out that MARTA Mobility customers pay $4 per trip but it costs “much more” and outsourcing would could cut costs while maintaining the same level and quality of service.
Unintended consequences: Citing a study highlighting lost job opportunities after Seattle’s minimum wage hike, an Investor’s Business Daily editorial notes, “The tragic irony of this is that those who are worst hurt by a higher minimum wage are those with little education or training, mostly minorities, immigrants and the young. They get priced right out of the labor market by the well-meaning nanny-staters who want to impose a one-size-fits-all minimum wage on the entire country – regardless of the damage it does.”
Your tax dollars at work: Limited government? Not exactly: There are nearly 10 million more government employees in the United States than manufacturing employees, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Source: CNSnews.com
Georgia Works: WSB-TV visited the Georgia Works program in Atlanta, which focuses on returning homeless men to a permanent job and permanent housing. Watch the news coverage here; click here to read our commentary, “The Dignity of Work.”
This month in the archives: In September 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Base Tax Reform on Principles, Not Interests.” It noted, “Tax policy should not single out individuals, businesses or particular groups for preferential treatment.”
The Forum: Benita Dodd tells a tale in response to criticism of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s proposal that would create a statewide Opportunity School District for chronically failing schools in a Forum post, “What Good is ‘Local Control’ When Kids are Failing?“
Foundation in the news: The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, The Brunswick News and The Macon Telegraph cited a Foundation commentary by John Nothdurft and Logan Pike on welfare-to-work requirements.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)