Quotes of note
“These days, the individual market is like a game of musical chairs, where no plan wants to be the last one standing – with the sickest, costliest enrollees. This has created a race to the bottom, in which each plan wants to be less attractive than the others to patients who need a lot of expensive care.” – John C. Goodman
“The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.” – Thomas Sowell
“If emotion is to supersede law, then just about any law can be circumvented if the emotional level is high enough.” – Cal Thomas
August 23: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at the 1818 Club in Duluth for a Leadership Breakfast, “Policy Over Politics,” with keynote speaker Kyle Wingfield, the Foundation’s president. Welcome by Georgia State Rep. Brett Harrell, a longtime friend of the Foundation and Gwinnett County resident. 8 a.m. (Registration, networking 7:30 a.m.) $20. Register here.
September 7: Mark your calendar for the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. The theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Prosperity.” This daylong event will include sessions on health care, education, pension reform and more. Details to follow; view last year’s program here.
Taxes and spending
Sales tax: Internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence, the U,S. Supreme Court ruled this week. Brick-and-mortar businesses have long demanded a “level playing field” with online retailers, and states argue they missed out on revenue under a prior ruling that helped spur the rise of internet shopping. Dissenting, Chief Justice John Roberts maintained that Congress should address the matter, not the court. Source: New York Times
Déjà vu: President Ronald Reagan summed up the case against tariffs in June 1986: “A foreign government raises an unfair barrier; the United States Government is forced to respond. Then the foreign government retaliates; then we respond, and so on. The pattern is exactly the one you see in those pie fights in the old Hollywood comedies: Everything and everybody just gets messier and messier. The difference here is that it’s not funny. It’s tragic. Protectionism becomes destructionism; it costs jobs.”
Younger: Of the 531 counties where the population is getting younger, about half (51.4 percent) are in the Midwest and a third (32.4 percent) are in the South. Across the nation, largely as a result of Hispanic in-migration, almost one county in five is experiencing a decrease in median age, according to 2017 Census estimates.
Hope: The Georgia Lottery turned 25 this week. Ushered in by Gov. Zell Miller, who died March 23, Georgia Lottery revenue funds pre-K and HOPE scholarships and grants programs. More than 1.8 million students have received scholarships and grants, and more than $19.5 billion has gone to education in Georgia.
By the numbers: Once wildly expensive and inaccessible but to the very rich, computers today are one of the most ubiquitous technologies worldwide. Though many personal computers in the early 1970s were much cheaper, the most basic model of an HP 3000 sold for $95,000 in 1972, the equivalent of slightly over half a million in today’s dollars, according to 24/7 Wall St.
Advances I: Two South Dakota soldier brothers killed when their landing craft hit a mine on June 19, 1944, were finally interred together in Normandy, France, this week after the remains of the second brother were identified in Belgium through laboratory analysis. Source: KELO.com
Advances II: “So I simply wrote, ‘My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice,’ and hit play.” WSB Radio political reporter Jamie Dupree mysteriously lost his voice two years ago after coming down with a stomach bug. The diagnosis ultimately was tongue protrusion dystonia, a neurological condition. This week, he got his “voice” back, as technology synthesized recordings of his past news stories and paired them with a special text-to-speech program. Source: WSB-TV.com
Medicare: House Republicans released a 2019 budget proposal to balance the budget by 2027 by enacting $8.1 trillion in spending cuts, including $537 billion from Medicare over the next decade. It would give eligible seniors the option to enroll in private “premium support” plans to compete with traditional Medicare coverage. Source: Washington Post
Medicaid: The GOP budget plan would limit per capita payments for Medicaid or give states the option to convert their Medicaid plans into block grant coverage. It also proposes imposing work requirements on eligible Medicaid enrollees. Source: Washington Post
Association plans: The Congressional Budget Office projects 400,000 previously uninsured Americans could gain coverage under association health plans after the Trump administration this week gave more leeway to small businesses looking to create such plans. AHPs bypass many ObamaCare mandates and reduce member expenses.
Airport: The members have been appointed for a Georgia Senate study committee that will work to “identify solutions to strengthen Hartsfield-Jackson Airport as an even more dynamic economic engine for the state of Georgia,” Metro Atlanta CEO reports. The airport, the world’s busiest for passenger trips, has faced recent leadership scandals and corruption allegations. Twenty-four years ago, the Foundation proposed privatizing the airport.
Transit: Gov. Nathan Deal announced $100 million in General Obligation bonds for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as part of the SR 400 Express Toll Lanes project. Fulton County and MARTA plan to construct four bus-only interchanges along the 16-mile, $1.8 billion project. The Foundation has promoted BRT as a transit tool since at least 2002, in its Guide to the Issues. Read more here!
This month in the archives: In June 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Metro Motorists Pay when State Doesn’t.” It noted, “Above all, there is a clear and compelling need for the state to show greater commitment to investing in accommodating the lifestyle choices of the vast majority of Georgia residents.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Growing Green Energy Puts Coal and Nuclear Plants in the Red,” by Paul Blair.
Have a great weekend.
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.