September 7: The 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum is a daylong conference at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel on Friday, September 7, featuring an exciting lineup of experts on state-focused reforms in health care, education and pensions! Registration is open to the public and includes breakfast and lunch. $100. Register here. Find out more in commentaries here and here or view the agenda here.
September 21: “Rethinking American Highways,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Bob Poole, director of Transportation Policy at Reason Foundation. 11:30 a.m., Georgian Club. $50. Books available for pre-order. Register here.
Quotes of note
“The judge’s job is to interpret the law, not to make the law or make policy. So read the words of the statute as written. Read the text of the Constitution as written, mindful of history and tradition. The Constitution is a document of majestic specificity defining governmental structure, individual rights, and the role of a judge. Remember that the structural provisions of the Constitution – the separation of powers and federalism – are not mere matters of etiquette or architecture, but are essential to protecting individual liberty.” – Brett Kavanaugh, 2017 keynote address at Notre Dame Law School
“If there was any doubt that party affiliation trumps principle, those doubts were removed when a Republican-controlled Congress stood idly by as President Trump enacted tariff after tariff, plus a bailout for some of the farmers hurt by those tariffs. Just as many progressives need to be reminded that openness and trade help the poor, so do conservatives need to be reminded that their defense of tradition needs to extend further back than a year and a half.” – Ryan Young
“The [Federal Trade Commission’s] last major rethink of competition and consumer protection occurred in 1995. Much has changed since then. In 1995, Yahoo! led search. Myspace led social media. And America Online was viewed as an internet industry leader. Things have changed because technologies and their economics have changed, which means regulations should change.” – Mark Jamison
Growing gains: After adding 75,800 people from April 2017 to April 2018, the 10-county metro Atlanta region is now home to 4.55 million people, according to the latest population estimates from the Atlanta Regional Commission. That’s more than the population of 25 states, about the same population as Louisiana or Kentucky, and just below that of South Carolina or Alabama. The region added 41,300 jobs during that period, the ninth-most nationally. Source: What’s Next Atlanta
Going up: Georgia is No. 12 on the Cato Institute’s 2018 Freedom in the 50 States, which ranks a combination of personal and economic freedoms. The ranking, based on 2016 data, is an improvement over 14th in 2014. Southeastern states ahead of Georgia are Florida (No. 1) and Tennessee (No. 7). Worst in the nation is New York.
Energy and environment
Trust but verify: The Oregon Department of Energy continued to financially back a solar panel company despite its default on loan repayments to the state. The state gave $13.5 million in tax credits, $10 million in direct financial assistance and millions of dollars in other tax breaks to SoloPower Systems when it entered Portland eight years ago. SoloPower shut down its factory and laid off most of its employees in 2013, then stopped making payments on its state loan. Even so, the agency gave the company $642,000 to help pay its rent last July, according to an audit by the Secretary of State’s Office. Source: Fresno Bee
Hyper-local: Pennsylvania is testing an on-demand microtransit service. Rabbittransit’s Hopper, using nine-person, neighborhood-friendly vans, launches Monday in East York and Red Lion. An app will alert passengers to estimated pick-up time as well as when they reach their destination. Source: Mass Transit
Ride-share: Cobb County is considering replacing its costly Flex Bus service, which picks up and drops off riders in selected areas without regular stops, with a private ride-sharing app, the Marietta Daily Journal reports. The Flex Bus cost is $35 per trip versus about $8 for Uber or Lyft in the Flex Bus zone.
Ownership: A new study by AAA compared the costs of auto ownership to using ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft for transportation. The study found that in Atlanta, it would cost nearly $17,741 a year to use just ride-sharing services for transportation. The average cost to own and operate a new car is $7,321 for 10,841 miles of travel annually.
F’ for federal aid: A new Mercatus Center study argues that expanding federal aid for higher education may actually harm students. The study by Mark J. Warshawsky and Ross Marchand “finds support for the theory that federal aid has increased the cost of education and discredits the notion that broad subsidization of college education will reduce wage inequality.”
Apprenticeships: Youth apprenticeship has never really thrived in America. A Fordham Institute article cites Brent Parton of New America, who concludes that pushback against a one-size-fits-all approach to college enrollment, combined with employers’ growing need for skilled workers, may mean the time is right for youth apprenticeship finally to flourish in America. We concur, which is why the education session at the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum includes a look at apprenticeships in Georgia.
Volunteerism: Kudos to Foundation supporter and friend Peter Lauer, who will be honored with the 2018 V. Thomas Murray Founder’s Award at the September 21 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta Legacy Awards Gala.
Shot in the arm: The Food and Drug Administration has finally approved a generic competitor to Mylan’s EpiPen, used for individuals having an allergic reaction. Mylan came under fire when EpiPen prices reached $600; the sticker price had increased more than 500 percent over 10 years. “President Trump seems to think that drugs are too expensive because of unfettered markets, but the EpiPen episode is a reminder: The real culprit is often not too much freedom but big business exploiting big government to keep prices high,” a Wall Street Journal editorial points out.
This month in the archives: In August five years ago, the Foundation published, “Don’t Let Scare Tactics Scuttle Pro-Growth Tax Reform.” It noted, “Tax reform is not the threat to Georgia’s future. Maintaining the status quo is.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Education Innovation at the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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