November 8: Mark your calendar for “Brew & Review,” an evening of perspectives on the November 6 election outcome. Hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. (Networking begins at 6:30 p.m.) Details to follow.
November 14: Mark your calendar for a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon tackling trade and how international trade impacts Georgia. Guest speakers are Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, and Jay Neely, vice president of Law and Public Affairs for Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. Georgian Club. (Registration, networking begin at 11 a.m.) This event is a partnership of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation; seating is limited. Details to follow.
Quotes of note
“Our wish… is, that the public efforts may be directed honestly to the public good, that peace be cultivated, civil and religious liberty unassailed, law and order preserved, equality of rights maintained, and that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry, or that of his fathers.” – Thomas Jefferson, 2nd Inaugural, 1805
“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and … the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.” – Henry Hazlitt
“The story of Sears is another reminder that everything changes, and retail dominance today is no guarantee of leadership tomorrow.” – Jeremy Bowman
Voting record: In-person early voting began Monday and 69,049 people cast their ballots on Day 1. That’s a sharp increase from the last midterm election in 2014, when 20,898 people showed up on the first day of in-person early voting, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Check your registration status at mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.
Taxes and spending
Who’s paying the taxes? In 2016, the top 50 percent of taxpayers paid 97 percent of individual income taxes, and the top 1 percent paid more than one-third. The bottom 90 percent combined paid less than one-third. Source: Bloomberg
Up, up and away: The U.S. government ran its largest budget deficit in six years during the fiscal year that ended last month. The Wall Street Journal called this “an unusual development in a fast-growing economy and a sign that – so far at least – tax cuts have restrained government revenue gains.” It’s also a sign that tax cuts need to be accompanied by reductions in government spending.
Payday loans: Payday lenders primarily serve the underbanked and those who can’t get loans from banks, offering cash advances to people who run out of money between paychecks. A group of payday lenders has filed suit against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. over an Obama administration effort to discourage banks from working with payday lenders. In Atlanta, the FDIC’s regional director threatened the chairman of a bank with criminal prosecution. After the bank terminated the payday lender’s account in question, the regional director appeared to make an attempt to cover the FDIC’s tracks, pressuring the bank to characterize the decision as its own. Source: Heritage Foundation
Jobs and poverty: The idea that the “working poor” make up a large share of those in persistent poverty is not borne out in data, according to a new study that found a strong connection between joblessness and long-term poverty. Among those households that were persistently poor, 72.1 percent spent some time jobless and almost 40 percent spent at least three-quarters of the study period (2009-2011) without a job. Source: American Enterprise Institute
Work requirements: Of the 66 Georgia counties exempted from food stamp work requirements, 56 have jobless rates at or below 6 percent and none have jobless rates above the 10 percent statutory threshold, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability. It notes: “Georgia grouped 66 counties with unemployment rates that vary greatly. Many of these would not have qualified for waivers had they not been grouped together.”
Tariffs: In an open letter to President Trump published in The Wall Street Journal, Steve Forbes, Arthur Laffer, Fred Smith and Stephen Moore urge him to negotiate zero tariffs. “On a level playing field, American companies and their talented and productive workers can compete with anyone, and U.S. exporters – from farmers to manufacturers to tech firms – will benefit enormously if trade barriers are abolished,” they argue.
Savings: Generic medicines account for nine out of every 10 prescriptions filled in the United States, according to the Association for Accessible Medicines, which found generic drugs saved U.S. consumers $265 billion in 2017.
Energy and environment
Hurricane: Hurricane Michael’s destructive path through Georgia left many farmers with ruined crops or dead animals. The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s early estimates put losses at between $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion, much of it in the timber industry in South Georgia. Find coverage of the South Georgia devastation at The Albany Herald, which has temporarily dropped its paywall.
Left behind: The United States is now a net exporter of crude oil, but California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, Ronald Stein writes in NewGeography.com. “The state has no pipelines over those mountains to access the oil shale boom, thus any crude oil needs from the rest of the country for California must to go through the Panama Canal to reach California ports.” California now relies on nine major foreign countries for most of its crude oil, and those imports grew from 5 percent in 1992 to 56 percent in 2017.
This month in the archives: In October 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Texas Experience Provides Road Map to Congestion Relief.” It noted, “Allowing the private sector to assume responsibility for designing, building and, in some cases, operating transportation facilities transfers much of the risk onto the private sector and allows projects to be delivered faster and at lower cost to the taxpayers.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Hurricane Deals Georgia Agriculture an Unprecedented Blow,” by Jeffrey H. Dorfman.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/.
Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.