May 23: The deadline is Tuesday, May 21, to register for “You Can Say That: How Courage Can Defeat Political Correctness,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of the National Review Institute, on Thursday, May 23. Georgian Club. $35. Information and registration here.
Quotes of note
“The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.” – Milton Friedman
“Support of choice must be coupled with attention to communities and values, and a commitment to schools that embrace our common heritage, instill personal responsibility and responsible citizenship, celebrate America’s virtues and heroes, prize patriotism, make room for faith, and reject grievance politics.” – Frederick M. Hess
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” – C.S. Lewis
Millennials: Despite traffic being their biggest complaint, millennials ranked Atlanta second-best in overall value among 22 major U.S. metropolitan areas in the 2019 U.S. Cities Scorecard for Millennials. Houston was No. 1 for overall value. Atlanta was followed in the top five by Dallas, Minneapolis, and Austin. Houston was No. 1 for overall expenses, followed by Phoenix and Cleveland, which tied for No. 2, then Atlanta.
Seafarer: Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG 133, will be named the USS Sam Nunn in honor of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, who represented Georgia from 1972 to 1997. “His leadership in the Senate, specifically as the long-serving chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped streamline the military chain of command and strengthen our Navy and Marine Corps team,” Spencer said.
Transit: The Foundation’s commentary published on May 3 highlighted the benefits of Georgia’s toll lanes. An article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the same day reported, “Even those who don’t use the toll lanes have benefited – traffic in the regular lanes is moving 10 to 15 miles an hour faster at rush hour. … [B]uses are arriving at their destinations about 15 minutes early since the Northwest Corridor lanes opened last September.”
Higher ed success: In 2018, graduates owed over $1.5 trillion in student loan payments. The Pioneer Institute highlights some successes in improving academic achievement while reducing student loan debt. These include Purdue’s Back a Boiler program, which minimizes the need for students to assume loan debt; Boston-based Duet, which plans for 70 percent of students to complete an Associate’s degree within three years (a rate five times higher than area community colleges), and adapting course and program offerings to meet the needs of a changing job market.
System improvements: Consolidating campuses and services in the University System of Georgia has had numerous benefits, according to a review by Dartmouth College’s Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. First-year dropout rates declined 8 percent and on-time graduation increased 29 percent, without driving up costs. “Tuition and fees didn’t increase, nor did grant aid provided by the colleges fall. System funding has slowly increased per full-time student enrollment since 2012 after a three-year decline, but remains at about 2010 funding levels.” Transferring between colleges also became easier, and administrators could better collaborate. Source: James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
Motherhood: Among females ages 15 and older in the United States, 22 percent were under age 20 when they gave birth for the first time; 37 percent gave birth between ages 20-24; 24 percent gave birth between ages 25-29, and 12 percent gave birth between ages 30-34. Just 5 percent of women were 35 or older when they had their first child. Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Babies: There were 3.86 million births in 2017 in the United States, a 2 percent decline from 2016. Birth rates declined for women in their 20s and 30s but increased for women in their early 40s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caesarean sections increased to 32 percent of deliveries after four years of declines, while the preterm birth rate and the rate of low birthweight both rose for the third straight year. Medicaid paid for 43 percent of births, a 1 percent increase over 2016.
Vaccinations: In an effort to deal with an ongoing measles outbreak, New York City has declared a public health emergency and mandated vaccinations in four ZIP codes, with fines of up to $1,000 for failure to comply. This week, 84 people were cited; they face up to $2,000 in fines if they do not appear in court. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Medicaid: Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said this week in Atlanta the Trump administration is reviewing a proposal to raise the federal match level to 90 percent for states seeking Medicaid programs for individuals up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $12,500 in income for an individual. That’s the level Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has targeted in his waiver effort. Source: Georgia Health News
Prescription drugs: The Trump administration will require companies to disclose prices in TV ads for any drugs costing $35 for a month’s supply or a usual course of therapy. “Patients have the right to know the prices of health care services,’’ CMS Administrator Seema Verma told the National Rural Health Association’s annual conference in Atlanta this week, Georgia Health News reported. Negotiations among providers and pharmaceutical companies complicate pricing; expect consumer confusion to follow.
Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published Kyle Wingfield’s op-ed on health-care waivers.
This month in the archives: In May 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “Death Taxes Cost Us Sprawl.” It noted, “Since urban sprawl appears to be blamed for many land-use problems in Georgia and the United States, we can at least fight for the end of one of its causes – the estate tax.” Georgia eliminated the estate tax in 2014.
Have a great Mother’s Day weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
“Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see.” – Pope Paul VI
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 https://forum.georgiapolicy.org.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years. I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does. We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C. We thank you very much for that.