Friday Facts: October 4, 2019

Just 18% of U.S. households have enough liquid assets to cover the cost of a new car, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

It’s Friday!

Events

November 15: The agenda is online for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which features nearly two dozen policy experts and leaders on issues affecting Georgia: education, healthcare, opportunity, regulation and transportation. Registration is $100 for the daylong event on Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme: “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Read about it here; register here.

Quotes of note 

“In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.” – George Washington 

“It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.” – John Locke

“In order to be able to be an irreproachable member of the herd, one must, above all, be a sheep.” – Albert Einstein

Opportunity

Business leader: Georgia has been ranked the No. 1 State for Doing Business for the sixth year in a row by Area Development magazine. States are scored in 12 categories, including the cost of doing business, the corporate tax and regulatory environment, business incentives programs and a competitive labor environment.

Build on it: Manufacturing Day is celebrated annually on the first Friday in October. The Census Bureau reports this sector is the nation’s fifth-largest employer, with 11.6 million workers, or just over 4% of the workforce. About 30% of manufacturing workers 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree. According to The Wall Street Journal, 37% of manufacturers surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses reported job openings they are unable to fill as a result of the tight labor market.

Transportation

Air cover: Atlanta-based shipping giant UPS announced this week it is now certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate a fleet of drones for unmanned delivery operations. The company reports it is the first to receive such broad certification and initially plans to use its drone subisidiary, UPS Flight Forward, to operate a “drone airline” on hospitals and other campuses. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Downhill: Georgia’s highway system ranks 26th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to Reason Foundation’s 2019 Annual Highway Report. This is an eight-spot decrease from the previous report, where Georgia ranked 18th overall. Georgia’s best rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition (4th) and structurally deficient bridges (7th), but it was No. 47 for urbanized area congestion.

Top of the hill: QuoteWizard, a Seattle-based online insurance marketplace, ranks Georgia second, behind Tennessee on road infrastructure. Georgia has just 5% of roads in poor condition, 4% of bridges structurally deficient and the annual cost per motorist due to poor roads is $275, according to the report.

Over your head: Just 18% of U.S. households have enough liquid assets to cover the cost of a new car, The Wall Street Journal reports. The median-income U.S. household with a four-year loan, 20% down and a payment under 10% of gross income – a standard budget – could afford a car worth $18,390, excluding taxes, according to Bankrate.com. But the size of the average loan for a new car is $32,119, and now stretches for roughly 69 months, a record. 

Healthcare

Rural resurgence: Mercer University School of Medicine has announced plans to open rural healthcare facilities in Peach and Clay counties, The Albany Herald reports. In addition to offering physician training in rural areas, the facilities’ services will include primary care, on-site lab services, EKG, vaccinations and telemedicine technology, supported by the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, which will provide additional access to specialists offered at Mercer Medicine in Macon.

Target the problem: Lung injuries in those who suffered vaping-related illnesses resemble damage in those exposed to harmful gases or chemical spills, according to new Mayo Clinic research based on patient lung biopsies. About 70% of the patients said they had vaped marijuana, echoing survey data released last week by health authorities that found 87% of a group of patients admitted vaping THC products, provided by informal sources such as a friend or a dealer. Source: Statnews.com

Education

Online, off track? High-school students who failed a required class used to have two options: Repeat the course next year or enroll in summer school. Now, online credit recovery has emerged as a third way. These computer-based classes are helpful but can also be vulnerable to abuse, however, and not only by students keen to post a positive outcome, but also by schools and districts eager to raise graduation rates. Source: EducationNext.org

Blue-Ribbon Schools: Ten Georgia schools are on the list of the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools, four of them private schools. A total of 362 schools in the nation were recognized for school excellence, turn-around stories, and closing subgroup achievement gaps. The 2019 list included 312 public schools and 50 private schools.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In October 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “More Competition in Corrections Department Will Lead to Additional Savings.” It noted, “Privatization is most efficient when contracts specify clear, measurable objectives without needlessly micromanaging operational decisions.”

Media

Foundation in the news: The Citizen published Dave Emanuel’s commentary, “The Empty Promise of ‘Democratic’ Socialism,” and Benita Dodd’s commentary, “In Search of Civility and Civil Society.”

Website update: Visit the Foundation’s redesigned website and let us know what you think!

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Interpreting Graduation Rates: Not as Easy as ABC,” by Eric Wearne.

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 website at www.georgiapolicy.org.

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