Friday Facts: February 28, 2020

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

“Overall, the evidence indicates that occupational licensing limits workers’ ability to enter professions or move to new areas with greater opportunity.” – Council of Economic Advisors

Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and their tastes, like their shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which the market offers.” – Judge Learned Hand

 

“[I]nnovation is key to all aspects of agricultural sustainability. … We must remove constraints to the adoption of innovative new approaches and technologies, including overly burdensome and unnecessary regulatory restrictions, and will to speak truth to our citizens about technology, productivity and safety.” – Sonny Perdue

Events

March 18: “Brexit: The Good, the Bad and the Messy,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon focusing on the United Kingdom at the end of nearly a half-century of European Union membership. Join Andrew Staunton, British Consul-General in Atlanta, and Zilvinas Silenas, President of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and former President of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, for a discussion moderated by Kyle Wingfield. Wingfield was a Brussels-based correspondent for The Wall Street Journal before moving to Atlanta. Georgian Club. Registration and networking at 11:30; event begins at noon. $35. Information, registration here.

April 22: “Second Chance Month Celebration,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon with Tony Lowden, Executive Director of the Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry. Second Chance Month was launched in April 2017 by Prison Fellowship to celebrate brighter futures for those who have repaid their debt to society. Blue Room at the Georgia Freight Depot. Registration and networking at 11:30; event begins at noon. $35. Information, registration here.

April 30: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and National Review Institute for “The Socialist Fantasy,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon with keynote speaker Ramesh Ponnuru, NRI Senior Fellow, on Thursday, April 30, at the Georgian Club. Registration and networking at 11:30; event begins at noon. $35. Information, registration here.

Transportation

Needs improvement: The Atlanta Regional Commission Board has approved a metro Atlanta transportation plan totaling almost $173 billion over the next 30 years. Even so, “traffic is still expected to get worse,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Economy

Going down: Thanks to the increase in crude oil exports, the U.S. trade deficit declined 1.7% to $616.8 billion in 2019, its first annual decrease since 2013, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Crude oil exports increased 35.5% or $17.1 billion compared to 2018, while crude oil imports decreased 19.3% or $30.3 billion over 2018.

Going up: Households in 11 key states could expect more than $70,000 in higher costs if the Green New Deal is implemented, according to a new study by Power the Future, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The increased costs would come from electricity, upgrading vehicles and housing, and shipping in just the first year.

Speeding up: In July 2019, the current expansion of the U.S. economy became the longest on record, according to the 2020 Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers. Contrary to expectations of a slowdown, “economic output has accelerated over the past 3 years relative to the preceding 7½ years,” the council reported, adding, “In the first three quarters of 2019, U.S. economic growth was the highest among the Group of Seven countries.”

Floundering: Georgia’s economy is likely to take its first hit from the coronavirus soon, with shipments into the state’s ports dropping up to 40% in March and April, according to Georgia Ports Authority projections. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Education

Losing ground: About 60% of public and private higher education institutions missed their fall enrollment goals and 67% missed their net-revenue goals, according to the Chronicle for Higher Education. “Trouble is brewing for traditional colleges and universities that don’t innovate,” warns education expert Michael Horn.

Career choice: A new Ad Council campaign will tout alternatives to the four-year degree. Led by the CEOs of Apple and IBM, the project comes from a White House-convened task force on workforce policy. Source: InsideHigherEd.com

Acknowledgment: The University of Georgia became the nation’s first public university, on Jan. 27, 1785. This week, UGA’s College of Education was named for the university’s first black graduate, Mary Frances Early, who graduated on Aug. 16, 1962 – 177 years after the university was established. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Charter renewals: The Georgia State Charter Schools Commission renewed the contracts of nine state charter schools whose authority to operate was to expire this year. The schools, serving about 15,000 students, received performance-based renewals ranging from three to five years. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Healthcare

Innovation: In the past six months, Walmart opened its first two standalone health clinics, in the Georgia towns of Dallas and Calhoun, with services including primary care, urgent care, labs, X-rays and dental. Former Apple CEO John Sculley predicts “a consumer revolution in retail for point of care. Why? Because if the Walmart tests are successful, and I suspect they will be, people will be able to go in and get these kinds of health services at a lower cost than if they had health insurance.” Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Certificate of need: Georgia is one of 36 states that require a certificate of need (CON) for many new medical facilities and services, even though the federal law was eliminated in the 1980s. A new Mercatus Center report highlights the basic economic illogic of CON laws and offers reform options for state lawmakers to consider.

Kyle Wingfield testifies before the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee this week on the Foundation’s position on architectural mandates.

Georgia Legislature

Today is Day 21 of the 40-day session. Follow online at www.legis.ga.gov.

Film tax credits: A House bill would strengthen administration and oversight of Georgia’s popular film tax credit program after state auditors cited millions of dollars in ineligible expenditures by production companies.

Architectural amendments: Legislation in the House would reduce the ability of local governments to impose aesthetic design mandates on single-family dwellings. Kyle Wingfield was invited to testify on the Foundation’s position on such mandates. View the hearing here (starting at the 6 minute mark). Wingfield’s comments are at the 45:30 mark.

Transparency: The Senate approved legislation intended to promote healthcare transparency. The Georgia Right to Shop Act would require insurance companies to create a webpage or toll-free phone number where patients could compare rates, see the average amount for particular services, estimate out-of-pocket costs and access quality metrics. Source: The Center Square

Media

Foundation in the media: WABE-FM interviewed Kyle Wingfield for a news segment on expanding education options in Georgia.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In February 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Patient Safety is the Important Issue.” It noted, “There is something fundamentally wrong with the medical liability system if we are paying over a thousand times as much and we are no safer than we were 30 years ago.”

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “A Tail-Chasing Regional Transportation Plan,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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