Friday Facts: October 30, 2020

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of Note

“Perhaps the most tragic aspect of today’s division is that much of it is a byproduct of our education system where young people are taught to hate our nation’s founders and founding principles. However, it is these principles, though practiced imperfectly, that have created the freest and richest nation in mankind’s history.” – Walter Williams

“This year has brought unprecedented challenges to all aspects of our lives, and there is no amount of training or experience that we or our leaders could have had to fully prepare us for the struggles we are facing. But we cannot allow circumstances to deter us from carrying on with the needed practices of living our lives and acting in our children’s best interests. As a physician friend of mine told me, ‘Life is more than merely existing. A full life involves some risk.’ I cannot think of a more important message that we should pass down to our children.” – Trey Allen 

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect.” – Thomas Jefferson


Energy and environment

A quicker cleaner-upper: Today’s “energy-efficient” dishwashers can take at least two hours to complete a full “normal” cycle, and often still fail to get the job done. After the Competitive Enterprise Institute petitioned the U.S. Department of Energy, DOE finalized a new rule this week allowing a product class of standard residential dishwashers with a one hour or less “normal” cycle from wash to dry – without undermining  existing energy and water conservation standards.

Disconnect: In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. This month, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced it would cut electricity to about 1 million state residents to reduce the risk of downed powerlines starting more wildfires. It was reportedly the fifth time this year the nation’s largest utility cut power because of fire risks. Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation asks: “What if the utility has cut off your electricity and, in the year 2035, all you have is an electric-powered vehicle, as per Governor Newsom’s recent executive order? How do you escape the coming inferno?


Economy

Recovering: The economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter – increasing 7.4% over the prior quarter and at a 33.1% annual rate – recovering about two-thirds of the ground lost earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. The growth figure easily surpasses the previous quarterly growth record of 16.7%, set in 1950.  By September, the nation had recovered about half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April, when the pandemic began. Source: Wall Street Journal

Fiscal responsibility: Among the things that may have changed forever in 2020 is Americans’ willingness to get serious about the national debt. Read Kyle Wingfield’s latest column, “Time to Get Serious About the National Debt.”


Housing affordability

Affordable Atlanta: Writing in National Review, Joel Kotkin calls homeownership “arguably the most essential mechanism for entering the middle class.” He cites an analysis by demographer Wendell Cox that found African-American homeownership, as a percentage of households, reaches nearly 50% in metro Atlanta but is less than 35% in Los Angeles, Boston and New York. It also found Atlanta is one area where black households increased 70% in the past two decades, more than four times the national 15% increase. Kotkin joined the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum in August for a discussion on land use and transportation; view it here.

Mission creep: In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered a halt to evictions of certain tenants for nonpayment of rent after a determination that “evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread” of COVID-19. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law group, is representing a group of landlords and the National Association of Home Builders in a lawsuit arguing the CDC has overstepped its authority.

Too many cooks: A new majority report by the Senate Budget Committee proposes consolidating federal housing programs. According to “Housing Programs: The Need for One Roof,” the federal government spends over $50 billion per year on low-income housing assistance programs, guarantees $2 trillion in home loans, and provides billions more through the tax code. At least 20 different entities administer 160 housing assistance programs and activities. Read the Foundation’s commentary, “The Labyrinth of Housing Affordability.”


Education

Opportunity in options: Greater school choice offers more educational competition, which empowers families and pressures schools to deliver more value, according to a new report by the Council of Economic Advisers that highlights the benefits of expanding educational opportunity. It asserts, “In other words, competition can be the tide that lifts all boats.”


Transportation

Whose fault? Transportation Tuesday” discusses Atlanta’s Midtown Connector Transportation Improvement Plan, public-private partnerships and toll lanes.


Elections

Deadlines: Early in-person voting ends today in Georgia. Election Day is November 3. Read Kyle Wingfield’s commentary, “Do You Know What’s on Your Georgia Ballot?


Healthcare

COVID-19 status update: As of Thursday afternoon, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 7,923 COVID-19 deaths and 356,848 confirmed Georgia cases since the pandemic’s start. The department updates the information daily at 3 p.m. Visit the website here.

Medical Monday: In this week’s “Checking Up On Health,” read about the studies that suggest a Vitamin D deficiency exacerbates COVID-19 symptoms and what the government is doing to facilitate direct primary care.


Media

Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kyle Wingfield in an article about the U.S. Supreme Court and Affordable Care Act provisions.


Guide to the Issues 2020

Solutions for Georgia: Read “Guide to the Issues 2020” a compilation of Georgia-focused recommendations for the state’s policymakers. The 13 chapters tackle K-12 educationhigher education and pension reform as well as healthcarelong-term careMedicaid and tort reform. The Guide also provides a state fiscal overview and policy ideas on tax reformwelfare reformoccupational licensing reform and criminal justice reform. Each chapter is published in full on the Foundation’s website here and is linked to a printable PDF version.


Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In October five years ago, the Foundation published, “Private Property Rights: How One Think Tank is Changing a Nation.” It noted, “Private property rights are the foundation of national security. People who have a vested interest in their land tend to be interested in preserving, maintaining and improving it and peacefully coexisting with their neighbors.”

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Policies and Politics in the Climate Change Dispute,” by Dave Emanuel.

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