Friday Facts: September 10, 2021

It’s Friday! 

Memory Lane 

Never forget: A sign painted on the hillside campus of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School along U.S. 23 in Rabun County is one of many across Georgia and around the nation to commemorate the victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which left nearly 3,000 dead.

Quotes of note

“For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity and laughter.” – Deepak Chopra

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – George W. Bush

“When Americans lend a hand to one another, nothing is impossible. We’re not about what happened on 9/11. We’re about what happened on 9/12.” – Jeff Parness

Correction

‘Faulty Memory’ Lane: The caption in our photographic trip down Memory Lane last week misidentified former Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris. Hank McCamish, founder of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was also in the photograph. McCamish expected us to get the facts right. It’s a timely reminder of our founder’s high standards (and ours) as we celebrate our 30th anniversary celebration, and we apologize for the error.

Taxes and spending

Diminishing returns: President Biden wants to effectively double the size of the Internal Revenue Service, adding $80 billion in spending on the IRS over the next 10 years to increase tax enforcement and net the government about $700 billion more in taxes paid. The Congressional Budget Office’s calculations, however, suggest this is likely to produce just $200 billion more in tax revenue, and that would be a quickly diminishing amount. “If so much tax revenue is being missed, why isn’t Biden’s first suggestion a call to simplify the tax code rather than spending billions more to further squeeze taxpayers?” asks Tomas Gallatin in a column in the Patriot Post.

Energy and environment

Problems without plastic: People are told it’s worth spending more for “environmentally better” natural products. Abandoning plastics, however, would be environmentally devastating, according to a new paper by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The policy paper – the first of four – outlines how “wildlife would suffer, and we would need to use far more resources to meet human needs.” It notes, for example, how Bakelite replaced elephant tusks, other animal horns and tortoise shells.

Economy

Fleeing Big Government: California has seen 265 major businesses leave in the past three years, and the rate of departures is rapidly increasing, FEE reports. Companies cite high tax rates; high labor, utility and energy costs; excessive regulation; and the declining quality of life in the state. In its 2021 survey Chief Executive magazine ranked California as the worst state to do business in, and the Tax Foundation ranks it the 49th-worst business tax climate in the nation.

Chips down: Kia Motors, which halted production in May at its Georgia plant, citing a shortage of semiconductor chips, halted work again this week for the same reason. The stoppages have resulted in two weeks’ lost production, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The worldwide chip shortage has also affected General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Stellantis, previously known as Fiat Chrysler.

Healthcare 

Covid count: With more than 20,000 deaths in Georgia since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there were reports this week of the appearance of yet another virus variant. Cases involving the “mu” variant, first seen in Colombia, have been reported in 49 states. Health experts worry it may be as resistant to vaccines as the beta variant first seen in South Africa, the Associated Press reported. The highly contagious “delta” variant, first seen in India, is the dominant strain in the U.S. resurgence. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.

Education

Survey I: The 15th annual Education Next survey, conducted in June 2021, was a follow-up of polls of parents of school-age children in May and November 2020. At the end of the school year, parents of 57% of the students said their child is learning somewhat or a lot less this school year than “they would have learned if there had not been a pandemic,” about the same as the 60% who gave this response the previous fall. At the same time, Education Next reports, “It appears that a large majority of parents continue to believe that their children’s schools are doing the best they can under extremely adverse circumstances.”

Survey II: According to the 15th annual Education Next survey, parents reported the percentage of children in private school attending full-time in-person classes climbed to 79% by the end of the school year, from 60% in November. At district schools, that percentage rose to 50% from 24%; at charters, to 36% from 18%. The percentage of private-school students taught remotely declined to just 8% from an already low 18%. At district schools, the percentage receiving all instruction remotely fell to 28% from 57%; in the charter sector, it drops to 43% from 66%.

Legislature

Reapportionment: The schedule of the General Assembly’s committee hearings can be found online, along with video links to the meetings. Visit legis.ga.gov/schedule/all.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In September 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Tough on Crime, Smart on Criminal Justice Spending.” It noted, “With a prison population expected to approach 60,000 in the next five years, it is critical that the state’s leaders do more to reform criminal justice.” In the ensuing years, Georgia has become a national model for reform!

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Universal Recognition, A License to Work,” by Benita Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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