logo

Friday Facts: September 17, 2021

It’s Friday!  We’re celebrating! The Georgia Public Policy Foundation marked 30 years of “Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians’ Lives” with a dinner celebration Thursday night at the Georgia Aquarium. About 250 guests attended the event, which featured The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley, author of a new book on economist Thomas Sowell, as the keynote speaker. Each guest received a copy of Riley’s new book, “Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell.” (Picture from Thursday night goes here.)   Memory Lane Soon after its launch in 1991, the Georgia Public Policy … Continue Reading →

Failure by Institution

By Kyle Wingfield President Joe Biden this past week said federal agencies will begin requiring employers with as few as 100 employees to mandate their workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. It’s an example of overreach that deserves a court challenge. It is also the latest example of failure by our institutions. As we watch the “delta” variant of this coronavirus take hold and overwhelm our hospitals, so soon after we thought the pandemic was ending thanks to an effective vaccine, it is hard to deny … Continue Reading →

Labor Day and the Value of Work

By Kyle Wingfield As we check off another Labor Day, it’s fair to ask if it really is just another Labor Day. The holiday honoring workers stems from the Industrial Revolution, when working conditions in America’s burgeoning assortment of factories, mills and mines came to be intolerable for those who toiled there. America’s elites, it seemed, valued the work more than the workers. Nowadays, it appears to be the other way around. The inherent value of work seems to be in doubt for many of our nation’s elites. The dignity … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: September 03, 2021

It’s Friday! Memory Lane In less than two weeks, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with a September 16 event at the Georgia Aquarium. In 1996, the Foundation’s founder, Hank McCamish (right) and Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris (left) presented the prestigious Freedom Award to Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A. While McCamish died in 2013 and Cathy died in 2014, the seeds these two Georgia leaders planted have grown and continue to flourish in Georgia. Quotes of note “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to … Continue Reading →

Tradition and Touchdowns

By Kyle Wingfield Few things loom as large over the Southern calendar as college football. Weddings are scheduled around it, vacations are planned for it, millions and millions of dollars are spent on it – and that’s just for the bourbon. Although a few schools have begun their seasons, most of our favorite teams will kick off over Labor Day weekend, as the good Lord intended. The sport’s turbulence this summer, however, brings to mind our broader societal tumult. Players began getting paid (above the table) for the use of … Continue Reading →

Friday Facts: August 27, 2021

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts.” ― Thomas Sowell  “August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”― Sylvia Plath “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”  ― Winston Churchill On Our Desk Missed Milestones: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield addresses some major … Continue Reading →

Major Problems with Georgia Milestones.

By Kyle Wingfield The scores are in, and they are ugly. I’m talking about the Georgia Milestones exams given last spring, the state’s year-end standardized tests. Georgia students – or at least the ones who took the test; more on that shortly – performed markedly worse than they did the last time the tests were given. For example, the percentage of third-graders reading on grade level is a key statistic. Research indicates third-graders with subpar reading skills are likely to remain behind when they reach high school, and are far … Continue Reading →

Examining Policy Responses to the Pandemic

By Kyle Wingfield Covid infections are back on the rise. Georgia’s seven-day moving average of cases as of last Friday was 17 times higher than in late June, when it hit the lowest point since March 2020. Mask mandates have returned to some cities and many school districts. Large companies that had targeted Labor Day for their employees to return to the office have postponed their plans. It is only a matter of time before we hear calls to reinstate at least partial shutdowns of the economy. That would be … Continue Reading →

Private School – More Affordable Than You Think?

By Kyle Wingfield A perennial argument against programs to expand educational options is that students wouldn’t receive enough to pay for private-school tuition. Critics cite tuition figures of $20,000 or more, focusing all of their attention on the very highest-end examples – typically, elite private schools in Atlanta. But not every private school charges “elite” rates of tuition. In fact, the website PrivateSchoolReview.com finds the average tuition for a private school in Georgia in 2021 was $10,584 for elementary schools and $11,677 for high schools. The median tuition price was … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: August 06, 2021

It’s Friday! Memory Lane First of many: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s first luncheon briefing was in October 1993, two years after the Foundation was established. The speaker was Jack Kemp, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. (He died in May 2009.) Through the decades, the Foundation has sought to invite event speakers who reinforce the point Kemp made then: “All of the progress in human history has taken place when people were liberated from state-imposed barriers and controls over the decisions that they made in the marketplace.” The … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: July 30, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Once Upon a Fax: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s most popular publication, the Friday Facts, has evolved over the decades from a one-page facsimile sent to the Foundation’s paying members to a free online and emailed roundup of the week’s interesting policy news and views. Here’s how it looked in January 1999. The Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with an event September 16 at the Georgia Aquarium. Quotes of note “Congress has spent so much money in the past year that the recipients are having a … Continue Reading →

Pursuing Public School Budgets

Credit where credit is due: Some school leaders aren’t complaining about the small amount of state money cut from their budgets, but are instead moving forward with the much larger influx of federal money that more than makes up for it. Is it enough to end the silly narrative that public schools are somehow struggling financially with “austerity” cuts? We’ll see. Cobb County is the example I had in mind. Recently, the state’s second-largest school district revealed its proposal for spending the first chunk of money it will receive from … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: July 23, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Sometimes, the wheels of change turn exceedingly slow. As early as 1992 (right) – one year after the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was founded – and as recently as last week, the Foundation has focused on reforming the restrictive certificate-of-need regulations in the state. The Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with an event September 16 at the Georgia Aquarium, and our commitment to enhance healthcare competition and access for all Georgians continues. Quotes of note “Let’s hope the political class has learned some lessons from the … Continue Reading →

Surplus Boom or Bubble?

By Kyle Wingfield Sometimes, it’s worth remembering just how far we’ve come from a low point. The state’s revenue report this past week is such an occasion. Georgia’s fiscal year ends each June 30, so the latest data tell us how a full year of pandemic-affected revenue shaped up. The answer: about $3.2 billion more than last year. But arguably more important, the state’s tax take in fiscal 2021 was also about $3.1 billion more than in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic hit. A year ago, this … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: July 16, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Housing affordability was one of the earliest policy challenges that drew the attention of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, as this 1992 commentary demonstrates. As the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021 – with an event September 16 at the Georgia Aquarium – it is also renewing its focus on housing affordability, an ongoing and growing concern for many working Georgians. Quotes of note “While businesses must constantly adjust to survive, once bureaucrats create regulations, they have no incentive to repeal them, ever. Instead, they … Continue Reading →

Pandemic Effects on America’s Wealth

By Kyle Wingfield Many Americans wondered whether income inequality would grow during the pandemic, and new data suggest they were right to be concerned. The better question is not whether inequality grew, but why. The Federal Reserve last month reported American wealth actually increased during 2020, despite one of the steepest economic freefalls in U.S. history. The almost immediate rebound once the strictest lockdowns ended – the so-called V-shaped recovery – more than made Americans whole, at least in the aggregate. The extraordinary actions by the federal government in 2020, … Continue Reading →

logo

Friday Facts: July 09, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Experienced guide: Since 1996, the nonpartisan Georgia Public Policy Foundation has published a legislative agenda – a guide to the state’s policy challenges, with solutions aimed at reducing the role of government. And, as this 1996 article reveals, there was bipartisan consideration of the ideas proposed in Agenda ’96. As the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, Georgians continue to look to us to bring people together with fact-based policy ideas for the state’s challenges. As important, the Guide to the Issues lives on. Quotes … Continue Reading →

Have Tolls, Will Travel

By Kyle Wingfield When it comes to transportation policy in Georgia, good – or at least, better – things often come to those who wait. A decade ago, regional T-SPLOST referendums were pitched as the best way to fund new transportation infrastructure. But voters in 2012 rejected the idea in nine of 12 districts, including metro Atlanta; only one region, in South Georgia, has adopted it since. Lawmakers pivoted in 2015 with legislation that, among other provisions, raised the motor-fuel tax and dedicated all of its revenues to road-building. Not … Continue Reading →

Celebrating Independent Minds on Independence Day

 By Kyle Wingfield National holidays are treasured occasions, and not only because it means a day off (for many of us). Most of these holidays bear a certain, obvious solemnity of purpose: Memorial Day. Veterans Day. Thanksgiving. And arguably the highest of holidays on America’s secular calendar, Independence Day. This year’s celebration arrives amid partisan bickering for, what, the second year in a row? The tenth? The fiftieth? Try the two hundred forty-fifth. The Founding Fathers were famously afraid of factions. Yet they wasted no time falling into them. We … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: June 28, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Earlier this month, on June 14, Dutch company Philips announced a U.S. recall of CPAP machines. Millions of them. It’s interesting how few people know what a CPAP machine is, and how many people actually use them. Until you know someone who uses one. Then, suddenly, you notice them everywhere. Stand in an airport and you’ll watch scores of people carrying this essential little case onto their flight, most of them men. This is considered a medical … Continue Reading →