Category: Regulation

Georgia has many examples of failures where municipal governments tried to compete with the private sector to provide Internet access, telephone service, cable television and other services. Taxpayers were left holding the bag. As Bartlett Cleland of the the Institute for Policy Innovation reports below, Phildelphia is the latest example of government mission creep. The article also explains how North Carolina has wisely put in place some protections against this behavior. Philadelphia taxpayers left stranded, again, with a failed municipal wi-fi network might wish Philly was in the Tar Heel State. In spring, the North Carolina legislature debated the value of municipalities building their own wi-fi networks and decided against it.  The legislation passed and was made law by the… View Article

Georgia Needs a Lone Star State of Mind

Georgia Needs a Lone Star State of Mind  By Kelly McCutchen Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's the mantra from nearly every elected official these days, from President Obama to Governor Deal. But do government policies really have on impact job creation? And if so, what should states like Georgia be doing? Can government create jobs? Certainly, but every dollar spent by government is a dollar taken out of the private economy, where it most likely could be put to better use. "More focus should be on incentives for people and businesses to invest, produce and work," says Harvard economist Robert Barro. "On the tax side, we should avoid programs that throw money at people and emphasize instead reductions in marginal… View Article
James K. Glassman   This talk today is timely. In Iran, as I speak, we are seeing hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting what is almost certainly a stolen election. It is an uprising encouraged and enabled by new social-networking technologies in a process I call the “Grand Conversation.” This morning, I want to frame my remarks about technology and the Grand Conversation with some economic background. Then I want to talk about why technology is so important to a state and a national economy, including a bit about my own favorite project at the State Department. And, finally, I will discuss how to encourage technology growth and economic growth. The key in all of this is broad, deep, and rapid… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In these difficult economic times, it’s increasingly important to increase state employees’ retirement security and avoid future reductions in benefits. Yet a new study finds that the long-term investment returns of Georgia’s pension funds trail the performance of nearly every large public fund in the nation. With a January market value exceeding $54 billion, Georgia’s pension funds could be foregoing more than $1 billion in investment returns each year. The study, released in January, was initiated by the Commission for a New Georgia. The goal of its Task Force on State Investment Strategies was “to ensure that our State’s investment entities employ state-of-art policies to enhance the return on investment while remaining prudent and conservative in its… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen  The ongoing debate over how best to finance nuclear power plant construction in Georgia has generated more energy than utilities do. One side argues it will save customers $300 million; the other sees a $575 million cost. It takes a graduate degree in finance to help determine the answer.Too much time has been spent airing the “pay me now or pay me later” dispute, however, while the real risk of a downgrading of the credit rating for the utility involved has gotten short shrift. Yet that’s what would produce the worst possible outcome for consumers. Georgia Power Co. plans to expand its Plant Vogtle nuclear plant outside Augusta by adding two reactors at an estimated cost of… View Article

Competition Drives Cost Savings in Auto Insurance

By Dr. Joseph P. Fuhr, Jr. If one thing stands out from recent news reports on auto insurance in Georgia, it’s that economic regulation and rate review are not needed to protect the state’s consumers from rate gouging.    With nearly 90 auto insurance providers in the state, Georgia consumers enjoy more competition and choice of auto insurance plans than they do for most other goods and services. Where else can Georgia shoppers find so many choices – food, housing, medical care, telephone service? The ability of consumers to shop, choose and switch will lead to overall competitive rate levels with no suggestion of monopoly profits. The state’s auto insurance markets do not show characteristics of natural monopoly, unfair competition or… View Article

The Real Skinny on Obesity

By Harold Brown Our culture makes the simplest problems complex and the simplest solutions expensive. None seem simpler than the cause of obesity and its cure, but nutritionists, psychologists, government and popular culture have made its cure both a complex science and mystical mission. What we learned from nutrition courses a half-century or more ago still holds true today: If we consume more calories than we need, the excess energy is stored as fat. Popular science, however, won’t have it. A study group reporting to the U.S. Food and Drug Agency says, “The problem of obesity has no single cause.” In a nitpicking sense, that is correct. Potatoes, peanuts, hamburgers, ice cream and cake are all causes, as are watching… View Article

Good Intentions on Road to Energy Hell

By Kenneth P. Green It is rare that one finds a policy concept that unites policy-makers not only of the left and right, but between countries, particularly, these days, in the contentious field of energy policy. But there is such a thing, and that unifying idea is the fatal conceit that government planners can outperform free energy markets at finding the sweet spot at which consumer demand for energy is reliably met with supplies reflecting the true costs of production at use. One of the most prevalent mechanisms by which planners choose to exercise their influence over the market is by way of subsidies to various forms of energy. Such subsidies can be transparent, such as when a government gives… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Tired of slow downloads, limited access to broadband, high prices or poor service? You should be concerned. Georgia could easily lose out on billions of dollars of vital investment in telecommunications infrastructure if this state fails to act quickly. Investors seek a return on their investment.  In telecommunications, the best return is generated by offering the “triple play” – voice, video and data. But current Georgia law mandates that a company negotiate a franchise agreement separately with each city before it can offer video services. Eleven states, including our neighbors in South and North Carolina, have already eliminated the outdated and cumbersome process of local video franchises to encourage competition and investment. This scenario is eerily similar… View Article
October 19, 2006   We believe that a statewide video franchise law is critical to Georgia’s future. Telecommuting, telemedicine, virtual schools and other high tech advances hold great promise for a large, rural state like Georgia, but to take full advantage of these technologies we need a more robust telecommunications network. Revenues from Internet service alone do not appear sufficient to support this size of an investment, but Internet services combined with voice and video services offer a much more attractive opportunity for capital investment.   Voice and video are shifting from analog to digital, and everything is becoming bits – nothing but ones and zeros represented by flashes of light. Fiber optic lines carry data, voice and video bits… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes