Category: Commentaries

By Benita M. Dodd More than 40,000 activities and events around the nation will celebrate National School Choice Week 2019, held from January 20-26. (One is the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual event on Tuesday at the Sloppy Floyd Towers, opposite the State Capitol. Find out more here.) The events and activities underscore the need for choice in children’s education: No two children are alike. They learn in different ways, in different environments and at different paces, and their opportunity to achieve shouldn’t be limited by ZIP code or their parents’ paycheck. The events showcase the options. These include public charter schools, which contract with their district or state authorizing agency, promising better results in exchange for greater flexibility… View Article

Medicaid Work Requirements Could Help the Poor

By Doug Badger More than 12 million nondisabled, working-age Americans are enrolled in Medicaid. They receive medical care that is virtually free, and in most states they are under no obligation to work or seek work. Sounds like a great deal. Until you consider how much these “free” benefits may cost a recipient over the course of a lifetime. That could total more than $323,000 in forgone wages for men and over $212,000 for women, according to a study by the Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based free-market think tank. Using Census Bureau data, the study’s authors estimated that nondisabled men on Medicaid work an average of 13 hours per week, compared with 12 hours for women. Some Medicaid recipients, however, already… View Article

Make Civility and Civics a Winning Combo in 2019

By Benita M. Dodd A good man passed away on January 2nd. Bob Hanner, 73, had served 38 years in the Georgia General Assembly, transitioning from South Georgia Democrat to South Georgia Republican before leaving the Legislature in 2013. Most people have forgotten why he left. A census-based reapportionment, coupled with a declining Southwest Georgia population, meant Hanner, representative from the 148th District (Parrott), and Gerald Greene, who had served the 149th District (Cuthbert) for 30 years, would have to face each other in the newly drawn 151st House District. “We talked about it – knew it was coming – and I told Bob I wouldn’t run if he decided to,” Greene told The Albany Herald in 2012. “Of course,… View Article

2018 Victories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

By Kyle Wingfield As 2018 dashes away like Donner and Blitzen, many Georgians will remember it as a year of major political transition. But 2018 also brought some substantial improvements to Georgians’ lives through better policy, much of it championed by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The year began with a bit of a hangover from 2017: The tax reform that Congress passed late last year, though beneficial for your federal tax bill, threatened to raise your state taxes if unaddressed. Thankfully, legislators didn’t drop the ball. They set in motion a series of changes that will shield more of Georgians’ income from the state income tax and, for the first time in our state’s history, lower the top marginal… View Article

Five Facts Favoring Education Choice in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd Given the state’s progress since Georgia’s first charter school was approved 20 years ago, it would seem unnecessary to have to remind policymakers and parents of the importance of choices in education. With the turnover under the Gold Dome, however, policymakers risk losing the lessons learned – the hard-won institutional knowledge – that reinforce the need for choice for Georgia’s families. In November’s elections, Democrats took 14 seats held by Republican legislators, shrinking the GOP majority. Republicans picked up three, giving the Democrats a net gain of 11. Those numbers, of course, are not as important as the fact there are more novice legislators and, with the antagonism toward choice displayed by many Democrats, likely more… View Article

Pearl Harbor Day: A Reminder to Remember

By Pat Stansbury “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt It was a quiet Sunday morning in beautiful Oahu, Hawaii. Without warning, the peaceful residents in paradise awakened in shock and terror as all hell broke loose around them. The first wave began at 7:53 a.m. with Japan’s order to attack. By 8 a.m., the majority of U.S. fighter planes were destroyed. Torpedo attacks lasted 11 minutes, followed by bombers that attacked the USS Arizona’s magazine, causing devastating explosions. The second wave came at 8:40 a.m. Another 167 enemy aircraft attacked.… View Article
By Jen Sidorova Georgia’s students deserve fiscally responsible public education management, but chronic underfunding of teachers’ pensions is putting that at risk. Over the past three years alone, legislators had to reroute over $600 million away from other budget priorities to make additional payments into the state’s retirement system for teachers. As of today, public education employees have been promised $25 billion more in pension benefits than Georgia is expected to have available to fully pay its obligations. Each year, a certain amount of money needs to be contributed to the pension fund in order to pay promised benefits. The required contributions has been steadily increasing – reaching 21 percent of total payroll as budgeted for 2020 – escalating the… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s uninsured rate was 13.4 percent in 2017, the fourth-highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. People without health insurance who need ongoing medical care have few options. Their frequent decision to use the emergency room for non-emergencies is financially overwhelming for all involved and imposes a heavy burden on a health-care delivery system not intended for that purpose. Heightened awareness of this challenge led to the creation of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett 13 years ago. It grew out of an eye-opening experience for several Gwinnett County physicians who volunteered in 2003 at a free health fair in the parking lot of a low-income housing complex. Expecting to see mostly healthy… View Article

Opportunity Lost Now that Congress is Divided

By Ryan Young A divided Congress probably means the status quo will reign on regulation. This is a mixed bag from a free-market perspective. President Trump made some positive reforms upon taking office, but they were via executive order, and can be easily overturned by a future president – Congress needs to pass legislation to give reforms any staying power. Barring a lame-duck miracle, that won’t happen now. Republicans blew a rare opportunity. President Trump’s executive order reforms include a one-in-two-out rule for new regulations, and a requirement for agencies to add zero net regulatory costs – a de facto regulatory budget, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been advocating for more than 20 years. Agencies are not… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman The purpose of insurance is to purchase protection before the onset of a problem. You can’t buy hurricane insurance when a named storm is headed your way; an imminent claim from a known “pre-existing condition” precludes the purchase of coverage. Health insurance is different. Pre-existing conditions are prevalent. Some are born thus; many acquire chronic conditions and others deal with the normal disabilities of aging. By analyzing medical records and policy application information, health insurance companies determine whether individuals or groups seeking health coverage have a pre-existing sickness or illness. This is called “risk selection.” Insurers have the power to exclude anyone from purchasing needed health coverage. In the past, many abused this power, “cherry picking”… View Article

The Foundation always tells the truth.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes