Category: Commentaries

America’s Longest War: The War on Poverty

  By Benita M. Dodd Fifty years ago this month – on January 8, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Considering the money spent on poverty-related programs in the ensuing half century – $16 trillion, according to the Cato Institute – and the percentage of Americans still listed as poor, it’s time to concede defeat, change strategy or redefine poverty. Conceding defeat against poverty is unacceptable, of course. But redefining poverty means building a better safety net, not opening a bigger umbrella, as President Obama is expected to propose in his State of the Union Address this month. He’s expected to dramatize income inequality – the gap between the “rich” and… View Article

Singapore’s Welfare Model

In transitioning away from the failed federal “War on Poverty” and its massive entitlement programs, the United States could examine the Singapore model of social welfare as a transition. This model replaces high taxes and large entitlement spending with mandatory savings where the government serves as a safety valve. NCPA’s John Goodman on the subject: In 1984, Richard Rahn and I wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal in which we proposed a savings account for health care. We called it a Medical IRA. That same year, Singapore instituted a related idea: a system of compulsory Medisave accounts. Through the years, my colleagues and I at the National Center for Policy Analysis have kept track of the Singapore… View Article

School Choice: Study Shows It’s About More Than Scores

By Benita M. Dodd         The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice recently released an eye-opening analysis of why and how parents choose private schools. The analysis by the national nonprofit organization is worth the read for Georgians especially. It is Georgia-based, undertaken by Georgia Public Policy Foundation senior fellows Jim Kelly and Dr. Benjamin Scafidi, and uses the results of a survey of Georgia parents of K–12 private school scholarship recipients. The study, “More than Scores,” is available at www.edchoice.org. It addresses what parents focus on in choosing a school; what information schools should provide, and whether school choice – public or private – would provide a more “spontaneous education order.” The authors of the study say they addressed these issues… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Money talks, especially at the Georgia General Assembly, where the state’s ongoing funding challenges and growing needs inspired separate Senate committee hearings this week, one investigating public-private partnerships (PPPs) for Georgia infrastructure and the other working on integrating metro Atlanta’s public transportation services. Several challenges are encouraging governments to think outside the box. There continues to be talk about “federal” funds – otherwise referred to as taxpayer dollars – coming to the states, but the partisan divide in federal budget negotiations has left states pessimistic. In addition, it’s increasingly evident that states’ needs outstrip federal largesse, that federal largesse is shrinking and that local governments have to do more with less. More people are aware that… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen It’s a pleasant surprise to see the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute oppose a tax increase, but entirely understandable that the organization would oppose as bad policy any tax plan that raises taxes on 80 percent of Georgians. It is disappointing, however, to see the institute latch onto implausible scenarios and let go of an opportunity to discuss realistic tax reform plans. Georgia is a fiscally conservative state. Anyone who suggests that elected officials would even consider a plan to raise taxes on most Georgia families or to run multi-billion dollar deficits has to be politically naïve – or academically disingenuous. A recent report by the organization does just that: It uses unrealistic, extreme assumptions for dramatic… View Article

Georgia Tech and Udacity Cross the Rubicon

By Michael Horn and Gunnar Counselman “There are a few moments in my life I will never forget. Like the moment I proposed to my wife, Petra. … Today is one of those moments.” So wrote Udacity founder and CEO Sebastian Thrun upon announcing a new $6,600 master’s in computer science degree in partnership with Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech’s dean of computing Zvi Galil expressed similar glee when he said in an interview, “You know there is a revolution going on, right?” Hyperbole about disruptive innovation in higher education is rampant. Starting as a trickle of conversation a decade back and turning into a torrent today, innovation now dominates the ecosystem’s collective mindshare. Any time something new emerges,… View Article
By Ross Mason When the governor paints the state’s financial picture as “daunting” and Medicaid is at least $700 million in the red, you know it’s time to get serious about the state budget. Such is the task before Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly when the Legislature convenes in January to adopt a 2014 fiscal plan that not only is in balance but meets all the state’s critical needs. With less revenue and a lingering recession, the state could reduce its health care costs by more than $700 million annually if it scrapped its broken medical malpractice system and replaced it with a no-blame, administrative compensation system that gives patients more access and allows physicians to focus… View Article

A Child Nods to Health Reform

  By Ronald E. Bachman (With thanks to E.A. Poe’s, “The Raven”)  Once upon a weekday dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, My youthful brain was being fair, to learn about ObamaCare, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my bedroom door, “Tis some visitor,” I thought, “Tapping at my bedroom door – Only this and nothing more.” Then a Spirit came over me, as I dreamed of liberty, Could I keep my Doctor Seuss, my baseball cap, my Mother Goose? And with my needs could I be sure, that my doctor would have a cure For complex ills and dangers waiting? Are we advancing or abating? Will I… View Article

Medical Malpractice Reform Can End Insult to the Injured

By Joanna Shepherd-Bailey Jennifer Shiver knows what it means to not only be a young widow, but a widow with two young boys to be raised on her own. The Cumming mother is among thousands of silent victims of medical malpractice each year who are either harmed by a doctor or lose a family member due to medical negligence. When Jennifer’s husband died from complications from a botched bariatric bypass surgery, her life only got worse when no lawyer would take the case. As a result, she received no compensation from her husband’s death and has struggled to raise her family. The lawyers said they just couldn’t make enough money off the case. Many know the current medical liability system… View Article

‘Plan T:’ For Georgia Traffic and So Much More

By Michael Dziak Despite the efforts of many to persuade voters to approve a penny regional transportation sales tax, the 10-year, $8 billion proposal is off the table for metro Atlanta, at least for now. But perhaps the “Plan B” for congestion relief that many are asking for should be “Plan T” for “Technology.” Atlanta has already established itself as a technological center, yet only a small percentage of organizations have maximized the potential of this technology. State and locally driven efforts could and should be aimed at helping business leaders understand, deploy and effectively utilize technology to accelerate economic recovery in a way that will lead to rapid, sustainable growth and prosperity: Create an engaged workforce Reduce commuter trips… View Article

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