Category: The Forum

Rail’s No Way In or To San Jose

By Benita M. Dodd For those who love to watch the passing parade – and have the time and inclination – few places are better than the sardine can that is a train. That’s why, once one neglects to make a timely reservation on any of the popular 30-minute, $40 road shuttle services between San Francisco and San Jose, the $7.50 Caltrain ticket becomes an enticing option. Once. For 90 minutes in a nearly empty doubledecker car, you have the unique opportunity to eavesdrop on loud cell phone conversations; watch the Webcam conversation on the laptop beneath you; follow in fascination as a wannabe chef creates and devours a strawberry shortcake before your very eyes, or gaze out a grimy… View Article

Does Socialism Work? Debunking the Myth

By John C. Goodman David Himmelstein and his wife Steffie Woolhandler are associate professors at Harvard Medical School. Together they are a one-couple team, promoting Canadian national health insurance in the United States. They provide the intellectual leadership for the Physicians for a National Health Program. They are about the only academics around whose scholarship routinely gives aid and comfort to the advocates of socialized medicine, unless you count the Commonwealth Fund. They are pleasant (at least to me); they are dedicated; and they are wrong. I first debated David on a college campus about 15 years ago. My most recent debate with them is reprinted in Annals of Thoracic Surgery. In between the two debates I had an epiphany.… View Article

Shining Some Light on State Spending

By Kelly McCutchen “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” More than 50 years after Ronald Reagan made this statement, government at all levels continues to grow. Georgia is under particular pressure this year to fund legitimate programs that have fallen behind such as transportation and trauma care, even as economists forecast lower revenues due to an unstable economy. Before we create new spending programs, Georgia needs to increase scrutiny of its existing spending. Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson is on the right track with his recent announcement that the House will apply zero-based… View Article

Priorities should drive transportation policy

By Ron Sifen The metropolitan planning organization for the 10-county metro Atlanta region, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), recently adopted a $67 billion package of transportation projects over the next 25 years. But there’s a problem: The ARC anticipates that the region will have only about $46.5 billion available over the next 25 years. The ARC is responsible for development of the Regional Transportation Plan for the city of Atlanta and 18 surrounding counties: Barrow, Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Spalding, Rockdale and Walton. As those governments know, there is a big gap between $67 billion and $46 billion. Having approved the list of projects, the Atlanta Regional Commission has laid… View Article

New Approach Needed to Help the “Uninsurable”

By Ronald E. Bachman There is much talk about the number of Georgians who would like to purchase health insurance but cannot afford it. There is less talk about  Georgians who can afford health insurance but are “uninsurable” due to a pre-existing condition. A high-risk pool has been proposed to solve this problem in nearly every legislative session in the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the bill fails each year due to cost concerns and questions over who should pay for it. There is a better solution. A new approach is now possible to establish consumer-driven health insurance plans as the basis for providing health insurance to individuals who are uninsurable (cannot meet insurer underwriting standards). “Truly uninsurables” represent a relatively… View Article

Tear Down This Wall

By Ronald E. Bachman Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has announced a noble plan to reach 30,000 of the state’s uninsured; Lieutenant Governor Casey has a good plan to reach others. The challenge, however, is that more than 1.6 million Georgians lack private or government insurance.   The legislative wake up call should be about this unacceptable level of Georgians without Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, Tri-care or private health insurance. This is the problem that every American hears about; and is the major argument for a federal takeover of health care. With more than 18 percent of this state’s 9 million citizens uninsured at any point in time, Georgia has the fifth highest uninsured rate, behind Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.  Those… View Article

Transportation Solutions For a Transit-Challenged Region

By Stephen Fleming  (Part II of a two-part commentary. Read Part I, “In Transportation, as in Technology, Packets Beat Circuits,” at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=5482.)  Atlanta grew up around cars. It’s fundamentally a packet-switched infrastructure. Ask any telecom engineer. You cannot replace a packet-switched infrastructure with circuit switching for any reasonable amount of money. Can’t be done.  “But they do it in New York City,” I hear you cry. Yes, and that’s because New York City grew up around mass transit. It’s physically different from Atlanta (or pretty much any other town in America outside the Northeast, except maybe Chicago). The circuits are dense enough to have connection points within walking distance.  Look at the cities with successful public transit… View Article
By Chris Leonard Why are people carrying their laptop computers into parks and coffee shops? To finalize a presentation for work? To catch up on e-mail? Well, these days it’s to chat, read or do just about anything you can do on the Internet at home.   Now, thanks to a state grant (read: taxpayer funds) Decatur will soon become the first metro Atlanta city to offer wireless Internet access outdoors. These citywide Internet “clouds” are popping up all over the state.  The idea for universal Internet access seems great. Bringing people out of stuffy offices and letting them surf the net on every street corner in the city sounds like the wave of the future. But whenever things seem too… View Article

Water: Balloons, Guns, Slides in Policy

By Benita M. Dodd  Don’t like the drought-related watering restrictions in your community? Outraged enough to rat out neighbors who violate watering rules? The state’s water “wars” could get worse: Watch out for the initial draft of the Statewide Water Management Plan, scheduled to be unveiled June 28.  The plan, required by the 2004 “Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Planning Act,” is the beginning of a new direction for Georgia’s future growth, development and economy. Developed by the state Environmental Protection Division, this policy framework will be presented to the Water Council for consideration through December, after which it goes to the General Assembly in 2008 for approval.   Georgians need to stay involved to ensure the end product promises responsible stewardship… View Article
By Dr. Holly Robinson In the same week recently, the city of Marietta’s Sawyer Road Elementary School had its charter approved to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) conversion charter school and second-grade teacher Emily Jennette was selected as the 2008 Georgia Teacher of the Year.    The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is built in units that focus on inquiry framed units across disciplinary themes of global significance. The program is especially appropriate for this new Georgia Teacher of the Year who, as the educational ambassador for Georgia’s public schools, represents Georgia public school teachers across the state.  Growing up in Germany in a military family, Jenette attended Department of Defense schools from elementary to high school. She graduated from Germany’s… View Article

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