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Checking Up On Health: August 2, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Almost one month past the Biden administration’s July 4 target date for having 70% of Americans inoculated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the percentage was finally achieved today. The administration reported 468,000 vaccine doses had been administered in the past day, including 320,000 first-dose vaccinations, up from 257,000 in the previous week. Source: Bloomberg  Delta’s dawn: The “delta” COVID-19 strain is spreading rapidly, and is thought to contain genetic changes that allow it to spread twice … Continue Reading →

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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 →

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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 →

Checking Up On Health: July 19, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Just when you thought it was almost over, COVID-19 rears its ugly head again. For the children? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended today that all students older than 2 years old wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, when schools reopen in the fall. The leading pediatrics organization called for universal masking, noting that most school-aged children are not yet eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and many schools are not tracking the vaccination status of … Continue Reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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Friday Facts: July 02, 2021

 It’s Friday!  Quotes of Note “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” – The Declaration of Independence, ratified July 4, 1776 “Allow me to say, in … 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 →

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Friday Facts: June 25, 2021

 It’s Friday!  Quote of Note “Obamacare’s supporters talked a lot about illnesses contributing to more than half of all bankruptcies, which implied there should have been a sharp decrease in 2014, when Obamacare’s major coverage provisions took effect. There wasn’t. “Obamacare’s supporters frequently cited America’s abysmal infant mortality rate, which implied that once Obamacare was in full swing, infant mortality should decrease sharply. It didn’t. “Obamacare’s supporters claimed that tens of thousands of people were dying every year because they didn’t have health insurance, which implied that by 2019, our … Continue Reading →

On Taking Your Children Seriously

By Kyle Wingfield This Father’s Day, I decided to give my son a gift. The same one I got from my dad. Let’s take a step back in time. It was 1985, the year of “We Are the World,” “Back to the Future” and New Coke. There was a 6-year-old boy in Dalton, Ga., who didn’t know much about all of that. He was too busy obsessing over dinosaurs. I was as certain as a newly minted kindergarten graduate can be that I was going to grow up to be … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: June 18, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane The more things change … As Georgia prepares for reapportionment again after the 2020 Census, this 1992 Georgia Public Policy Foundation commentary reveals what was on the table then: Democrats were in the majority under the Gold Dome, tackling school choice, taxes, healthcare and ballot access. In 2021, as the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary and Republicans are in the majority in the Legislature, we’re reminded how much the issues affecting Georgians remain the same. Quotes of note “It is a general popular error to suppose … Continue Reading →

Inflation Fears on the Rise

By Kyle Wingfield Inflation fears are making headlines, and rightly so. The U.S. Labor Department reports year-over-year consumer prices rose 5% in May, the fastest rate in almost 13 years. This is the clear result of government policy that, rather than the proverbial helicopters shoveling money out their doors, more closely resembles a never-ending stream of C-130s dumping huge payloads of dollars onto the masses below. Political liberals developed a belief after the last recession that the culprit for the stagnant recovery was too little stimulus – and not, you … Continue Reading →

A Waste of Money: Why are Atlanta Residents Trashing Garbage Pickup?

Many municipalities are struggling to keep up with waste management. We asked what’s happening and why residents are paying the price.

Checking Up On Health: June 14, 2021

Medical Monday: A (mostly) weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. At a conference last week in Idaho, we had some down time and took a shuttle boat from the lakeside hotel to lunch at a nearby restaurant. The return trip included a group from a fly-fishing class, and I eavesdropped as the conversation turned to the upcoming Independence Day holiday and fireworks. One described how a relative, former military, loaded up on fireworks for his display, spending up to $5,000 for a couple of pallets of … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: June 11, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Federalism, a state of independence: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has a history of defending the ability of Georgia to solve its own problems instead of being handed top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates from the federal government. In 2021, as the Foundation celebrates 30 years of “Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians’ Lives,” this 1995 Letter to the Editor of the Quitman Free Press shows the challenge is far from over. Quotes of note “In March, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced $30 million in grants for research to ‘ensure American … Continue Reading →