Friday Facts


It’s Friday! 

Quotes of note

– “Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality – an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order.” –F.A. Hayek
– “There will be belt-tightening. It’s certainly disappointing that we won’t have the resources to accomplish all the projects needed to get Georgians moving quicker, but it does force state officials, including myself, to focus all our attention on our most pressing needs. … We have much to do, and I’ll work with state and local officials to direct our limited resources to the most important projects.” – Governor Nathan Deal, after the July 31 regional transportation tax referendum failed in nine of 12 regionsEvents
 September 21: Registration is open for the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, September 21, at the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Registration for this daylong event, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $100. Register at
 October 16: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turns 87 years old on October 13. The Foundation marks the birthday of this remarkable leader with a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Thatcher advisor and longtime friend John Blundell, who is author of, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of The Iron Lady.” This event is at the Georgian Club. Registration is $60 and includes a copy of Blundell’s book. Register by Friday, October 12, at is limited; register early!

– BRT’s the ticket: The Foundation has long promoted Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in metro Atlanta, as part of a seamless transit network using managed lanes. Last week’s Government Accountability Office on BRT noted that travel time savings is one of the greatest contributors to BRT ridership gains. Projects that replaced existing transit service reported travel time savings during peak hours ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent. New York City Transit reported an average travel time savings of 13 minutes (or 16 percent), because of shorter waiting times from the off-board fare collection. In Eugene, Ore., the EmX BRT uses of two ITS components – transit signal priority and a queue jump. Read more at what BRT looks like here:

– A question of choice: A bipartisan super-majority in the Georgia General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment in support of public charter schools that will appear on the ballot in November. While charter schools have been popular with Republicans, many of the most successful charters are located in poor, inner-city neighborhoods. In Georgia’s July 31 Democratic primaries, 44 percent of Democrats voted in support of charter schools. This surprised many pundits, but we’re not surprised that Democratic parents, like all parents, want more public options for their children. 
– Beyond the classroom: Among a series of American Enterprise Institute papers on stretching the higher education dollar is a study examining alternative modes of assessment and credentialing with an eye toward how these developments could “unbundle” and lower the cost of a college education. The paper describes why alternative modes of assessment and credentialing could be disruptive to traditional higher education. It also describes approaches that allow students to work toward credentials outside of college, such as through prior learning assessments and portfolios, competency-based learning like Western Governors University, disaggregated course providers (Khan Academy, StraighterLine and MITx), and the budding “badge” movement that could take the place of traditional diplomas and degrees. 

Government and regulation
– Doing the paperwork: The federal government currently imposes more than 10.3 billion hours of paperwork compliance annually, according to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, at an associated cost of $77.2 billion. This, of course, means that the government believes an individual’s time is worth $7.45 per hour, or less than the minimum wage in Washington, D.C. However, according to the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the wage rate for a general compliance officer at $30.66 an hour. Applying that rate, the nation’s cumulative federal paperwork burden would be $317.4 billion.
– Great job? The federal government and states overpaid an estimated $14 billion in unemployment insurance benefits in fiscal 2011, or roughly 11 percent of all the jobless benefits paid out, according to reports from the U.S. Labor Department. Of the states, Indiana was the worst offender, making more improper payments than it did correct ones.  The U.S. Department of Labor cautions that it may be misleading to compare states because of different laws, regulations and eligibility conditions. Unemployment insurance ranks second in “improper payments” behind the National School Lunch Program. If you think government is doing a poor job with unemployment benefits, just wait for what it does with health care! Source: CNNMoney

Social media
– Facebook: Are you receiving the Foundation’s daily Facebook posts? More than 1,600 fans have “liked” us at Join their ranks for timely policy news, views, quotes and photos from recent events.
– This week in The Forum: Health care was the focus in The Forum this week. Mike Klein wrote about the physician and nurse shortage in Georgia, just one among many health care policy challenges. Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner, a featured speaker at the upcoming Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, wrote about the national physician shortage. In Catching Up On Health, Benita Dodd reported how most Americans are happy to see Medicaid expanded – until they discover they’ll be paying for it, and discussed some challenges regarding electronic medical records.

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Homeschoolers: Let ’em Play,” by Mary Chambers.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen 

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