Friday Facts: April 29th, 2011

It’s Friday!

– “The fact is higher tax rates could increase total revenue or they could decrease it. Conversely, lower tax rates could decrease total revenue or they could increase it. It all depends on the specific tax and the size of the increase or decrease. And whether there are viable options (e.g., tax shelters) to avoid the higher tax rates. The president’s deficit commission seemed to understand this principle. And until the president does, we will make very little progress solving the federal debt problem.” – Dr. Merrill Matthews, resident scholar, Institute for Policy Innovation

– Thursday, May 12: 
Noon Policy Briefing Luncheon, “The Battle,” at the Georgian Club in Cobb County, hosted by the Foundation and keynoted by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. The cost to attend this event is $35. To find out more and register, go to
– Tomorrow: 
Join me and hundreds of grassroots activists at Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Jasper, Ga. Speakers at the 9 a.m.-5 p.m. event at the Chattahoochee Technical College (Appalachian Campus) include Congressmen Tom Price and Tom Graves and bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza. Clickhere to register.
– Thursday, May 19: The  2011 National Manufacturing Summit takes place at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton. Based on the idea that manufacturing is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and a driving factor behind its position as a dominant force in the global marketplace, the summit features prominent speakers sharing their views on what manufacturing needs in order to reclaim prominence. Attendance is free with online registration at

Taxes and Spending
– Belt-tightening budget:
 The Legislature is ending funding for the Georgia music and sports halls of fame in Macon. The sports hall had set a goal of 100,000 visitors per year; a state audit said attendance peaked around 25,000 in the first few years and fell below 10,000 a year by 2005. Projections for the music hall were 250,000 to 350,000 visitors each of its first four years; attendance generally remained in the 20,000 to 30,000 range during the past decade. In 20 years, the state plowed more than $65 million into state halls and museums to build and operate them. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 Health care
– National health care: The Heartland Institute’s Benjamin Domenech defends consumer-driven health care in a letter to Paul Krugman: “The United Kingdom, under CMS director Donald Berwick’s beloved National Health Service (he openly confesses ‘I am a romantic about the NHS’) in which consumer power is extremely limited by law, has created a cancer mortality rate more than 38 percent higher than America’s. For example, according to Lancet Oncology’s CONCORD study, in the U.K., women with breast cancer have a 46 percent mortality rate, compared with only 25 percent in the U.S., and while only 19 percent of men in the U.S. who get prostate cancer die of it, in the U.K. it kills 57 percent.” Read the entire letter here:
– Quicker fix: Although there are some justifications for insurance companies’ “prior authorization” requirements for prescription drugs, inefficient administration can result in delays and unnecessary pain for patients, Macon neurologist Christina Mayville notes in an op-ed in the Albany Journal. She suggests that, “As Georgia takes steps to protect patients, electronic prior-authorizations should be a top priority. It may be one of many ‘fixes’ to the healthcare system, but it is one that will allow patients to get the treatments they need while keeping from incurring additional costs due to emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

Energy and environment
– In a global survey of concern 
over global warming, China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, ranked 105th out of 111 among the countries polled by Gallup. Only 21 percent of Chinese said they believed global warming is a somewhat serious or very serious threat to themselves or their families. Worldwide, only 42 percent say global warming was either a “somewhat serious” or “very serious” threat; in the United States, it was 53 percent (down from 63 percent in Gallup’s polls in 2007 and 2008). Greece ranked No.1 for popular fear of global warming (87 percent) and Somaliland was last (10 percent).

– Kudos to Tech High, the math-, science- and technology-oriented school the Foundation helped establish. The charter (public) high school in the Atlanta Public Schools system was awarded the 2011 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant. Sponsored by Capstone Publishers, it honors the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers.

– Going around Atlanta: 
Paulding County is campaigning among its neighbors to establish a multi-county toll road and development authority, the Griffin Daily News reports. The Western Commercial Connector would run from Interstate 75 and Red Top Mountain in Bartow County through Cartersville, Paulding County, cross I-20 in Villa Rica, continue through Carroll, Coweta, Spalding counties and end at I-75 at the High Falls exit in Lamar County. The four-lane, limited access, divided highway, would be privately funded, built and managed. Read more at

Read the Foundation’s proposals in “Road to Congestion Relief Leads … Somewhere Else.”

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Six Ways to Sunday Drives in Georgia,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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