Friday Facts: April 6, 2017

It’s Friday!

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Kyle Wingfield

Kyle Wingfield takes the helm Monday as president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, succeeding Kelly McCutchen, who moved on in December to become executive director of HINRI, a venture philanthropy organization. Welcome Kyle on board at .


April 19: Seats are filling fast for, “End of Discussion,” a Foundation noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. This book forum features conservative journalist and commentator Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson, Political Editor of and a Fox News contributor, discussing their (recently updated) book, “End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free!” Registration is $60 and includes parking and the cost of the book. Authors will sign books. Information/registration here.

Quotes of note

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine, 1777

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones, who founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club and co-founded the Masters Tournament. First played in 1934, it takes place this week in Augusta

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” – Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968

Economic opportunity

Food stamps: Congress is weighing plans in the farm bill to expand work requirements for Americans receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposal is still under wraps but would also reportedly increase the amount of money SNAP recipients can have in savings accounts and the value of the car they can own and still receive benefits. Georgia is phasing out the waiver of the SNAP work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents.

Job market: It’s getting hard to find good help, according to The Wall Street Journal. It cited Chief Economist William Dunkelberg of the National Federation of Independent Business as saying small-business owners are struggling: “Thirty-five percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point and tied with July and October 2017 for the highest reading since November 2000.”


Back to the ’burbs: Census estimates confirm that across the nation, people are moving back to the suburbs, Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox note. “In 2017, the core counties lost nearly 440,000 net domestic migrants, while the suburban counties gained more than 250,000.” They attribute this in part to the aging of millennials: “As members of this large cohort enter their thirties and look to buy houses and raise families, they seek out suburbs and more affordable metropolitan areas.” Source: City Journal

Health care

Paid Leave: There are strong arguments for paid family and medical leave for employees. But someone has to pay, according to an AEI-Brookings report, “Keep employers in mind as we advocate paid family and medical leave.” It warns that employers make up an important piece of this policy puzzle. The cost, workplace disruption and risk to less-educated employees in a company are all worthy of consideration. 

Work requirements: The Trump administration has just approved the third state request to implement work requirements in Medicaid. At least seven other state applications are pending. Explaining the benefits of this policy, Angela Rachidi of the American Enterprise Institute asserts, “Safety net programs should be doing everything possible to ensure that employment is a priority. And that means establishing an expectation of work, even if it’s a minimal one.” Source:

Dispute: Nearly 600,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents are covered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, whose contract with Piedmont Healthcare expired April 1 without agreement on new reimbursement rates involving physician and hospital services for health care plans. Thousands are impacted: Blue Cross is the state’s biggest insurer; Piedmont has nearly a dozen hospitals, most of which are now considered out of network, potentially carrying a higher cost for patients.


Slippery slope: A coalition of environmental and transportation groups came up with “Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities.” Among the 10 principles is a ban on all autonomous vehicles except shared fleet vehicles in “dense urban areas.” The principles are the brainchild of a ZipCar co-founder and supported by Uber and Lyft ride-share services, so one wonders about self-serving motives of those seeking to ban private vehicles. Source: Surface Transportation News


Testing: While opponents of choice in education often target test scores, “A school choice program’s impact on test scores is a weak predictor of its impacts on longer-term outcomes,” according to, “Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter?” by the American Enterprise Institute. Researchers looked at 39 unique impact estimates across studies of more than 20 programs. They point out, “The growing literature on early childhood education has found that short-term impacts on test scores are inconsistent predictors of later-life impacts.”

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In April 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Georgia Should Lift Ban on Mail-Order Prescriptions.” It noted, “Attempts to artificially ‘protect’ certain businesses almost always do more harm than good, and are almost never justifiable.” Fortunately for Georgia consumers, the ban was lifted.


Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a series on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination that quoted Benita Dodd; read it here. WSB-TV interviewed Benita, a native of South Africa, about the death of Winnie Mandela. WSB-TV also interviewed Benita about the Atlanta Streetcar budget. The Times-Courier of Ellijay published Benita’s op-ed, “Education Hobbled at Gold Dome.”

YouTube: Did you miss the Foundation’s “Second Chances” Leadership Breakfast on criminal justice reform? View the event on the Foundation’s YouTube channel here.

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Winners and Losers in Georgia’s 2017-18 Session,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Benita Dodd

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