Friday Facts: August 12, 2016

It’s Friday! 

Then and Now: For 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, 2,713,800 individual income tax returns were filed in Georgia (pop. 4.8 million), reporting $51.3 billion in taxable income and $2.85 billion in tax liability. In 2015 (for calendar year 2014), there were 4,470,700 tax returns processed (a 65 percent increase. Filers reported about $168.4 billion in taxable income and $9.37 billion in tax liability, both an increase of 228 percent over 1991. During that time, the population increased 109 percent, to 10.1 million. (Of course, that 1991 taxable income is the equivalent of $89.2 billion in 2014 dollars.) 


August 22: The deadline is Friday, August 19, to register for “Across the Pond: A Policy Update,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club on Monday, August 22. The keynote speaker is British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford. $35. Information here; register online here. 

Quotes of Note 

“The smaller government is, the less we need to fear the bad things it will do.” – John Stossel

“The American people know almost nothing about the working of government. Instead, disclosure is trained on the electorate, allowing the government to know everything about the political activities of Americans.” – Debra J. Saunders

“Too many people in the media and in academia abandon their roles as conduits for facts and take on the role of filterers of facts to promote social and political agendas.” – Thomas Sowell

While you were escaping the heat, the Foundation was busy preparing the next generation of policy wonks! Clockwise, from left: Intern Haley Dishong of Duke University, Foundation Research and Development Director Ross Coker, and intern Nicholas Scoccimaro of the University of Georgia follow along as Foundation President Kelly McCutchen discusses health policy.
While you were escaping the summer heat, the Foundation was busy preparing the next generation of policy wonks! Clockwise, from left: Intern Haley Dishong of Duke University, Foundation Research and Development Director Ross Coker and intern Nicholas Scoccimaro of the University of Georgia follow along as Foundation President Kelly McCutchen discusses health policy.

Taxes and spending 

Cost of living: How far will $100 get you where you’re living? Check out the Tax Foundation’s interactive map of metro areas and the states to find the real value of your C-note. For example, your $100 would be worth $88.97 in California and $86.43 in New York but $108.70 in Georgia. It’s worth $104.60 in metro Atlanta but $118.20 in non-metro areas of Georgia.

Free trade: Lower taxes on imports from trade deals save the average U.S. household about $10,000 a year. The United States has, with its free-trade partners, run a trade surplus for manufactured goods of about $230 billion over the past five years, and our farmers and ranchers boosted exports to free-trade partners130 percent from 2003-13, to $56 billion. One acre in every three of crops planted in America is for export. Source: Wall Street Journal


Energy independence: Thanks to the shale oil and gas revolution U.S. energy independence will be “tantalizingly close” by 2020, as long as oil prices and domestic production rebound, according to analysts. Source:

The internet of Things: Six billion connected devices are expected to join the “Internet of Things” by the end of 2021, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. By 2018, connected devices, among them connected cars and intelligent utility meters, are expected to overtake mobile phones as the largest category in the Internet of Things. The report also predicts smartphone subscriptions will surpass those for basic phones in the third quarter of 2016.

Pension reform

Change is good: There’s good reason to look at pension reform for teachers, Michael McShane of the Show-Me Institute points out in an article in U.S. News & World Report. “I guess there is some conspiracy theory out there saying that people who want to reform pensions want to stick it to workers when they retire. That is just nuts. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you this: I want every teacher to have a solid, stable retirement. However, as currently constituted, most pensions are in a poor position to provide that. It is as simple as that.” 


USA! USA! Americans are bringing home the gold from the Rio Olympics and from the 57th International Math Olympiad for high-school students in Hong Kong. More than 100 countries fielded teams and the six U.S. representatives won gold. The American team came in first last year, too, and has placed in the top five every year since 2000. Source:

School choice foes: A resolution approved at the NAACP’s national conference calls for a ban on new charter schools, “citing increased segregation and high rates of exclusionary discipline among other issues,” according to Education Week. The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) responded: “The fact that the NAACP wants a national moratorium on charter schools, many of which offer a high-quality education to low-income and working-class Black children, is inexplicable.”

Certified doesn’t equal qualified: A National Council on Teacher Quality review of 100 of the nation’s pre-K teacher preparation programs in 29 states found candidates are largely not adequately prepared for effectiveness in their future jobs. It found most of the programs spend far too much of their limited time focusing on how to teach older children rather than on the specific training needed to teach 3- and 4-year-olds.

Health care 

Stifling innovation: Remember the innovative, affordable eyecare option the Georgia General Assembly blocked at the behest of optometrists? ABC’s “Good Morning America” broadcast a segment about the service this week. Watch it here. 

Sick and sicker: About one-third of patients over 70 years old and more than half of patients over 85 leave the hospital more disabled than when they arrived, Kaiser Health News reports, citing research by JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. The growing senior population makes this a serious problem. It should lead states to rethink certificate-of-need burdens that keep out innovative transitional care facilities.Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In August 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “The Truth about Transit-Oriented Development.” It noted, “TODs are only marketable if they have plenty of parking for both businesses and residents. They are really automobile-oriented high-density developments, not transit-oriented at all.”


Foundation in the News: A Heartland Institute article quoted Kelly McCutchen opposing Medicaid expansion in Georgia. The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal reported on liberal U.S. Senators targeting 22 think tanks, including the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Benita Dodd was quoted on the growth in local government budgets in The Cobb Business Journal, Neighbor Newspaper, Marietta Daily Journal, Northside Neighbor, North Fulton Neighbor and West Georgia Neighbor. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer quoted Benita in an item on Georgia’s mythical 15th District Congressman. The Effingham Herald published Benita’s commentary on the Foundation’s Guide to The Issues. 

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Visit to read our latest commentary, “Welfare-to-Work Helps Georgians Up and Out of Dependency,” by Benita Dodd. 

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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