Friday Facts: August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012

It’s Friday!

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Quotes of note

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison


August 25: Join me a week from Saturday (August 25) at the E3 Summit in Kennesaw hosted by Americans For Prosperity Georgia. The conference will focus on the “3 E’s” driving Georgia’s future – economic freedom, educational choice and energy freedom. I will be on a panel discussing education reform, but the real stars include The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore, Junk Science’s Steve Milloy and Georgia Tech professor and internationally renowned economist Christine Ries. Register at

September 21: Registration is open for the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, September 21, at the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. This year’s event includes President of the Foundation for Economic Education Lawrence Reed, Carpe Diem Schools Founder Rick Ogston, Texas Public Policy Foundation President Brooke Rollins, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and former Florida Commissioner of Education Gerard Robinson. Registration for this daylong event, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $100. Register at

October 16: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turns 87 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 Seating is limited; register early!

Energy and Environment

Today in energy: This week, the Energy Information Administration pointed out in its “Today in Energy” publication that, thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota’s Bakken formation, that state’s oil production in June was 71 percent higher than in June 2011. In fact, Bakken now comprises 90 percent of total North Dakota oil production.

Tomorrow, the world: The United States hopelessly dependent on imported oil and natural gas is a thing of the past, says John Deutch, a professor at MIT, former undersecretary of energy, deputy secretary of defense, and director of the CIA. “Most energy experts now project that North America will have the capacity to be a net exporter of oil and natural gas by the end of this decade.” Source: Wall Street Journal 

Taxes and regulation

Crazy tax facts: Americans spend 7.6 billion hours each year doing their taxes and hire more than 1 million accountants each year for tax help. In 2010, America had 98,000 troops in Iraq and 101,054 employees at the Internal Revenue Service. Source: Business Insider


Fact vs. fiction: The 10 myths and facts on transportation and public-private partnerships, as laid out by the Reason Foundation and Buckeye Institute, are a must-read for Georgia’s foot-dragging policy-makers. It notes, “There is a general consensus in the finance community that infrastructure remains an attractive investment, and PPP projects have continued to advance in both the United States and globally since the credit markets crunch. Despite economic ups and downs, people are still going to drive, fly and consume goods. That means roads, airports, water systems and other types of brick and mortar assets remain good investment prospects over the long term.” Read more here:


Take a leaf out of homeschoolers’ books: “Hybrid” home schools are gaining traction, according to Education Week, whose report includes a Georgia family piecing together their education from their mother, a former Fayette County math teacher, other district and university teachers, parent co-ops and online providers. The number of home-schoolers has more than doubled since 1999, to more than 2 million as of 2010, representing nearly 4 percent of all K-12 students.

Health care

Georgia could save $8 billion annually in health care costs, and as much as $3.5 billion on Medicaid alone, if it replaced its current medical liability system with a Patients’ Compensation System, according to a new study released this week. (Sign up for our September 21 Legislative Policy Forum to hear more about this plan.)

The Government Accountability Office reported this week that five “microsimulation models” show little change in employer health care coverage as a result of the federal health law. Meanwhile, back at the reality ranch, it noted that among 19 employer surveys, “16 reported estimates of employers dropping coverage for all employee types. The GAO also reports that some of the employer surveys indicated that the law may have a larger effect on small employers. “Nine surveys also indicated that employers are considering key changes to benefit design, some of which may result in greater employee cost for health coverage.”

Social media 

This Week in The Forum: Connected learners will get a boost from expansion of the Microsoft IT Academy in Georgia high schools but, as The Forum Editor Mike Klein reports, the state’s online clearinghouse of digital learning resources from public and charter school resources is not ready to launch. Policy Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne writes that thanks to new software, digital learners will be able to write in the margins of their electronic textbooks, a neat advantage that everyone will appreciate, And in her Checking Up On Health blog, Benita Dodd shares how researchers are using innovative technology to grow body parts and the latest on Medicare and Medicaid. Read these and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at

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Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Charter School Successes Well Documented,” by Jay P. Greene.


Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen 

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