Friday Facts: August 2, 2019

It’s Friday!


August 27: “Election Integrity: Facts, Fraud and Fiction” is the Foundation’s August noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Georgian Club. The speaker is Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. $35. Register here.

September 26: “The Student-Loan Debt Dilemma” is a Higher Ed Happy Hour discussion on student loans and debt at No Mas! Cantina in Atlanta, with keynote speaker Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. $10. Register here.

November 15: The agenda is live and Early Bird registration is open for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which takes place Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Registration is $75 through September 20; $100 thereafter. Click here to register.

Quotes of note 

“The U.S. Constitution has survived for so long because it was built upon the understanding that man is imperfect and always will be, because it accepts that selfishness is ineradicable and so must be harnessed, because it acknowledges that power corrupts as much in our era as it ever did, and because it makes provisions for the fact that disunity is inevitable in any free society.” – Charles C.W. Cooke 

“Liberty must be worked at, must be achieved, and it has rarely been achieved anywhere in the whole of history. It requires a most extraordinary self-control, self-denial, wisdom, sagacity, vision to protect liberty in the face of all the forces that mitigate and militate against it. And Tocqueville regarded centralization as the most dangerous of all the threats to liberty.” – Henry Steele Commager 

“Man is a political animal. We are meant not only to control our own lives but also to shape the world around us. Traditionally, most of us have flexed our political muscle in and through local, mostly voluntary, institutions such as a town government, a parish council or a PTA chapter. Community institutions have eroded over the decades, though, leaving people without arena in which to express their political and social nature.” – Timothy P. Carney


Student loans: Tens of thousands of borrowers are not making monthly college loan payments because they reported zero income on their Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) applications even though they may have had enough income to do so, a Government Accountability Office analysis found. “The fact that, cumulatively, the borrowers and their plans we reviewed owed over $6 billion in loans helps illustrate the risk of potential financial loss for the government from fraud or error absent comprehensive oversight.”

Health and wellbeing

Warning: The market for cannabidiol (CBD) could surpass $20 billion by 2024, Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, writes in The Washington Post. Touted as treatment for everything from cancer to depression, “many of the compound’s expansive benefits are fanciful, and in fact, the sale of much of the product is illegal under current law,” Gottlieb notes. He urges the FDA to “act to make sure commercial interests don’t strip away any legitimate value that the compound might have.” What’s the difference between CBD and THC? Read here. 

Waiver waver: The federal government rejected a request for a Utah Medicaid waiver that, much like the waiver request Georgia is contemplating, sought enhanced 90% funding for the cost of extending Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 100% of the federal poverty level, rather than up to 138% of poverty as authorized by the Affordable Care Act. Georgia receives 67% federal funds for existing Medicaid recipients. Click here to read the study on healthcare reforms the Foundation released. Source: Modern Healthcare

Energy and environment

Fueling up: Georgia Power has placed the first order in three decades for nuclear fuel, to be used in Unit 3 of the Vogtle nuclear power plant near Augusta. The unit is scheduled to enter service in November 2021. Nuclear power accounts for about 20% of U.S. total electricity generation. Source: World Nuclear News 

Adding capacity: China’s total nuclear capacity rose 9% following the completion of two new units in the southeast province of Guangdong in June, the country’s nuclear association said. Nuclear power accounted for 4.75% of China’s total electricity output for the half-year. Source: Reuters 

A real green deal: Despite the hot air about climate change, America’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 13% lower today than in 2005, even with an economy that is a third larger, writes Bernard L. Weinstein in The Hill. “This achievement isn’t the result of environmental regulations or the huge subsidies available to wind and solar investors; rather, it has been the increased use of natural gas that has helped reduce GHGs in the U.S.”


Shrinking middle class: Middle-income households are shrinking because they are gradually moving up to higher-income groups, not down into lower-income groups, according to Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute. In 1967, only 9% of U.S. households (only 1 in 11) earned $100,000 or more (in 2017 dollars). In 2017, it was more than 1 in 4 households (29.2%), a new record high. “In other words, over the last half-century, the share of U.S. households earning incomes of $100,000 or more (in 2017 dollars) has more than tripled!”  

Opportunity zones: The city of Atlanta and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a partnership this week to invest $1 million in “opportunity zones.” These areas, in which investors are exempted from capital gains taxes to encourage development, have higher poverty and unemployment rates than other areas around the city, and are being targeted for development. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Private-sector solutions: When World Bank President Jim Yong Kim resigned this year after six years at the helm and before his term ended, he said he would be joining a firm to “focus on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries.” According to Kim, the “key to bridging the massive development finance gap” is by working with the private sector. Source: INN News


Foundation in the media: WABE News interviewed Kyle Wingfield about Georgia’s federal Medicaid waiver options. The Monroe County Reporter quoted Kyle in a column about fees and licenses. The Marietta Daily Journal cited the Foundation’s Friday Facts. The Heartland Institute published an article about a study on healthcare reform published by the Foundation. 

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In August 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “Georgia’s Economics: Right on the Money.” It noted, “Given that Georgia ranks in the top third in the nation for all sectors except regulatory, Georgia has a competitive advantage over most other states in terms of attracting and retaining economic resources.”

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Atlanta Streetcar’s Gone Off the Rails,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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