Friday Facts: August 26th, 2011

It’s Friday!

– “We are fast verging to anarchy & confusion! … They are determined to annihilate all debts public & private, and have Agrarian Laws, which are easily effected by the means of unfunded paper money which shall be a tender in all cases whatever.” – George Washington

– “As to the assumed authority of any assembly in making paper money, or paper of any kind, a legal tender, or in other language, a compulsive payment, it is a most presumptuous attempt at arbitrary power. There can be no such power in a republican government: the people have no freedom – and property no security – where this practice can be acted: and the committee who shall bring in a report for this purpose, or the member who moves for it, and he who seconds it merits impeachment, and sooner or later may expect it. … and the punishment of a member who should move for such a law ought to be death.” – Thomas Paine

– “Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history, is almost treacherous, or treasonous.” – Texas Gov. Rick Perry


– September 1: “Celebration of Service and Sacrifice:” Ten years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed America forever, Navy Seal and award-winning author Eric Greitens discusses how Georgia can lead the nation in programs and services for our military families. Register at for the luncheon event, on Thursday, Sept. 1, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Centre. This is part of a long-term project with the Foundation, Ross Mason and the Healthcare Institute for Neuro-Recovery and Innovation (HINRI) to encourage health care innovation in Georgia.
– September 30: 
The Foundation’s second annual Legislative Policy Briefing is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30, at the Cobb Energy Centre. Last year, more than 250 people attended to hear nearly three dozen state and national experts discuss Georgia public policy. Topics this year include education, transportation, tax reform, criminal justice and health care. Register online at
– October 24: 
Invitations will soon be mailed soon for the Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration and Freedom Award dinner, scheduled for the evening of Monday, Oct. 24, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Speakers include Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Register online now at


– Fear of failure: Steve Jobs announced he is leaving Apple. The company’s longtime leader, who has pancreatic cancer, was hailed this week for his successes, among them the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, MacBooks and iTunes. But he had some epic failures, too, Nick Schultz of the American Enterprise Institute points out. “Lots of digital ink will be spilled about Jobs in the coming days, most of it focusing on his truly marvelous successes. It’s better to focus on his failures. Jobs failed better than anyone else in Silicon Valley, maybe better than anyone in corporate America. By that I mean Jobs did what only the greatest entrepreneurs can do: learn from their failures. I don’t mean learn from their mistakes. I mean learn from their abject, humiliating, bonehead, epic fails.” Read more here:


Energy and Environment

– Energy independence? Being able to tap the vast amounts of oil locked within U.S. oil shale could go a long way toward satisfying our nation’s future oil demands, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress confirms. The Green River Formation – an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks beneath Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming – contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, about half of it recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves. The latest estimates indicate the United States has a 200-year supply of coal and 100-year supply of natural gas.

– Fifty percent of likely voters believe the federal government has too much influence over state governments, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Just 11 percentthink the federal government does not have enough influence while 26 percent believe the balance is about right. Thirteen percent are not sure. These results come at a time when just 17 percent believe the federal government has the consent of the governed and only 14 percent believe the country is generally heading in the right direction, Rasmussen found.

– Our thoughts exactly: A Marietta Daily Journal editorial questions the wisdom of a rail project into Cobb County that would take the lion’s share of Cobb’s expected revenue from a proposed penny transportation sales tax (TSPLOST): “Indeed, one can only wonder why the TSPLOST committee felt like gaining a degree of traffic relief a decade or more in the future courtesy of a rail line that barely noses into Cobb was a higher priority than those two much cheaper and much simpler asphalt projects that likely could pay substantial congestion-relief dividends before this decade is out. One also wonders why many of these projects could not be handled via a Cobb TSPLOST rather than a regional TSPLOST.”
– An idea for Atlanta?
 A proposed 23-mile rail line to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. would cost $6.8 billion, or $296 million per mile. A better solution, says policy analyst Steve Lafleur, would utilize special buses on existing HOV lanes. This would cost less than $10 million per mile and save more than $6.5 billion! Of the several rail projects proposed on the new TSPLOST project list for metro Atlanta, several run parallel to new HOT lane construction. Operating on the HOT lanes would allow buses to escape traffic, providing faster trip times at a fraction of the cost of rail. With the savings the state could lower the proposed tax or build more transit for the same money.Source: New Geography
– Off the rails: In 2003, the estimated cost for the 1.7-mile Chinatown subway project in San Francisco was $647 million, a Wall Street Journal editorial points out. Now it’s $1.6 billion, or nearly $100 million for each tenth of a mile. Transportation experts say the design is seriously flawed and that improving the existing bus and light-rail system would make more sense. The subway misses connections with 25 of the 30 light-rail and bus lines it crosses. Tom Rubin, former treasurer-controller of Southern California Rapid Transit District calculates that taking the bus would be five to 10 minutes faster along every segment.

Taxes and Spending
– Taxing the rich: Warren Buffett’s recent call to increase taxes on the super- and mega-rich has garnered much media attention. But how much money could such increases actually raise? What effect could they have on reducing the nation’s deficit or debt? Not much, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. Taking half of the yearly income from every person making between $1 million and $10 million would decrease the nation’s debt by 1 percent. Even taking every last penny from every individual making more than $10 million per year would only reduce the nation’s deficit by 12 percent and the debt by 2 percent. Read more at

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “The Futility of Forecasting for Hurricane Season,” by Harold Brown.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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