Friday Facts: August 6th, 2010

It’s Friday!  



– “The great variable in the federal balance sheet has been spending, not revenue. Debt comes from spending more than you have, not from having too little. Does anyone really believe that the feds (or the states, who have similarly overspent for years) have been frugal or wise or cheap in their spending decisions since the Truman administration?” – Nick Gillespie, Reason Foundation



– Foundation unveils new health care tool: If you’re wondering what the new federal health care law has in store for you or your employees, you are not alone. Few have read the 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and even fewer are able to absorb its full implications. Get a leg up on the legislation with the GPPF Health Reform Navigator, an inexpensive tool with easy point-and-click researching for insurance and tax/penalty topics.

– No children allowed: Some major health insurance companies will no longer issue certain types of policies for children, an unintended consequence of President Obama’s health care overhaul law, according to state officials. Starting later this year, insurers to accept children regardless of medical problems, a major early benefit of the complex law. Insurers are worried that parents will wait until kids get sick to sign them up, saddling the companies with unpredictable costs. Source: Associated Press

– Power play: When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. Now, the Obama administration and its allies are defending the requirement in court as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.” And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce, reports The New York Times.

– ObamaCare is taking on water, reports Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute. After ObamaCare was enacted in March, Virginia sued, saying the law violates the state statute. The Obama administration petitioned the court to throw out Virginia’s suit. Now, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson has ruled that the state’s challenge should proceed. And 71 percent of Missouri voters backed a ballot measure prohibiting the government from requiring people to have health insurance or face penalties. Like Virginia, the ballot measure seeks to protect Missouri from the new health care law. And like Virginia, this is a big 10th Amendment, state’s rights issue.

– Patients on Medicaid fare worse than the uninsured following major surgical operations, researchers from the University of Virginia conclude. Researchers evaluated nearly 900,000 major surgeries performed from 2003-2007 on Medicaid and Medicare patients, the privately insured and the uninsured. They found Medicaid patients had the longest length of stay and highest total costs. They had the second highest mortality rate, behind (older) Medicare Patients. Source: Annals of Medicine


Taxes and spending

– VAT and the hole we’re digging: If America stays on the present course and tries to fund excess government spending with a value-added tax (VAT), a payroll tax or some other form of a consumption tax, the average tax on wage income will rise from 40.6 percent today (a 15.3 percent payroll tax plus a 15 percent income tax plus state and local taxes) to 55 percent by 2030 and 62.1 percent by midcentury. That’s the average increase; marginal rates will be even higher, notes John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

– The Georgia Agribusiness Council shared with its members the Foundation ‘s view on Georgia’s Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness. View the interview

– Several Georgia examples of wasted federal stimulus funds were cited by GOP senators John McCain and Tom Coburn in their “Summertime Blues” report. Among them: the Georgia Forestry Commission got $900,000 to create “more shade” by planting trees; Georgia Tech researchers got $762,372 to study improvised music and $427,824 to study how video games can improve seniors’ mental health, and Georgia State University got $677,462 to study primate responses to inequity and unfairness.


Agenda 2011

– Go to to read the Foundation’s proposals for Georgia tax policy in 2011.

– Read the Foundation’s legislative proposals for market-oriented transportation policy online at



– Fewer adults without high school degrees entered adult education in 2008 than during 2005, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) reported this week. Some 10 million adults do not have a high school degree or GED (General Education Development) credential in the SREB’s 16 member states, but just 1.5 percent were enrolled in adult education courses in 2008. Read the report at

– Bookmark this: Tech High, the math-, science- and technology-oriented charter high school that the Georgia Public Policy Foundation helped establish in the Atlanta Public Schools system, needs your help.The school needs books for the library and new principal Dr. Graysen Walles has created a wishlist at Help this remarkable school: Buy a book (or two) at this link: Find out more about Tech High at



– Found money: The federal government would have an additional $10 billion a year to spend on crucial highways if it stopped diverting federal gas tax money to projects with no national benefits, according to a new Reason Foundation study. The federal gas tax was supposed to be used to build and maintain the Interstate Highway System. Today federal gas taxes are diverted to ferryboats, trails and mass transit programs. Since these other programs aren’t national, are unable to generate significant user revenues and require large subsidies, the Reason Foundation report says they should be funded by state and local governments. The 18.4 cents a gallon federal fuel tax should be refocused strictly on rebuilding and modernizing vitally important Interstates. Read more at


– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Cut Capital Gains Tax Rate to Boost Georgia’s Economy,” by Mark King.


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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