Quotes of note
“Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal, when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.” – Arthur Brooks
“Federal power is increasingly based on the power of the purse and regulation. While the number of federal employees has not grown rapidly in recent years, the share of government spending controlled by the federal government – but often distributed through states and localities – has risen from 3 percent of GDP in 1900 to almost 22 percent in 2016. Every decade has brought more regulations, more agencies and departments, and more expansions of federal authority.” – Joel Kotkin, “Restoring Localism”
January 22, 2019: “National School Choice Week: A Capitol Choice,” is a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon on Tuesday, January 22, in the Empire Room, 20th floor, Sloppy Floyd Building in Atlanta. Speakers are Dr. Ashley Berner, deputy director at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy, and Georgia Public Policy Foundation Senior Fellow Dr. Ben Scafidi, professor of economics at Kennesaw State University. $35. Early Bird Registration is $25 through December 31. Find more information and registration here.
February 7, 2018: Mark your calendar for “Romance of the Rails,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon with Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute. Details to follow.
Lackluster: The sign-up deadline for obtaining insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act is Saturday (December 15). One week before the deadline, just 233,584 Georgians had enrolled, Georgia Health News reports. That’s less than half of last year’s total sign-up figure of about 481,000 Georgians. Advocates cite shrinking federal funds for “navigators” and promoting the ACA. At the same time, for 2019 there are no longer penalties for going without coverage, and the Trump administration has expanded access to more affordable short-term plans.
Opportunity knocks: States are positioned to take the reins of health-care reform as progress continues to stagnate at the federal level, according a nationwide survey cited in a New England Journal of Medicine op-ed. The authors note: “Legislators and executive branch officials representing all points on the ideological spectrum stressed the importance of local nonpartisan organizations that adopt a mission of convening leaders and providing objective information. There is a great need and opportunity for credible state-level policy think tanks and foundations to step up and play this role.” The Georgia Public Policy Foundation accepts the challenge!
iCare: Apple has hired 40 to 50 physicians in the past few years, according to news reports. The physicians are scattered among various Apple teams, helping to guide strategy and decisions as the tech giant moves into health care, including programs using the Apple Watch. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Farm bill: After months of negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 369-47 to send its $867 billion farm bill to President Trump for his expected signature. H.R. 2 expands farm subsidies, legalizes hemp, authorizes funding for nutrition programs, but does not include the stronger work requirements on food stamps that held up Democrats’ support. Source: News reports
Opportunities: Top undergraduate students from across the nation and across the political spectrum can participate in the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program in Washington, D.C. Programs are one week or four weeks. The early decision deadline is January 7, 2019. Find out more here. The Property and Environment Research Center offers the Student Colloquium, a summer seminar co-sponsored with the Liberty Fund, from June 23-28, 2019, in Bozeman, Montana. Find out more here.
Taxes and spending
Go electronic: As tax season approaches, the Georgia Department of Revenue is urging taxpayers who received a refund last year to create an account with the Georgia Tax Center and elect to receive their Form 1099-G electronically.
Breakdown: On average, how much did Americans spend on gifts in 2017? According to Subscriptionly’s Gift-Giving Guide, millennials (18-35) spent about $609; Generation X (36-51) spent about $782 and Boomers (52-70) spent about $576. Men spent $725; women spent $649. (That’s because the women found everything on sale, according to Benita Dodd, the Foundation’s resident bargain hunter!)
This month in the archives: In December 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Airport Privatization May Be Ticket To Atlanta’s Sewer System Overhaul.” It noted, “As long as there are guarantees that a private operator, whether in a long-term lease or sale of all or part of the airport, will charge fair and reasonable rates, airlines and passengers ought to be satisfied, too.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Five Facts that Favor Education Choice for Georgians,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Snow blanketed the Northeast Georgia Mountains over the weekend, followed by dangerous black ice on Georgia roads that closed or delayed school and business openings as far south as the metro Atlanta area on Tuesday morning.