Friday Facts: December 2, 2016

It’s Friday! 


Did you attend our 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award on November 11? Click here to view photographs from the event! 

December 8: The deadline is Tuesday to register for “Saving Our Students: Georgia’s Education Policy Options,” the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on December 8. The speakers are Erin Hames, former policy adviser to Gov. Nathan Deal, and outgoing Georgia State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Georgia Education Reform Commission. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Register here. 

December 13: Limited government is not possible without a thriving private and nonprofit sector. Learn about social enterprise, impact investing and venture philanthropy at a free seminar hosted by HINRI, Cherry Bekaert and Geneva Global at the Loews hotel in midtown Atlanta. Register here

January 26, 2017: Mark your calendar! The Foundation’s first event of the year is the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast, keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Details to follow. 

Quotes of Note 

“President-elect Trump has jumped on this infrastructure bandwagon. He is proposing a $1 trillion public works program. … Once public works are installed, the hot air comes out of their alleged benefits. These projects are poorly maintained, and users are often not charged for what they use, or they are charged prices set well below the relevant costs incurred. … Taking proper account of cost overruns and the costs of collecting taxes, one wonders if there are any public works projects that could justify federal financing, let alone financing to the tune of $1 trillion.” – Steve H. Hanke

Fidel Castro was a murderous tyrant who summarily executed dissidents and turned the entire island of Cuba into a tropical gulag. … Here’s some advice for Trudeau and company – when your statements are indistinguishable from those of Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un, maybe it’s time for a little introspection.” – Marc A. Thiessen, “The 10 most appalling statements by Western leaders praising Fidel Castro” 

Source: Environmental Protection Agency
Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, air quality had long been improving – even before the Clean Air Act of 1970. Just between 1980 and 2015, GDP increased 153 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 106 percent, energy consumption increased 25 percent, and the U.S. population grew 41 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped 63 percent! 

Georgia Legislature

The issues: In a little over a month, the General Assembly will begin a new two-year session. Be prepared! Read the Foundation’s policy proposals in our Guide to the Issues, focusing on education, transportation, health care, taxes, criminal justice and more. 

Room for improvement: Georgia received the worst ranking – No. 51 in the nation – in the Mercatus Center’s new Healthcare Openness and Access Project, which measures how open and accessible each state’s health care system is to patient and provider preferences. The state’s scores, released Thursday, are high in public health and insurance flexibility but low in regulation of health care professionals and providers.

Federal Government 

Cabinet picks: President-elect Donald Trump’s has selected Georgia Congressman Tom Price, a longtime advocate of patient-centered health care, as Secretary of Health and Human Services; education choice champion Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education and Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush, as Secretary of Transportation. (She was deputy transportation secretary under the first President Bush). We’re excited about the possibilities for reform on all three fronts! 


Bad policy: As of June 2016, 24 percent of federal Direct Loan borrowers repaying their student loans (5.3 million borrowers) were doing so in Income-Driven Repayment plans, up from 10 percent three years before. These plans set loan payments as a percentage of borrower income, extend repayment periods to up to 25 years, then forgive balances. For fiscal 2017, the taxpayer subsidy is estimated at $74 billion, and the plans’ budget is more than double what was originally expected for loans made in fiscal years 2009 through 2016. Source: Government Accountability Office 

Energy and environment 

Urban sprawl: Remember when “urban sprawl” was environmental activists’ scare tactic? A new policy analysis by the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole reports, “Urban growth has extended to less than 4 percent of the nation’s land and is no threat to the nation’s abundant farms, forests and open spaces.” Just 107 million acres of land have been urbanized of the nearly 3 billion acres comprising the contiguous 48 states.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In December 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “From Entitlement to Empowerment: Welfare Reform in Georgia, Part I.” It noted, “The current welfare system consists of an array of programs that are designed to provide society’s neediest members with cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance. Though well intentioned, it has evolved into a bureaucratic behemoth that is largely ineffective.  … From now on, the welfare system’s focus will be on expanding opportunities for America’s poor while instilling in them the values of family, work and personal responsibility.” Our work continues on this issue.


Foundation in the news: The Newnan Times-Herald published Kelly McCutchen’s commentaries, “How to reduce high costs and wasteful spending in health care,” and,Lessons and Opportunities from the Elections.” 

Social media: The Foundation has 3,075 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,680 followers at Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Teachers Unions, Faulty Economics and School Choice,” by Jeffrey Dorfman.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

P.S. On a personal note, we sincerely thank those of you who contributed to the Foundation’s one-day, #GivingTuesday fund-raiser via Facebook and e-mail. We raised more than $2,500 and anticipate another $1,000 in matching funds from the Gates Foundation. Please consider making an investment to help advance the Foundation’s limited-government and free-market ideas before year’s end!

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