Friday Facts: December 2nd, 2011

It’s Friday!


– “Portland: Model or Maverick?” The Foundation’s final Leadership Breakfast of 2011 is at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, December 14, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. John Charles, president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute of Oregon, will keynote “Portland: Model or Maverick?” a look at that city’s land use and transportation policies and how they would work in metro Atlanta. Registration for this event is $25. For information, go to To register, go to



– “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.” – Winston Churchill

– “It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic.” –  Thomas Sowell



– In 1998, by the end of the fourth grade the average Florida student was reading below the level of Georgia peers. Now, according to the latest data, the average Florida fourth grader is one full grade level ahead of a fourth grade student in Georgia. How did that happen? Find out in the Center for an Educated Georgia’s “Real Reforms, Real Results” report. (Hint: The answer isn’t more spending because Florida actually spends less per student than Georgia!)

– Bang for buck: Hedge fund manager Daniel Ades’ point of view in The Wall Street Journal is that college students should focus on more than where you can get the best education. “Students should pick schools where the payoff from higher salaries upon graduation exceeds the cost of the education by the widest margin, he contends, especially when the job market contracts,” writes Matt Wirz. “By that arithmetic, technical colleges come out on top. We’re in a skills based economy and what we need is more computer programmers, more [nurses]. It’s less glamorous but it’s what we need.”

– An education in readiness: Americans have always answered the call to military service. Unfortunately, many young Americans who want to join cannot. “Startling statistics released by the Pentagon show that 75 percent of young people ages 17 to 24 are currently unable to enlist in the United States military, notes the nonprofit group Mission Readiness in a new report. Three of the most common barriers for potential recruits are failure to graduate high school, a criminal record and physical fitness issues, including obesity. Source: Mission Readiness: “Ready, Willing and Unable To Serve”


Health care

– (Not so much) choice: Georgia Congressman Tom Price notes in an op-ed in the Washington Times that the Independent Payment Advisory Board, 15 bureaucrats appointed to determine how, when and where the government will deny care to patients, is “the most egregious example of where regulatory might at the federal level will impact the quality of care in America. It is a cynical attempt to lower the cost of health care by deleting health care choices. It will not make health care cheaper, just less accessible, so the government’s bottom line looks better.”

– No exchange: “States that refuse to create an exchange can block much of ObamaCare’s spending and practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions,” Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon write in The Wall Street Journal. An attempt by the federal government to sidestep this glitch would create an opportunity for a legal challenge that the authors argue would “block the law’s employer mandate in that state.” Governor Nathan Deal’s Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee is evaluating the state’s options and should be issuing their final report in the next few weeks.


Energy and environment

– Mixed blessing: U.S. exports of gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels are soaring, putting the nation on track to be a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in 62 years, thanks to a combination of booming demand from emerging markets and faltering domestic activity. According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States sent abroad 753.4 million barrels of everything from gasoline to jet fuel in the first nine months of this year, while it imported 689.4 million barrels. Source: Wall Street Journal

- Exaggerated Protection Agency? The Environmental Protection Agency's science-culture is so highly risk-averse that "when confronted with a range of possible risks, they tend to accept assumptions and design analytical protocols and frameworks in ways that lead to ever-greater estimations of health risk from ever-lower levels of pollution exposure," American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Kenneth Green told a congressional committee this week. "[W]hen such artificially elevated risk estimates are translated into economic estimates of regulatory benefit and cost, the product is increasingly costly regulations that do increasingly little good, or worse, actually imposes costs greater than the benefits it produces." Read more here:



– Way to work: For more than a century, efforts to help the disadvantaged have focused on education, health care, nutrition and housing. Almost nothing has been done to help the working poor afford cars, despite research that indicates it would help alleviate poverty. About one in four needy U.S. families do not have a car, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. A nationwide survey of 353 people who bought cars with help from a nonprofit group called Ways to Work found that 72 percent reported an increase in income. Of those who were on public assistance when they acquired a car, 87 percent were no longer receiving it a few years later. Source: Los Angeles Times

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Better Busways Don’t Require Exclusive Lanes,” by Robert Poole.


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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