Friday Facts: December 8, 2017

It’s Friday!


January 23: More than 28,000 events will celebrate National School Choice Week 2018 from January 21-27. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation will celebrate with a Leadership Breakfast keynoted by Senior Fellow Dr. Ben Scafidi, 8 a.m. at the Georgian Club. The topic is “Georgia 2020: Educational Opportunity for All K-12 Students in Georgia.” $30. Register here.

Quotes of note

“Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.” – Plato

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

“The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” – George Washington

Taxes and spending

Sensible solutions: Roy Cordato of North Carolina’s John Locke Foundation takes issue with some aspects of the federal tax proposals in, “The Good and the Bad of the House and Senate Tax Bills.” He argues that student loan interest, business-related moving expenses and unreimbursed employee expenses should remain tax-deductible.“This is because, whether we are talking about businesses or individuals, any costs associated with generating income should be deductible.”


Opportunity costs: “Any economic impact study that does not attempt to assess opportunity costs cannot legitimately be called economic analysis,” says Roy Cordato in another article, “Why Is There No Economics In Economic Impact Studies?

Can’t see the trees for the price: For the second year in a row, consumers are paying more for Christmas trees, and the selection might not be as lush. Trees cost 5-10 percent more than last year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, in part because growers were hurt when they overplanted during the recession, as well as agricultural shifts toward more lucrative crops and land uses. Did you know? North Carolina and Oregon growers supply most of the trees. Source: Los Angeles Times

Cost of Christmas: The cost of this year’s CPI (Christmas Price Index) rose slightly due to cost increases for the Pear Tree, the increased demand for Golden Rings and wage increases for the Lords-a-Leaping, according to PNC Financial Services Group, which has calculated the cost of the 12 Days of Christmas for 34 years. The Pear Tree spiked due to the increased cost of living for workers and a limited supply of larger, more mature trees.


Education funding The United States funded public education at an average of more than $11,000 per student during the 2016–17 school year. But in EdChoice’s 2017 Schooling in America survey, only 11 percent of respondents could estimate within the correct range that includes that average spending statistic (between $8,000 and $12,000). Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) underestimated spending by at least $3,000 per student. This is typical of most surveys on education spending. (Read the Foundation’s study, “Balancing the Books in Education.”)

Energy and environment

Climate change: In a column highlighting some of the positives of a warmer climate, Jeff Jacoby points out, “Shifts in climate are like shifts in the economy: They invariably spell good news for some and bad news for others.” In good agricultural news, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that record production is taking global cereal supplies to an all-time high in 2017-18.

Blast from the past: Education was the topic back in the late 1990s as (L-R) Cathy Henson, president of the Georgia PTA, Kay Pippin, lobbyist for the Georgia Association of Educators, and a youthful Kelly McCutchen, executive vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, were interviewed by Bill Nigut on “Georgia Week in Review.” Fast forward to today: Henson, who was appointed to the State Board of Education and became its first female chairperson, teaches Education Law at Georgia State University College of Law. Pippin, a former president of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, is mayor of Jackson. Nigut is a program host and producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting. McCutchen is leaving the Foundation this month after nearly 25 years, the last seven spent as president and CEO.

Health care

Conscientious consumers: The cost-bearing shift from health care payers to patients has patients looking less like passive beneficiaries and more like engaged consumers, reports. “Over the last four years, the average deductible has gone from around $500 to an average now of $5,000,” said Alexandra Morehouse, Banner Health Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. With consumers paying more out of pocket, “We’re willing to put up with a lot less when paying with our money, and we want much better service.”

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In December 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Does Socialism Work? Debunking the Myth.” It noted, “The most common argument for national health insurance is that it will give rich and poor alike the same access to health care. Surprisingly, there is no evidence of that outcome. Indeed, national health insurance in Canada may have created more inequality than otherwise would have existed. (Similar results have been reported for Britain.)”


YouTube: All Foundation events are recorded and can be viewed on YouTube. The latest addition is the December 4 Leadership Breakfast with U.S. Senator David Perdue, “Tax Reform: A Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs Approach.”

Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on the speech by U.S. Senator David Perdue of Georgia at the Foundation’s December Leadership Breakfast. The Heartland Institute quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on Georgia Cyber Academy.

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Tax Reform will Boost Economy, Clear the Way for Bigger Paychecks,” by Adam Michel.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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