Friday Facts: December 9, 2016

It’s Friday! 


Dr. David Martin of the Georgia Council on Education congratulations Dr. Michael Mescon, recipient of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation's Freedom Award, at the Foundation's 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in November.
Dr. David Martin of the Georgia Council on Economic Education (left) congratulates Dr. Michael Mescon, recipient of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Freedom Award, at the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in November. With Dr. Mescon is his wife, Enid.


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

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: Typically the Foundation’s first event of the year, the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast is keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. The topic is, “National School Week: Where’s The Money?” Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Information and registration here. 

Quotes of Note 

“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens.” – James Madison

“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” – Adam Smith

“In recent years, many well-connected industries have stamped their influence on the laws Congress writes. This December, Congress has a golden opportunity to change the way business is done. It’s time to finally put ordinary Americans’ best interests above those of special interest lobbyists. It’s time to start rooting out corporate welfare. It’s time to clean up the code.” – Dana Wade

Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the number of pages of rules published in the Federal Register totaled 67,716. In 2015, the pages totaled 80,035; this week, as the Obama administration winds down, the pages of regulations climbed above 87,000 pages for the first time in its 81-year history.

Georgia Legislature 2017 

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. 

Federal Government 

Cabinet picks: Continuing his selection of Cabinet candidates, President-elect Donald Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a longtime opponent of the EPA’s “sue and settle” tactics. Retired surgeon Ben Carson, who was raised in public housing, would be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis would be Secretary of Defense. Mattis is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, whose luminaries include Thomas Sowell and Condoleezza Rice.

Cost of regulation: Regulations are not the ultimate weapon for good, Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation points out. If this country had frozen regulations in 1980, he notes in a policy brief, “the overall U.S. economy would be 25 percent larger than it is now, meaning $4 trillion per year more wealth or about $13,000 per year for every man, woman and child in the country.” Source:


Mixed bag: Results were released this week for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, which compares 15-year-olds from 72 developed countries in math, science and reading. Singapore leads the pack; the United States was in the middle. In science, American students ranked No. 18, up from No. 21 among the 60 countries that took the exam in both 2012 and 2015. Reading scores put Americans at No. 15, up from No. 18 on the 2012 exam. But an 11-point decline in math scores dropped the United States to No. 35 from No. 28.

Closing the gap: The United States is at the top of the “resiliency” list, according to Bloomberg News, which reports that between 2006 and 2015, the share of students from disadvantaged backgrounds who perform above expectations and rank among the top quarter of students internationally grew 12.3 percentage points, the largest margin of the 72 developed nations surveyed in PISA tests. Source: ExcelinEd

Criminal justice reform

Don’t look back: Statistics reveal about 40 percent of ex-offenders will be rearrested in their first year out, more than two-thirds within three years and more than three-quarters within five years. Gainful employment reduces those odds, according to an article by the American Enterprise Institute highlighting Georgia as a good model. Georgia “provides former inmates with certificates for work and training programs completed while in prison. To date, the state has graduated 150 welders from prisons; all had job offers upon their return home. In 2016, 4,298 on-the-job training and technical certifications were awarded to Georgia prisoners.”

Seizing property: Ross Coker, the Foundation’s director of research and outreach, provides an overview of the state of asset forfeiture around the nation. Read it here. 

Energy and environment 

Politics in the pipeline: The 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline’s final easement under a lake near a tribal reservation in North Dakota was blocked this week by the Army Corps of Engineers amid protests by activists and tribal groups. The decision was political, not scientific: As Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation noted, attempts by pipeline builders and federal agencies to contact the complaining tribe were largely ignored, and the route was modified 140 times to accommodate concerns.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In December 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Facts Not Fear on Air Pollution.” It noted, “Regulators’ jobs and powers depend on a public perception that air pollution is a serious and urgent problem. But regulators also fund much of the research intended to demonstrate the need for more regulation, and fund environmental groups to agitate for increases in regulators’ powers.”


Foundation in the news: The Citizen published Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “Lessons and Opportunities from the Elections,” and he was quoted in an article about incoming Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in the Sunday, December 4 issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Social media: The Foundation has 3,084 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,680 followers at Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Competitive Cross-State Selling of Individual Health Insurance Policies,” by Ronald E. Bachman.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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