Friday Facts: February 11th, 2011

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 If you like the Friday Facts, you’ll love the Foundation’s interactive online community, The Forum. This week, editor Mike Klein wrote on The Forum that the state unemployment insurance trust fund is “worse than broke.” Read more here: Klein also reported that President Obama wants to give states a two-year-waiver on federal interest payments and penalties on their unemployment benefits loans – and he wants to more than double the amount of employee wages subject to unemployment taxes. Read more here: http:/ and join the discussion today!

– Mark your calendar: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Concord Coalition will co-host the Fiscal Solutions Tour at 5 p.m. on March 1 at Kennesaw State University. The Fiscal Solutions Tour is a discussion of potential solutions to our nation’s fiscal challenges, featuring David M. Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General andFounder and current President and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative. ■ School choice champion Jay Greene, author of “Education Myths,” will keynote a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Leadership Breakfast on Saturday, March 5, at 8:30 a.m. at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta. For information and registration, click on this ■ Samuel Staley, Ph.D., director of urban growth and land use policy at Reason Foundation, keynotes. “Getting the Funding You Want for the Transportation You Need,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon on Tuesday, April 19, at noon at the Georgian Club. Details to follow.
 Missed an event? Policy Briefing Luncheons and Leadership Breakfasts are videotaped and streamed online at FoundationTV on the Foundation’s Web site at of the Foundation’s two health care events held last week are available here:

– Merits of performance pay: A new study finds that student achievement is significantly higher in countries that make use of teacher performance pay than in countries that do not use it. Students in countries with performance-related pay score 25 percent of a standard deviation higher on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in math; 24 percent higher in reading; and 15 percent higher in science. Source: Education Next

– Sixty-three percent of American adults believe it is too hard to get rid of poor teachers, according to a Rasmussen survey released this week. Just 6 percent think it’s too easy to get rid of ineffective teachers, while 18 percent say the level of difficulty is about right. Thirteen percent are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.) Americans with children in grades kindergarten through 12 feel even more strongly: 73 percent say it’s too difficult now to remove poor teachers.



 Derailing transit myths: Newer large-rail transit systems have not attracted drivers from their cars for work trips, according to a paper released this week by the Heritage Foundation. Additionally, the paper finds that increases in transit funding tend to produce a considerably smaller corresponding increase in transit ridership; transit’s capital and operating costs are excessive and preclude its potential for expansion; there is little potential for transit to attract drivers from automobiles for the vast majority of urban trips because of transit’s limited competitiveness with the car; and the claimed benefits of transit have been exaggerated, including economic impacts, energy efficiency and savings in congestion, consumer and accident costs. Read more at

 “Our government is intended to be a servant of the people. Our framers designed Constitutional limits on government because they feared that any institution run by men will always and ultimately tend toward increasing the power of the governors at the expense of the governed. They believed, from their experience as colonists and subjects of the British Crown, that rulers will thirst for power if unchecked. They believed that government, like fire, is a useful tool if controlled, but a dangerous destroyer if not.” – U.S. Rep Tom Price (R-Ga.), “Saving the American Miracle: The Destruction and Restoration of American Values”

 The Foundation for Economic Education offers seven seminars in 2011 – two for high school students and five for college students, ranging from basic economics to current events. FEE, one of the oldest free-market organizations in the nation, offers full scholarships to all successful applicants. Find out more at ■ The Mises Institute is now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Fellowships. Find out more at

The economy
 In the second annual “State of Entrepreneurship” address, presented this month by Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Carl Schramm, he cited several “Rules for Growth.” Among them: “Moving away from taxes on income that penalize risk-taking, innovation, and employment while shifting toward a more consumption-based tax system that encourages saving that funds investment.” Coincidentally, this is exactly what Georgia’s Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians has recommended.

– Click on this link or visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Bipartisan Health Reform Should Include Repeal of Minimum Loss Ratios,” by Ronald E. Bachman.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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