Friday Facts: February 4th, 2011

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Health care
Georgia was one of 26 states that challenged the new federal health care law in a federal court in Florida. “The existing problems in our national health care system are recognized by everyone in this case,” Judge Roger Vinson wrote in his 78-page ruling this week. “Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution. … I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate.” The case is expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

– Validating the Foundation’s case for a high-occupancy toll (HOT) network to replace metro Atlanta’s HOV lanes and enhance public transit, the Census Bureau reported this week that the percentage of workers who carpool has dropped by almost half since 1980, when the agency began tracking the numbers. Georgia’s numbers: Carpooling is at just under 11 percent of commuters, compared with 11.3 percent in 2005; fewer than 2.5 percent of Georgians use public transportation; compared with 2.2 percent in 2005. Georgians driving alone dropped from 80 percent in 2005 to 78.4 percent today. The sharp decline in carpooling over time has confounded efforts by urban planners, who have tried to encourage the practice with HOV lanes and incentives such as discounted parking. The number of people working from home at least one day a week has tripled since 1998, according to a New York Times report.
– Both the public and members of Congress frequently are unaware that transportation earmarks provide no additional money to any state or to transportation spending in general, the Heritage Foundation’s Ronald Utt points out in a new paper. “Rather, most transportation earmarks are carved out of each state’s formula allocation so that each dollar devoted to an earmark means one dollar less that is available to the state’s own priority projects. Worse, only about half of the authorized earmarks are utilized by the end of the bill’s term, because many states view them as low-value projects and refrain from providing mandated matching funds.”

‎”Society’s course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow.” – F.A. Hayek

Upcoming events
 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. Details to follow.■ 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. Details to follow.

– 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
 “There was little if any net stimulus,” resulting from President Obama’s $862 billion package, according to a new report from Stanford University economists John Cogan and John Taylor. Worse, say the authors, the White House should have known it would not work.  “The irony,” they write, “is that basic economic theory and practical experience predicted this would happen.”
– The Tax Foundation talked to Georgia Tech economist Christine Ries about the Tax Council recommendations last week. Listen here:
– Expanding drug courts could reduce crime and save Georgia $8 million compared to the cost of incarceration, according to a new state audit. And that’s only if 20 percent of eligible offenders. Read more here:

Happy birthday, Mr. President
– Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, so Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the man who was president from 1981 to 1989. He died in 2004. Watch this video tribute:  His quotes are timeless:

  • “Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the people.’ ‘We the people‘ tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the people‘ are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ‘We the people‘ tell the government what it is allowed to do. ‘We the people‘ are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.”
  • “The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.”
  • “Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

– Click on this link or visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Home Remedies for What Ails Health Care,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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