Friday Facts: January 11, 2013

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman

We have no interest in spending our tax dollars on an exchange that is state-based in name only. I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses, but federal guidelines forbid that. Instead, restrictions on what the exchanges can and can’t offer render meaningless the suggestion that Georgia could tailor an exchange that best fits the unique needs of its population.– Governor Nathan Deal

“We are at a turning point: Are we going to move in the direction of more freedom – or less? … Today, property rights are widely viewed as selfish, the profit motive as immoral, and free markets as dangerous and even depraved. Unless we stop viewing free markets with suspicion and instead come to see them as moral, government’s grip on the economy will keep tightening.” – Yaron Brook (executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and the Foundation’s keynote speaker on March 19)


January 24, 2013: Just one week after attending the national Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, Robert W. Poole will keynote, “Moving Georgia Ahead: What’s Coming Down the Pike,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Poole, a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, is a co-founder of the Reason Foundation and its director of transportation policy. He will provide an update on the outlook for transportation policy, funding and innovation amid fiscal constraints and partisan politics, and outline Georgia’s options for mobility and congestion relief. Registration is $25; register here:

Mark your calendar: Upcoming speakers at Foundation Leadership Breakfasts include Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute on February 19, 2013, and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute on March 19, 2013.


Georgia Gets D+: A new report gives Georgia a D+ grade but ranks the state 15th nationally for education reform policies. The report by StudentsFirst, the public education reform advocacy organization founded by former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, commended Georgia for improvements in public charter school laws and a new teacher evaluation pilot project. It downgraded Georgia for weaknesses in empowering parents with meaningful information and deficiencies in financial accountability policies, including how the state operates its teacher pension program. The report focused on education reform policies, not academic achievement measured by standardized testing.

A case for choice: A new report proposing education school vouchers, pioneered in Arizona, makes this disturbing point: “In the years between A Nation at Risk, released in 1983, and the Council on Foreign Relations’ U.S. Education Reform and National Security, published in 2012, the conventional wisdom about U.S. public education has not changed. The council’s report opens with ‘It will come as no surprise to most readers that America’s primary and secondary schools are widely seen as failing,’ which is eerily similar to A Nation at Risk’s now-iconic words from three decades earlier: ‘If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.’” Source: Public Interest Institute


No money: Discussing the funding future of transportation in America, Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation warns not to expect much in the way of “general revenue” for transportation from the feds. He suggests three principles for a sustainable federal role in infrastructure: Users should pay for the infrastructure they use; large capital projects should be financed, via revenue bonds and other mechanisms, and the federal role should be narrowed to do only things that are truly interstate in nature, which will mean shifting more responsibility to the states, metro areas and private sector. Reason’s new Policy Brief, “Funding Transportation Infrastructure in a Fiscally Constrained Environment,” starts with those principles. (Hear Robert Poole speak on January 24 in Atlanta; register here:

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This Week in The Forum: In Checking Up On Health by Benita Dodd, find out what happens when your employer drops your health coverage or if you want to use private insurance instead of Medicare, and more! More recent Foundation articles and posts are on The Forum at

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Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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