Friday Facts: January 28th, 2011

It’s Friday!

  What can you do to help the Foundation celebrate its 20th birthday in 2011? E-mail  to share how you can highlight the Foundation’s “20 For 20,” campaign. Will you recommend us to 20 of your Facebook friends? Will you commit to $20 a month for our 20th anniversary? If so, go to … And let us know!  

 Twenty-five years ago today, teacher Christa McAuliffe was to become the first teacher in space. The space Shuttle Challenger exploded soon after liftoff, killing all seven on board. Her tragic death inspired a generation of educators and hundreds of thousands of students to follow and learn about space exploration efforts. Read more here:
– Hundreds of school choice advocates gathered in a cold rain on the steps of the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday to celebrate National School Choice Week at a rally hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and a dozen other organizations.  Read about the Foundation’s role in Georgia school choice here:

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“State of the Union speeches can’t possibly provide every detail on the future course of federal spending, but this year’s speech contained a high degree of ambiguity that could be masking tens – even hundreds – of billions in new liabilities, or, perhaps some additional savings. This is why taxpayers may need to look beyond the words they heard last night and toward the numbers they’ll see in coming weeks, when the White House releases its budget blueprint.” – Damian Brady, National Taxpayers Union Foundation
– “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

Upcoming events and opportunities
 Seats are filling fast! The deadline is Wednesday to register for “Health Care Prognosis and Prognostications,” with U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia and Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute. This noon Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon takes place on Friday, Feb. 4, at the Georgian Club and is $35 to attend. Register at
– 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
– Monday is the deadline:  Do you know someone who wants to intern for liberty? The Institute for Humane Studies offers paid journalism and policy internships as well as award fellowships for liberty-related research, with opportunities for placement around the country and in Georgia, including at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.Apply by Jan. 31 at

The economy
– President Obama used “innovate” or “innovation” 11 times in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. His proposals may be overreach (80 percent of America’s electricity will come from “clean energy sources” by 2035?), but he’s certainly in the right country for innovation, according to a new “Global Innovation Barometer” report from GE, which polled 1,000 senior business executives from 12 countries. Sixty-seven percent agreed that if you want to innovate, the best place to do it is the United States. Closing out the top four innovation champions listed by the execs were Germany (44 percent), Japan (43 percent) and China (35 percent).
Health care

– State of the Union and medical malpractice: President Obama implies that the federal government has the ability to tell states what kind of damages can be paid in tort cases, which is an issue well within the sovereign control of state governments, not Congress or the Executive Branch, say Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation. “It is certainly true that Congress could condition some funding of federal programs like Medicaid or SCHIP on states implementing medical malpractice reform for medical providers in those federal programs. But Congress does not have the constitutional authority to tell states how their legal tort system should be run in all medical liability cases.”

– Lessons from Massachusetts: “Like the federal health reform bills, the Massachusetts legislation focused on access, leaving cost containment and quality for another day,” David Hyman points out in the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine. “This ‘dessert first, spinach later – we hope’ approach was quite deliberate and was based on the theory that it would be easier to address the cost and quality problems once there was universal coverage.… Not surprisingly, when it came time to actually eat the spinach, there was considerable pushback.” Read more at

As federal fiscal challenges 
force transportation funding cuts, Congress should lay the groundwork for fundamental reform in the future, says Ronald Utt of the Heritage Foundation. Congress can do this by “refocusing the program on cost-effective mobility and eliminating the many marginal, inefficient, and non-transportation programs that now clutter the program and account for as much as 35 percent of all spending.” At the same time, it can begin “‘turning back’ the program to the states by allowing them to retain the federal fuel tax collected within each state and use those additional funds to meet their own transportation priorities, not those of Washington or the lobbyists who influence the program.”

– Click on this link or visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Georgia Needs a Lone Star State of Mind.”

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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