August 27: “Election Integrity: Facts, Fraud and Fiction” is the Foundation’s August noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Georgian Club. The speaker is Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. $35. Register here.
September 26: “The Student-Loan Debt Dilemma” is a Higher Ed Happy Hour discussion on student loans and debt at No Mas! Cantina in Atlanta, with keynote speaker Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. $10. Register here.
November 15: The agenda goes live next week, and Early Bird registration is open now for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which takes place Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility,” a play on Georgia’s motto: “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.” $75 through September 20; $100 thereafter. Click here to register.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has an opening for a digital media specialist. Find out more here: https://talentmarket.org/dig-media-gppf/
Quotes of note
“Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.” – Samuel Johnson
“Strange it is that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free speech but object to their being ‘pushed to an extreme,’ not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.” – John Stuart Mill
“So we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.” – Winston Churchill
Fake news: The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office shared a statement from the Department of Homeland Security “in response to multiple news articles that inaccurately insinuated that Georgia’s elections were specifically targeted by foreign actors.” The statement affirmed: “DHS is not aware of any specific targeting of Georgia’s or any state’s election infrastructure in 2018 attributable to a nation state.” For more on Georgia’s elections, sign up here for the Foundation’s August 27 Policy Briefing Luncheon with Hans von Spakovsky.
Homestead exemptions: Any kind of rental on your home could get your homestead exemption revoked, according to Glynn County’s tax commissioner, Jeff Chapman. “You can’t have a boarding house or a weekend rental and get the discounts from taxations like a homestead can get,” Chapman told The Brunswick Times in an article about his crackdown on abuse of homestead exemptions.
Head start: Enrollment is rising in Georgia’s Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) programs. Georgia Department of Education data from the 2017-18 school year show that 61.75% of middle-school students were enrolled in CTAE classes, an 8.45% increase over 10 years from the 2008-2009 data. Similarly, 67.88% of high school students (grades 9-12) were enrolled in CTAE courses in 2017-2018, up 6.17% in 10 years.
Off the rails: A New York magazine article points out “Why New York Can’t Have Nice Things. It costs three times more to build a subway station here than in London or Paris. What if we could change that?” According to Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation, “The new ground broken by this article is to discuss the ‘opportunity costs’ of massively wasteful spending – namely, the other valuable transportation projects that are foregone because the boondoggles eat up all the available funds.”
Health and wellbeing
Time to disconnect: Chronic loneliness in America has reached epidemic levels, according to Cigna research, and is likely to affect the workforce even more in the future, Michael Lee Stallard writes in Smartbrief.com. Research shows “adolescents spend more time interacting with electronic devices and less time interacting with each other, while also experiencing declining well-being. As artificial intelligence further increases the presence and role of machines in people’s day-to-day lives, an unintended consequence is that technology may diminish people’s ability to connect.”
Take a break! Over a third (36%) of Americans took their last vacation more than two years ago, and over half (51%) have not vacationed in more than a year, according to the 11th annual Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Global Assistance. A vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a destination that is 100 miles or more from home. Source: MetroAtlantaCEO
Medicare for All: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled the latest version of his scheme for single-payer healthcare this week, and estimated it could cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years, which blows past the $32 trillion initial estimate by outsiders. The entire U.S. federal budget for 2018 was $4.094 trillion, The Patriot Post reports. It cites Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw: “So Sanders is casually talking about expending the equivalent of our entire budget on his health care plan. (While simultaneously outlawing private health insurance and wiping out an entire industry.)”
HSA flexibility: The IRS has issued guidance that would give people with chronic illnesses the flexibility to use their health savings accounts (HSAs) before meeting their high deductibles in order to pay for treatments such as glucose, blood sugar tests and inhalers. More than 20 million people have high-deductible health plans linked to special pretax HSAs. “In the long run, this benefits individuals and insurers, who will see lower costs from patients whose conditions have worsened due to financial restrictions,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Foundation in the media: The Moultrie Observer published Senior Fellow Harold Brown’s commentary, “The Broken Record of ‘Record’ Highs.”
This month in the archives: In July 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Regional Task Force On Growth Aptly Concludes ‘Less is More’.” It noted, “More can be done to reduce congestion and achieve targeted residential densities if jurisdictions are willing to regulate less instead of more, if the market is allowed to perform on a level playing field instead of strangling in bureaucratic tape and drowned by preferential subsidies.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “‘Waiting for Superman’: How School Choice Can Save America’s Schools,” by Morgan Worthy.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at https://forum.georgiapolicy.org/.