• Friday Facts

Friday Facts: June 22, 2012

It’s Friday! 
– Register now! Monday is the deadline for the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum on Wednesday, June 27. The event, “The Road to Freedom,” takes place at Cobb County’s Georgian Club with keynote speaker Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. Sponsored by Ray Padron, president of Brightworth Private Wealth Management, the event focuses on Brooks’ new book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.” The registration fee of $50 includes a copy of the book. For information and to register, go to http://tinyurl.com/7asrdna.

Quotes of note
– “As long as the elites hold onto the belief that their own school districts are excellent, they have little desire to push for the kind of significant systemic reforms that might improve their districts as well as the large urban districts. They may wish the urban districts well and hope matters improve, but their taste for bold reform is limited by a false contentment with their own situation.” – Jay Greene
– “The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.” – Thomas Sowell

Events
– July 12: Register by July 10 for the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Luncheon, an event in Gainesville, Ga., that will feature school choice expert Jay Greene. The event at the Holiday Inn Lanier Centre will cost $20 to attend. For information and registration, go to http://tinyurl.com/7m69sbbLast year, 85 events spanning six countries, 45 states and the District of Columbia were held to mark the birthday of the late Milton Friedman.

Taxes and Regulation
–  Wrong message: The left maintains that low taxes, especially on the wealthy, and deregulation are making the rich richer and the poor poorer, says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “Nothing about this message is true. The George W. Bush tax cuts made after-tax incomes in the United States more equal, not less equal. Furthermore, all over the world low taxes, less regulation and limited government are associated with more income equality, not less. In addition, the greatest beneficiaries of economic freedom tend to be those at the bottom of the income ladder, not those at the top.” 
– Access grows, prices drop:
 The average price paid per megabyte of data transferred on mobile phones – the highest cost driver of consumer bills – fell by 46 percent between 2010 and 2011 even as data consumption grew by 89 percent, according to a letter encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to free more spectrum for wireless broadband. 
– Big government, big dependency: 
When the food stamp program began in the 1970s, it was designed to help about one of 50 Americans who were in severe financial distress. One in seven Americans now qualifies. Source: Wall Street Journal

Education
– Cutting costs: 
Two Stanford professors recently put their artificial intelligence class online. With little advertising, 160,000 people signed up from every country except North Korea. Rather than tape boring lectures, the professors asked students to solve problems and the next course video would discuss solutions. Twenty-three thousand people finished the course. The top 410 performers on exams were online students. The first Stanford student was No. 411. The cost “was basically $1 per student per class. That’s on the order of 1,000 times less per pupil than for a K-12 or a college education – way more than the rule of thumb in Silicon Valley that you need a 10 times cost advantage to drive change.” Source: Wall Street Journal

Energy and Environment
– Lots of green for green jobs: The $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 resulted in 910 “direct” jobs – annual operation and maintenance positions – meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each long-term job. Those green energy projects also created, in the end, about 4,600 “indirect” jobs, meaning they cost about $1.9 million each ($9 billion divided by 4,600). Combined, the direct and indirect jobs cost, on average, about $1.63 million each to produce. Source: CNS News
– ‘Green’ jobs mean fewer jobs: Testifying before a congressional committee this week, Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute cited studies showing that from 2000 to 2009, Spain spent about $815,000 to create each “green job,” rising to $1.5 million per wind industry job. But 2.2 jobs were destroyed (or not-created) for every “green job” created.  In Italy, for every job created in the green sector, five to seven jobs would have been created in the general economy. In the United Kingdom, for every job created in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs were foregone in the general economy. Read his testimony at http://tinyurl.com/7wbt3qz
 
Transportation
 Feasible? High-speed rail between Jacksonville, Fla., and Atlanta is “feasible,” consultants told the Georgia State Transportation Board this week. Fares would range between $119.41 and $152.24. Construction would cost from $5 billion to $16 billion, or $11.5 million to $41 million for each mile. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/86o5elg(We checked and found air fares at about $154 round trip for the 45-minute flight; Megabus charges about $26 each way for the six-hour trip.) Source: Morris News 
– T-SPLOST: The debate over the upcoming vote on a regional penny sales tax for transportation is heating up as July 31 approaches  If you missed coverage of the study the Foundation released analyzing the July 31 referendum, find the commentary and study at www.georgiapolicy.org and view the event video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKkUC7qfVto&feature=plcp.

Health care
– Facilitate, don’t regulate
: Should the federal health care law be overturned by the high court, many consumer-friendly aspects already implemented will be adopted by the industry or quickly find their way into new legislation, according to Ron Williams, former chairman and CEO of Aetna. He writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Since health care is local, private-sector innovation in conjunction with state-level reform of the individual and small-group markets is a better approach. The federal government should encourage rather than micromanage market reform in all 50 states.” 
– Need a job?
 The nation will need 5.6 million more health care workers by 2020, as the demand for health care services is expected to grow twice as fast as the national economy in the next eight years, according to a new study from Georgetown University. Of those 5.6 million health care job vacancies, 4.6 million will demand post-secondary education.  Utah, Georgia, Texas, Virginia and Idaho will experience the highest growth in jobs, with Georgia seeing a 38 percent increase, to 543,400 health care workers! Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Social media
– This week in The Forum: Foundation Editor Mike Klein writes about a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report that says universities fail to provide enough consumer information for students and families to make educated decisions about higher education. Senior Fellow Eric Wearne discusses how interactive computer tasks are now being included in the NAEP test results released this week. (The article contains links to tests that anyone can take online.) Also, has longer time served in state prisons reduced crime or just incurred higher costs for states? Mike Klein writes about the results of a national study that has implications for Georgia. Read these and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/.

– 
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Why Prices Matter in Health Care,” by John C. Goodman.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen


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