Friday Facts: June 29, 2012

It’s Friday!

Quotes of note
– “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw
– “
And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78 (1788)
– Minority opinion on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), U.S. Supreme Court:

  • “All of us consume food, and when we do so the Federal Government can prescribe what its quality must be and even how much we must pay. But the mere fact that we all consume food and are thus, sooner or later, participants in the ‘market’ for food, does not empower the Government to say when and what we will buy. That is essentially what this Act seeks to do with respect to the purchase of health care. It exceeds federal power.”
  • “Article I contains no whatever-it-takes-to-solve-a-national-problem power.”
  • “What the Government would have us believe in these cases is that the very same textual indications that show this is not a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act show that it is a tax under the Constitution. That carries verbal wizardry too far, deep into the forbidden land of the sophists.”


– July 12: Register by July 10 for the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Luncheon, an event in Gainesville, Ga., that will feature national school choice expert Jay Greene speaking on, “A Formula for Education Reform in Georgia.” The event at the Holiday Inn Lanier Centre will cost $20 to attend. For information and registration, go to year, 85 events spanning six countries, 45 states and the District of Columbia were held to mark the birthday of the late Milton Friedman.

Health care:

– In what the Georgia Public Policy Foundation declared a “flawed decision”, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the “individual mandate” requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay an annual penalty is a permissible exercise of Congress’s power to “tax.” The court also ruled the mandate is not a constitutional exercise of Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause. This means that the individual mandate has been upheld as constitutional. The court also ruled the Medicaid expansion could stand but that the federal government may not withdraw existing Medicaid funding from a state that refuses to participate in the expansion of the program. Access the full opinion


Taxes and Regulation

–  Punishable by Chinese water torture? This weekend, Georgians will begin to feel the consequences of Senate Bill 370, the 2010 law passed to conserve water in the state. Beginning July 1, it’s a misdemeanor to install any toilet, faucet, urinal or shower head in violation of the law, which includes a prohibition on the sale of toilets that flush more than an average of 1.28 gallons per flush. Each unit in new multi-unit dwellings will require individual meters and all new construction will require high-efficiency plumbing. Take note: “Construction” includes “the alteration of an existing building in connection with its repair or renovation or in connection with making an addition to an existing building and shall include the replacement of a malfunctioning, unserviceable or obsolete faucet, showerhead, toilet, or urinal in an existing building.” Source: Ryan Taylor Architects

Choosing public school choice: Early polling shows strong support for an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would empower the state to grant charters to local schools. In a telephone poll conducted March 29-30 by the Georgia Charter Schools Association, 58 percent of those surveyed said they would support the charter school constitutional amendment.  After hearing an interviewer read the wording of the amendment, 38 percent said they would “definitely” vote yes and 20 percent said “probably.” The amendment, on ballots in November, asks: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?” Source: Morris News

– Transportation Band-Aids: Since 2009, the congressional transportation plan has been operating on a series of extensions as lawmakers fail to reach agreement on long-term funding and programs. Now, congressional negotiators have reportedly reached agreement on a two-year bill to overhaul federal highway and transit programs. The government’s authority to spend transportation funds and levy federal gasoline and diesel taxes is scheduled to expire on Saturday.
– The Great Streetcar Conspiracy: Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute writes that proponents deceptively claim that streetcars generate economic development, when in fact it is other subsidies, including tax-increment financing (TIF, known in Georgia as Tax Allocation Districts, or TADs), that have stimulated that development. In Portland, for example, where a streetcar line passed through a TIF district that received $500 million in subsidies, developers invested $1.3 billion, but when the streetcar line served a neighborhood of about the same area that received no subsidies, developers invested only $17.6 million. “Other cities that want to build streetcars still claim that streetcars “catalyze” economic development,” O’Toole notes.
– 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 and view the event video here:


Social media

– Facebook: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation reached 1,600 “likes” this week! Join us, “like” us and support us at

– Twitter: Nearly 700 follow the Foundation tweets. Follow us, too, at
– This week in The Forum: Read recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Feds’ Price Controls on Banking Backfire on Georgia and its Economy,” by John Berlau.

Have a great weekend and a Happy Independence Day.


Kelly McCutchen

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