Friday Facts: June 8th, 2012

It’s Friday! 
– Register by Monday, June 25 for the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon 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

Quotes of note
– “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” –H.L. Mencken
– “Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.” – Henry David Thoreau  
– “We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.” – Gaius Petronius Arbiter


– Edufact: Georgia’s Gross State Product would increase by $337 million if just half of the students who are currently dropping out of high school actually graduated, according to a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Only New York and Florida would have a greater monetary impact than Georgia.
– A new study presents rigorous evidence that the computer can be as effective as the classroom. It compared two versions of an introductory statistics course, one taught face to face by professors and one mostly taught online with only an hour a week of face time. Researchers found students fared equally well in both formats; the only difference was that the online group appeared to learn faster. The report also suggests that online courses can suit a wide variety of students, not just the elite. Many of the students had family incomes of less than $50,000 and college grade point averages of lower than 3.0. Even those groups learned as well online as they did in the classroom. Source: Boston Herald

 T-SPLOST update: 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:
– Sticker shock: Honda prices its new electric Fit at $29,125 after a $7,500 federal-tax credit, nearly twice as high as the gas-powered version. It would take 11 years for a driver to make up the difference through savings on fuel. Customers don’t want to spend the extra money up front and wait for years for payback, said auto dealer Geoff Pohanka, who sells the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Through May, carmakers sold just more than 10,000 electric vehicles, less than 0.2 percent of U.S. car and truck sales. Source: USA Today
– Congestion pricing:  A recent study in the American Economic Review suggests that the only way to reduce traffic congestion is through road pricing. Researchers analyzed highway traffic and census data from the United States between 1983 and 2003 and found that neither building more highways nor building more public transit result in decreased congestion. The logic behind their results is that building either highways or public transit may initially result in smoother commutes, but over time those smoother commutes provide incentive for people to change behavior and they decide to drive. Eventually the congestion is back to the level it originally was at or worse. They concludethat only pricing can solve traffic congestion problems. Source:  Fraser Institute

– July 12: Mark your calendar for the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Luncheon, an event in Gainesville, Ga., that will feature school choice expert Jay Greene. Last year, 85 events spanning six countries, 45 states and the District of Columbia held and event to mark the birthday of the late Milton Friedman.
September 21: Save the date! The Foundation’s third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing will be held in Atlanta on Friday, September 21. Please note that the event venue has changed to the Atlanta Hilton/Marietta Conference Center. Details to follow. Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.

Health care
– Getting their money’s worth? Canada’s health care system provides poor value for the tax dollars spent, writes Nadeem Esmail of Canada’s Fraser Institute. Canadians fund the developed world’s fifth most expensive universal access health insurance system. Expenditures are 22 percent higher than the average developed nation providing such care yet wait times are worsening. In 2011, patients waited more than double the 9.3 weeks they would have waited in 1993. “Our indicators are getting worse, not better,” Esmail points out. Read more here:
– Empower physicians, not hospitalsJohn C. Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis says there are “numerous highly successful examples of success prior to and outside of the periphery of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” He maintains that current legislation allows hospitals to amass too much power over physicians: “If hospitals were not empowered by legislation to control physicians … unnecessary admissions and lengths of stay would decrease dramatically across the country. Costs would go down across the board, regardless of age group, but especially among Medicare patients.” Read more here:

Social media
– This week in The Forum: This week the Congressional Budget Office warned that U.S. debt is on track to be nearly twice the size of the U.S. economy within 25 years, and as the Foundation’s Benita Dodd writes in Checking Up on Health, mandatory spending on health care entitlements is a big reason for that result. Foundation education Senior Fellow Eric Wearne discusses why scholarship groups need oversight but not overregulation and discusses the potential that wildly popular tablet computers have to bring more books, video and audio to learning. Read these and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at
– Twitter: The Foundation has nearly 700 Twitter followers. Get your daily Foundation Fix by following us at!
– Facebook: The Foundation’s Facebook page has daily policy updates and event photo albums. We’re at 1,586 friends of freedom on Help us reach 2,000: Join us, “like” us and invite your friends to “like” us, too!
– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Five Ways to Move Ahead on Transportation Policy,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen 

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