Friday Facts: March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013

It’s Friday!


Last chance to register: Hundreds of supporters have reserved their seats at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday, March 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Cobb Galleria Ballroom. There are just 20 seats remaining and we’re keeping the registration site open until the close of business today!  The keynote speaker is Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal. Tickets are $125 per person. Register online at

April 23: “Telehealth: Taking Health Care to The Next Level,” is the topic of the Foundation’s next Leadership Breakfast ,at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The moderator is Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald of the Georgia Department of Public Health, with telemedicine expert panelists Dr. Jeffrey English; Dr. Jeffrey Grossman and Paula Guy of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth. The cost is $25 to attend; register online at (Attire: business, business casual.) 

Get us to 2,000 ‘likes:’ Help the Foundation reach 2,000 Facebook friends by March 27, so that we can celebrate the milestone at our Annual Dinner. Plus you can view daily Quotes of Note, Policy Points, EduFacts and Foundation photos at Follow us on Twitter at 

Quotes of Note

“We need more of the Office Desk and less of the Show Window in politics. Let men in office substitute the midnight oil for the limelight.” – Calvin Coolidge

“There are undoubtedly some high-minded people who go into politics to serve their community or the nation. But, in the corrupting atmosphere of politics, there are too many who ‘came to do good and stayed to do well’ – especially if they stayed too long.” – Thomas Sowell

“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.” – Henry Hazlitt

Criminal justice

Making the case for reform: Crime doesn’t pay for taxpayers, either, and costs are climbing. The government fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for federal inmates in Fiscal Year 2011 was $28,893.40, the federal Bureau of Prisons announced this month. The average annual cost for an inmate in a community corrections center (which includes work-release programs) for FY 2011 was $26,163. In FY 2010, it was $28,284 for federal inmates; $25,838 for inmates in a community corrections center.

Juvenile justice reform: A recent commentary I co-authored with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich focuses on Georgia’s 2012 criminal justice reforms and highlights the opportunity to apply those same conservative convictions to the juvenile justice system.  We note that, thanks to the recommendations of the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, “Georgia has a golden opportunity to harness conservative ideals to produce a more efficient, more effective, and more fiscally responsible juvenile justice system.” Source: Marietta Daily Journal


What part of ‘managed’ competition don’t you understand? Chicago taxpayers have been hit with a $57.8 million ruling in favor of a private company that runs four city-owned, downtown parking garages after former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration allowed a competing garage to open about a block away from one. A panel of independent arbitrators agreed that City Hall violated the terms of its 99-year garage-privatization deal within months of signing the 2006 agreement. Source: Chicago Sun-Times


Good education news: Georgia ties for 3rd nationally in the latest Digital Learning Report Card, which measures the 50 states against 10 “Elements of High Quality Digital Learning” in K-12 education. This leadership is having economic impact, too. “Atlanta is poised to become a hub for educational technology,” according to the CEO of a new nonprofit, inBloom, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that inBloom choosing Atlanta for its headquarters “could help make Atlanta a center for a cohesive effort to accelerate student achievement in the United States by boosting personalized learning in schools.”

Blended learning: More than 10,000 k-12 students in 47 schools in Idaho will be part of the nation’s first statewide pilot of the internationally renowned Khan Academy, The Idaho Press-Tribune reports. Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization started by Sal Khan in 2008 with the mission of providing a free, online, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. “In Idaho, we hope to see educators using Khan Academy to individualize their instruction,” Khan said. “Instead of a one-size-fits-all lesson, teachers will be able to focus their attention on specific students who are struggling while the rest of the class engages with material appropriate for them.”

Choice becomes a need: In 1996, just 19 states had charter legislation in place, and there were only about 250 charters serving some 20,000 pupils. In 2013, there are 41 states and the District of Columbia with charter laws on the books, and more than 2 million students are enrolled in 5,600 charter schools.

Charters’ performance: A five-city analysis commissioned by the Fordham Institute finds that the average city charter school slightly outperformed the average traditional school in the surrounding city district; the average city charter school trailed the average school statewide, often by a considerable margin; and there was wide variation in charter performance within the cities, “with far too many low-performing schools.” According to the analysis, “While the findings show that charter schools tend to provide a better education than the schools in which their students would have otherwise enrolled, they also make clear that charters have a long way to go before they meet the sector’s goal for academic excellence.”

Paying for empty seats: Chicago Teachers Union members are resisting a plan to close about 50 elementary schools in the district, which superintendent Deborah Byrd-Bennett says has 100,000 more seats than students. The district reports a $1 billion deficit by summer and has estimated that each closed school would save $500,000 to $800,000, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The union called for a moratorium on closings and vows “nonviolent direct action,” claiming that the city is destroying schools.


Winning video games: The top five entertainment products of all time are video games, with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft grossing over $10 billion. More than 20 Georgia colleges and universities offer game development and related degrees and Georgia is home to more than 75 game companies. Source: Georgia Tech

Premature obituary: Rumors of the death of U.S. innovation are exaggerated, according to a special report in The Economist magazine: “The country is spending as much of its output on R&D as it ever has, and continues to come up with dramatic breakthroughs, such as “fracking” for oil and gas. It still towers over emerging giants like China in crucial matters such as the quality of its research universities and respect for intellectual-property rights. However, the main reason for cheer is that beyond the Beltway no one is waiting for the federal government to fix the economy. At the regional and local level America is already reforming and innovating vigorously.”

Health care

Unaffordable Affordable Care Act I: The more businesses learn about the federal health law, the more they’re coming to realize that “affordable care” is the last thing it will provide, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute writes in Forbes magazine. Pipes notes: Starting next year, insurance companies will have to remit $8 billion to the federal treasury. The tax climbs to $11.3 billion in 2015 and 2016, to $13.9 billion in 2017, and to $14.3 billion thereafter. Although insurers are responsible for paying it, there’s no question that the tax will “be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage,” according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Unaffordable Affordable Care Act II: ObamaCare and the increased cost of doing business are prompting many physicians to close down private practices to work in hospitals or to shed insurance and adopt an insurance-free model that charges patients less. Doctors charge less because they can avoid the costs of paying wages to people to code, bill and collect on patients. For example, a bag of intravenous fluid may cost $128 through insurance but one doctor doesn’t even bother to charge for the $1.50 in cost. An ingrown toenail may cost $200 through the traditional insurance system but one doctor charges $50. Source:

Incentivizing health: CVS Caremark is requiring its 200,000 employees enrolled in the company’s health plan to undergo height, weight and blood assessments or face a paying an extra $50 a month – or $600 a year – in health insurance costs. Is this a mandate? No, it’s an option: You have the option to follow the company’s requirement … or find a job elsewhere. Source: Daily Caller


Between January 2008 and December 2011, there were 414 insured U.S. banks that failed. By far the largest number of failures – 74 – occurred in Georgia, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Of the failed banks, 85 percent, or 353, had less than $1 billion in assets. These small banks often specialize in small business lending and are associated with local community development and philanthropy. The GAO comments that failures of the smaller banks “were largely driven by credit losses on commercial real estate loans.” Read the Foundation’s Issue Analysis on the impact on Georgia banks of “new regulations” in particular, price controls in the Durbin Amendment.

Media and Social Media

Foundation on YouTube: This week Foundation Editor Mike Klein covered the state Public Health conference in Athens, the fifth annual Georgia Logistics Summit in Atlanta and the announcement of a federal and state crackdown on adults who purchase sexual services from children. Find his coverage  and related videos on the Foundation’s YouTube channel at

This Week in The Forum: In her “Checking Up On Health“ blog this week, Benita Dodd shares news and views on the latest in health care. Find this and other posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Extend Tax Credit to Angel Investors, Give Wings to Georgia’s Economy,” by Mike Eckert.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen  

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