Friday Facts: March 25th, 2011

It’s Friday!

What’s happening at the Foundation
– April 19
: Register now for a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Georgian Club with Samuel Staley, Ph.D., director of urban growth and land use policy at Reason Foundation, on “Getting the Funding You Want for the Transportation You Need.” The cost to attend this event is $35. To find out more and register, go to
– Missed an event? Policy Briefing Luncheons and Leadership Breakfasts are videotaped and available for online streaming at FoundationTV on the Foundation’s Web site at
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– Technology counts: Georgia celebrated National Agriculture Week this week. Georgia’s Department of Agriculture, established in 1874, is the oldest in the nation, and agriculture is the state’s biggest industry, accounting for 383,000 jobs in 2009. Between 1978 and 2007, according to the 2007 agriculture census, the number of farms in Georgia declined 6 percent; the average farm size declined 19 percent and the acres of land in farming declined 24 percent. Productivity increased, however: The market value of Georgia’s agricultural products sold increased 204 percent; with crops increasing 135 percent and poultry and livestock up 248 percent. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
– New companies are the lifeblood of a capitalist economy. Every venture-backed start-up that grows into a public company could be the next Google, Intel, Starbucks or Amgen. Venture investment adds up to 0.2 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the revenue of companies created with such investment amounted to 21 percent of the economy in 2008. Source: Wall Street Journal

– Rising cost of renewables: Thirty states currently have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) but expanding the mandate to a “Clean Energy Standard,” as some politicians are proposing, “worsens an already-costly, ineffective policy,” Paul Chesser writes in the National Spectator. RPS  in several states have been analyzed and found to “universally drive costs for electricity up, because they force utilities to replace efficient power generators like coal with inefficient sources such as wind or solar.” Colorado utility customers, for example, will pay $11.8 billion more for electricity between 2011 and 2020 because of the state’s RPS, according to the American Tradition Institute.
– Technology for nuclear power reactors essentially developed from the early power packs designed for nuclear submarines, leading to reactors cooled by water, which is why most of the world’s large nuclear power plants are situated close to water. New, safer reactors “do not use water as a coolant, but use helium gas. In South Africa such a reactor design was developed, known as the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). Its fuel is small tennis ball size graphite balls containing granules of uranium, and not large metal fuel elements. The balls cannot melt. The PBMR design was developed to be ‘walk away safe,’ which means that the nuclear reactor plus its cooling system, can be stopped dead in its tracks and the reactor cannot overheat, it will just cool down by itself.” Read more from the Center For a Constructive Tomorrow at


– Ripple effect: The water in Florida’s aquifers began to fluctuate about 30 minutes after the March 11 earthquake in Japan, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The ripples from the quake were so powerful that the fluctuation of about three inches was seen in a wide area over a two-hour period, including the Everglades National Park, Palm Beach County, St. Lucie County and Highlands County, according to the newspaper.

Taxes and spending

– Taxing the rich: One of the most popular (and powerful) fiscal conservative talking points when the President pushed to raise taxes on the wealthy last fall was that they already pay quite a bit. In 2009, for instance, taxpayers making over $250,000 made 25.7 percent of all income, but paid 46 percent of all taxes. Now, the Tax Foundation’s Scott Hodge reports that well-off Americans are not only taxed heavily – they’re taxed more heavily than anywhere else in the developed world. Source: Reason Foundation

 The Foundation for Economic Education offers seven seminars in 2011 – two for high school students and five for college students, ranging from basic economics to current events. FEE, one of the oldest free-market organizations in the nation, offers full scholarships to all successful applicants. The deadline for applications is March 31. Find out more at ■ The Mises Institute is now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Fellowships and Mises University. Find out more at ■ The National Taxpayers Union and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation offer internships in a variety of fields for college students and recent graduates to learn more about limited government and free-market principles. Internships are granted on a rolling basis and may take place during any time of the year. Participants may receive academic credit or a stipend. Apply at NTU/NTUF Internship Program application.

Health care
– ObamaCare doesn’t look good for Americans, according to an assessment of the federal health reform law one year after its enactment by National Center for Policy Analysis President John C. Goodman, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and James C. Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. They cite an ever-more-costly mandate; a bizarre system of subsidies; perverse incentives for health plans and for people buying insurance; a tattered safety net, and benefits cuts for seniors. Read their editorial in Investor’s Business Daily at

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Not-So-Happy Birthday for ObamaCare,” by Ronald E. Bachman.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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