Friday Facts, March 2nd, 2012

It’s Friday!



 Register now: Seats are filling up fast for the Foundation’s March 22 Leadership Breakfast! Just days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments regarding the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Georgia anticipates the aftermath, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will provide a timely, “Georgia Health Care Update,” at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Find out more at online by Tuesday, March 20, at This Leadership Breakfast will cost $25 to attend.


Quotes of note

– “It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.” – Murray N. Rothbard

- "Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we would soon want bread." – Thomas Jefferson 
- "In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car." – Lawrence Summers


– EduFact: Public schools are not harmed by school choice programs because most of their costs are flexible and can change with student enrollment, according to a new report issued by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The report, “The Fiscal Effects of School Choice Programs on Public School Districts,” found that 36 percent of public school expenses are fixed costs while 64 percent are variable costs over a one-year period. “This means when public schools lose students to a school that better meets their needs, there is no fiscal harm,” said author Ben Scafidi, an associate professor of economics at Georgia College & State University. “They actually have more money when students leave because there are fewer to educate, and they get to keep some of the allotted funds to educate them.” Read the report at



– Tilting at windmills: Thirty-six states have implemented renewable portfolio standards that require further state investment in renewable energy sources (primarily wind and solar). This form of policy-making ignores the cost inefficiencies of wind and solar power which, after decades of government support, are still not independently viable for broad commercialization, notes an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily. “This embrace of renewable energy will leave states with inefficient forms of energy production that will prove costly to residents and incapable of independence in the market.” The editorial adds that “states seem determined to ignore the oil and natural gas production boom that is taking place, despite the enormous benefits it can bring to their citizens.”

– Shocking electricity rates: In 2010, the average price of residential electricity in renewable portfolio standards (RPS) states was 31.9 percent higher than it was in non-RPS states, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute. Commercial electricity rates were 27.4 percent higher, and industrial rates were 30.7 percent higher. In the seven coal-dependent states with RPS mandates, electricity rates soared by an average of 54.2 percent between 2001 and 2010. That is more than twice the average increase experienced by seven coal-dependent states without mandates. Read the study at


Taxes and spending

 Americans still put a lot more faith in the private sector than in government when it comes to making the economy work, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Seventy percent of American adults think a free market economy is better than one managed by the government; 15 percent believe a government-managed economy is better and 14 percent are undecided.

– No fan of subsidies: “The spread of fan-owned teams would break the subsidy culture that now grips all of the major sports leagues,” according to Joe Bast, president of the Heartland Institute. Bast cites the successful Green Bay Packers model in “Sports Stadium Madness: Is Fan Ownership the Answer?” He maintains that “sports stadium subsidies impose a huge cost to society. Unearned rent being held onto by professional sports franchises, made possible largely by public subsidies for new sports stadiums and arenas, is a huge injustice and deadweight loss to the nation.” Read more here:


Health care

– Don’t think health care markets can save money? In his Health Policy Blog, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis points to a new service that competitively bids health care services. The service saved an average of more than $12,000 on knee replacement surgery, for example. Read more here: Watch Goodman’s presentation at the Foundation’s 2011 Legislative Policy Briefing here:


Criminal justice

– Juvenile justice reform: Two weeks after releasing its Issue Analysis on criminal justice reform for adults, the Foundation released “Five Essential Principles for Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System,” a new Issue Analysis that focuses on how Georgia policy-makers can enhance and improve the way the state deals with juvenile offenders. The Issue Analysis was co-written by Jeanette Moll, a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is a sister think tank to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Issue Analysis discusses how rewriting the Georgia’s juvenile justice statutes can improve the chances of nearly 50,000 youths in the system each year to become contributing citizens instead of career criminals. Read more here:


Social media

– This Week in The Forum: This was a big week for criminal justice reform at the State Capitol. Forum Editor Mike Klein wrote about mission creep in legislation submitted to reform the adult system, and the state House unanimously passed a juvenile justice reform bill. Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne discussed why learning needs to keep pace with emerging technologies. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on federal health care legislation, Vice President Benita Dodd’s Checking Up on Health reports that American Enterprise Institute scholar Thomas Miller is warning warns national Republican leaders to have a strategy that is more than “none of the above.” The Forum also reported that House Speaker David Ralston told a Commerce Club membership breakfast that personal income, corporate income and sales tax rate changes are not expected during this session of the General Assembly. Read these articles and more in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at

– Twitter: The Foundation has more than 500 Twitter followers. Follow us at

– FoundationTV: If you are unable to attend Foundation events, you can watch them streamed online after the fact. Find out the status of the Foundation’s policy priorities in the 2012 legislative session here: Watch PayPal co-founder and entrepreneur Rod Martin discuss radical innovation and changes needed in public education here:


Visit to read today’s commentary, “Consumers Shouldn’t Bank on Savings from Debit Card Price Controls.”

Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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