Friday Facts: March 4, 2016

It’s Friday! 

Register NOW! The deadline is Tuesday to sign up for the March 10 Leadership Breakfast, “At the Inter$ection of Education and Aging.” How does Georgia fund education when workforce numbers trail the increase in young and the old? Find out from Dr. Matt Ladner, Senior Advisor for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. 8 a.m. at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. $30. Details here; registration here. 

Then and Now: In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, vehicle miles traveled in the nation totaled 2.14 trillion miles. In 2015 (latest data) Americans traveled 3.06 trillion miles, a 43 percent increase. 

Quotes of Note 

Technology, productivity and globalization have been the driving forces during my business career. In business, if you don’t lead these changes, you get fired; in politics, if you don’t fight them, you can’t get elected. As a result, most government policy is anti-growth.” – Jeffrey Immelt

 “[M]an has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self love in his favor and shew them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind proposes to do this. Give me that which I want and you shall have this which you want.” – Adam Smith 


Early learning: There is no evidence that expanding pre-K will improve later achievement for children from low-income families, according to the Brookings Institution. It points out that the first 20 years of programs focused on IQ gains, but those early studies “continue to be used to justify policies for massive expansion” even though the goal is now school readiness. 

A modern one-room schoolhouse: 21st Century STEM Academy, Atlanta’s high-tech version of the one-room schoolhouse, opens in August near Emory University. Years ago, professor Benjamin Bloom found that combining mastery based learning and prohibitively expensive individualized tutoring produced students who scored, on average, higher than 98 percent of all other students. School founder Gareth Genner has spent 20 years solving Bloom’s “Two Sigma Problem” and this school achieves that goal by leveraging accomplished teachers with a research-based blended learning curriculum and one-to-one technology to provide an affordable, personalized, STEM-focused education for every student.

Metro Atlanta's congestion is a lot about timing, as this recent midday weekday drive up I-75 North demonstrates. It reinforces the wisdom of the reversible express toll lanes (shown under construction) to help ease rush-hour congestion.
Metro Atlanta’s congestion is a lot about timing, as this recent midday weekday drive up I-75 North demonstrates. It reinforces the wisdom of the reversible express toll lanes (shown under construction) to help ease rush-hour congestion.

Health care 

Universal care: A recent poll found 39 percent support and 33 percent oppose replacing private health insurance system with a single, government-run and taxpayer-funded. Asked whether they would still support it if they had to pay higher taxes, 39 percent said no; 39 percent also opposed it if they had to give up other coverage, like employer-provided plans. Support dropped to 14 percent if they had to wait longer for drugs and treatments and 18 percent if it meant longer ER waits. Source: Associated Press/GFK

Telehealth: Teladoc, which serves more than 6,000 clients and expects to have completed its 2 millionth patient “e-visit” at the end of 2016, cites massive savings potential of telehealth. One client, an employer with a presence in all 50 states, found savings of $673 per telehealth e-visit. “Multiplying that individual cost saving by the 575,000 e-visits Teladoc facilitated in 2015 equals $387 million in medical cost savings – not including productivity costs – that clients were able to achieve.” Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Choice: Direct Primary Care legislation passed the Florida House unanimously this week and is under consideration in the Senate. Similar legislation in Georgia is dead after not getting out of the Senate by Crossover Day. Read the Foundation’s recent commentary here.


Internet access: First, cell phones elbowed out public telephone booths. Next, they and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) led to a decrease in residential “landlines.” Now, home-based Internet access is on the decline, according to Pew, as more Americans go “smartphone-only.” Today 13 percent of adults rely on their smartphone for online access at home, compared with 8 percent in 2013.

Net neutrality = investment negativity: Internet companies are investing less into building up infrastructure. In 2013, the industry increased capital expenditures by 8.7 percent; last year, those investments shrank by 0.4 percent. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told The Daily Signal, “The fact it coincides with the FCC adopting these heavy-handed regulations, I think, is directly related.”

Transportation: Autonomous, “driverless” cars could reshape cities, from traffic to transit to parking and car-sharing, according to analysts. Source:

Professional licensing 

First-World problems: Instead of working to reduce barriers to job creation, the Georgia House has passed a bill that will require licensing of “lactation consultants.” Mystifyingly, Georgia also licenses “music therapists” and “interior decorators.” How did your legislator vote? See here. 

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In March 2001, the Foundation published, “New Water Proposals Not Supported by Adequate Science.” It noted, “Illegitimate or scientifically flawed data is no ground upon which to build a regulatory system.” The Georgia Legislature’s latest resolution opposing the EPA’s current Clean Water Plan shows some things don’t change.

 The Forum 

MARTA expansion: Read, “Atlanta Has Reached Peak Transit,” Randal O’Toole’s op-ed published online on February 28 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (The version on The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, includes O’Toole’s links.)

Status of legislation: Go here to read a roundup on the status of legislation related to Foundation policy proposals, including criminal justice, health care, education, regulation and tax reform.


Foundation in the News: The Heartland Institute quoted Kelly McCutchen in, “Direct Primary Care Protection Bill Offered in Georgia.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly in, “It’s an election year – tax-cut proposals advance in Georgia.” 

YouTube: Dick Williams of “Georgia Gang” gave the Foundation a shout-out this week to celebrate 25 years of public policy in Georgia. 

Social media: This week, the Foundation has 2,869 Facebook “likes” and 1,574 Twitter followers at Follow us on Instagram, too! 

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Georgia Is Moving Forward on Welfare Reform,” by Logan Pike and John Nothdurft.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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