Friday Facts: May 11, 2012

It’s Friday!


 May 23: You have less than two weeks to register for “Getting Georgia Going,” a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Leadership Breakfast ahead of Georgia’s July 31 regional referendum on a penny transportation sales tax. The event, at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club, is keynoted by Reason Foundation transportation policy analyst Baruch Feigenbaum. He will unveil a joint study focusing on the transportation project list for metro Atlanta and discuss “Getting Georgia Going” into congestion relief and mobility. This event will cost $25 to attend. Register at:

– June 27: Mark your calendar for a Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club with Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, focusing on his soon-to-be-released book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.”
– September 21: Save the date! The Foundation’s third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing will be held in Atlanta on Friday, September 21, at the Renaissance Waverly hotel. Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.


- "Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly." – Ambrose Bierce
- "If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion." – Friedrich August von Hayek 
- "But the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain." – James Madison
- "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." – Bertrand de Jouvenel


Health care

- False choices: Which politicians do you trust more to micromanage your health care: federal or state? That's the false choice presented by two versions of "federalism" intended to divide responsibility for health policy between the national government and the states, writes Thomas Miller of the American Enterprise Institute. "We can do better, with a serious commitment to patient-centered health policy that is more decentralized, competitive and accountable."

– Fast-tracked regulations: In 2008, the average agency regulation received 56 days of review by the Office of Management and Budget. In 2009, the average regulation received 27 days of review.  In 2010, the average federal health care regulation received just five days of review. The regulatory impact analyses accompanying the regulations were “seriously incomplete, and they fell far short of federal agencies’ normal practice,” according to a series of papers for the Mercatus Center. The economic impact of the resulting regulations was so poorly understood that the papers’ authors suggest that Congress should consider establishing a review agency that is independent of politics and can “review agency regulatory analysis according to widely accepted standards.” Source:


Energy and Environment

– So much for “all of the above:” Seventeen solar power facilities, five wind farms and eight geothermal power plants have gotten the green light to break ground on federal lands since President Obama came to office in 2009. No previous authorization had been granted for solar power farms. Since 2009, total fossil fuel production on government land has dropped by 7 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration. While wind and solar energy producers are financed by government grants and invited to operate on federal lands, oil and natural gas producers are saddled with burdensome regulations, the Washington Times notes. Now the promising and widespread practice of fracking to access natural gas is under attack by federal agencies.


- Moms for choice: Just in time for Mother's Day, a new national poll of American mothers finds a resounding 71 percent of moms say that school vouchers should be available to all families regardless of income or special needs, according to the poll, sponsored by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.



– Cupcake crackdown falls flat: The Massachusetts State House voted yesterday to overturn Department of Public Health rules banning school bake sales. “I was outraged,” said State Rep. Brad Hill, who offered the amendment. “This is not what government was set up to do. Then when I started hearing from the groups and how this would affect different fundraising activities, it upset me even more.” Source: Boston Herald

- Technology triumphs: The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that gas stations will soon be able to eliminate the gasoline vapor recovery systems that have been required since 1994. Technology has taken over, and today most vehicles have an on-board recovery system. The system, which the EPA required at more than 31,000 gas stations in areas (such as metro Atlanta) that are out of attainment for federal air quality standards, costs about $91 million a year.

Taxes and spending

– Giving free markets credit: Since 1800, the world’s population has increased sixfold and real income per person has increased approximately 16-fold. In America, the increase is even more dramatic: In 1800, the country’s total population was 5.3 million, life expectancy was 39 years, and the real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $1,343 (in 2010 dollars). By 2011, the population had grown to 308 million, life expectancy doubled to 78 years, and GDP per capita increased 36-fold to $48,800. “Rather than other economic systems in which a powerful entity discerns the individual’s wants and needs and assists him/her in obtaining them, capitalism recognizes that people are competent enough to take care of themselves,” writes James R. Otteson in, “An Audacious Promise: The Moral Case for Capitalism.” Source: Manhattan Institute

Social media
– This week in The Forum: Bob Williams, president of State Budget Solutions, writes about a new Government Accountability Office report that concluded every state has fiscal deficit challenges. Williams says legislatures and governors are responsible for reckless spending and accounting gimmicks that have put the cost of government beyond what taxpayers can afford. Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne has some advice for the state’s new digital learning task force: It should focus on creating a digital learning marketplace and not try to predict which technologies will eventually win. Foundation Editor Mike Klein attended NBC’s Education Nation conference this week in Atlanta, where Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said schools need more STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Read these and other recent Foundation articles on The Forum at
– Twitter: The Foundation has more than 650 Twitter followers. Follow us at
– Facebook: The Foundation’s Facebook page has daily policy updates and event photo albums. Join more than 1,560 friends of freedom at by “liking” us and get your policy news first!

– Visit to read our commentary, “Results Prove Charter Schools’ Effectiveness,” by Jay P. Greene.


Have a great weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day.


Kelly McCutchen


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