Friday Facts: May 13th, 2011

It’s Friday!

– Save the date: 
The Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration is scheduled for the evening of Monday, October 24. Details to follow.
– Save the date: 
The Foundation’s second annual Legislative Policy Briefing is scheduled for Friday, September 30. Last year, more than 250 people attended to hear nearly three dozen experts discuss Georgia public policy. Details to follow.
– If you’ve attended a Foundation event recently, 
don’t forget to follow up with a visit to the Foundation’s Facebook page and view the photographs! Go to

– “We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success – only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.” – Ronald Reagan

– The Future of Learning
: “Students need a working knowledge of market economics and personal finance – most students still leave high school without them,” writes Tom Vander Ark in a commentary in Edreformer. “Students will be navigating an increasingly dynamic economy in which technologies will improve and change at exponential rates and market opportunities will be big but competitive. Students need the ability to sell – themselves and an idea.”

– Just when you were depressed about the economy:
 This is the best time ever for innovation, according to Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International, an independent research institute. “First, although competition is increasingly intense, our global economy opens up huge new market opportunities. Second, most technologies – since they are increasingly based on ideas and bits and not on atoms and muscle – are improving at rapid, exponential rates. And third, these two forces – huge, competitive markets and rapid technological change – are opening up one major new opportunity after another.” Source:

Taxes and Spending
– Do you believe in coincidence?
 Me, neither. Real state spending growth per capita from 1990 to 2010 was 80 percent lower than the prior two decades. (The Georgia Public Policy Foundation was founded in 1991.)

Health care
–  Uh, oh: When the Massachusetts Legislature made health insurance mandatory five years ago, supporters of the first-in-the-nation law hoped it would keep patients out of hospital emergency rooms. But evidence is mounting that it isn’t happening. Three-quarters of Massachusetts emergency room (ER) physicians who responded to a survey said they saw more patients in their ERs in the last year. They cited ”physician shortages” along with a growing elderly population as the top two reasons why more patients head for the emergency room. In July last year, state health officials reported that ER visits rose 9 percent from 2004 to 2008, to about 3 million visits a year. Nearly half the patients did not need emergency treatment. Read more here:

 The federal government does not have the legal authority to prohibit a company from expanding its business or building a new factory in another state, asserts a Heritage Foundation memorandum by Hans von Spakovsky and James Sherk. “Regrettably, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is attempting to do just that. In asserting that the Boeing Company is engaging in unfair labor practices by establishing a new aircraft assembly facility in South Carolina, the NLRB is twisting the law to benefit a special interest – unions – at the expense of the rule of law and the nation’s economy.” They urge Congress to reaffirm that “any new investment decisions – such as (but not limited to) expanding existing facilities, building new plants, or relocating – are not unfair labor practices and are outside the legal jurisdiction of an overzealous NLRB.”

Energy and environment
– Oh, the guilt: 
Columnist Robert Knight has renewed his National Geographic subscription, and bemoans how much of the world’s woes are “our” fault. “Boy, am I getting it. After perusing the May issue, I’m once again ashamed to be human. People, people, people! We’re carbonizing the clouds! We’re wrecking the coral reefs! We’re reducing the polar bear’s habitat to the size of a McDonald’s parking lot! We’re scooping sand off beaches to build more McDonald’s parking lots! Worst of all, we keep having … children!” Source:
– Solar power’s prospects: What will it take to make solar energy competitive with other sources? According to a study by H. Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis, “with major technological breakthroughs that significantly reduce the cost of solar power production and the imposition of new environmental mandates that raise the price of electricity generated by other sources, solar could reach grid parity in some areas of the United States by the end of the decade.” Read the study

– Georgia intends to pursue federal funds to create a National Transportation Institute at Georgia Tech, the Foundation’s Mike Klein reports in an article on The Forum, the Foundation’s interactive Web site. Gov. Nathan Deal made the announcement this week at the annual Logistics Summit in Atlanta, probably to the chagrin of the state’s northern neighbor because Tennessee has an institute in Knoxville. And, here’s the rub: the federal government would not have funds available for both centers. Read more at
– The Federal Railroad Administration 
has selected 15 states and Amtrak to get $2 billion in funding for 22 “high-speed” intercity passenger rail projects as part of a nationwide network that is supposed to connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years. Georgia applied for funds but was not among the victims, um, recipients.
– Derailed: The Obama administration’s 498-page proposal for the surface transportation reauthorization bill calls for spending $250 billion on highways, $120 billion on transit, $53 billion on high-speed rail, $27 billion on “livability” (projects like bike paths, streetcars, and subsidies to high-density development), and $25 billion on an infrastructure. In short, says transportation expert Randal O’Toole, “highways get a little more, but non-highway programs get a lot more.” He says Congress won’t give the president any high-speed rail funding in the bill. Read more at
– Share your views:
 Next year, metro Atlanta residents will have the opportunity to vote on a penny sales tax to fund a set of priority transportation projects. The deadline is May 20 to share your views with the Atlanta Regional Roundtable in a five-minute survey on the region’s transportation future. Go to

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Medicaid Program Needs a Dose of Reality,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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