Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, dial-up Internet modem speeds were 14.4 kilobits per second. The 56KB modem went on sale in 1998, and a gigabyte of information would take about 40 hours to receive. For comparison, a gigabyte of HDTV data, delivered at 2015 speeds, amounts to seven minutes of video.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Guide to the Issues 2016 is now available online. Each Issue chapter includes the Foundation’s principles for reform, facts on the issue, background information and, in most cases, specific proposals that we believe provide positive solutions to the challenges facing Georgia. Issues covered include Criminal Justice, Education, Health Care, Higher Education, Long-Term Care, Medicaid, Medical Malpractice, Occupational Licensing, Pension Reform, Tax Reform, Transportation, Welfare Reform and an overview of Georgia’s revenues and expenditures. Questions? Email with the subject line, “Guide to the Issues.”
Quotes of Note
“I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learnt, from experience, that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us, in our minds, wheresoever we go.” – Martha Washington
“At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent.” – Golda Meir
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan
Ten Thousand Commandments: The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s report on the federal regulatory burden was released this week. Among the highlights: Regulations cost more than the federal income tax. The overall cost of regulation hit $1.885 trillion, which is higher than the individual and corporate income tax burden of $1.82 trillion. The cost of complying with regulations is a huge hidden tax that amounts to about $15,000 per U.S. household each year.
Taxi medallion systems erect barriers to entry that protect existing taxi interests from competition, the Heritage Foundation points out. “The only way in for a new company or operator (absent the government issuing new medallions) is if an existing medallion holder decides to sell his or her medallions.” The City of Atlanta charges about $6,000 for a medallion but, because of the limit on medallions (1,600), the average paid is $36,958.50, according to OppidanOmnibus.com.
Not buying it: Public transportation ridership declined in 2015 while vehicle miles traveled increased. “While transit supply remains well below the aspirational levels of many transit users and transit advocates … supply has grown far more rapidly than demand for the past several decades,” Steve Polzin writes in Newgeography.com.
Motherhood delayed: The birthrate among American teenagers has fallen to an all-time low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among Hispanic and black teens, birthrates have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2006. Source: Washington Post
Right to Try Act: Kudos to outgoing Rep. Michael Dudgeon for a job well done in successfully championing Georgia’s Right to Try Act, which Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law this week. It allows terminally ill patients to access experimental therapies that have not completed the federal approval process. (Dudgeon’s voice of reason in the Legislature will be sorely missed.) Read Benita Dodd’s 2015 commentary on Right to Try.
Shrinking options: Humana Inc. reported this week that its profit tumbled 46 percent in the first quarter. The insurer, which is being acquired by rival Aetna, said it expects to make a number of changes for 2017, and that could include leaving some of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and raising premiums. Humana operates in 15 states, including Georgia. Source: news reports
It’s National Small Business Week! Did you know? According to the Small Business Administration, 97.7 percent of Georgia businesses are small businesses.
A two-way street: Public policy is a key component of a disruptive economy, Eric Tanenblatt points out. “Just as regulators and lawmakers must accept that the disruptive economy, buoyed by the increasing purchasing power of millennials, is here to stay, disruptors too must recognize the business imperative to engage in and among governments at all levels.”
This month in the archives: In May 1996, the Foundation published, “A Free Market Solution to Groundwater Allocation in Georgia.” It noted, “Because Georgia law treats groundwater as a commons, pumpers try to capture as much of the resource as possible for themselves, knowing that if they don’t pump it, someone else will. Overdraft is the natural result, and command and control regulation is government’s traditional answer, since pumpers are not likely to voluntarily reduce their rate of extraction.”
The Forum: In her latest, “Checking Up On Health” post in The Forum, Benita Dodd shares how certificate-of-need laws are a barrier to competition. Read Michael Shellenberger’s article from Public Utilities Fortnightly on how environmental activists set out to demonize nuclear energy and how “Clinton’s Higher Education Proposal Only Makes Our Problems Worse,” by Gary Wolfram.
Have a great Mother’s Day weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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