Friday Facts: November 17, 2017

It’s Friday!

Dr. Michael H. Mescon, (seated, left) the recipient of the Foundation’s prestigious Freedom Award, is congratulated by keynote speaker John Stossel (center) of Fox Business Network and Dr. David Martin, who presented the Freedom Award at the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration on November 11, 2016. (Photograph by Bill Adler)

We’re saddened to share with you the news of the passing of Dr. Michael H. Mescon, the 2016 recipient of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s prestigious Freedom Award at the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration. The Freedom Award is presented by the Foundation to a notable Georgian who has exemplified the principles of private enterprise and personal integrity. 

Quotes of note

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” – George Washington, First Thanksgiving proclamation, 1789

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.” – Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

“No man’s error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it.” – Thomas Hobbes


January 23: More than 28,000 events will celebrate National School Choice Week 2018 January 21-27. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation will celebrate with a Leadership Breakfast keynoted by Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi, 8 a.m. at the Georgian Club. The topic is “Georgia 2020: Educational Opportunity for All K-12 Students in Georgia.” Details to follow.

Energy and environment

Making matters worse: Germany’s decision to phase out of carbon-free nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima plan accident has made things worse for the climate, despite hundreds of billions in investments and renewable energy subsidy schemes, according to a new report. Germany, which decided to phase out nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima plant accident, now is “by far the largest emitter” of greenhouse gas emissions of the European Union. Source: World Nuclear News


Economic growth: Georgia had the nation’s third fastest growth in personal income over the last year: Georgia (2.4 percent) tied with Washinton for third, just behind Nevada (3.1 percent) and Utah (2.8 percent). Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

Single parents: More than one in four children live with just one of their parents. The Census Bureau found that, “Overall, nearly 20 million children under age 18 live with one parent, composing 27.1 percent of all living arrangements for children under age 18.” The Heritage Foundation declares marriage, “America’s greatest weapon against child poverty.”


Accountability: Georgia’s proposed federal education accountability system is one of the seven best in the nation, according to an analysis by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Washington also got top marks across the board.


Downturn: Two recent commentaries detail massive declines in U.S. transit ridership and, in particular, in Los Angeles, where the decline is most severe. Writing in New, Wendell Cox points out: “In the final analysis, transit is justified by the extent to which it provides mobility to people, especially to those with insufficient resources to provide their own mobility throughout the metropolitan area.”

Bus Rapid Transit: Metro Atlanta policy-makers gung-ho about bus rapid transit (BRT) would do well to heed a Southeast Florida study by Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation. It concluded: “[D]edicating a whole lane each way to buses – either by converting an existing arterial lane or widening the arterial to add one lane each way – would almost certainly make congestion even worse … That is because much of the capacity of a bus-only lane would go unused, under a wide range of assumptions of bus frequency and ridership.”  He proposes using managed lanes as “virtual” exclusive busways.

Contracting out: Contracting transit services can save money by reducing labor expenses, increasing vehicle usage, employing fewer middle managers, and creating efficiencies, according to Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum.

Small spark: Plug-in electric vehicles, which include battery electric vehicles and hybrid plug-in electric vehicles, reached 1.2 million in worldwide sales in 2015, less than 1 percent of vehicles in global use, according to the Energy Information Administration. Bloomberg observes, “Clean-energy vehicles still aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy.” When Georgia ended its tax credit in 2015, sales of electric vehicles “dropped like a rock,” Marketplace reports.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In November five years ago, the Foundation published, “African-American Voters Inspired by School Choice.” It noted, “The bottom line: Georgia’s black counties overwhelmingly desire dramatic new alternatives to the conventional school systems that have failed them for more than a century.”


Foundation in the news: The CAPA Center for Aviation cited the Foundation’s 1994 proposal for privatization of the Atlanta airport in an analysis. James Magazine published an article by Benita Dodd on innovative transit for metro Atlanta.

Visit to read our latest commentary, “A Thanksgiving to be Grateful for Leaders with Integrity,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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