December 8: Only 40 percent of voters supported the Opportunity School District proposal for Georgia’s chronically failing schools. Still, 68,000 children attend those failing schools. What next for education? Find out at “Saving Our Students: Georgia’s Education Policy Options,” the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on December 8. The speakers are Erin Hames, former policy adviser to Gov. Nathan Deal, and outgoing Georgia State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Georgia Education Reform Commission. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Register here.
January 26, 2017: Mark your calendar! Typically the Foundation’s first event of the year, the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast is keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Details to follow
Quotes of Note
“[F]actual studies over the past 40 years have shown repeatedly that, when you compare women who work as many hours a year as men, and as many continuous years in the same occupations as men, the income differences shrink to the vanishing point, and sometimes even reverse. But how many politicians or media people care about facts, when the facts go against their preconceptions?” – Thomas Sowell
“In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as Pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself.” – Benjamin Franklin
“In this spirit, Thanksgiving has become a day when Americans extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. Long before there was a government welfare program, this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character. Americans have always understood that, truly, one must give in order to receive. This should be a day of giving as well as a day of thanks.” – Ronald Reagan
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the Thanksgiving meal cost an average of $25.95 for 10 people. This year, the cost is $49.87, which is 24 cents lower than last year for items including turkey, bread stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings. The drop is thanks to lower farm prices, including for milk and turkey. We’re hungry already!
Mandates: Eliminating Obamacare’s onerous marketplace regulations and benefit mandates alone will dramatically cut costs, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute writes in Forbes. “Under the current health law, exchange plans are required to cover a host of ‘essential benefits,’ including everything from pediatric dental care to speech-language pathology.”
Ubercare: Health care systems could learn a lot from Uber, according to AthenaHealth CEO Jonathan Bush. Uber already delivers flu shots and provides a service that lets hospitals dispatch a car to transport some patients to appointments, helping reduce the likelihood and cost of missed appointments. Bush urges systems to examine the “disruptors,” the market-driven models that make the most of existing capacity and demand to reap the benefits of networks.” Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Savings: A new report from Mercer found that the shift among employers toward high-deductible Health Savings Account (HAS) plans, which now account for 29 percent of the employer market, held employee benefit cost increases to just 2.4 percent this year, the lowest in decades. Source: Forbes.com
Education Secretary: Gerard Robinson, former state education chief in Virginia and Florida, former head of Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO) and a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is a leader of Trump’s transition team on education and has been mentioned as a possible Education Secretary in a Trump administration. He has participated in several Foundation events!
Economic growth: Only Utah has higher growth in personal income than Georgia over the past year.
Minimum wage: Arizona, Colorado and Maine voted to increase their minimum wage levels to $12 an hour by 2020. Voters in Washington state decided to increase their minimum wage to $13.50 over the same period. This follows California’s decision to join Seattle and Washington, D.C., in raising the minimum wage to $15. In total, 14 states will have a higher minimum wage going into 2017 than they had in 2016. After its minimum wage increased to $10.50 an hour, Washington, D.C. reported its largest six-month loss of restaurant jobs in 15 years. Source: Townhall.com
Hidden crisis: In the past, able-bodied men were either employed or unemployed but seeking work. Voluntary long-term unemployment was not an option. Today, however, nearly one in six prime working-age men is without a paid job, and nearly one in eight is out of the labor force entirely, according to Nicholas Eberstadt’s latest book, “Men without Work.” Source: American Enterprise Institute
Tax climate: The Tax Foundation’s 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index ranks Georgia at No. 36 overall. It places at No. 10 on its corporate tax rank but 42 out of 50 states on individual income taxes. The only Southeastern state that did worse was South Carolina, at No. 37. Florida is No. 4 overall; North Carolina is No. 11; Alabama is No 32 and Mississippi is No. 28. In first place is Wyoming; worst is New Jersey.
This month in the archives: In November five years ago, the Foundation published, “Pipeline from Canada Trickles Down to Georgia.” It noted that, “while the administration fiddles, the United States could miss an opportunity to secure a reliable source of fuel from a friendly – and stable – nation.” The federal government continues to deny a permit for the Keystone pipeline.
Social media: The Foundation has 3,067 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,676 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Lessons and Opportunities from The Election,” by Kelly McCutchen.
Have a great weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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