Friday Facts: November 20, 2015

It’s Friday! 

A personal note:

Our condolences to those affected recently by terrorism in France and elsewhere.

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama XIV


December 8: Register by December 4 to attend, “The Case for K-12 Student-Based Budgeting in Georgia,” a summit and luncheon hosted featuring experts from the Reason Foundation and Allovue.10:30-1:30 p.m. at The Gallery, Cobb Galleria Centre. $30. Registration and information here.

GT13Have you seen our Giving Tuesday posts? We’re at No. 13 today! Visit our Facebook page and follow as we give you 30 reasons you should not contribute to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Giving Tuesday!

Quotes of Note

“The Peak Oil Theory was completely wrong. Known reserves of oil and gas are at all-time highs. Since the beginning of man’s existence on earth natural resources have become increasingly abundant and ever cheaper. What we need is a theory of Peak Government, where government declines over time and freedom expands allowing innovation to produce all the energy we need.” – Jim Clarkson 

Concern for the environment is a luxury for those who no longer have to worry about sheer survival, and who have the political freedom to put their desires for a cleaner, more pleasing environment into government policy … A peasant struggling to feed his family doesn’t have the luxury of worrying about whether his farming techniques damage the environment or not. He just wants to survive one more day.” – Bruce Thornton 

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Tests: The 2015 NAEP national school test results are out, and less-than-stellar results have led to reinforced calls for more education funding. Walter Williams writes, “The stories of the excellent predominantly black schools of yesteryear found in [Thomas] Sowell’s study refute the notion of ‘experts’ that more money is needed to improve black education. Today’s Paul Laurence Dunbar and Frederick Douglass high schools have resources that would have been unimaginable to their predecessors. Those resources have meant absolutely nothing in terms of academic achievement.”

Tax reform

Business sense: The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index compares the structure of state tax codes. Prior to North Carolina’s historic tax reforms, the Tar Heel State was ranked in the bottom 10: It was 46th in 2011 and 44th in 2013. Its tax reform law took effect in 2014 and the state skyrocketed to No.16 in 2015. It’s expected to reach 13th best once reforms are fully phased in. Source: Tax Foundation 

Economic opportunity 

Poverty, Inc.: Acton Institute’s documentary on the consequences of the foreign aid “industry” won the prestigious Templeton Award last week in New York City at the Atlas Liberty Forum. Atlas CEO Brad Lips said of “Poverty, Inc.,” “The film makes a persuasive case that the most effective solutions to poverty lie in unleashing entrepreneurs to find new, innovative and efficient ways to meet people’s needs.” Watch the trailer here.

Affordable housing: Restrictive land use regulations include parking limits, minimum lot sizes, “inclusionary” zoning and urban growth boundaries. They are an important factor in skyrocketing housing costs in some of America’s largest cities, a Manhattan Institute study finds. That hurts lower-income individuals most. 

Clean Power Plan: Benita Dodd testified Thursday at a public hearing by the Environmental Protection Agency on the impact of the Clean Power Plan. Read her testimony here.


Mass transit: Organizers of a recent poll in Gwinnett County highlighted respondents’ support for public transportation. An article in reinforces, however, “public transport can only go so far in alleviating congestion. Social and economic change to the nature of work is changing the shape of employment decisions and has forever changed the nature of the commute. It added that those “who pretend that all that’s needed to ‘solve congestion’ is massively increased investment in heavy rail, light rail or dedicated busway networks are deluded.”

Criminal justice reform 

Assumption of guilt: A Daily Signal article finds owners of property seized by law enforcement under civil asset forfeiture face a complicated retrieval process.

Policing for profit: Law enforcement agencies reported $4.5 billion in revenue through civil asset forfeiture in 2014. According to the FBI, 2014 burglary offenses resulted in $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals. Source: Armstrong Economics 

Health care 

If you like your plan: It will cost you more to keep your ObamaCare health care plan for 2016, according to the Kaiser Health Foundation. Enrollees who purchased the lowest-cost silver plan (the most popular selection) in 2015 will see an average premium increase of 15 percent for the same plan in 2016, Kaiser found.

Up, up and away: Ninety percent of small business owners say their costs for employee health insurance are higher in 2015 than last year, and 84 percent expect to pay more in 2016, according to the National Small Business Association. Source: Columbus Dispatch

Cut out the middle man: More physicians are embracing direct-pay and “concierge” approaches in their practices, USA Today reports. Read the Foundation’s commentary on the approach here.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In November 2005, the Foundation published, “What Ever Happened to the Tenth Amendment?” It noted, “Federal mandates are laws or policies passed by Congress, such as the Motor Voter Law or the Clean Air Act, that state or local governments must implement. While these programs can be quite expensive, the federal government rarely reimburses state or local governments for any of the costs … hence the term ‘unfunded.’” 


Foundation in the news: Morris News quoted Kelly McCutchen on additional revenue in the Georgia budget: “’I don’t think we need to spend all this extra money,’ said the foundation’s president, Kelly McCutchen, adding that it should go into a rainy-day account or fund an income-tax cut.” The Athens Banner-Herald and Augusta Chronicle quoted Kelly on Georgia’s Race to The Top education grant. The Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News published Josh Daniels’ commentary on health care innovation. The Marietta Daily Journal published Benita Dodd’s commentary on economic opportunity in Georgia. The Columbia County News-Times printed Ron Bachman’s commentary on cross-state selling of health insurance. The Washington Examiner cited Kelly in an article on criminal justice reform

Social media: The Foundation has more than 2,700 Facebook “likes” and more than 1,500 Twitter followers at Follow us on Instagram, too! 

Visit to read our latest commentary, “This Thanksgiving, Call Us ‘Thank’ Tanks,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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