Friday Facts: November 22, 2019

It’s Friday!


At the November 15 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, Foundation President Kyle Wingfield announced that Sunny Park will be the recipient of the Freedom Award at the Foundation’s 2020 Anniversary Celebration and Freedom Award Dinner on January 28.

January 28, 2020: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Anniversary Celebration and Freedom Award Dinner will take place in the Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theatre on Tuesday, January 28!  Details to follow. 

Quotes of note 

“The real problem is that socialism makes things expensive. Why run buses when you can earn political favors by spending billions building rail lines? Why bother negotiating with unions when you can get their votes by agreeing to their demands for high pay and generous pensions? Why bother being efficient when you get rewarded for spending more?” – Randal O’Toole 

“A limited democracy might indeed be the best protector of individual liberty and be better than any other form of limited government, but an unlimited democracy is probably worse than any other form of unlimited government, because its government loses the power even to do what it thinks right if any group on which its majority depends thinks otherwise.” – Friedrich Hayek 

“Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today.” – President Reagan, 1982 

Housing affordability 

Rental assistance: There are 4.7 million low-income U.S. households served by the three largest rental assistance programs in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). About 2.3 million households are in the Housing Choice Voucher program, about 1.2 million are in public housing, and 1.2 million receive project-based rental assistance. The president’s proposed FY 2020 HUD budget is $44.1 billion, including $37.9 billion for rental assistance and $2.6 billion in grants to help end homelessness.

Tech assistance: Technological innovation, from streamlining loans and enhancing credit checks to 3D printing, holds promise for making housing and homeownership accessible to more people, Brian Brooks told an Urban Institute housing forum. Brooks warned, however, that technology can do little to address zoning laws, environmental and other regulations, and other compliance mandates, which currently add $80,000 to $100,000 to new home construction.


Banking: About 84% of consumers use mobile banking weekly, more than 54% every other day and 26% use mobile banking daily, according to the MX 2019 Ultimate Guide to Digital Transformation in Banking. Nearly 90% of U.S. consumers are interacting more frequently with their financial institution digitally than in person. Source: Metro Atlanta CEO 

5G: Georgia is one of eight states that passed legislation this year to streamline the installation of 5G small cell infrastructure, bringing the total number of states/territories that have paved the way for 5G to 29. “By lowering deployment costs, siting modernization will also enable more wireless service in more areas,” the wireless industry notes. Still wondering what’s 5G? Read more here in PC Magazine.


Rural care: Georgia will receive more than $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced this week it will provide $42.5 million in funding to 133 distance learning and telemedicine projects in 37 states and two U.S. territories.

Georgia-grown: Walmart’s first standalone clinic opened in September in Dallas, Ga., and it plans to open several more. Walmart Health, a 10,000-square-foot clinic, offers a variety of services, ranging from primary care to labs to dental, in one facility. Walmart’s second health center will open in Calhoun, Ga. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Warning: About 5% of nursing homes (760 of 15,262 facilities) are now tagged with an icon alerting consumers of abuse, neglect or exploitation citations on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website. The small icon, a red circle with a white hand inside, is near the name of nursing facilities recently cited for abuse or neglect. Source: Wall Street Journal 

It’s complicated: Nearly six in 10 workers (58%) say understanding what health insurance or benefits they need is somewhat or very stressful, and 43% of all employees say enrolling in health insurance is somewhat or very stressful, according to the 2019 Aflac Workforces Report. Last year, 61% of employees said they were satisfied with their benefits; this year, benefits satisfaction declined to 52%.


Choice matters: The Foundation joined several school choice organizations in a news release urging Democrat presidential candidates to support charter schools. It noted that the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found that “on average Georgia charter school students scored at least 13 points above district students in both math and reading. Georgia charter schools are also bridging the gap for African-American students who scored at least 18 points higher in reading and mathematics than their district peers.” Read the release here.


Social media: The Foundation has 3,605 Facebook likes, 1,906 Twitter followers and 848 Instagram followers. Join in for up-to-date posts!

Foundation in the news: The Georgia Recorder published an article on the 2019 Georgia Legislative Forum. The Rome News-Tribune published an article on Kyle Wingfield’s speech to the Rome Rotary Club. The Georgia Recorder quoted Benita Dodd in an article about express lanes’ benefits to commuters.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In November 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Short-Term Insurance: The Problem Nobody is Trying to Solve.” It noted, “It is estimated that a fourth of the uninsured are eligible for [Medicaid and S-CHIP], but not enrolled. Part of the problem is there is an income test that causes people to be eligible and ineligible as their incomes rise and fall. In fact, it is probably fair to say that these two programs were not designed at all for people whose incomes fluctuate.”

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Georgians Have Many Reasons to Give Thanks,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend and a happy Thanksgiving.

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

“Thanksgiving is not an anachronism whose time is past. It is much more than a holiday to celebrate a meal shared between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It is a time to reflect and be thankful for what we have – not for what we cherish, desire or envy.” – Ted Nugent

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