Friday Facts: November 30, 2012

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

“Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” – Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, 1775

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” – John Marshall


Congratulations to Rogers Wade, the Foundation’s former president and CEO, who has been named executive director of the new Governor’s Defense Initiative. The comprehensive assessment of economic development opportunities at Georgia’s military base establishments and their surrounding communities is part of Governor Nathan Deal’s “ongoing effort to grow Georgia’s economy through job creation.” It will be operated through the Georgia Department of Economic Development and spearheaded by William L. Ball, former U.S. Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan.


January 24, 2013: Just one week after attending the national Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, Robert W. Poole will keynote, “Moving Georgia Ahead: What’s Coming Down the Pike,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Poole, a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, is a co-founder of the Reason Foundation and its director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow. He will provide an update on the outlook for transportation policy, funding and innovation amid fiscal constraints and partisan politics, and outline Georgia’s options for mobility and congestion relief. Registration for this event is $25; register here:

Mark your calendar: Upcoming speakers at Foundation Leadership Breakfasts include Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute on February 19, 2013, and Yaron Brooks of the Ayn Rand Institute on March 19, 2013.

Taxes and spending

A tax hit list for the 113th Congress: Andrew Moylan, senior fellow at R Street, a free-market organization, proposes in a new policy study that Congress eliminate three “particularly counter-productive taxes” that combine to raise about $287 billion in federal revenue – roughly 11.7 percent of 2012 revenue projections – but do untold damage to the U.S. economy in the process. He cites the corporate income tax, the estate tax and tariffs.

Déjà vu: What happens when you raise taxes on wealthy earners? In England, during the waning term of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a new 50 percent tax rate was introduced on those earning more than a million pounds. In the year before the new, higher rate was imposed (2009-2010) – and at the height of the recession and the financial crisis – more than 16,000 earners reported incomes of over 1 million pounds. The next year, the number fell to 6,000. This week it was announced that in the most recent tax year the number of those earning over a million had climbed back to just 10,000 – still far below the level of several years prior. Conservatives say the tax hike only resulted in a “cull of millionaires” and that far from raising revenue, the higher rate actually lost the country 7 billion pounds in revenue.  Virtually the same thing happened in Maryland in 2008 when it passed a “millionaire’s tax.” One year later, one-third of Maryland millionaires had disappeared from the state’s tax rolls. Source: Institute for Policy Innovation


Georgia’s high school graduation rate is saved from being lowest among the states only by New Mexico and Nevada, according to a survey released this week by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s the first time states were ranked using a common calculation method for the nation. Just 67 percent of Georgians overall graduate from high school in four years; that figure is 76 percent for white students, 60 percent for black students and 58 percent for Hispanic students. It’s 59 percent for low-income students; fifth lowest in the nation. What is even more troubling is the fact that North Carolina and Tennessee outperformed Georgia while spending dramatically less money per student. 

  Overall Graduation Rate Rank out of 46 States Graduation Rate of Low-Income Students Rank out of 46 States Spending per Student
Georgia 67% 44 59% 42 $11,446
North Carolina 78% 26 71% 19 $9,679
Tennessee 86% 4 80% 3 $8,825

Health care

Buyer beware: Did you know that the cost of a medical service can vary by a factor of five or even 10 times in a geographic area or within an insurer’s provider network? Cost differences in similar medical procedures.The mission of one new company, Tennessee-based Healthcare Blue Book, is to help people better manage their health care by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to shop for and receive a fair price for their health care services. The “fair price” is Healthcare Blue Book’s recommended price for health care services, based on the typical fee that providers in a ZIP code-based area accept as payment from insurance companies. Blue Book notes, “This is the price you should have to pay, even if your provider charges more. You can use this price to negotiate with your provider or shop for an in-network provider that charges a fair price.” With Georgia’s leadership in health IT, the state should be keeping up with the neighbors, if not taking the lead in this area


Rethinking funding: Ken Orski notes in his Innovation NewsBriefs that some are hoping to use the current budget negotiations to win support for an increase in the federal gasoline tax, an unlikely outcome. Orski points out that the transportation community should instead turn to three new trends as “offering the most promising answers to the perceived inadequacy of current transportation revenue:”  greater financial participation by state and local taxpayers, a move from dependence on federal funding to more private and public financing of major infrastructure projects, and an expanded use of tolling.

Energy and Environment

Out of sight: The World Resources Institute expects a boom in the construction of coal-fired power plants and has identified 1,200 coal-fired plants in various stages of planning across 59 countries. About three quarters of the growth will come from China and India, where the capacity of their new plants will total about 1,400 gigawatts, or about four times the coal-fired capacity of the United States. Lance Brown, executive director of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE), makes an excellent point: “The aggressive build-out of coal-fired power, much of which will be fueled by coal mined in the United States, should present an ethical problem for U.S. environmental groups. The EPA policies these groups support have the net effect of sending coal overseas, where it is more likely to be burned with less stringent emissions controls, or none at all. They are trading good stewardship at home for irresponsibility abroad.”

Media and social media

GPPF in the News: Foundation Senior Fellow Ron Bachman was quoted Nov. 27 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare. He warned there is no guarantee the federal government will be able to afford the expansion. “Someone thinks it’s free money when it’s not,” he said. “If we go bankrupt, there’s no way to bail out the United States.”

This Week in The Forum: In her “Checking Up On Health” blog, the Foundation’s Benita Dodd catches up on Research on 3D printing of organs; a new flu vaccine; the cost of cancer care; the cost of Medicaid and more. More recent Foundation articles and posts are on The Forum at

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Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Czech Republic’s Cautionary Tale of Government-run Health,” by Russ Lipari. 

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen 

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