Friday Facts: November 30, 2018

It’s Friday!

This week was Giving Tuesday. Thank you to those who supported Benita Dodd’s special one-day fundraiser for the Foundation; about $6,000 was raised! As promised, the money raised will help fund the Foundation’s opportunity initiatives.

Quotes of note

“The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” – Thomas Jefferson (1804)

“Back in 1987, then-Secretary of Education William Bennett argued that ‘increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.’ Recent research … substantially confirmed the ‘Bennett Hypotheses’ finding that a dollar increase in subsidized student loan caps result in a 58 cent increase in an institution’s tuition sticker price. Research by Indiana University economist Grey Gordon and his colleagues confirm the dominance of this effect.” – Ronald Bailey

“Student civic engagement is to be encouraged, even celebrated, but that doesn’t mean it must meet with official approval. Indeed, it is essential that it does not. If students have permission to walk out, it’s no longer student activism at all. It’s a field trip. And that’s part of the teachable moment, too. The message to students should be clear: If this issue is important to you, then it’s worth the consequence.” – Robert Pondiscio


Who gives? Georgia is the seventh most charitable state in the nation, according to a WalletHub analysis that also found Georgians tie with Utah residents for the nation’s highest percentage of income donated.

Do no harm: In an Acton Institute commentary, Andrew Vanderput warns of “benevolent harm” in charitable giving. “How can one’s charity actually undermine the causes or people they mean to champion? … Creating unhealthy dependencies or an entitlement mentality are one way. Undermining people’s dignity can be yet another,” he writes.

Taxes and spending 

Uncle Sam’s take: On a yearly basis the IRS adjusts more than 40 tax provisions for inflation, to prevent “bracket creep,” when people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have reduced value from credits and deductions due to inflation, instead of any increase in real income. In 2019, the top marginal income tax rate of 37 percent will hit taxpayers with taxable income of $510,300 and higher for single filers and $612,350 and higher for married couples filing jointly. Find out more here. Source: Tax Foundation 


Sales taxes: Between regional and individual county ballot measures, 81 of Georgia’s 159 counties are now covered by transportation sales taxes (TSPLOSTs), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. In 2010, the General Assembly approved legislation allowing regional TSPLOST votes across the state. In 2012, just three of 12 regions in Georgia approved a regional sales tax. In 2015, legislators voted to allow individual counties to seek voter approval for transportation sales taxes.

Foundation President Kyle Wingfield was in Washington, D.C., this week for a series of health-care policy conversations, including this roundtable at the Heritage Foundation. (Photo by Buzz Brockway)

Health care

Attention Walmart patients: Walmart stores in several states, including Georgia, are transforming extra parking lot space into “town centers,” some of which could include health clinics, according to Business Insider. Walmart provides details about a few of the new hubs on a website established for the projects. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

A clinic approach: CVS Health, which closed its $70 billion acquisition of Aetna this week, plans to repurpose many of its stores to dedicate more space to care delivery, according to USA Today. CVS CEO Larry Merlo said he envisions “CVS Pharmacy evolving from not just a store that happens to have a pharmacy and products” into “more of a health care destination.” Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

‘Troubling’ trend: Driven largely by deaths from drug overdoses and suicide, U.S. life expectancy dropped from 2016 to 2017, according to the latest federal data. The trend is “troubling,” declared Robert Redfield, director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug overdoses claimed the lives of 70,237 people in United States in 2017. Most of the deaths were unintentional. Source:


Foundation in the news: Georgia Health News interviewed Kyle Wingfield about Georgia Gov.-elect Brian Kemp’s agenda for health care. The Washington Free Beacon interviewed Benita Dodd about allegations of voter suppression in Georgia.

YouTube: Did you miss the November 14 event on free trade? The Foundation hosted the Heritage Foundation and Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. View it on YouTube here.

Social media: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 3,447 “likes” this week; our Twitter account has 1,856 followers! Join them!

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In November 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “The Need for Mandatory Medical Review Panels: The Medical Malpractice Crisis in Georgia.” It noted, “Although perhaps not a panacea to the current crisis, requiring litigants to submit disputes to a [Mandatory Medical Review Panel] could reduce the ‘jackpot justice’ mentality and alleviate some pressure on existing judicial resources.”

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Teacher Pension Debt Undermines Public Education in Georgia,” by Jen Sidorova.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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