Organizations which are committed to advancing the principles that made this country the greatest prosperity engine in the history of humanity — free markets, limited government and economic liberty — are witnessing a limited but worrying trend among some conservative policymakers: support for big government intervention in the arrangements between retailers and banks that allow consumers to use electronic transactions — credit and debit cards.
So fundamental is the concept of non-intervention to free-market believers that it has come as a bit of a shock to see some of our traditional allies, at both the federal and state levels, throw their weight behind proposals interfering in the “interchange” system — which ensures that the costs of issuing the credit and debit cards (a vital element of the 21st-century economy) are fairly allocated between retailers and banks.
This battle has a history.
I hope you will check out this week’s commentary on free markets and price caps. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:
- High school graduation rate hits record high
- Public transit usage remains down post-Covid
- Atlanta named best city for remote working
- Savannah Bananas will hit the road next year, including a stop in Gwinnett County
Have a great weekend,
– Kyle Wingfield
North Carolina recently became the latest state that borders Georgia to pass sweeping education freedom legislation. It is one of 19 states that have significantly expanded school choice policies. That’s why National Review called 2023 “the most successful year in the history of school choice advocacy.”
Home prices continue to rise, as do mortgage rates. Meanwhile, people continue to flock to Georgia, increasing the competition for reasonably priced homes. These fundamentals point to the need for more housing supply. But new housing starts last year were still stuck at late-1990s levels. So, more supply will require new approaches.
An Atlanta-based company took advantage of a $9.5 million corporate jet, paid for by DeKalb County taxpayers. As reported by WSB, the jet is owned not by a large corporation but instead by the Decide DeKalb Development Authority.
Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined over 70 groups and organizations in signing an amicus brief that defends the rights of Americans to support the causes they believe in without fear of harassment or intimidation.
In 2021, the Augusta Birth Center applied to become the first freestanding birth center in Richmond County. Because of the state’s Certificate of Need laws, it has yet to open.
As lawmakers study solutions to the state’s worker shortage, occupational licensing is one obstacle that stands in the way for many. According to the Institute for Justice’s “License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing,” Georgia ranked 12th nationwide for its average burden surrounding occupational licensing requirements.
The Georgia Department of Education is partnering with the state’s leading business organization to support workforce readiness in rural school districts. Working with the Georgia Chamber Foundation and the Chamber’s Center for Rural Prosperity, the state will award $3 million grants to rural districts for projects designed to increase workforce readiness.
Georgia’s high school graduation rate hit a record in 2023, with the state Department of Education saying that 84.4% of seniors graduated on time in the spring. That’s up slightly from 84.1% last year, and a record high since Georgia began using calculations that require a student to graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue has rebuffed requests that he intervene in the ongoing dispute between Georgia Gwinnett College President Jann Joseph and the college’s Faculty Senate.
Recognizing the flaws in the current City of Rome ethics ordinance, city commissioners voted to have the city attorney review ethics complaints as a first step in the process. Rome city commissioners voted to approve a rule under the city code that allows the city attorney to vet or evaluate any ethics complaint to determine its validity prior to the selection of a three-member panel for a hearing.
The Georgia Department of Community Health said it was following up on the reported issues found in an audit. But it said some of the recommendations, like more regular inspections, were beyond the scope of the agency. The State Fire Marshal, which is responsible for emergency preparedness inspections, also said they would follow up.
About 5 million Americans relied on transit to get to work in 2022, with nearly half coming from the New York metro area. That represents 3.1% of the workforce and is down from 7.8 million people in 2019. Over the same period, all forms of commute mode — drive alone, carpool, walk/ bike and transit — saw declines as working remotely increased from 5.7% to 15.2%.
Charging stations for electric vehicles often lack basic amenities that we take for granted at gas stations: things like bathrooms, rain and sun cover, food options, and even trash cans. If electric cars really are going to be the future, the experience at charging stations needs to get a whole lot more convenient.
Fans of the Savannah Bananas’ no-holds-barred brand of baseball will have more chances than ever to catch a game next year. This includes three games from March 22 through March 24 at Lawrenceville’s 10,427-seat Coolray Field, home of the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Stripers.
According to a 2022 survey, one-third of federal employees work entirely remotely while 60% work a hybrid schedule; most of the hybrid group go into the office one day per week and work remotely the other four days. Yet since 2020, the federal government has spent $3.3 billion on office furniture.
For the second year running, Atlanta has emerged atop a national ranking of cities that weighed numerous factors in search of the “ideal telecommuting hub” in the working-from-home era.
Quotes of the Week
“The curse of the intelligentsia is their ability to rationalize and re-define. Ordinary people, lacking that gift, are forced to face reality.” – Thomas Sowell
“We all know that light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.” – Albert Einstein
“If it can be destroyed by the truth it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” – Carl Sagan