Friday Facts: October 22nd, 2010

It’s Friday!



– “There is no good reason to think the [Federal Communications Commission] should engineer electronic devices and interfaces based on its own views about what technologies and applications work best. Nor is there good reason to trust the FCC’s predictions about what kinds of investments cable operators and device manufacturers should risk in research and marketing for devices and interfaces to meet future consumer demands.” –  Seth L. Cooper, Free State Foundation

– “From the President on down, the only proffered rationale for putting tens and eventually hundreds of billions of tax dollars into HSR (high-speed rail) is that … ‘people want high-speed rail.’ Well, people may want a door-to-door limo service paid for by federal taxpayers, but that does not make it a sound investment.” – Robert Poole,Surface Transportation Innovations


What’s happening at the Foundation

– Register now: Saturday, Nov. 13, is the Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing, a daylong event featuring national and statewide experts on the top issues facing the state’s elected officials. Don’t miss a day of dynamic speakers and innovative ideas, sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. Reserve your spot now to get the early registration discount. Keynote speakers include former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise on, “The Power of Digital Learning for Georgia and the Country.” and the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore on, “How to Make Georgia the Most Economically Competitive State in the Nation.”

– It’s good, it’s fresh, it’s free! Have you joined the Foundation’s new Forum yet? Join a community of Georgians discussing the issues of greatest concern with the Foundation’s experts, register at


Taxes and spending

– The payroll count is back to prerecession levels in Texas. California is nearly 1.5 million jobs in the hole. Why such a difference? Chalk it up to taxes, regulation and attitude, says Investor’s Business Daily. The difference in tax systems reflects a difference in attitudes toward business and the wealth that business generates. Capital gains are tax-free in Texas; in California, they are taxed up to 10.55 percent. To an entrepreneur choosing where to set up shop, the message is clear: Texas wants to reward success; California wants to tax it. California also has developed a web of regulations that raises labor costs, spurs litigation and ties up building projects indefinitely.  



– Technology that will save lives, save money and have a greener, cleaner automotive society is around the corner. “Safety and congestion are the two biggest problems on our roads today,” notes Roger Berg of DENSO International America. Berg says more than 33,000 people died on U.S. roadways in 2009; traffic crashes cost the economy an estimated $230 billion per year, and “Americans waste about 3 billion gallons of fuel each year stuck in traffic –  which amounts to billions upon billions of dollars and a not-so-green impact on the environment.” Berg says vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) technology is being tested that will allow cars to “talk” to each other and to traffic lights. Read more here: Modern Tire Dealer



– Taxpayers spent more than $9 billion over five years to support students at four-year colleges and universities who dropped out before their sophomore year, according to the American Institutes for Research. In “Finishing the First Lap,” researchers report that the 30 percent of first-year college students who failed to return to campus for a second year accounted for $6.2 billion in state appropriations for colleges and universities and more than $1.4 billion in student grants from the states. The federal government provided $1.5 billion in grants. The study did not examine community colleges, where dropout rates are even higher, or dropouts beyond the first year. Nationally, only about 60 percent of students graduate from four-year colleges and universities within six years. In Georgia, the cost was $237 million.

– “Waiting for ‘Superman‘,” which tells the story of children trapped in America’s failing public schools, has earned rave reviews. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield points out: “When Davis Guggenheim, a self-described progressive who did the movie version of’ ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ before directing ‘Waiting,’ makes a film that promotes school choice, historically a pet cause of the conservative movement, it’s a bad sign for the education status quo. Change is coming.” 



– Your tax dollars not working: Fourteen of 15 Chicago-area homes the U.S. Energy Department inspected after energy-efficiency work was carried out using federal stimulus funds failed final inspection. A report on the $242 million Illinois received for home weatherization cited poor workmanship, improper billing and inadequate assessments. In one home, “an inspection report noted that an assessor had inappropriately called for attic insulation when sizeable leaks in the roof would have reduced the effectiveness of the insulation.” Source: U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inspector General


Health care

– Healthy choice: Smoking costs Georgia’s economy more than $9 billion annually, according to Penn State University researchers. The study reported that every dollar Georgia spends on providing tobacco cessation treatments has an average potential return on investment of $1.28. Georgia is one of a handful of states that does not offer comprehensive smoking cessation benefits for state employees or Medicaid recipients, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Agenda 2011

– For facts, principles, innovative ideas and background on the issues, read our candidate briefing books on Taxes and Transportation.


– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Waiting for ‘Superman’, Spiderman, Batman and the whole Education Justice League, by Sajan George.


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen

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