Friday Facts: October 27, 2017

It’s Friday!

Something to celebrate: Today is the 230th anniversary of the day the first in the series of Federalist Papers was published. Most Americans have no idea that these 85 essays exist, let alone why. The Federalist Papers Project explains:

Between October 1787 and May 1788, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay undertook what was essentially a public relations campaign to encourage New York to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Though the members of the Constitutional Convention had already approved the document as of September 17, 1787, it could not go into effect until at least nine states ratified it. … Hamilton, Madison, and Jay worked together to compose a series of 85 articles, published variously in four New York newspapers, to explain the Constitution’s structure and text and to address criticisms. Today, scholars typically refer to the collective essays as the “Federalist Papers.” Written by two of the Constitution’s Framers (Madison and Hamilton), they are an authoritative resource for academics, lawyers, and judges – including Supreme Court justices – to use to interpret the Constitution and to determine its original, or historic, meaning. The Federalist Papers were successful in achieving their goal. One month after Federalist No. 85 was published, New Hampshire ratified and the Constitution went into effect; Virginia and New York ratified soon after.

Forty-two life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers are in Signers’ Hall at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where Benita Dodd took this photo during a recent visit.


Policy Rewind: Click on the links to view the 2017 Georgia Legislative Forum presentations by Vicki DavisDr. Tim Huelskamp and others on health care and education, all on our Legislative Policy Forum page.

Quotes of note

“Today, the education system silos students throughout their schooling lives to the detriment to students and our nation’s success. Those silos are supported and protected by hundreds of separately regulated and restricted funding streams, processes and rules that mandate arcane behaviors that no longer recognize how students learn, how teachers might better teach, how schools may be constructed, and how technology and knowledge might be better utilized and transmitted.” – Jeanne Allen

“It is a general principle of human nature, that a man will be interested in whatever he possesses, in proportion to the firmness or precariousness of the tenure by which he holds it.” – Alexander Hamilton

“Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy, once again in the news after never-before-seen documents related to his assassination in 1963 were released Thursday

Health care

Sign-ups begin: Enrollment kicks of November 1 for individuals signing up for an ObamaCare health plan under the federal exchange. This year, the signup deadline is December 15. In 2016-17, open enrollment ran through the end of January, and in prior years the end of February wasn’t an unheard-of deadline.

Costs increase: Georgia’s average premium for the “silver’’ plans in the federal health insurance exchange will rise by 48 percent for 2018, higher than the average increase nationally and a higher increase than all but seven states, a consulting firm reported Wednesday. Source: Georgia Health News


Pony up: With default rates among student borrowers at their highest levels in decades, the Obama administration sought to expand conditions for forgiving student loan balances. The effective date of that November 2016 interim rule has been delayed until July 2018, possibly until 2019. As Senior Fellow Jeffrey Dorfman pointed out in Forbes about the default rate: “People are acting optimally. Why should they pay student loans if there is a probability that all remaining student loan debt will be wiped away in the near future?”

Growing choice: Seventeen percent of the students enrolled in Atlanta Public Schools are charter school students, according to a new National Alliance for Public Charter Schools report. That’s up from 16 percent last year. The report also counted 78,330 charter school students in Georgia during the 2016-2017 school year, an increase of more than 230 percent in the past decade! Source: Georgia Charter Schools Association

Turnaround: The Georgia Board of Education has selected Eric Thomas, a school turnaround scholar at the University of Virginia, as Chief Turnaround Officer in an effort to improve failing public schools in Georgia. Source: Education Week

Top value: The National Jurist has named Georgia State University’s law school as the best value law school in the nation. Its average student debt was below $65,000 and the Bar pass rate was 88 percent, well above the state average of 73 percent. Second is the University of Georgia’s law school.


Taxing rate: Atlanta’s 8.9 percent sales tax rate ranks 15th highest among major cities and just ahead of New York City’s 8.875 percent rate, with Long Beach, Calif., and Chicago tying for the highest rate of 10.25 percent. Source: Tax Foundation

Soda tax falls flat: Cook County, Ill., which includes the city of Chicago, is walking back its year-old penny-per-ounce “soda” tax in the face of an 87 percent disapproval rating. As the American Legislative Exchange Council warns, “State legislatures would be prudent to consider legislation that pre-empts municipalities from passing these sorts of harmful taxes, some form of which has been implemented in nine states and is currently being considered by Michigan.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In October five years ago the Foundation published, “Get Georgia Moving on Foundation’s ‘Plan B’ for Transportation.” It noted, “Adding suburb-to-suburb service could produce a complete transportation network in the area and, perhaps, one that could evolve into BRT and – in the unlikely event that population growth and density ever justify it – rail transit.”


Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Business Chronicle and Insider Advantage published articles covering the Foundation’s 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.

Social media: The Foundation has 3,261 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,765 followers at Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit to read our latest commentary, “2017 Forum Delivers Promising Policies on Taxes, Health Care, Education” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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