November 11: In less than two weeks, John Stossel of “Stossel” on Fox Business Network keynotes the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award! Have you reserved your seat yet? The Freedom Award will be presented to Dr. Michael H. Mescon, “The Pied Piper of Private Enterprise” (Wall Street Journal). Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Centre Ballroom. $150 per person; sponsorships available. Click here or call 404-256-4050 for information; reserve your seat here. (Checks accepted, too!)
Quotes of Note
“It has long, however, been my opinion … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in … the federal Judiciary … working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein writes in his book, ‘The Dumbest Generation:’ Tradition ‘serves a crucial moral and intellectual function. … People who read Thucydides and Caesar on war, and Seneca and Ovid on love, are less inclined to construe passing fads as durable outlooks, to fall into the maelstrom of celebrity culture, to presume that the circumstances of their own life are worth a Web page.’” – Walter Williams
“To be truly nice is not to comply when you disagree, but rather to disagree without being disagreeable. It isn’t to please at any cost, but rather to avoid being unpleasant even while standing up for what is right.” – Arthur Brooks
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, according to a journal Health Affairs survey, more than 80 percent of companies with more than 25 employees offered health coverage. Today (2014) just 55 percent of coverage is employer-based, according to the Census Bureau.
Failing: There are about 68,000 children in Georgia’s “chronically failing” public schools, which have earned an “F” for three years in a row. For perspective, as Governor Nathan Deal pointed out in an Augusta speech, “That’s 15,000 more than the number of inmates in our entire state prison system.” Source: Augusta Chronicle
Frightening: The fourth open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act marketplace begins November 1. Americans are grappling with premium increases averaging 25 percent and up to 116 percent and losing their doctors and networks. President Obama said rate increases have nothing to do with him. Premiums for midlevel plans are expected to increase about 25 percent in Georgia.
Leaving early: During the 2016 ObamaCare open enrollment period, 12.4 million people enrolled; by the end of June, according to the federal government, there were just 10.4 million enrollees. That’s a decline of more than 16 percent!
Not so scary: The tax penalty for those who remain uninsured, according to The New York Times, is “at least partly to blame” for soaring premiums. Next year, those who have avoided buying insurance will face penalties of around $700 a person or more. But, “For the young and healthy who are badly needed to make the exchanges work, it is sometimes cheaper to pay the Internal Revenue Service than an insurance company charging large premiums, with huge deductibles.
Taxes and spending
Treats: Halloween spending in 2016 is expected to reach $8.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. $2.5 billion will go to candy alone; the average individual consumer will spend about $90 on costumes, decorations and candy.
Tricked: Wireless tax rates have increased to a record high 18.6 percent for the average U.S. consumer, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation. While average wireless bills have been dropping since 2008, “taxes are growing at a rate twice as fast as average wireless prices have been falling.”
Ghoulish: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is proposing higher taxes on Americans who make more than $250,000, including a 4 percent “fair share surcharge” on incomes over $5 million a year. She’s also trying to limit the ability of the rich to lower their tax bills through clever planning, according to Accounting Today. We’ve said it before: The “wealthy” have experts to help them work around higher taxes. It’s average Americans who struggle with their tax bills.
Forward-thinking transit: Lyft is on track to complete 17 million rides this month, twice the amount of rides it did last October. Uber, meanwhile, reports it has 40 million monthly riders globally. Source: Fortune.com
November 8: Kelly McCutchen participates in a panel discussing health care at the Georgia Supportive Housing Association 6th annual conference. 1:30 p.m. at the State Bar of Georgia in Atlanta. More information here. Register free for this important panel discussion: Use code HEALTH.
Mark your calendar!
Thursday, December 8: Erin Hames, former education policy adviser to Gov. Nathan Deal, and former Georgia State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Georgia Education Reform Commission, analyze education reform proposals at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Leadership Breakfast. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $35. Details soon!
Thursday, January 26, 2017: Typically the Foundation’s first event of the year, National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast is keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $35. Details soon!
This month in the archives: In October 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “How to Improve Health and Lower Health Care Costs in Georgia.” It noted, “Consumerism and transparency can make Georgians healthier. Healthier people are happier, more productive, and cost less. Finding innovative ways to focus existing subsidies and to encourage portable, affordable, individually owned health insurance will improve the health of the uninsured.”
Foundation in the news: The Reporter Newspapers, Northside Neighbor and Sandy Springs Patch quoted Benita Dodd’s comments at a Leadership Sandy Springs panel discussion about the Fulton County Special-Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) on the November ballot. The Times-Herald of Newnan published Benita’s commentary, “Tempers in a teacup dilute women’s issues.”
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Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Tough Choices on Tax Reform for Georgia,” by Kelly McCutchen.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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