Friday Facts: September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014

It’s Friday!

The Georgia Legislative Policy Forum begins at 8 a.m. today! Herman Cain is broadcasting his radio program live from the Forum at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly before his luncheon keynote speech. Listen to Cain’s program at AM 750/FM 95.5 or online at beginning at 9 a.m.

Quotes of Note

“You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down – up to a man’s age-old dream; the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order – or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.” – Ronald Reagan

“While The New York Times denounces as ‘ruinous’ the Kansas tax cut, it is sitting in a state, New York, with a top rate of 8.82 percent. If all the government spending paid for by those high taxes were the panacea that the Times claims it is, you might expect New York to have a lower unemployment than Kansas. But check the numbers, and Kansas’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was a low 4.9 percent, while New York’s was 6.6 percent. ‘Ruinous,’ indeed.” – Ira Stoll


Monday: “Rockin’ The Wall” – about the impact of music on the Fall of the Berlin Wall is sponsored by the Foundation and showing at the Earl Strand Theatre in Marietta. 7 p.m. Reserve tickets online here, the first 50 advance tickets will be eligible for a drawing of five copies of the soundtrack.

November 18: Mark your calendar for a Leadership Breakfast with Chris Barbic, superintendent of the Tennessee Achievement School District, who will share how that state gets the bottom 5 percent of low-performing schools out of the doldrums.


That K-12 academic achievement is a struggle in Georgia is indisputable. There is plenty of room for improvement. But just how are students doing? This chart focusing on Georgia rankings in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the only common metric for all states, paints a clearer picture.


Interference: By the time students graduating college with a bachelor’s degree are looking to join the workforce, 60 percent of them will have more than $26,000 in student loan debt. This debt, writes Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, is a direct result of federal intervention in higher education.


The groundbreaking for the Northwest Corridor express toll lanes (ETLs) along I-75/575 took place this week. In explaining ETLS, Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation cites one project: “In a fast-growing urban area like Charlotte, adding a GP (general purpose) lane each way instead of an ETL would attract drivers who now use parallel arterials due to I-77′s congestion, resulting in a return of congestion. By contrast, having two ETLs each way (one new, one the converted HOV lane) creates added capacity that will be uncongested long-term, thanks to faster and more reliable ETL trips attracting many drivers out of the free lanes,” Poole points out. Read more here.

Disruptive innovation I: Uber and Lyft apparently are making their presence felt in San Francisco, where the agency that manages regulation of the local taxi industry reported that taxi trips taken in the cityhave fallen by 65 percent in the past 18 months.

Disruptive innovation II: In just a few short years, the rise in mobile navigation technology has transformed transportation, Henry Grabar writes in In 2011, 35 percent of Americans had smartphones; by 2013, that had grown to 61 percent. Three-quarters of those people now use their phones for directions and location-based services. Tens of millions more rely on car-based modules hitched to the satellites of the Global Positioning System. “The overall effect is that people are more calm when they’re using navigation,” says TomTom traffic expert Nick Cohn. And, by extension, they drive safer.


Risk assessment: Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute highlights the growing regulatory burden of the Dodd-Frank Act in a Wall Street Journal article this month, warning that the Federal Stability Oversight Commission could “place the largest asset managers under the Fed’s purview, giving the central bank an opportunity to determine what activities they finance. This could seriously impair the financing available to U.S. companies.” Watch Wallison discuss the dangers here during an August Foundation event.

Health care

Change coming: The New York Times reports that 115,000 people will see their health insurance cancelled on October 1 because they have not proven their eligibility for ObamaCare health coverage. Similarly, 363,000 people will no longer receive federal subsidies this fall because they reported incomes (which made them eligible for federal financial aid) inconsistent with government records.

Friday Flashback

On September 19, 2004, the Foundation published, “Traffic, Trolleys and Density: A Commonsense Approach,” a speech by Steve Stancil, then head of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). “The bottom line is that if we give people reasonable alternatives, alternatives that are safe, convenient and affordable, we can squeeze more use out of the infrastructure we have in place,” he said.


Web site of the Week: The Daily Signal, a multimedia news outlet by the Heritage Foundation that provides excellent policy and political news as well as conservative commentary and policy analysis.

Social media: Have you “liked” the Foundation’s Facebook page yet? More than 2,300 of our friends for up-to-date news, policy views and event alerts; more than 1,200 follow us on Twitter at!

The Forum: Read recent posts at

Visit to read the latest commentary, “Lift the Offshore Drilling Moratorium,” by Benita Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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