• Friday Facts

Friday Facts

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of note
– “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.” – T.S. Eliot
– “But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” –C.S. Lewis

Free enterprise
– “I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined for 70 points.” – Stacey King of the Chicago Bulls after their game against the Cavaliers in which Michael Jordan scored a career-high 69 points and King scored one point.
– “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – President Obama
Stacey King was joking; he knew he had just witnessed an amazing display of individual talent. President Obama, on the other hand, was quite serious. Sure, most Americans work hard, putting in longer hours than workers in most other nations. And yes, we need government to enforce private property rights, defend the nation and perform other constitutional duties. But to trivialize the risk-taking and hard work of our nation’s many small business owners and entrepreneurs shows a shocking disdain for the free enterprise system that created a beacon for economic opportunity around the world and a nation where anyone can become rich and anyone can become President.

Events
– September 21: Watch this space! The Foundation will post registration details next week for the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing on Friday, September 21. Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.
– October 16: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turns 87 years old on October 13. The Foundation marks the birthday of this remarkable leader with a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Thatcher advisor and longtime friend John Blundell, who is author of, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of The Iron Lady.” This event is at the Georgian Club. Registration is $60 and includes a copy of Blundell’s book. Register by Friday, October 12, at http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnkSeating is limited; register early!

Transportation
– Death knell for tolls: Tolling on Georgia 400 will end next year. Commuters had been promised that once the construction bonds used to build the roadway were paid off, toll collection would cease. A 10-year extension was announced in 2010, astonishing and outraging voters. In a commentary, “Transportation Policy Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Tolling Faux Pas,” the Foundation warned then: “The surprise move seriously diminished the lure of toll roads for metro Atlanta. Commuters, taxpayers and policy-makers must hope, however, that the bad taste will recede: The concept has to survive.” The fact is, tolls have a crucial role in congestion relief for metro Atlanta.
– What struggling state? Within days of the California Legislature authorizing the sale of $4.6 billion in general obligation bonds to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the state’s high-speed rail projects, three startling developments occurred, according to Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation. First, Moody’s tripled its estimate of California’s unfunded public pension liability from $38.5 billion to $109.1 billion. Second, a UCLA economic analysis of Japan’s system concluded that introducing high-speed rail service had no discernible effect on Japan’s economic growth over a 30-year period. Third, it was revealed that transit officials had rejected a bid by French railway operator SNCF to build a high-speed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco with private investors. 
– Autonomous autos: 
“Instead of focusing on an enormously expensive high-speed rail system, government should promote modern highway design for cars of the future,” says Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution, referring to driverless, or “autonomous,” cars in The Wall Street Journal this week. The technology is already so advanced that race cars can go 150 mph on autopilot.

Health care
– What’s wrong with U.S. health picture? The United States spends substantially more on health care as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) than other developed countries, yet comparisons suggest that U.S. outcomes are inferior, or at least not better, than other countries’. A Heritage Foundation report points out, however, that it is the method of analysis, not U.S. efficiency, which falls short. Read more here: www.insideronline.org/summary.cfm?id=17931.

Environment
– Georgia’s largest water 
utilities (with more than 10,000 customers) are losing more money to leaks and faulty equipment than are other water systems nationwide. A 2010 state law requires most water utilities to conduct a water conservation audit. According to water conservation officer Lebone Moeti of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, early figures show theaverage large water system in Georgia is losing about $17 million a year. Source: Georgia Public Broadcasting

Education
– Charter schools raise educational standards for vulnerable children, according to an article in The Economist. Charter schools have been successful because they offer freedom to shape the school to the pupils, rather than the other way round. Schools can change the length of the school day, fire bad teachers and spend their money as they wish, all with the goal of achieving superior education outcomes for their students. The article points out that both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney support charter schools.
– Cost of college: The average tab for tuition, room and board at a four-year public school – even after accounting for financial aid – has risen an inflation-adjusted 42 percent in the past decade, a period in which inflation-adjusted incomes of families in the middle of the middle class fell. Source: Wall Street Journal
– Massively Open Online Courses
: Georgia Tech announced this week it would join Duke, UVA, CalTech, Stanford and several other elite universities to provide a whole host of courses online for free on the Coursera platform. This comes as new studies show that even in its infancy, this new course delivery method, when combined with face-to-face interaction with professors, is as effective as traditional course delivery and far more cost effective. (See also Eric Wearne’s article on the Georgia Tech partnership in The Forum.) Source: Wall Street Journal

Social media
– Foundation TV: The Foundation’s events can be watched online on YouTube. Recent events include Jay Greene discussing school choice during the Foundation’s Friedman Legacy for Freedom event on July 12 in Gainesville at http://youtu.be/yTbTkb2g0Ls; Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, discussing “The Road to Freedom,” on June 27, athttp://tinyurl.com/ccu5qhrAlso, watch Kelly McCutchen discuss how federal banking laws threaten Georgia’s economic recovery at http://tinyurl.com/ceghxu5.
– This week in The Forum: Editor Mike Klein writes about the juvenile criminal justice reform efforts under way by the Georgia Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform. In Checking Up On Health, Benita Dodd unveils the state’s biggest public hospitals and some hidden aspects of the federal health law. Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne reports that Georgia Tech is helping to bend the online learning curve in a new partnership with the online learning platform Coursera. Finally, Jay Greene explains why he believes the national school choice battle is nearly over and school choice won.  


– 
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Why States are Reluctant on National Health Care Reform,” by Dennis G. Smith.
We’ll leave you with one last quote of note:
– “In 1989, at the age of 59 and nearly bankrupt, my wife Edna and I started Poole’s BBQ in a roadside shack with a borrowed capital of $35,000. We worked 84 hours a week for a year and then we could finally afford some extra help. I’m now well off financially – and I think I’ve earned it!” – Oscar Poole, Ellijay, Ga.
Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen


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