The more things change … As Georgia prepares for reapportionment again after the 2020 Census, this 1992 Georgia Public Policy Foundation commentary reveals what was on the table then: Democrats were in the majority under the Gold Dome, tackling school choice, taxes, healthcare and ballot access. In 2021, as the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary and Republicans are in the majority in the Legislature, we’re reminded how much the issues affecting Georgians remain the same.
Quotes of note
“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare.” – Edmund Burke (1769)
“It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” – George Washington (1796)
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” – Billy Graham
A generous people: Despite the economic lockdown during the pandemic, Americans’ charitable giving grew in 2020 by 5.1% over 2019, according to the 2021 Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy. Individual giving increased by 2.2% to $324.1 billion, the highest amount ever. Giving to churches only rose 1% over 2019 levels, probably because of the lockdown. Source: Washington Times
Holiday celebration: Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln declared the emancipation proclamation on the first day of 1863; the news did not reach Texas until June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and Union soldiers arrived in Galveston with the news. The observation has grown to 45 states over time and this week, the Senate and House voted to make it the nation’s 12th federal holiday.
Delayed takeoff: One in three Americans (69 million) are postponing retirement because of the effects of the pandemic lockdown. As of December 2020, surveys indicated 22 million Americans were no longer making monthly contributions to their retirement accounts. Just 41% of women surveyed continued to fund their retirement accounts, versus 58% of men. Source: FEE.org
Ripple effect: The National Park Service credits Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park with generating $141 million in local economic impact in 2020, the Marietta Daily Journal reports. The spending by 2.4 million visitors further supported 2,160 jobs in the area, with a cumulative benefit of $214 million when factoring in labor income, according to a study commissioned by the NPS and the U.S. Geological Survey. Find data on more sites here.
Bigger, cheaper: There has been a big shift in where people are living, according to real estate site Zillow. Data analysis from 2016 to 2020 from North American Van Lines shows in 2020 people were seeking out bigger homes in less expensive regions: The average long-distance mover relocated to a ZIP code with home values nearly $27,000 lower than where they came from last year.
Chopping block: Lumber prices are coming down, The Wall Street Journal reports. Not only have futures dropped 42% from the record of $1,711.20 reached in early May, but cash prices are falling, too. “The rapid decline suggests a bubble that has burst and the question now is how low lumber prices will fall,” according to the newspaper. During the run-up, wood was hoarded by builders, retailers and others worried about running out of material as demand soared.
COVID-19 update: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
Security Rx: Just days after CVS Health announced it had placed time-delay safes in all 355 of its Georgia stores to thwart robberies, WebsitePlanet discovered an online database belonging to CVS Health that exposed more than 1.1 billion health records. The database was not password-protected and had no form of authentication in place to prevent unauthorized entry. CVS Health immediately secured the site, blaming an unnamed contractor or vendor, WebsitePlanet reported.
Medical Monday: In this week’s “Checking Up On Health” post, Benita Dodd wonders whether the OR or you are more important to a hospital.
This month in the archives: In June 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “A New Day for Georgia Education.” It noted, “Children who are behind need extra help to succeed, and that is one purpose of testing: to discern those who need that help.” During the pandemic, education officials “minimized” the impact of testing, with scores essentially not counting.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “The Joy in Juneteenth,” by Keara Vickers.
Have a great weekend and a Happy Father’s Day!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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