All the president’s men: At the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 30th anniversary dinner in September, our photographer captured the attending presidents who have led the organization and championed “Policy Over Politics” through the decades. Below, from left are Griff Doyle, Kelly McCutchen, Kyle Wingfield and Rogers Wade.
Quotes of note
“Whether looking at raw standardized test scores, statistical comparisons of states’ test scores with the Educational Freedom Index, or research on the competitive effects of school choice, the overwhelming conclusion is that educational choice has a modest but statistically significant positive effect on the performance of district schools.” – Jason Bedrick
“We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape – that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object.” – James Madison (1788)
“We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.” – Wall Street Journal
Lawyerly gains: A new federal class action lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ) aims to end a corrosive feature of Indiana’s civil-forfeiture system: the practice of giving private lawyers a personal financial stake in forfeiture prosecutions. “Unlike every other state in the nation, Indiana outsources forfeiture prosecutions to private lawyers on a ‘contingency fee’ basis,” IJ reports. “Forfeit more, profit more.”
Unending Black Friday? Thanksgiving weekend used to kick off the holiday shopping season, with “doorbuster” discounts that had consumers lining up for blocks outside brick-and-mortar stores the day after Thanksgiving. But in 2019, Black Friday online sales outpaced brick-and-mortar sales for the first time. This year, retailers began promoting online holiday “deals” as early as September in anticipation of the ongoing supply chain logjam affecting merchandise deliveries from Asia ahead of Christmas. Source: Reuters
Out of gas: Citing rising prices at the pump and his state’s substantial revenue surplus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed suspending the state’s gas tax – temporarily, but without a specific end date. He has called upon the Legislature to take the state’s gas tax from 26.5 cents a gallon to zero, and to keep it at zero as long as the additional revenues are there to sustain it. Source: Tax Foundation
Money pit: Americans, already hurting from record-level inflation, think the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending bill passed by the U.S. House will cause inflation to spike further, the Independent Women’s Forum reports. A new poll by POLITICO/Morning Consult found lower-income households are far less likely than wealthier households to believe the massive spending plan will help fight inflation.
Energy prices up: U.S. average electricity prices have been higher every month of this year compared with 2020, the Energy Information Administration reports. In 2021, demand for consumer goods and the energy needed to produce them is outpacing supply, contributing to higher prices for fuels used by power plants, especially natural gas. Higher costs for fuel, capital, labor and building materials, as seen in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index, are hiking the cost of power production for 2021.
Too much of a good thing: Crops like peanuts and cotton in South Georgia suffered this year from extraordinarily high rainfall. From June through September rainfall measured 49.24 inches in Moultrie, about twice as much as the same period in 2020, according to the Albany Herald. The glut of water delayed the application of pesticides and fertilizer, damaged crop roots and held up harvesting. Peanut commodity prices are high, but crop yield is estimated to be down by about 15%. The outlook for 2022 is tough as well, as the cost of farm chemicals and fertilizer are increasing.
Cases: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
Redistricting: The 15-day special legislative session begun November 3 to address redistricting ended with a final vote on November 22 that sent maps to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. Georgia’s new congressional map creates a 9-5 GOP advantage over Democrats heading into next year’s elections, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Republicans currently hold an 8-6 majority in Georgia’s congressional delegation.
This month in the archives: In November five years ago, the Foundation published, “Lessons and Opportunities from The Election.” It noted, “The remedies for centralized power are devolution and empowerment – ideas that may now have bipartisan support. In political terms, devolution involves shifting some federal programs to the states, so that the federal government will narrow its focus to its core functions. In other words, let blue states do blue things and red states do red things and see what works best.” It’s counsel that has served Georgia well through the pandemic.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s commentaries.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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