November 11: John Stossel of “Stossel” on Fox Business Network keynotes the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award! 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!)
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!
Quotes of Note
“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” – Edmund Burke
“When new technologies, or new business methods, appear, a common result is the decline or even disappearance of the old. Were the old deemed to have a constitutional right to preclude the entry of the new into the markets of the old, economic progress might grind to a halt. Instead of taxis we might have horse and buggies; instead of the telephone, the telegraph; instead of computers, slide rules. Obsolescence would equal entitlement.” – Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, Georgia had the nation’s eighth largest prison population (around 23,500). In 2015 (latest data), that number was around 51,800. And that’s a good thing! Why? Happily, thanks to recent criminal justice reforms, the number of inmates is declining from its height of more than 54,400 in 2007!
Graduation: The graduation rate among students with disabilities reached 64.6 percent in the 2014-15 school year. It rose from 59 percent in 2010-11 to 64.6 percent in 2014-15, beating the 4.2 percentage point increase among the overall student population. Source: Education Week
Advancing choice: Public charter schools have had two positive effects, Andy Smarick writes in The Weekly Standard. They slowly acclimated policymakers to the virtues of school choice and improved civic collaboration by engaging community and family in education decisions. Source: American Enterprise Institute
Money talks: Attempting to improve on-time graduation rates, some colleges and universities add faculty and staff, reduce class size or provide scholarships. Others take a different path: In July, North Carolina passed a state budget that froze undergraduate tuition for all students in the university system who graduate on time. Cleveland State University, meanwhile, charges the same rate for 18 credits as for 12, providing flexibility while encouraging students to register for appropriate course loads. Source: American Council of Trustees and Alumni
Too little, too early: Despite widely repeated claims, pre-K doesn’t give disadvantaged children a strong start, and it doesn’t provide useful child care for large numbers of working parents, Katharine Stevens of the American Enterprise Institute maintains in U.S. News & World Report.
Bogged down: In June, New Hampshire became the 15th state to repeal its certificate-of-need (CON) program. Now, 35 states (including Georgia) and the District of Columbia restrict entry or expansion of health care facilities and services through CON programs. CON laws came about after national regulators tied health care dollars to it, but the federal government reversed course after finding it didn’t actually save money. Source: Mercatus Center
Gaining ground: Physicians in several states are saving patients time and money, expanding patient access and improving quality through direct primary care (DPC). Nebraska, Tennessee and Wyoming passed laws distinguishing DPC from health insurance, ensuring it is not burdened by the costs and regulations associated with insurance. North Carolina reports major public-sector savings from DPC, but DPC legislation failed in both Georgia and Florida.
Outsourcing: With aging infrastructure a major cost and concern for many local governments, the Mercatus Center proposes privatizing water services. Of course, it warns, “Private firms can quickly become inefficient and wasteful when sheltered from competitive market forces.”
Overrated: Writing about rail transit projects on the ballot in November, transportation analyst Randal O’Toole issues an important warning: Billions of dollars are funding projects that are functionally obsolete today and will be even more obsolete when shared, self-driving cars replace public transportation in the near future. It’s why “cities shouldn’t spend gobs of money on projects that are expected to last for decades. One of the key arguments for buses rather than rail is that buses are cheap, don’t require dedicated infrastructure, and can be easily rerouted as travel patterns change.”
This month in the archives: In October 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Government Interference Sends the Wrong Signal on Broadband.” It noted, “Telecommuting, telemedicine, virtual schools and other high tech advances hold great promise for a large, rural state like Georgia, but roadblocks to investment will make progress much like driving a Lamborghini on a dirt road.”
Foundation in the news: John Berry praises a “deliberate, respectful, intelligent, and important discussion” involving the Foundation in the Saporta Report. The Augusta Chronicle published Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “Applying the Lessons of Criminal Justice Reform to Health Care.” The Newnan Times-Herald published Ross Coker’s column, “Resistance Grows to Civil Asset Forfeiture.” The Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted Benita Dodd in an article on new toll lanes in metro Atlanta.
Social media: The Foundation has 3,041 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,670 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Give Prisoners a Second Chance,” by Gerard Robinson.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Find the Foundation on social media at Facebook, twitter.com/gppf and Instagram.