– “The fatal attraction of government is that it allows busybodies to impose decisions on others without paying any price themselves. That enables them to act as if there were no price, even when there are ruinous prices – paid by others.” – Thomas Sowell
– “Man is not free unless government is limited. … As government expands, liberty contracts.” – Ronald Reagan
– September 30: Don’t miss the Foundation’s second annual Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Cobb Energy Centre. Keynote speakers include Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, on entrepreneurial leadership in Georgia and John Goodman, founder and president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, on health care reform. Last year, more than 250 people attended to hear nearly three dozen state and national experts discuss Georgia public policy. Topics this year include education, transportation, tax reform, criminal justice and health care. Information and registration are online at http://tinyurl.com/3kqlfck.
– October 24: Invitations will be mailed soon for the Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration and Freedom Award dinner, scheduled for the evening of Monday, Oct. 24, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Speakers include Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Register online now to join in this milestone celebration athttp://tinyurl.com/3kwyxf6.
– Sunday: Join the fun and celebrate America’s birthday at the Constitution Day Festival of Georgia in Marietta’s Glover Park from 12:30-6 p.m. The event is open to the public and features 7Sharp9, a Sunset Concert with Men In Blues, student performances, a children’s area with inflatables, a car show, food vendors, MC Melvin Everson, Founding Fathers
re-enactors and a Walk Thru The Constitution Challenge! Visit www.ConstitutionDayFestivalofGA.com for more information.
– Best stimulus? Eliminate the federal Department of Transportation and shift gas taxes to the states. Georgians would benefit by $435 million a year because the federal government wouldn’t divert 15 perecent of our tax dollars (as they have historically) and our dollars would buy 22 percent more if not subject to cost-increasing federal regulations such as the Davis Bacon Act. Davis Bacon adds 22 percent to the cost of projects, according to the Reason Foundation. Georgia, which gets about $1 billion from the federal government in transportation funds, is a “loser” state: Historically, the Federal Highway Program sends back 85 percent of fuel tax revenue Georgia gives to the federal government, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Taxes and spending
– On the dole: “The share of Americans paying income taxes is the lowest in the modern era, while dependency on government is the highest in U.S. history,” according to Stanford professor Michael J. Boskin points out in The Wall Street Journal. (Half of the tax-filing households in the entire country did not pay any federal income tax in 2009. Forty-seven percent of Americans are receiving one or more federal benefit payments.) We are getting close to where, as Phil Gramm warned many years ago, “there are more people riding in the wagon than there are pulling the wagon.”
– Taxing “the rich” hurts the poor and disadvantaged, Syndicated columnist and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Thomas Sowell points out in a column in Human Events. The rich can avoid taxes by simply moving their investments to tax-free municipal bonds or not selling their stock. This diverts funding away from entrepreneurs who need capital to grow their businesses. Ninety percent of small businesses don’t pay corporate taxes. Their income is taxed at the owner’s personal income tax rate. Taxing small businesses, which create the majority of jobs, certainly doesn’t help the unemployed. It doesn’t fit into class warfare rhetoric, but the best economic policy is to encourage the rich to invest freely, take risks and spend their money.
– Technology saves: Thousands of Medicaid recipients a year in Kansas will have their requests for special prescriptions processed in seconds instead of days, thanks to that state’s new prior authorization system that replaces paper files and faxes. The new Smart PA system is expected to save $1.5 million in the first year as the state diverts the staff that has been needed for 6,000 to 8,500 manual authorizations per year. The company providing the system is Atlanta-based Affiliated Computer Systems. Source: Kansas Health Institute
– Missed opportunity: Did you know that an estimated one of every three uninsured people in this country is eligible for a government program (mainly Medicaid or a state children’s health insurance plan), but has not signed up? John Goodman, founder and president of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2011 Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing, wonders why the “solution” is ObamaCare instead of resolving the bureaucratic failures of government programs. “Put differently, half of everything ObamaCare is trying to do is necessary only because the Medicaid bureaucracy does such a poor job – not of selling insurance, but of giving it away for free!” Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/44epbnq.
– According to the Federal Communications Commission, 89.6 percent of the U.S. population has access to five or more mobile carriers. The Obama administration has sued to block the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, arguing it would reduce competition and harm consumers. That reflects an “alternate universe where the United States doesn’t possess the most intensely competitive mobile-services market while boasting among the lowest prices and highest quality on the planet,” notes Bruce Edward Walker of the Heartland Institute.
– What stimulus? A Mercatus Center survey on the effect of job incentives at organizations that received funds in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or stimulus package, found that just 42.1 percent of the workers hired after January 31, 2009, were unemployed at the time they were hired. More were hired directly from other organizations (47.3 percent of post-ARRA workers), while a handful came from school (6.5 percent) or from outside the labor force (4.1 percent). Read more at http://tinyurl.com/3g4crrz.
– Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “2nd Annual Legislative Policy Briefing Focuses on Georgia’s 2012 Issues,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
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/. Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gppf.