Testimony to Texas House Energy Resources Committee

Chairman, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am the Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a non-profit, free-market think tank headquartered in …

Resisting bureaucracy

The third time will apparently be the charm for the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” regulations. Having been shot down twice by the courts in earlier attempts to …

Tempest brewing around California uninsured motorist coverage

A tempest is brewing around California’s otherwise functional system of uninsured and underinsured automobile insurance. At an informational hearing held in the great Shakespearian tradition of dialogue capped …

For Uber drivers, one license is good enough

Michigan has experienced a dynamic economic reinvention over the past five years. Individuals young and old have turned their new ideas, artisanship and creativity into sustainable employment opportunities …

Florida Cat Fund cleared to buy $2.2B of reinsurance

In what counts as excellent news both for Florida taxpayers and the private insurance market, Gov. Rick Scott and the State Board of Administration have approved a request …

Proponents of online gambling ban serve ‘demon rum’ at House hearing

From Casino City Times: Andrew Moylan, who runs the pro states' rights R Street Institute, and Aftab came to the hearing prepared with facts and arguments about why regulated …

Adelson-backed online gambling bill splits GOP At hearing

From the Huffington Post: As with many congressional hearings, the experts who testified at the RAWA session did little to sway the members who attended. They included three witnesses …

RAWA hearing sound and fury signifying nothing

From PokerFuse: A late addition to the witness list, Andrew Moylan, Executive Director and Senior Fellow at R Street Institute, opposed the bill on the basis that it infringed …

Editorial: RAWA hearing short on facts, long on fear

From PokerNewsDaily: There were two witnesses that stood against RAWA. Andrew Moylan, the Executive Director at R Street (a libertarian and conservative think tank), evoked memories of the government’s …

Head of womens health conglomerate unsure how insurance works

This week marked the fifth anniversary of Obamacare, and while some of us celebrated by spending hours on the phone with an insurance company rectifying a double charge …

RAWA subcommittee hearing full of dire warnings of evils of online gambling

From Cards Chat News: Perhaps the most interesting witness was the one that was added to the hearing between the originally scheduled date earlier this month and the actual …

BBC drops the ball on baseball and smokeless tobacco

It’s almost baseball season, which means it’s time for anti-tobacco extremists to start grabbing easy headlines. One especially zealous state lawmaker wants to ban smokeless tobacco by players …

RAWA hearing criticised by PPA, anti-igaming claims get airing

From iGaming Business: However Parry Aftab, executive director cyber safety advice group WiredSafety, recognised that regulation of online gambling would better protect American consumers, families and problem gamblers; while …

Hillary now thinks this email thing is hilarious

If you're keeping score, based on familiarity with the Clinton playbook, we have now delightfully exited the "pretend nothing is wrong" phase of Hillary Clinton's private email scandal …

Fear-mongering testimony overshadows facts at Internet gambling ban hearing

From PokerNews: There were two reasonable witnesses in WiredSafety executive director Parry Aftab, who recognizes that regulation of online gambling in the U.S. will better protect American consumers, families …

RAWA rhetoric sweeps House subcommittee meeting in federal online gambling debate

From Casino.org: Next up was Andrew Moylan, executive director and senior fellow at R Street Institute, a conservative-libertarian think tank. Moylan was a late addition to the list of witnesses, …

R Street urges caution against expanding the scope of federal government in Judiciary testimony

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2015) – The Restoring America’s Wire Act (RAWA) would overextend federal reach and usurp states’ rights, the R Street Institute’s Executive Director Andrew Moylan said …

Testimony on H.R. 707, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act

The attached testimony from R Street Executive Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan was delivered to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations …

Is Sheldon Adelson’s online gambling ban unconstitutional, or is it constitutionally required?

From Reason: Today a House subcommittee held a hearing on the Restoration of America's Wire Act, which would ban online gambling throughout the country, even in states that choose …

D-Day for RAWA as Poker Players Alliance fights back

From Cards Chat News: Andrew Moylan, executive director of libertarian think tank R Street, will now be joining the hearing and will be arguing for states’ rights. …

Prop 103’s authors argue for changing Prop 103

Scottish poets from the 18th Century are rarely credited for their insights into California politics. Yet the architects of Proposition103, California’s 25-year-old attempt to rigidly control prices in …

The myth of the child poker player

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations is scheduled hold hearings today on a federal bill aimed at stopping states from legalized online gambling. The Restoration …

Broad coalition demands NSA surveillance reform

March 25, 2015 We the undersigned represent a wide range of privacy and human rights advocates, technology companies, and trade associations that hold an equally wide range of positions …

Free-market groups urge senators to support the Small Business Regulatory Sunset Act

Dear Senators, On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the organizations below, we urge you to support Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. Steve Daines’ recently introduced “Small …

Major insurers to strike deal to support compromise TNC language

For much of the past year, we at R Street have been active in trying to promote reasonable, effective compromise on ride-sharing regulations. The goal all along has …

Bill sets expiration date for federal rules

From The Hill: Market research and advocacy groups including the R Street Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Citizens Against Government Waste released an open letter Tuesday that called …

Why Uber’s deal with big insurance companies matters

From Vox: The deal is supported by State Farm, Farmers, and USAA, as well as the American Insurance Association, according to Ray Lehmann of the R Street Institute. Lehmann …

Letter to SBA on Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund

Ash Williams Executive Director Florida State Board of Administration Jack Nicholson Chief Operating Officer Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Dear Mr. Williams and Dr. Nicholson: We the undersigned represent a diverse coalition that is concerned about …

Poker community strengthens defense during RAWA delay; hearing set for Wednesday

From PokerNews: However, the three week-delay for inclement weather did prove useful for the online poker community. Backlash to the original witness list helped get a fifth witness added …

Congressional Data Coalition applauds House legislative data transparency efforts, asks for more

On March 6, the Congressional Data Coalition and allies submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee's Legislative Branch Subcommittee regarding its 2016 appropriation that applauded recent progress in making …

PPA plans briefings to demonstrate safety of online poker for legislators

From Casino.org: In the newest list, an additional witness was added: Andrew Moylan, the Executive Director of R Street. It is expected that he will voice the states’ rights …

PPA to show RAWA flaws with Capitol Hill demonstrations

From PokerSites.com: Fortunately, the hearing will feature at least one poker-friendly witness. Thanks to pressure from the PPA, Andrew Moylan, the executive director and senior fellow at the R …

Surprise inclusion on the RAWA witness list

From RecentPoker.com: Political observers were this week speculating on the surprise inclusion of R-Street executive director Andrew Moylan on the official witness list for Wednesday’s hearing on the Restoration …

Witness list released for anti-online poker hearing

From Card Player: A list of witnesses was recently released. Scheduled to testify are John Kindt, professor at the University of Illinois’ School of Law, Les Bernal, National Director …

A new witness will highlight inherent hypocrisy of RAWA at upcoming House hearing

From USPoker.com: A new name now appears along with the four we originally learned of: Andrew Moylan, the Executive Director of R Street, who will ostensibly be playing the role …

Why the ethanol mandate is terrible policy

You know the campaign season has started when people start talking about ethanol. Various GOP hopefuls have affirmed or reaffirmed their support for existing ethanol mandates, and while …

Don’t let the FCC muck up on-demand TV

Apple’s Web TV plan spotlights the opportunities and challenges ahead in what will be the most dramatic shift in the distribution of television content since the advent of …

It’s time for real competition in solar markets

Fights are playing out across the states as regulators try to navigate the introduction of rooftop solar into energy markets. Over the last few years, numerous pieces of legislation …

Lofgren and Issa take on patent law that inflates repair costs

In this era of hyper-partisanship, it's notable that a bipartisan pair of California members of Congress, Republican Darrell Issa and Democrat Zoe Lofgren, are together proposing reforms to …

Letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee: RFS is broken

Dear Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is increasingly recognized as a failed policy in need of attention by the Congress. With the exception …

Do e-cigarette ads promote vaping?

The National Cancer Institute is wasting taxpayer dollars on slanted e-cigarette research that didn’t ask or answer an obvious and important question. Consider the recent NCI-funded study by Drs. …

Who owns the U.S. Post Office?

From Angry Bear: Initially the Act provided for some public support of the Postal Service through appropriations to support the universal service obligation and preferential rates for periodicals and …

Obama champions mandatory voting

Apparently, not enough people vote in this country for President Barack Obama's taste, and he knows just how to make voting both more palatable and more appealing to …

Testimony to Texas Senate Committee on Natural Resources

Chairman Fraser, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am the Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a non-profit, free-market think tank headquartered …

Letter to Minnesota House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee

Rep. Joe Hoppe, Chair Rep. Tim O'Driscoll, Vice Chair Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL Lead Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee Minnesota House of Representatives 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN …

The EPA wants to watch you shower

If you're like me, a night away at a hotel means one thing: a long, hot shower. It's not that I want to deliberately drain a Holiday Inn's …

Are casinos the solution to TWIA’s woes?

When it comes to hurricane insurance, Texas is in trouble. The state-run Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has more than $77 billion in potential liabilities, but only a few …

Repeal law that forces expensive burdens on retailers selling adult beverages

In Florida, you can buy beer and wine at your local supermarket. Some even sell it straight out of the tap and allow you to taste it before …

Hydrazine speculation can end: It’s not in snus, snuff or chewing tobacco

From Science 2.0: Because anything could be connected to tobacco without question, it has been unchallenged since 1974 but a new study actually decided to find out. Professor Brad …

R Street applauds introduction of Preserving American Privacy Act

WASHINGTON (March 17, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised Reps. Ted Poe, R‐Tex., and Zoe Lofgren, D-CA,  for reintroducing the Preserving American Privacy Act today. This important legislation …

Sens Lee, Durbin and Booker participate in colloquy on the Smarter Sentencing Act

From Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: It is supported by advocacy groups across the political spectrum and has been endorsed by conservative leaders such as Grover Norquist and Americans for …

Hydrazine speculation can end: It’s not in snus, snuff or chewing tobacco

From Science 2.0: Because anything could be connected to tobacco without question, it has been unchallenged since 1974 but a new study actually decided to find out. Professor Brad …

It’s time for insurance reform in Louisiana

Louisiana is vulnerable to extreme weather and natural catastrophes in ways only a few other states experience. By all indications, that exposure will only grow worse, as a …

Anne McCormick Hocine

Other policy interests today at SXSW

From Politico: House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz will talk about music licensing reform with lobbyists from Pandora, the Digital Music Association and TwinLogic Strategies. DHS Undersecretary for Science and …

Cancer-causing compound not prevalent in smokeless tobacco

From Z News: Scientists at British American Tobacco in collaboration with professor Brad Rodu of the University of Louisville, undertook a comprehensive survey of toxicants in STPs. …

New Orleans takes step in right direction on ridesharing

New Orleans has traditionally been hostile to the sharing economy. Airbnb and other room-sharing services are still effectively outlawed in the Crescent City. Ridesharing companies have not had …

Virginia legalizes ridesharing services

From the Heartlander: R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan says government regulators are struggling to adapt to new sharing-economy businesses like Lyft and Uber. “Uber and Lyft have been facing aggressive regulators …

Marx, Smith, Amplifyd and Nestle: social investing in 2015

One of the more interesting signs that the economy is picking up again is the new focus on social responsibility emanating from the C-suites of major corporations. The …

I love the 90s!

The Millennial Generation -- into which I have been unceremoniously lumped, care of a post-Reagan inauguration birthdate — has a thing for the ’90s. It’s no secret that anyone …

A few weeks into the legislative session, here are the most important issues facing the Alabama Legislature

With the Alabama Legislature in full swing, both the Senate and House have released their respective agendas. Those agendas usually reflect priorities that legislators are relatively confident they …

Marketplace Fairness Act foes hopeful House Judiciary develops ‘origin sourcing’ alternative

From Consumer Electronics Daily: Opponents of the Marketplace Fairness Act are hopeful that the House Judiciary Committee will introduce an alternative online sales tax bill would tax online retailers …

Sloan Kettering corrects e-cigarette study

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers, led by first-author Sarah Borderud, claimed on Sept. 22, 2014, that e-cigarettes did not help cancer patients quit smoking. They based that …

Louisville should find way to accommodate home-sharing

The growth of the popular home-sharing website Airbnb over the past few years has engendered opposition in some quarters. Most recently, Louisville, Ky. is the latest city to …

Justin Trudeau, Steven Blaney and Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies

From CBC Radio: Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin's Law, joined Day 6 to discuss when it's okay to make a Nazi comparison. Brent Bambury: We just heard two prominent Canadian politicians make …

Judges say labor laws outdated to deal with sharing economy firms

New laws might be needed to provide courts better guidance on how to classify the employment status of drivers for transportation network companies, and indeed, other services offered …

Letter to U.S. Senate: Oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act

Dear Senator, On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned organizations, we write in strong opposition to the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” (MFA). Despite what some …

The Marketplace Fairness Act is back

From Somewhat Reasonable: Each version of the bill has also attracted a wide array of critics, who argued in a letter to Congress that the Act would override important …

AP sues State for Hillary’s emails

The State Department may have initiated the request for Hillary's emails, but it seems they weren't overly specific in terms of what they were looking for. Their oversight …

Groups urge Judiciary to support Innovation Act

From Politico: Twelve free-market groups will send a letter today to the House Judiciary Committee in support of Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Innovation Act. The groups, including R Street Institute, …

Property insurance: Lot of hot air, not much in solutions

From the Beaufort Observer: But we took note when we got a press release from the R Street Institute. Here's what they had to say about these new bills... ...Click …

How can federal workers protect secrets, while still staying transparent?

From Fox-UP TV-6: Technology Consultant Derek Khanna says that's just the beginning. "There are similar technologies that can be used for both lawyers and politicians that allow them to send …

Free-market groups support House patent reform legislation

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. United States House Judiciary Committee Washington, DC 20515 Dear Committee Members, On behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations, we write to express our strong …

Coastal protection plan supported by both parties is going nowhere

From ClimateWire: "My judgment is that this is one of the few pieces of major environmental legislation that would have a very good chance in a Republican Congress," said …

Capitol Hill

From Washington Internet Daily: The bill is "identical" to its 2013 counterpart, with the exception of an amendment that would require states to delay the enactment of MFA for …

Ray Lehmann on “Blurred Lines” case

From Overlawyered.com: While musical copying, and copying lawsuits, are nothing new, Ray Lehmann finds “different” and “potentially problematic” a jury’s $7.4 million verdict “against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, …

Progressive is rolling out TNC coverage in Pennsylvania

Slowly but surely, more of the major U.S. auto insurers are rolling out custom products designed to cover the unique risks presented by the emerging market of transportation …

‘Blurred Lines’ decision offers blurry conception of copyright

A federal jury seated in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has handed down a $7.4 million verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, asserting the pair's 2013 …

R Street alarmed by North Carolina property insurance bill

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed deep concern today over the introduction of S. 208 in the North Carolina State Senate. The measure, aimed at …

R Street warns so-called ‘Marketplace Fairness Act’ is anything but

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment at yesterday’s reintroduction of the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” in the U.S. Senate. This poorly designed bill …

Earthquake risks are rising, but take-up isn’t

The West Coast's risk of ruin is even greater than we previously feared. According to the just-released Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, the likelihood that California could …

Congress needs to reassert regulatory oversight, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2015) – After years of ceding authority to the executive branch, Congress should take steps to regain its rule-making power, according to a paper released …

Capitol Hill

From Washington Internet Daily : "Attempts to expand copyright law and increase regulatory control stifle the new creative revolution fueled by the Internet and constant advances in consumer electronics," …

Oppose the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

Letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from the American Civil Liberties Union, Cause of Action, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, the Defending Dissent Foundation, …

Three steps for reasserting Congress in regulatory policy

Each year, federal agencies produce more regulations. These regulations affect nearly every aspect of our lives, yet are never voted on by Congress. This is a remarkable and …

Letter from 33 groups on copyright reform

The attached letter from 33 advocacy groups urges Congress to take simple targeted steps to curb copyright infringement and frivolous lawsuits, but to avoid regulatory overreach that would …

Testimony to House Legislative Branch Subcommittee on congressional data

The attached written testimony was submitted to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch jointly by members of the Congressional Data Coalition and the Data …

IP groups urge copyright, public domain protections

From Politico: Thirty-three advocacy groups with a wide range of perspectives on intellectual property are banding together to lay out a vision of copyright reform for lawmakers. In a …

Bring Texas liquor laws into the 21st century

It’s been more than 80 years since America ended its ill-fated experiment with prohibition. Yet the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code is still littered with provisions that serve little …

The libertarian plan for saving the coastline

From National Journal: The program should now be expanded, argues a 2013 paper by Lori Sanders of the R Street Institute, a libertarian-conservative think tank. R Street proposes several …

Missouri considers overly prescriptive TNC law

Governments are having a difficult time keeping up with changes in the culture and in the economy these days. One of the top issues for governments everywhere is …

Rahm Emanuel and the trials of progressive payback

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is doing something very uncharacteristic to save his flailing re-election campaign: He’s being nice. Mr. Emanuel, his acerbic personality muted by a pullover sweater, cut …

Why gay marriage isn’t going to top the culture war agenda

Conservative "founding mother" Phyllis Schlafly is dead wrong to predict a conservative backlash against LGBT rights. It's just not going to happen. While some people will remain opposed …

House of Representatives places an order for legislative data transparency

When the House of Representatives adopted new rules for the 114th Congress, it took an unprecedented step forward. As part of the orders for the new Congress, the …

Public policy groups urge U.S. SC to limit ‘needless’ patent infringement-inducement cases

From Legal Newsline: The R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit public policy research organization that supports free markets and limited government, said in an amicus brief filed last …

Lawmakers try to weed out federal crop insurance

From the New American: Such subsidies, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly benefit Big Agriculture. Lori Sanders, an analyst at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, wrote in the American …

Conflicts of interest exposed, FDA reorganizes tobacco advisory panel

A range of obvious conflicts of interest has led to the replacement of several FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee members. Federal judge Richard Leon ruled last July that …

San Antonio must continue to revisit rideshare ordinance

Ridesharing reform is coming to San Antonio, but so far it’s been a bumpy road. In December, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to impose a set of …

Rand Paul on why Republicans should care about Selma

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was two years old when 500 marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on Sunday, March 7, 1965, to promote voting rights for …

Cheap oil gets rid of subsidized oil in developing nations

William Goldman is best known as the screenwriter behind the films the Princess Bride and Marathon Man. He is also the author of a profound quote about business: Nobody knows …

Indiana passes e-cig regs, but stops short of vaping ban

The State of Indiana is moving to regulate e-cigarettes and the liquids used for “vaping.” The Indiana House and Senate both have passed legislation that would ban sales …

Fighting crop insurance cronyism

From the American Conservative: "I don’t have super high hopes it’ll go anywhere,” says Lori Sanders, outreach director and senior fellow for The R Street Institute. She’s talking about the Harvest Price Subsidy …

Time for full investigations of Hillary Clinton

Recent press revelations indicate that Hillary Rodham Clinton likely violated federal law by conducting State Department business via a personal email account. Both Congress and the State Department …

80 groups support Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015

Dear Congressman Brady and Congressman Bishop: The undersigned organizations support your bill, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. We appreciate your work to lead the country toward a common …

Smoking cessation: minimal impact on weight

The association of tobacco use and body weight has long been a matter of concern. In 2004, I collaborated with Swedish investigators to publish the first research on …

Joint statement to House Government Operations Subcommittee on FOIA reform

Attached is the joint statement of the American Library Association, American Society of News Editors, Association of Alternative News Media, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the …

Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods and the use of IP as censorship

Trumbull, Conn. is a town of 36,000 in suburban Fairfield County, perhaps best known for winning the 1989 Little League World Series and for being the hometown of …

The civil rights history I missed growing up in the South

I learned about Christopher Columbus's voyages on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.  I could recount the tale of the mysterious lost colony at Roanoke. The battles of …

DEA warns Utah of stoned rabbits

I would certainly not have predicted Utah to be the next state to take up the mantle of marijuana legalization, but thankfully, they are. I say this not …

TNCs, state flood insurance among hot topics at NCOIL spring meeting

For those whose travel plans weren't interrupted by the inclement weather, the spring meeting of the tri-annually convened National Conference of Insurance Legislators – held in Charleston, S.C. …

Some DOE staff found new way to take advantage of students

Student loans are a billion dollar industry for the government, which basically insures that the system, despite Elizabeth Warren's eternal pleadings, is unlikely to be reformed. But it …

It’s tax break week in Texas

The Texas state Senate this week is holding hearings on a whole slew of tax reform bills. Starting yesterday and continuing today and tomorrow, the Senate Finance Committee …

Addressing the real drivers of the explosion in food stamps

The U.S. House may not be able to agree on much when it comes to the size and scope of federal programs, but one thing has been clear …

Olympia could punish early adopters of rooftop solar

When it comes to technology, so-called “early adopters” understand they are taking a risk. Those who choose to pay more for unproven or unscaled technologies do so with …

Building houses on sandy ground

In the summer of 2004, I packed all of my worldly belongings into a small U-Haul trailer and made the trek from Central Texas to the Florida Panhandle. …

Edward Anselm

Nuclear power is a ‘national asset’, says US think tank

From World Nuclear News: U.S. federal research policy should recognize the nuclear sector as a national asset and treat it equally with other non-greenhouse gas emitting energy sources, R …

White House restrictions on data collection imperil innovation economy

In a late Friday news dump, the Obama administration released a dubious plan to create a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.” This proposal would enact a slew of …

Coalition urges Congress to keep budget promises

Rep. Tom Price, Chairman Committee on Budget U.S. House of Representatives 207 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Price: On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our combined memberships, we urge …

Democrats take GOP to school on Homeland Security funding battle over immigration

Regrettably, shutdown politics has become the new norm in Washington. Whether EPA regulations, the Affordable Care Act or immigration, the art of the compromise has been almost completely …

Florida may move forward on TNC regs

Florida lawmakers this month filed legislation in both houses of the Legislature to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.  The two companion bills seek to establish …

R Street scholars on your podcast airwaves

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan sat down with the fine folks at the Through the Noise podcast to discuss, among other things, what a "think tank" is, …

Geoengineering: The cold war on global warming

A recent panel of the National Academy of Sciences called for increased research into geoengineering. The announcement drew a variety of reactions, ranging from “this is proof that …

Douglas J. Besharov

Neil Gilbert

The TSA is very sad about this DHS thing

Guys, the Transportation Safety Administration is very sad. Really sad. Like, they might not even feel like rifling through your unmentionables tonight they're so dejected and depressed. Everything about …

Fargo forgoes facts

Two public health officials in Fargo, N.D. this week were the source of grossly misleading claims about smokeless tobacco for a local media story. Fargo public health staffers Holly …

The IRS was good to Lois Lerner

It seems that whatever Lois Lerner was doing, she was doing something right by her bosses. Turns out, while was worming her way into the hearts and minds of …

Trains are no substitute for Keystone

In what was ultimately a surprise to no one, President Barack Obama yesterday vetoed the bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This sets the stage …

Fair Use: Getting by with a little help from our friends

Is it legal for me to publish a blog post with this title? Am I violating copyright law? I am, after all, reusing lyrics from the chorus of …

Green Scissors letter to Secretary Moniz on FutureGen 2.0

Secretary Ernest Moniz Department of Energy 1000 Independence Ave. SW Washington, DC 20585 Feb. 25, 2015 The Green Scissors coalition, made up of environmental, taxpayer and free-market groups dedicated to eliminating wasteful …

A rose ceremony we should tune out

Prime-time television is rarely, if ever, conducive to serious debates about public policy. Yet a recent article by Danielle Paquette on the Washington Post's Wonkblog manages to do …

R Street joins Public Knowledge, others, in urging Supreme Court to apply appropriate liability standards in key patent-infringement case

WASHINGTON (Feb. 24, 2015) – The Supreme Court should interpret patent law to limit needless infringement-inducement cases against technology companies, products, and services, the R Street Institute said …

R Street / CDT Happy Hour

The difference between wanting a carbon tax and getting one

Negotiation is the process by which value is determined by the intensity of the involved parties’ desires. The more that one party wants something the other controls, the …

The worst sort of crony capitalism

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein wrote in his 1966 libertarian classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. But …

DHS spent a lot of money on office furniture

This week, Congress is readying for it's biggest battle yet, over funding for the Department of Homeland Security, in return for Barack Obama forgetting all about that little …

R Street paper touts importance of federal research and development in nuclear power

WASHINGTON (Feb. 24, 2015) – Federal research policy should be reoriented to recognize the U.S. nuclear sector as a national asset that contributes to domestic economic, energy security …

The role of U.S. research and development policy in nuclear power

The U.S. civil nuclear sector faces a number of challenges that threaten grid reliability and climate mitigation goals. Though current U.S. reactor designs improve confidence in the predictability …

Is it unfair to compare ISIS to the Nazis?

From Newsweek: Is it time to repeal Godwin’s Law? The rise of ISIS–a fast-growing, fascistic, expansionist force that’s willing to murder any person who dares defying its strict tenets–gets …

Testimony to Utah House Business and Labor Committee

Chair Peterson, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. Thank you for …

Innovation and a Carbon Tax: Unexpected Views from the Right and Left

R Street Institute

The California Model: What We Can Learn from the Golden State’s Approach to Ridesharing

Hattery

Panel: Conservative Thought and Sustainability

K&L Gates LLP

Ridesharing in the District: How the Nation’s Capital Is Regulating Drivers-for-Hire

The Loft

Westfields Marriott

Fighting Poverty: Solutions from the Center-Right

A Public Forum Leading on Climate

#LegalHack CopyNight Returns: February 10 Edition!

R Street

Copyright Policy Lunch

R Street / CDT Happy Hour at SXSW

R Street Panels at SXSW

Affordable Care Act’s tax traps may catch the middle class

Whoever decided that having the Internal Revenue Service enforce the penalties for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a good idea may have made a political mistake …

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Insurance industry needs better arguments for ‘price optimization’

Back in her high school days, my daughter got to be a pretty darned good field hockey player, eventually became the captain of her team. But in her …

State insurance rule tweaks no threat to CUs

From Credit Union Times: An annual report card on state insurance regulation produced by the Washington-based public policy think tank R Street Institute and published in December ranked the …

New group brings together right and left, gays and straights, to fight marriage gap

From CNBC.com: Notable signatories from these groups include Blankenhorn and Rauch, as well as Joseph Bottum, June Carbone, Christopher DeMuth, Rev. Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Rep. Richard L. Hanna …

Don’t ban e-cigarettes on airplanes

From CNN.com: There is simply no evidence that secondhand aerosols exhaled by e-cigarette users endanger non-users. As Dr. Joel Nitzkin, a former co-chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force …

R Street Institute welcomes repeal of Florida’s alcohol/grocery separation law

From Saint Petersblog: It’s not often you see the word “liberalize” coming from a conservative/libertarian advocacy group, but in the debate over Florida’s “Growler bill,” almost anything is possible. “R …

Letter to NAIC Sharing Economy Working Group

The attached comments were sent to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Sharing Economy Working Group in response to the group's draft white paper TNC Insurance Principles for …

R Street welcomes Texas bills to modernize liquor laws

AUSTIN, Texas (Feb.18, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed bills introduced in both houses of the Texas Legislature that would modernize alcohol regulation by removing anticompetitive provisions …

Guide to policy events at SXSW 2015

Every year, tens of thousands of people swarm to Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive – one of the biggest annual gatherings of technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs in the country. Here at …

Bill to repeal state alcohol/grocery separation law passes Florida House committee

From St. Petersblog: Christian Camara, Florida Director of the libertarian think tank R Street Institute, said that although it is government’s responsibility to provide public safety, businesses that already …

Texas homeowners might get break on insurance premiums

From the San Antonio Express-News: But homeowners insurance companies are suffering further losses from high numbers of lawsuits for hail claims, according to R Street, a public policy research …

R Street welcomes bill to liberalize Florida liquor laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's vote by the Florida House Business and Professions Subcommittee passing H.B. 107, also known as the …

Testimony to the Florida House Business and Professions Subcommittee

As Florida director of the R Street Institute, one of my responsibilities is to identify emerging free-market issues in my state and suggest to our national office in …

RESTORE Act gives Alabama opportunity to lead on economy and environment

April marks five years since an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon sunk the mobile drilling rig and released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. …

We need politicians like Cindy Crawford’s latest photograph: unretouched

For many young men growing up in the 1980s and 90s, Cindy Crawford was hard to miss...not that many were trying to miss her. She reigned supreme as …

Federal court blocks executive amnesty, for now

The Obama White House may be preoccupied with trying to figure out how best to water down Middle Eastern conflicts into mere questions of unemployment, and busy putting …

NIH funding stifles tobacco harm reduction research and support in academia

As a pathologist working at two large medical centers, I have studied the effects of smoking on health for more than 20 years. I’ve published scores of papers …

How the U.S. Supreme Court biased its own decision on same-sex marriage

By permitting same-sex marriages to take place over state laws to the contrary, the U.S. Supreme Court has essentially biased the outcome of the four same-sex marriage cases …

Move to ban e-cigs stifles innovation

California lawmakers aren’t afraid of innovation, or so they say. Members of the Legislature in Sacramento will have their commitment to innovation tested this session when an attempt …

Restoring the Gulf Coast through local control

For many on the Gulf Coast, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill seems like it was yesterday. Many might be surprised that almost five years have gone by since …

National disaster preparation and response plan gets bipartisan traction

From Business Insurance: Ray Lehmann, a senior fellow at the Washington-based R Street Institute, a free market-oriented public policy group, said “we're hopeful” that the private and public sector …

Florida insurance needs more than a one-hit wonder

From Daytona Beach News-Journal: A new research study from The James Madison Institute and R Street Institute provides a detailed roadmap for practical policy solutions in this arena. The …

Viguerie and 67 policy leaders urge comprehensive tax reform now

From ConservativeHQ: “America's tax code is an expensive, growth-sapping disaster,” said R Street Institute’s Executive Director Andrew Moylan, “As the National Taxpayers Union's research has shown, simply complying with …

Senators introduce bill to cut crop insurance

From AgWeek: The Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act is also supported by a coalition of left- and right-wing groups, including Heritage Action, the R Street Institute, the American Enterprise …

Congressman reboots proposed ban on Internet access taxes

From Heartlander: R Street Executive Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan agrees with Radia’s conclusions, calling the bill’s introduction “an important development.” “Getting rid of the grandfathering for the seven …

Support Montana’s warrant-for-content bill

Dear Austin Knudsen, Debby Barrett, Chuck Hunter, and Jon Sesso: We, the undersigned companies and organizations, are writing to urge speedy consideration and passage of Montana House Bill 444. …

Lehmann talks extreme weather on NPR’s On Point

With record snowstorms crippling New England, R Street Institute Senior Fellow and Editor-in-Chief R.J. Lehmann was a guest this week on the nationally syndicated public radio program On …

Black introduces legislation to promote energy security, expand states’ rights

From Rep. Diane Black: The Federal Land Freedom Act would not extend to federal Indian land, the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, or a congressionally designated …

Flake, Duncan, Shaheen move to eliminate subsidies to farm bill’s taxpayer-funded profit-guarantee program

From Sen. Jeff Flake: The Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act is also supported by Heritage Action, the R Street Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union, …

Should we regulate leggings worn as pants?

This week, Montana seemed poised to become the first state in the nation to ban yoga pants. Because, apparently, Montana's male elected leaders were having a hard time …

Rocking homeowners

“California Rocks.” That’s the clever slogan for a new advertising campaign by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), the state’s privately funded, publicly managed earthquake insurance fund. The message is …

R Street urges lawmakers to support Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act

WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2015) – The R Street Institute applauds today’s introduction of the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act, sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Jeff Flake, …

Tallying up the high costs of extreme weather

From On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Epic snows in my backyard lately, in Boston.  Six feet-plus in a month, and it’s still coming.  The most ever recorded coming down …

Capitol Hill

From Washington Internet Daily: The bill is the same as HR-5586, which Farenthold introduced last year, a spokesman said. Farenthold "understands we expect the devices we buy to belong …

Bill addressing insurance company dust-up advancing

From Utah Political Capitol: Ian Adams, western region director at the R Street Institute, believes that the state is putting itself at an economic disadvantage by changing its interpretation …

Support the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act

Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write to urge your strong support of the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition …

Apply now for R Street’s 2015 Google Policy Fellowship

Applications are open now for R Street's 2015 Google Policy Fellowship in technology policy. The deadline to apply is March 12. R Street’s Google Fellow will have the opportunity to …

Inhofe introduces the Federal Lands Freedom Act (FLFA) of 2015

From Sen. James Inhofe: The legislation has the support of Heritage Action, Western Energy Alliance, the R Street Institute, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). …

Don’t ignore RESTORE

Depending on the outcome of ongoing litigation, Texas soon may find itself the recipient of a sizable windfall. But the state shouldn’t fall victim to the temptation to …

States would be better stewards of most federal lands

Tell the typical American that the federal government controls 640 million acres of land (close to 28 percent of the nation's total area), and you're likely to get …

R Street applauds introduction of YODA

WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2015) - The R Street Institute is encouraged by today's introduction of the You Own Devices Act, or  "YODA," sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. The bill …

Internet ain’t broke, don’t let AG try to fix it

For all that we complain about the Internet from time to time, the fact is, for the most part, we love the Internet. Yet not all of us …

Conservative groups seek to kill harvest-price insurance subsidies

From Agri-Pulse: Representatives of Heritage Action and the American Enterprise Institute will appear at a news conference Thursday with Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., to …

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner brings mandatory union dues to an end

Apparently, when it comes to the game of issuing executive orders, both parties can play. Monday night, just in time for the 6 o'clock news, newly minted Republican Illinois …

Memo to the CDC: Tell the WHOLE truth about e-cigarettes

The contrast between the spin put on youth e-cigarette use data last fall and the story told by the actual data, released last month, is startling, but not …

Coalition letter to Congress urging comprehensive tax reform now

Dear Members of Congress: The current U.S. federal tax system is out of date and desperately in need of an overhaul. Current U.S. policies were formulated in the 1980s …

Why the two-earner tax credit is a flawed approach

In his most recent State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama laid out a litany of tax proposals, including a $500 tax credit to households where there …

The ‘sharing economy’ is under threat

This piece was co-authored by R Street Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. One of the underappreciated problems of the growth of the regulatory state is that rather than …

Obama will veto Keystone XL behind closed doors

President Barack Obama will veto a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline this week, despite the bill's bipartisan support. But instead of making a big deal …

IWF joins coalition urging Congress to draft and pass comprehensive tax reform bill now

From Independent Women's Forum: Additional groups that signed the coalition letter include R Street Institute, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Hoover Institute, American Commitment, and many other …

Alcohol delivery and your smart phone: a match made in heaven

In a world where the lines between the digital and the physical are blurry and fluid, constantly crossing and morphing and mashing up into a new version of …

A guide to religious tolerance in the 21st century

In Alabama, faith remains a cornerstone of many communities. It is not a simple box to check or a title to wear. Rather, faith is the lens through …

Debbie and Sheila’s night out at the Grammys

I'll be rounding up the highlights from last night's Grammy Awards a bit later, but suffice it to say, if you didn't watch it, you missed very little. …

Think Tanks: Justice Dept. works to ‘see through walls’

From the Washington Examiner: Kevin Boyd for the R Street Institute: In a growing trend begun a few years ago without much public disclosure or debate, at least 50 …

Letter to Oregon Legislative Assembly about HB 2546

I submit this comment and request to amend H.B. 2546 in my capacity as a public health physician and my role as senior fellow for tobacco policy with …

San Antonio regulations driving Uber out of town

From Breitbart: Josiah Neeley, the Texas State Director for the R Street Institute, concurred with Uber’s assessment of the heavy impact of the ordinance. “When you look at the …

Anti-rebating laws and the Utah experience

Most free-market proponents recognize there can be a productive role for sensible regulation, but the bar is relatively high. First, one must identify some clear and compelling consumer …

Utah should modernize anti-rebating regulations, R Street policy brief finds

SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 6, 2015) – Utah should bring its anti-rebating regulations in line with the rest of the country, according to a policy brief published today …

Heading a national ridesharing outline a political gain for Jones?

From Insurance Journal: Ian Adams, Western Region Director at R Street Institute, believes Jones is using his role on the commission as a podium to campaign for his next …

Coalition letter on FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act

Feb. 5, 2015 Sen. John Cornyn Sen. Patrick Leahy Rep. Darrell Issa Rep. Elijah Cummings Dear Sens. Cornyn and Leahy and Reps. Issa and Cummings: The undersigned organizations announce their support for the …

Geico goes end-to-end with Virginia ridesharing product

In a continuation of the encouraging trend of personal insurers embracing innovation as a way to deal with the increased popularity of "sharing economy" services, auto insurance giant …

R Street welcomes bill to crack down on patent trolls

WASHINGTON (Feb. 5, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed today’s re-introduction by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., of the Innovation Act, which will address the problem …

Utah struggles to stay in tune

Legislators in Utah have responded quickly to concerns expressed by technology leaders that the state’s insurance department has struck a dissonant chord. Now they have an opportunity to …

War on hail declared in Texas as insurers take cover from storms

From Bloomberg News: In the Austin statehouse, the insurance industry wants to make it harder for trial lawyers to profit from catastrophic weather. In January, R Street Institute, a …

Before the Flood: Reducing Louisiana’s vulnerability to severe weather through market-based insurance reforms

This paper will examine Louisiana's vulnerability to severe weather and suggest market-based reforms to adapt to extreme inherent risks, which could be exacerbated by a changing climate. It is …

Free-market reforms could save Louisiana from catastrophe, Pelican Institute paper finds

BATON ROUGE, La. (Feb. 5, 2015) – Louisiana's unique coastal vulnerabilities will require the state to pursue sensible free-market reforms to its insurance markets and built environment to …

Sanders talks child care and Head Start on The Big Picture

R Street Outreach Director and Senior Fellow Lori Sanders joined host Thom Hartmann on his RT show The Big Picture to discuss President Barack Obama's new childcare proposal …

R Street praises introduction of digital-privacy legislation in both chambers

WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised members in both houses of Congress today for introducing reform legislation aimed at improving the privacy of Americans’ …

The FAA will not regulate your moon base…yet

With all this talk of Mars exploration, the U.S. government clearly has space-faring commercialism on its mind. In clear pursuit of Newt Gingrich's sweeping vision, a company called Bigelow …

FAA suit hopes to help ‘flight sharing’ take off

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute last month sued the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of Flytenow Inc., a fledgling transportation network company that is looking to do for "flight …

Transparency in government-sponsored ads

In recent years, Americans have been inundated with commercials highlighting the Affordable Care Act, some of which have been slagged as rather tasteless and exaggerated. The Department of …

Protecting Communications Act Section 230 key for Google supporters against Mississippi AG

From Consumer Electronics Daily: Supporters of Google's case against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood want to ensure the viability of Communications Act Section 230, they said in interviews and …

Industry groups join Google’s attack against Hood’s inquiry

From the Associated Press: "Simply put, requiring online service providers either to respond to subpoenas directed primarily at third-party conduct — or to engage in protracted and expensive litigation …

Battle over Google subpoena threatens critical online free speech protections

From Electronic Frontier Foundation: The Center for Democracy and Technology, the Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and R Street Institute joined EFF in the brief. …

R Street concerned about protectionist reinsurance tax

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2015) – The R Street Institute today expressed concern about a plank in the White House’s proposed 2016 budget that would impose protectionist taxes on legitimate reinsurance …

R Street welcomes new southern region director

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2015) – The R Street Institute is proud to welcome Cameron Smith as the institute's southern region director. He will also continue to be a …

Amicus brief in Google v Hood

Amici Curiae submit this brief because the stakes of this case go well beyond the particular burden the attorney general's investigation may place on one service provider. This …

Congress should pass the president’s ‘kill list’

President Barack Obama’s penultimate budget will be delivered to Congress today. Per the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president’s budget will enumerate recommended spending levels for …

The inevitability of the sharing economy

Uber, AirBnB and other companies that mine the so-called “sharing economy” continue to face legal and regulatory challenges, both in the United States and internationally. At heart, these services …

A tale of two turnpikes

Several times a year, I make the drive from Chicago to my parents' house in Youngstown, Ohio. It's a 400-mile straight shot on the Indiana and Ohio Turnpikes …

California opens fast lane to approve TNC insurance products

The California Department of Insurance has approved the state's first private passenger auto policy endorsement specifically crafted to cover drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. …

$7 billion just disappeared on the Gulf Coast

Right now, a federal court in Louisiana is wrapping up the penalty phase of the trial against BP to determine the oil company's negligence under the federal Clean …

Florida report outlines lasting property insurance market reform recommendations

From the James Madison Institute: TALLAHASSEE – A hurricane has not made landfall in Florida for nine years; however, a new report from The James Madison Institute (JMI) warns …

Senate set to vote on five-year extension of Wind PTC

Congress has been in session for only a couple weeks and the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate already has surpassed the number of roll call amendment …

Muni broadband: Even dumber in 2015 than 2005

Ahead of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama went to Cedar Falls, Iowa to tout municipal broadband. Despite a landscape littered with missed goals, incomplete …

Gov. Jay Inslee’s new tax hikes are the wrong direction for Washington state

From the NW Daily Marker: A second problematic component of Inslee’s tax plan is his proposal to jack up taxes on e-cigarettes. This, too, is ironic. Part of the logic …

Portland State e-cigarette claims debunked in the New York Times

New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera today knocks Portland State University researchers’ claims that e-cigarettes produce higher levels of formaldehyde than cigarettes – bogus findings that I …

Obama takes on oil drilling from giant jet

I don't remember the last time I heard the term "ANWR" - the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge - before this weekend. I think I recall some controversy over …

President Obama is more King John than Robin Hood

In the State of the Union address, President Obama certainly left the impression that he would like to be considered a type of Robin Hood to the American …

R Street outlines solutions for reforming Florida’s property insurance market

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2015) – The Florida Legislature should consider steps to make the state’s insurance market more solvent and competitive, according to a new paper released …

Lasting reforms for Florida’s property insurance market

With the 2014 Hurricane Season having drawn to an unremarkable close, Florida has now gone nine years without a hurricane making landfall. This represents the longest such “drought” …

Green groups eyeing Republicans for climate support

From the Washington Examiner: "It puts a number of people on record and really gives the party a pretty safe way to take a position," Eli Lehrer, president of …

Lost a drone? The Secret Service might have it

If you were the lucky amateur pilot who landed a "Quadcopter" drone on the White House lawn late last night, the Secret Service has your unmanned robot aircraft …

NAIC seeks input on TNC white paper

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has begun a 30-day comment period on a draft white paper (available here) that no doubt will shape the development in states …

New Orleans smoking ban should exclude vaping

Years after most American cities have enacted smoking bans, the City of New Orleans is poised to enact one. With a unanimous vote Jan. 22, the City Council …

Keeping PACE in Texas: Revitalizing industry, saving water, guiding better policy

From Breaking Energy: This week, Environmental Defense Fund and R Street Institute, with support from Google, hosted a breakfast roundtable at the Texas Capitol to highlight one of those …

Ex-Wikimedia counsel takes libertarian think tank GC job

From Corporate Counsel: Mike Godwin, a former top lawyer for Wikipedia operator Wikimedia Foundation Inc., will serve as the first general counsel and innovation policy director for the libertarian …

Mike Godwin

ECPA letter to U.S. House

January  22,  2015 The Honorable Robert W. Goodlatte Chairman House Judiciary Committee The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Ranking  Member House  Judiciary  Committee We, the undersigned companies and organizations, are writing to urge speedy consideration of …

Keystone XL Pipeline may force Republicans to embrace climate change

From Scientific American: Others say that Democrats could be making inroads with moderate Republicans who might be willing to support climate action, rather than offering "point-scoring" amendments. Andrew Moylan, executive …

Tools for transparency in copyright law

Over the span of one week in October 2014, Google received requests to remove more than 11 million URLs from its search engine due to copyright-infringement claims. Enshrined in …

Six reasons Texas should kill the margin tax

One of the most basic laws of economics is that if you tax something, you get less of it. So why is business-loving Texas one of the few states …

Bogus research on formaldehyde in e-cig vapor

The New England Journal of Medicine this week published a letter claiming that vapor contains “hidden” formaldehyde at far higher levels than cigarettes, which made headlines worldwide. That …

Personal auto insurers wade cautiously into ridesharing waters

In recent months, controversy over the potential "uninsured" status of drivers for app-based transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has finally started to settle down. Those two …

Are police radars that ‘see through walls’ as scary as they sound?

In a growing trend begun a few years ago without much public disclosure or debate, at least 50 police departments across the country -- including the FBI and …

R Street study outlines ways to expand number of Californians who purchase earthquake insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2015) – Lawmakers need to find ways to expand the number of Californians who purchase earthquake insurance, given the extremely low take-up rate in …

Inslee’s vaping tax bad for taxpayers, public health

It is often the case that partisans of one political cause or another obscure their real motivations for the sake of expediency. Non-politicos are likely to characterize such …

Letter to Virginia General Assembly on transportation network companies

January 22, 2015 Virginia General Assembly 1000 Bank Street Richmond, VA 23219 Dear Members of the Virginia Legislature, We applaud the General Assembly’s initiative to advance full legalization of transportation network companies (TNCs) …

Scooplet: Mike Godwin to R Street

From Politico: SCOOPLET: MIKE GODWIN TO R STREET — Mike Godwin, the tech policy expert behind the Internet meme Godwin's Law, will be director of innovation policy and general …

R Street welcomes Mike Godwin as director of innovation policy

WASHINGTON (Jan. 22, 2015) – The R Street Institute is proud to welcome Mike Godwin as director of innovation policy and general counsel. Starting Monday, Godwin will lead …

Insuring a Way Out: Modernizing the California Earthquake Authority

California faces severe earthquake risk, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake insurance take-up rates create a scenario in which …

McCarty deserves some credit for stabilizing Florida market

Testifying this week before the Florida House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, Office of Insurance Regulation Deputy Chief of Staff Monte Stevens echoed much of what has been reported …

Louisiana’s largest parish could legalize ride-sharing

Jefferson Parish – a New Orleans suburb and Louisiana’s most populous parish -- is considering an ordinance by Parish Councilmembers Cynthia Lee-Sheng and Ben Zahn that would legalize …

Obama dredges Sacramento’s mire for SOTU

California’s left-leaning political chattering classes were tweeting with enthusiasm last night as President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. To their delight, the president …

It’s Copyright Week! Let’s talk about copyright cronyism

Every year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a host of other organizations -- including think tanks, trade groups and public interest advocates -- align their efforts for one …

Jeff Judson

Before reacting to Obama’s State of the Union, try learning from Reagan’s

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address will carry about as much drama as listening to a reading of the dictionary on public radio. The speech will …

US returns Magna Carta to England

Today, America bids farewell to the Magna Carta. The 800-year old document returns home to Lincolnshire, England, after six months in America. It landed at Boston’s Museum of …

What D.C.’s food scene can teach us about copyright law

As Congress prepares for another battle over copyright law, D.C. policy wonks seeking guidance need look no further than the way the local restaurant scene has developed. Though …

Otter again calls for trimming income tax over time

From Idaho Business Review: A survey by the R Street Institute last year found that 52 percent of Idahoans opposed the Marketplace Fairness Act. National polls from the International …

Do USB cables need regulation?

Frequent travelers know the pain of being out on the road without the correct charging plugs for their phones and other electronic devices, just as parents know the …

Don’t forget Ex-Im

Republicans have an excellent opportunity this year to present a robust conservative agenda and establish their vision for policies that encourage economic opportunity. There are a host of …

R Street disappointed by Hunter bill to reform TWIA

AUSTIN, Texas (January 15, 2015) – New legislation introduced by state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, would take the wrong approach to reforming the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, …

Five reasons why you can’t judge a Congress by counting laws

For the past six weeks, the media has bid a raucous good riddance to the 113th Congress. They have trashed it for its hyper-partisanship, for shutting down the …

Texas Legislature should address hail litigation, R Street study finds

AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 15, 2015) – With insurance claim litigation over hail damage at an all-time high in Texas, the Legislature should make tort reform a priority in …

Come Hail or High Water: Texas’ litigation explosion

Texas is known for its extreme weather. From hurricanes along the coast to wildfires in Bastrop, the state has absorbed more than its share of weather-related property damage. …

Politics, regulations are ruining state insurance market

Much has been made of the so-called California comeback, and it’s certainly true that the state’s economy is beginning to show signs of life. But in some ways, …

The 11 worst states for insurance regulation: Report

From Insurance Business America: California and North Carolina are the worst states in the nation for free market-promoting insurance regulation. That’s the finding from the 2014 Insurance Regulation Report …

The message Boehner should give to House Republicans

I used to work for a big and complicated enterprise – a multinational, multibillion dollar financial services confection of companies. I worked on public policy. In large commercial …

Formaldehype vs. fact: Levels are far lower in e-cigarettes than In cigarettes

Researcher Naoki Kunugita at Japan’s National Institute of Public Health recently fueled anti-e-cig hysteria with this unverifiable claim: In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 …

Crafting a carbon tax Oregon conservatives can support

Three West Coast governors wrote recently of a regional model for addressing climate change. Each of their three states — California, Oregon and Washington — is taking a …

If a rusty gravedigger dies in Alabama’s wetlands, should conservatives care?

We might not know it, but we are all environmentalists in Alabama...or at least, we should be. "Environmentalism" is not a dirty word or some practice reserved for …

Senate renews terrorism insurance program

From USA Today: However, critics of the federal program say it does not go far enough in shifting the risk from taxpayers to the private sector. Losses should have to …

How states rate on insurance regulation, ‘A’ to ‘F’

From Insurance Journal: Vermont gets a grade of “A+” and California and North Carolina get grades of “F” in the annual report card on state insurance regulation issued by …

Keystone pipeline drama returns for an exciting new season

Just as popular television shows often go on hiatus for the holidays, so our nation’s greatest political drama is now back for a new season. And measured purely …

Coalition aims to depopulate state funded insurer

From First Coast News: "We feel that more needs to be done because the day that the wind does blow and a hurricane does hit Florida, Florida could potentially …

Don’t let the boogeyman of change stop charter schools in Alabama

What if we created public schools that essentially operated under contracts that spelled out a mission, an educational strategy and the results the school was expected to produce? I …

No panic over loss of terrorism insurance

From the Washington Examiner: R.J. Lehmann for the R Street Institute: The news that Congress would adjourn without extending the $100 billion federal backstop offered by the Terrorism Risk …

In Vegas, CES parties like it’s 2009

It is estimated that 150,000 participants will flock to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. CES is a citywide forum for the introduction of novel …

House passes 6-year TRIA reauthorization

From SNL Financial: Insurers so far have responded by rolling out new or modified products aimed at covering terror risks, prompting arguments from TRIA skeptics that the market can …

Harvard professors shocked at Obamacare rate hike

While we wait for the results in the Great House Republican Insurgency of 2015 (John Boehner looks to have dialed up the orange in his spray tan just …

E-cigarette denial: It just doesn’t work anymore

Recently, I attended a forum on e-cigarettes, sponsored by a political organization that wanted to educate its attendees about the devices. During the discussion, my opponent (from the …

TRIA renewal could displace emerging private solutions to terrorism insurance

WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2015) – The R Street Institute warned today that a pending renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which the U.S. House could take up …

As Amazon grows, so does the number of states collecting taxes on online sales

From Business Finance: Conversely, a survey by the R Street Institute and the National Taxpayers Union (again, not unbiased groups), also conducted in July, found 57 percent of likely …

Why I left the Congressional Research Service

The attached piece originally appeared in the January/February 20 edition of Washington Monthly. If there’s one event that epitomizes why I quit my job last October as a researcher …

‘Ridescore’ study gives city C+ in friendliness to firms like Uber

From DNAinfo Chicago: Public policy institute R Street gave the city a C+ in a recent report, dubbed Ridescore, that graded cities on how friendly they are to transportation …

For 2015, it’s a world on fire, and we’re living in it

In the words of the immortal bard, Billy Joel, "We didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the world's been turning." Over the last year or …

Why a second Progressive Era is emerging- and how not to blow it

From Washington Monthly: The first is that progressivism between 1890 and 1921 was bipartisan. Each party had its progressive wing, and each competed with the other in articulating a …

Obama admin publishes 1,200 new regs ahead of New Year

Happy New Year's Eve! Tonight, while you're too busy getting wasted on cheap champagne and arguing with your Uber driver over surge pricing to notice, the Obama administration will …

Free-market groups outline requirements for new CBO director

Dear Leaders in the House and Senate, The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in recent years has employed inaccurate and opaque models that impacted political debates and policy outcomes, ultimately …

Taxi deregulation happened where?

Mary Cheh, who represents a leafy, affluent, embassy-filled section of Washington, doesn’t fit anyone’s image of a free-market reformer. A member of the D.C. Council since 2007, the …

Cleaner air, but who gets credit?

From the Texas Tribune: Even the unsuccessful lawsuits weren’t a total loss, because they asserted Texas’ independence and at times forced the EPA to revise its rules, said Josiah …

Happy holidays from the R Street Institute!

We here at R Street are a culturally and religiously diverse bunch. For instance, our president, Eli Lehrer, is Jewish, while Office Manager Khanh Nguyen is Buddhist. We …

A muddy, uncomfortable and imperfect Christmas nativity may be the most beautiful of all

During the Christmas season, we often see arrangements of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and maybe a few angels meticulously arranged around the baby Jesus, resting peacefully in …

The worst Christmas song ever

I want to talk Christmas songs. Not the kind you sing in church, but the kind you've been hearing on that one radio station that flipped its programming …

Charlottesville gets the gift of high-speed broadband

Toronto-based Tucows Inc. – best known for the domain registrar Hover and the wireless service provider Ting – will be jumping in to the ultra-high-speed broadband market pioneered …

Market fine after Congress fails to reauthorize fed-backed terrorism risk insurance

When Congress headed home for the year last week without renewing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) many in the real estate, tourism and insurance business predicted disaster. …

High school seniors post largest-ever single-year decline in smoking

The Monitoring the Future survey shows that past 30-day cigarette use among 12th graders dropped from 16.3 percent in 2013 to 13.6 percent in 2014, the largest single-year …

Letter to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on SOPA

December 22, 2014 Jim Hood Mississippi Attorney General Walter Sillers Building 550 High Street, Suite 1200 Jackson, MS 39201 Dear Attorney General Hood: According to recent news reports, your office, in active coordination with the …

The Internet is out in North Korea

Apparently, they actually do have Internet. Or...erm...they did. According to the New York Times, North Korea is now suffering a complete Internet blackout. What appears to be a Denial of Service Attack (or …

U.S.-China nuclear accord to be sent to Congress in early 2015

From Platts Nuclear Fuel: George Banks, a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a self-described free-market think tank, called China’s ENR activities "a non-starter issue" in the US …

You say ‘po-tay-toh,’ I say massive spud fraud

A pair of Cooperstown, N.D. brothers have been convicted in a $2 million scheme to defraud the federal crop insurance program with false claims of loss on their …

Play EFF’s fantastic copyright crossword

This holiday season, our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put together this fantastic crossword puzzle (also available in electronic and printable formats), comprised of clues relating …

Texas craft brewers sue for freedom from distributors

During its last session nearly two years ago, the Texas Legislature passed groundbreaking reforms to allow the state’s craft breweries greater freedom to operate. But thanks to a …

Test Email Form

What if they threw a market panic and nobody came?

The news last week that Congress would adjourn without extending the $100 billion federal backstop offered by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was greeted with howls of shock …

The rise of the populists: Could Warren, Cruz and Sessions change Washington?

For many conservatives, agreeing with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is a rare occurrence. Warren is a pure collectivist who views strong government control as a critical mechanism for …

Seeking common sense in 2015

I was going to try to write something positive at the end of the year, to balance out what a scold I’ve been almost all year long about …

Big SIFI news: MetLife is designated, Obama signs insurance capital standards bill

This week brought big news on two fronts in the world of allegedly "too big to fail" insurers. By a nine to one vote, with former Kentucky Insurance Commissioner …

Senate will release bulk downloads of legislative summaries, bill text from 113th and 114th Congress

WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2014) — The U.S. Senate will deliver access to its legislative information in modern, open data formats, starting when the 114th Congress convenes in January …

Groups demand Congress really oversee intelligence agencies

From the Daily Caller: Nathan Leamer from the R Street Institute, a group that signed the letter, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that intelligence information gets bottled up …

Why we need to get DATA Act standards right

Passing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) Act was a victory for open government and congressional data transparency. But passing the law alone is not enough -- …

Two steps forward, one step back

When news broke that the Utah Department of Insurance found that popular new benefits company Zenefits was not in compliance with state insurance law, and would have to …

Sony hack reveals celebrity gossip, plot to undermine free and open Internet

Hollywood media have feasted this month on  thousands of emails and internal documents leaked as part of a massive breach of Sony Pictures by the hacker group “Guardians …

The CEA considers a tax by any other name

The California Earthquake Authority has a heady legislative agenda on-tap for 2015, and Californians without earthquake insurance coverage could be made to foot the bill. The CEA’s CEO, Glenn …

After CRomnibus, a conservative wish list for a Republican-controlled Congress

While enactment of the trillion dollar "CRomnibus" left some conservatives fuming over Republican leadership's unwillingness to fight a shutdown battle over immigration or the Affordable Care Act, here …

Fed district court declares Obama’s executive amnesty unconstitutional

It's only the first court of many that will review the order, so it's nothing to get horribly excited about, but one federal district court in Pennsylvania has …

The Wind Production Tax Credit lives on

After much negotiation, Congress has passed legislation retroactively extending 55 “temporary” tax breaks (or tax extenders) through the end of 2014. It is likely that the president will …

50+ organizations and experts call for improved intelligence oversight

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2014) -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the R Street Institute, the Sunlight Foundation and 50 additional organizations and individuals today called on …

Vermont leads nation in effective insurance regulation, California least effective, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute has released its annual report card on insurance regulation, awarding Vermont with a grade of “A+” and California and …

2014 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Since it opened its doors two years ago, R Street has issued an annual Insurance Regulation Report Card. This is the third edition of our annual examination of …

Did Tom Coburn just cancel the Super Bowl?

No, is the short answer. The longer answer is more complicated. As has now been widely reported, it appears the U.S. Senate will not, after all, pass legislation extending …

Lawsuits against premium booze makers may have major impact on spirits labeling

So-called "premium" spirits, which are made in smaller batches and are traditionally more expensive than ordinary mass-produced spirits, are helping to fuel growth in alcohol sales in the …

Big CRomnibus winners: NSA, hungry kids, farting cows

If there was any good news to come out of this weekend's CRomnibus festivities, it was that you can now make any Democrat immediately cringe by implying that …

RISK: U.S. could raise up to $25B by eliminating flood insurance subsidies — GAO

From ClimateWire: Another way to look at foregone premiums might be to consider it as spending in annual federal budgets, said R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow and co-founder of …

Patents as weapons of self defense

The Center for Economic and Policy Research's Dean Baker notices something strange in the New York Times' profile of four-year-old Chinese cell phone manufacturer Xiaomi, an emerging player …

Revealed: Little-known Mississippi attorney general go-to man for Hollywood

It’s easy to see how Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood—a Bible-reading, pro-gun, pro-life Democrat—has survived in statewide office even as his already conservative state has turned a deeper …

San Antonio votes to crush ride-sharing companies like Uber

From Breitbart: San Antonio already had the most restrictive regulations for TNCs, according to a study by the free market think tank R Street Institute, as Breitbart Texas reported …

Fannie and Freddie: Proving that insanity is good for business

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Even a casual observer of the U.S. economy since its collapse in 2008 is …

Senator to EPA: Help states tax carbon

From National Journal: Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants EPA, as it crafts a major rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants, to explore how it could help states …

Underwater

From Earth Island Journal: To this day, there is debate within the SmarterSafer coalition regarding whether the backlash against Biggert-Waters was a grassroots uprising or the result of a …

Poet of understatement: Mark Strand, 1934-2014

Before his death late last month at the age of 80, Mark Strand could claim one of the most varied careers of Americans active in the arts. Born …

Can a state fill a budget gap with a price on carbon? Wash. may soon know

From E&E News: "As much as I wish the EPA rule would be done away with ... this is really the best way for states to deal with it," …

R Street congratulates Citizens on lowering reliance on taxpayers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed this week’s news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is prepared to enter the 2015 hurricane …

Gone Google: Europe is pushing to limit Internet companies

Europe's battle against large Internet companies (or should we just say Google?) wages on. Spain just introduced a new intellectual property law that will require Spanish news publications …

U.S. government wants to keep you out of comfortable boxers

As I am a woman, I cannot effectively comment on the pros and cons of various forms of men's underwear and their comparative comfort levels. I understand that …

The complicated politics of Uber

From MSNBC “I don’t think there are any clear partisan lines yet,” said Andrew Moylan, executive director and senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank …

Hill funding compromise leaves FCC short on desired cash

From Washington Internet Daily: The funding bill's Internet Tax Freedom Act extension through Oct. 1 is clear indication that a "battle" is coming over the Marketplace Fairness Act (HR-684) …

Why regulating Uber and Lyft is such a big deal

From the Rivard Report: Members of Council have heard a lot about a “level playing field” with legacy cab regulations. But rather than regulate up to the monopoly cab …

San Antonio regulations could run Uber out of town

From Breitbart: The R Street Institute, a free market think tank, recently published a study on how America's fifty largest cities are approaching the challenge of regulating TNCs. As Breitbart Texas …

San Antonio passes anti-Uber regulations

From the Daily Caller: Josiah Neeley, senior fellow and Texas director for the R Street Institute, said that these regulations are supported by established taxi companies to prevent competition. …

Taxi trouble in Texas

Texas has a well-deserved reputation for being a freedom-loving state. We like our regulations same as we like our steaks: rare. That, at any rate, is the stereotype, and …

‘Commemorative’ bills plunge in 113th Congress

For all the talk of congressional dysfunction, there is a bit of good news: Congress has spent less of its valuable time passing "commemorative" legislation. For this development, …

All hail the CRomnibus

After much hemming, hawing and belt-tightening, Congress finally unveiled their "pared-down" yearly budget, this year lovingly titled the "CRomnibus" because it is the product of the unholy union …

San Antonio goes too far with ridesharing insurance requirements

San Antonio, Texas appears to be on the verge of implementing one of America’s worst laws to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The current San Antonio …

Fear and loathing at Columbia Law

It isn’t the "stupid American voters" that are the problem in this country, unless you count the crazies manifesting their unhappiness this week that the fellow who promised …

Uber sued by San Francisco, Los Angeles for misleading riders

From the San Jose Mercury-News: The DA's actions are the latest in a long line of controversies and kerfuffles swirling around the ride-sharing world, particularly in the intense rivalry …

Will San Antonio welcome or reject ridesharing?

When talk turns to cultivating a local high-tech economy, Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tend to come to mind. Certainly these companies …

Congress and public opinion: Five things you may not know

As anyone with an iota of awareness has already heard, Congress is exceedingly unpopular these days. A mere 14 percent of the public approve of the job Congress …

R Street strongly urges San Antonio to reject new ridesharing regulations

AUSTIN, Tex. (Dec. 10, 2014) – New ridesharing regulations currently before the San Antonio City Council could force transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to leave the San …

Congressional Data Coalition joins ‘Free Law Founders’

The Congressional Data Coalition is pleased to join the Free Law Founders, a nationwide organization that shares resources and expertise around opening up laws, legislation and the lawmaking …

R Street says House terror insurance bill is short on reform

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment at newly introduced U.S. House legislation that would extend the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for six …

More folly from the NY Times on snus

The New York Times has added more fuel to the anti-tobacco harm reduction fire with a Dec. 4 editorial rehashing the somewhat slanted reporting that appeared in the …

EPA’s uncertain FIP power drives competing lobbying on state ESPS plans

From InsideEPA: Also, the free-market R Street Institute says in a Nov. 24 paper that the ESPS will fail due to state resistance. Concerns about EPA's overreach "have resulted in …

House bill would let states choose tax to comply with power plant rule

From Energy & Environment News: The idea of allowing states to use a levy has gained some traction among a small group of economists and policy experts, including Washington, …

Dismantling government shutdown politics may improve GOP’s advantage responding to Obama’s immigration actions

In politics, seeing the bigger picture is more of a challenge than understanding the specifics of the moment. Funding the federal government past Dec. 11 in the middle …

How dangerous is Swedish snus? Don’t ask the New York Times

The New York Times has published a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Swedish snus experience that I have chronicled for more than a decade. Reporters Matt Richtel and …

Cheers! A day worth celebrating

Even in the middle of a busy holiday season I find it is worth taking time to commemorate the end of Prohibition. Eighty-one years ago today the 18th …

New portal will help alleviate Texas’ unfunded storm liability

Gulf coast states have long struggled to deal with the increased risk of property damage in hurricane-prone coastal areas. In Texas, we have increasingly relied on TWIA (the …

Federal snow storm aid, self-government and CRS reports

The Federation of American Scientists recently posted a copy of a report titled, “Major Disaster Declarations for Snow Assistance and Severe Winter Storms: An Overview.” The document was …

Don’t let Congress undermine surveillance reform

Eighteen months after the Snowden revelations, Congress has failed to enact surveillance reform. With the improved USA FREEDOM Act not reaching cloture in the Senate and the Amash …

Coalition urges Congress to revive Massie-Lofgren surveillance amendment

The Honorable John Boehner Speaker of the House U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 December 4, 2014 Dear …

Utah takes a rare insurance misstep

An administrative agency has again found itself at odds with free-market innovation. In this case, Utah’s Department of Insurance has demanded that a popular new web based human …

Alabama’s state budget, math, politics, and other mysteries

Alabama finds itself in a budget crisis...again. The fundamentals of Alabama's budget woes are nothing new. Alabama has two major state budgets, the Education Trust Fund and the …

Save the date: multidisciplinary hackathons on congressional data

Boston Kickoff Weekend Co-Hosted by Harvard University’s Ash Center and The OpenGov Foundation; Finals on Capitol Hill Spring 2015 The weekend of January 30, 2015, The OpenGov Foundation and Harvard’s Kennedy School …

College football: An effort to win at the cost of progress

Every fall, on campuses across the nation, fans journey to watch collegiate athletes take the field to play America’s most popular amateur sport, football. The appeal of college …

R Street is seeking a Director of Innovation Policy

The R Street Institute, a free-market think-tank located in Washington, D.C., is seeking a law and technology wonk to serve as our Director of Innovation Policy. We’re looking …

Keeping the Texas budget lean

Mark Twain famously observed that the two things you don’t want to see being made are laws and sausages. But when it comes to the state budget, an …

Virginia vs. the EPA?

The Obama administration’s recently announced Clean Air Act power-plant rules, advertised as helping to control the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, have almost nothing to recommend them. …

What happens in Vegas… can’t happen in an Uber — for now.

From United Liberty: The R Street Institute recently published a study on the regulatory framework of the taxi, liousine, and ride-sharing industry in 50 of America’s top cities. At the time, …

Portland’s “F” Doesn’t Stand for “Transportation Friendly”

From Oregon Catalyst: R Street Institute, a D.C.-based think tank, released its Ridescore website last week. The site grades 50 large U.S. cities based on taxi, limo, and transportation network friendliness. …

Think Tanks: Your mail isn’t safe from Big Brother

From the Washington Examiner: Kevin Kosar for the R Street Institute: By law, first-class mail is sealed against inspection, meaning that government officials may not open it without first getting a …

A New Climate? How A Utility, Germany, Elon Musk And Falling Oil Prices Are Conspiring To Fight CO2

From Forbes: Simpler rules equals less government. Ian Adams of the R Street Institute expressed similar sentiments in The Oregonian: “This could be done while simultaneously complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s …

Correction, please!

From the New American: In attempting to back up that assertion, he had to go to the wrong side of the facts. Though it doesn't fit with the White …

Rounding up NCOIL’s San Francisco meeting

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators is an organization founded with the goal of helping legislators make informed policy decisions. Over the course of three yearly meetings, members …

Ridescore 2014

Six ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner…and conversation

For most Americans, Thanksgiving looks less like a Norman Rockwell painting and more like a cat rodeo. Embrace the strange and wonderful world of family, friends, and that …

Time to shuck the big corn giveaway

By most reasonable measures, America’s corn farmers have had a fantastic year. Their 14-billion-bushel harvest represents the largest yearly haul of any crop by any single country in …

Responding to Ferguson by building bridges across the racial divide

As the dust, smoke and gunfire in Ferguson, Mo., subside, Americans are left with realities that many of us would rather not confront. The circumstances surrounding the shooting …

Britain: E-cigarettes almost exclusively used by smokers and ex-smokers

The British government has just released statistics on e-cigarette use. The Office for National Statistics reports that e-cigarettes were used by 12 percent of smokers and 5 percent …

When my son killed the TV, I understood its role in our home

Last Friday, I received an ominous message from my wife during a meeting, asking me to call her quickly. Given the immediate nature of her request, I assumed …

The Uber fight comes to the South

You'd think the GOP would side with ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar over the taxi cartels and the local governments that are trying to protect …

Collection of CRS reports released to the public

Something rare has occurred---a collection of reports authored by the Congressional Research Service has been published and made freely available to the public. The 500-page volume, titled “The …

Austin gets a C on taxi alternatives

Austin enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a vibrant, tech-friendly metropolis. But when it comes to the vehicle-for-hire market, the city could be doing a lot better. A new report …

U.S. regulators, insurers skeptical of global capital standards

A new report commissioned by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has found there would be significant economic costs …

How to talk about climate change at Thanksgiving: Recipes for good conversations

From The Equation: If someone’s objections are rooted in conservative politics, it’s worth learning about Bob Inglis and the R Street Institute. They have sensible ideas for addressing climate change based …

Ride-sharing revolution receives lukewarm welcome in Ohio

From Watchdog Wire: Though no Ohio cities have issued “cease and desists” to newcomers Uber and Lyft, they recently scored unimpressively on R Street Institute’s Ridescore Report Card. R Street …

Texas cities get mediocre grades for ride-sharing regulations

From Breitbart: In recent years, ride-sharing companies have exploded in popularity, rapidly spreading across the country. Pairing smartphone applications powered by GPS technology and independent drivers driving their own …

Where is U.S. energy policy heading over the next two years?

From the Wall Street Journal: To get a sense of where energy and environmental policy might be headed in the next Congress, The Wall Street Journal reached out to …

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Likely to fail regardless of litigation outcome

In less than two weeks, comments are due for the Environmental Protection Agency’s highly controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power …

Don’t overregulate taxis, ride-sharing

The hallmark of downtown Sacramento’s renaissance has been the emergence of a high-quality restaurant and bar scene. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Sacramento, geographically diffuse as it …

The Great American Smokeout: Easier said than done for long-time smokers

From KNAU: E-Cigarettes are battery powered devices that look a lot like the real thing. But instead of delivering nicotine to the body through tobacco combustion - the most …

Obama’s immigration authority defense by Department of Justice is one big contradiction

When the president announced his executive actions to address immigration issues, he undoubtedly knew that his decision to categorically suspend immigration law enforcement for millions of undocumented immigrants …

Texas cities are losing control of fracking

Overall, conservatives in Texas had a very good election night earlier this month. Republicans took all the statewide offices, as indeed they have in every election since 1994, …

Fresno hits right note on for-hire ride services

When it comes to getting around town, Fresno has struck a good balance between regulation and innovation. A newly released study by my colleagues at the R Street Institute, …

Surgeons general say the darndest things about tobacco

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak recently tweeted: .@OxfordWords #Vape may be #WOTY but the increase in never-smoking youth using e-cigs is a not a trivial story http://t.co/mqeuIvgQRX — U.S. …

Post-election scrum powers ride-sharing bills in the Midwest

It is disappointing to see all the public policy debates that languished over the last several months, both in Washington and in the state capitals, suddenly light up …

Rep. Gosar speaks out against online sales tax legislation

From Rep. Paul Gosar: Other speakers at the press conference included representatives from the Free Congress Foundation, WE R HERE Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Heritage Action for America, Americans …

Greater foreign ownership of US nukes possible as NRC reconsiders its rules

From SNL Financial: But in the long run, foreign dollars could play a greater role in supplying much-needed capital to prevent the U.S. reactor fleet from waning as plants …

Why one Democrat is so over Obama’s climate regulations

From National Journal : In the conservative Weekly Standard last week, R Street Institute President Eli Lehrer reiterated his support for the carbon fee as "better than regulation," and said …

Republican Senate a boon to carbon bill — Whitehouse

From E&E News: Meanwhile, Lori Sanders of the conservative R Street Institute said the liberal Whitehouse "is just probably the wrong messenger" to engage Republicans on a revenue-neutral carbon …

Mail surveillance: The time for secrecy has passed

Recent news that federal authorities approved 49,000 instances of mail surveillance in 2013 is disturbing. Not only was this a huge jump from the usual average number of …

R Street commends Gov. Scott for pursuing sensible Gulf restoration projects

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2014) – The set of projects proposed by Gov. Rick Scott under the federal RESTORE Act should be commended as a sensible approach to …

Online sales tax measure may snag in House

From Roll Call: Tax policy analyst Andrew Moylan, who spoke with the members of House Judiciary about the online sales tax issue in March, said one of the alternatives …

The Keystone pipeline is not about oil—it’s about milk

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate finished the latest performance in one of its oldest pastimes: political theater. Facing a December runoff that she is widely predicted to …

Testimony to House Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance

R Street Senior Fellow Don Brown testified today before a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance hearing on "Opportunities for a Private and Competitive Sustainable Flood …

Gulf Coast spill money is starting to flow

On Monday, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a second round of grants from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. The fund – established as part of the …

State of Illinois should not strip regulatory control of transportation network companies from Chicago, other cities

CHICAGO (Nov. 18, 2014) – Chicago performs reasonably well among big cities in friendliness to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, and state lawmakers should not usurp …

Yes, the government can open your mail without a warrant

By law, first-class mail is sealed against inspection, meaning that government officials may not open it without first getting a warrant from a judge. A citizen would be …

R Street disappointed in Senate’s failure to advance NSA reform

WASHINGTON (Nov. 18, 2014) -- The R Street Institute expressed deep disappointment at a failed procedural vote to advance balanced legislation that would rein in NSA surveillance while …

Louisiana’s PSC race is a must-watch for solar energy

The race for a seat on the Public Service Commission in Louisiana rarely generates headlines, even though the PSC in Louisiana, unlike in most states, actually has some …

Las Vegas rated worst city in U.S. for transportation friendliness

From Watchdog Wire: The free-market R Street Institute performed the study (Ridescore 2014; Hired Driver Rules in U.S. Cities) as new innovations in ride-sharing services around the world are …

10 things Washington, DC is better at than the rest of the U.S.

From In the Capital: Apparently D.C. isn't just a great city for ridesharing when it comes to boats. The R Street Institute recently ranked the District's regulatory environment above …

Fix surveillance reform

If nothing else, the results of the midterm elections made clear that Americans are concerned about the role of government in their lives. And perhaps no issue better …

Ending the Uber wars

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: Philadelphia isn't alone in grappling with this issue, which has confronted cities across and beyond the country. But it is among the most hostile to …

R Street encourages Senate to advance NSA reform

WASHINGTON (Nov. 18, 2014) -- The R Street Institute encourages the Senate to quickly pass S.2685, the USA FREEDOM Act. This legislation offers a balanced approach to rein in …

Nathan Leamer

Regulating the new economy

From Moody's: The R-Street Institute recently completed a study of how the nation’s 50 biggest cities are regulating ride-sharing services. Policies vary significantly, but the study found that most …

Coming up this week: Airbags, California’s electric vehicle future, freight wish list

From Roll Call: The R Street Institute, a Washington think tank whose mission is to “promote free markets and limited, effective government,” hosts a panel on how cities, including …

Green Scissors 2.0: Broad coalition launches tool to cut wasteful spending and protect enviornment

WASHINGTON (Nov. 17, 2014) – Amid congressional conflict over year-end appropriations, the Green Scissors Coalition released a new interactive database that identifies nearly 80 cuts Congress could make …

Another data point on Uber and Republicans

From Off the Kuff: See here and here for previous musings on the subject of Uber and partisanship, and see here for the report. Note how California cities scored …

Study praises District’s taxi, Uber regulations

From CQ Roll Call: Washington, D.C., has the country's best regulatory environment for taxis and rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, according to a report by the …

Which city has the freest transportation market? This map ranks the best and worst

From the Daily Signal: A new interactive scorecard, created by the R Street Institute, grades 50 cities on their regulatory openness toward car services. The report seeks to identify whether cities …

Our work speaks for itself

One of the more dispiriting trends of the political left in recent years has been the growing tendency to do battle, not by engaging with ideas, but through …

CDI ready to review ride-sharing insurance

Reasonable observers of California government must give credit when credit is due. In this case, the good news is that the California Department of Insurance reports it is …

How can U.S. strike a blow against ISIS and Russia? Try moving ahead with fracking

Over the last several years, the Obama administration has routinely taken a hostile stance toward fossil fuels. From pushing carbon regulation by regulatory fiat to slow-walking the oil …

D.C.’s new ridesharing law will give business a lift

Sometime this month, Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign legislation to formally legalize and regulate ridesharing in the District of Columbia. Dubbed the Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act, the law …

How Uber-friendly is your city?

From United Liberty: The R Street Institute, a think tank that seeke to “engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government” launched Ridescore, an …

Dependence level higher with cigarettes than with smokeless tobacco

As noted previously, Drs. Karl Fagerström and Tom Eissenberg have described a continuum of dependence among tobacco and nicotine products. They concluded that cigarettes are the most dependence-producing …

R Street encouraged by upcoming vote on Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2014) – The R Street Institute today welcomed news that both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are set to move legislation to approve the …

​Sacramento gets B grade in for-hire transportation ranking

From Sacramento Business Journal: Sacramento prevailed over San Francisco and San Diego in a ranking of transportation friendliness for smartphone-app ridesharing plus taxis and limousines. Remarkably, the city of …

Taxi!

From Curbed DC: Regardless of which side you take on the taxicabs versus Uber brawl, you can rest assured that you're in the best city in the nation for …

Obama faces obstacles to emissions deal with China

From the Wall Street Journal: “The GOP Senate can’t do it by themselves, but if they throw the gauntlet down and make enough noise about it and help educate …

Free market advocates say D.C. is the Uber-friendliest city in the nation

From the Washington Post: So here is a scorecard, courtesy of the free-market think tank R Street, which has graded the 50 largest cities in the country on how …

D.C. most Uber friendly city in America

From DCist: D.C. is the most Uber friendly big city in America, according to a think tank that "promotes free markets and limited, effective government." R Street ranked the 50 …

D.C. ranked as best U.S. city for taxicabs and Uber

From WAMU: That's the conclusion of a new report from the R Street Institute, in which the Libertarian group graded 50 U.S. cities on their regulations governing taxicabs, limos, …

With ‘net neutrality,’ Obama stumbles by trusting bureaucrats and regulators over markets

From AEIdeas: Keep in mind that the Obama plan would give the FCC, according to R Street’s Steven Titich, “the widest range of alternatives for economic and technological regulation of …

TCC Director Rob Johnson to run for City Council

From SeattleMet: Speaking of Seattle's urbanist agenda, D.C. free market think tank R Street released a study this morning grading America's largest 50 cities when it comes to regulations …

Uber and taxi regulations are often pro-business, and that’s the problem

From the Washington Examiner This is the scorecard of major U.S. cities, and their regulatory frameworks regarding taxi cabs and ridesharing programs. R Street, the free-market-favoring nonprofit in D.C., …

RideScore 2014: Hired driver rules in U.S. cities

The attached paper was co-authored by Ryan Xue, Evan Engstrom and Zach Graves. Visit R Street's companion website, www.ridescore.org, for an interactive visual presentation of our regulatory scorecard. Over the past several …

D.C. offers nation’s freest transportation market, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON, (Nov. 12, 2014) – Washington leads the nation in terms of friendliness to vehicle-for-hire transportation, according to a study released today jointly by the R Street Institute …

Tipping the hat to all the veterans

Today is Veteran's Day in the United States and the president -- apparently no longer particularly mindful of the optics of his role as commander-in-chief -- is in …

Why it matters that Jeff Sessions will be Senate Budget Committee chairman

With Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions will likely take over the Senate Budget Committee as chairman. If Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., becomes …

Why are Louisiana’s auto insurance rates so darn high?

As a Louisiana resident, I paraphrase Jimmy McMillan when I say “car insurance in Louisiana is too damn high.” While Louisiana only has the seventh most expensive car …

The real reason why Alabama is the reddest of the red states

After the midterm elections, Alabama has emerged as the reddest of the red states. To be clear, Alabama is not simply Republican; it is undeniably conservative. Perhaps what "conservative" …

Of course the Republicans are not unthinkingly pro-competition, as Uber shows

From Forbes: Josh Barro then goes on to point out that while the national Republican party might be saying such fine words when we get down to the people …

Uber and Lyft battle it out on roads, in court

From the San Jose Mercury-News: "What we're seeing are the whirlwind forces of creative destruction," says Andrew Moylan, executive director of the The R Street Institute, a free-market think …

Republicans are only sometimes the party of Uber

From the New York Times; Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute think tank, has examined ride-sharing regulations around the country and doesn’t see a clear …

Josiah Neeley

Election post-mortem in California

If the key to success is maintaining low expectations, California Republicans had a great election night. Over the past several years, every objective measure of the party’s success has …

Will TDI hold the line on TWIA liability expansion?

The Texas Department of Insurance met Wednesday to consider whether to expand liability for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). State law caps the amount that TWIA can …

Heartland Institute experts react to the 2014 midterm elections

From the Heartland Institute: “The shift in Senate leadership could lead to significant progress in technology policy. For one, we could at last see movement on patent reform, an …

The new tobacco war

From The Bulletin: “We now have established a pretty good body of literature showing that e-cigarettes do not attract non-smokers. They simply don’t. Virtually every e-cigarette user is a …

Colorado smoking ban: no impact on heart attacks

As early as 2004, various medical journals published articles claiming that small-community smoking bans resulted in nearly immediate reductions in heart disease. For example, the high-profile BMJ reported …

Hey, taxi!

Sometimes, people and businesses start out by trying to avoid regulation, and then discover that some basic ground rules aren't such a bad thing after all. At an …

HomeAway goes to court over San Francisco’s ‘Airbnb law’

An old adage in the legal profession suggests: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. …

Come hear how Texas will benefit from a ‘conservative budget’

Next Monday, Nov. 10, I officially join R Street as its new Texas director. I'll be working on a variety of issues of critical importance to the Lone …

Postal Service mail-tracking: three big questions

Last week, the New York Times reported there were nearly 50,000 incidents of mail surveillance in 2013. Under the "mail cover" program, which has been around for …

Tea partiers: Don’t compare us to Gamergate

From Slate: And Mytheos Holt, an associate policy analyst at the R Street Institute and video game reviewer for Gamesided who described himself as “a sympathetic bystander” to Gamergate, …

A big conservative city is about to strangle its sharing economy

Onerous new regulations in Houston, Texas, set to go into force this Tuesday, may end up shutting down some ride-sharing operations in the country's fourth most populous city …

Redefining ‘public interest’

For decades, trial lawyers, the insurance industry, and health-care providers have battled over how to set insurance rates and adjudicate medical-liability claims. In California this year, two ballot …

Three things conservatives wrote this week that everyone should read

From ThinkProgress: Eli Lehrer argued in The Weekly Standard this week that a carbon tax could ostensibly break this gridlock. Because it reduces carbon emissions in a particularly efficient …

Transparency crucial with RESTORE money

Florida's 23 Gulf Coast counties are about to enjoy a windfall, as the U.S. Treasury Department recently finalized rules allowing states impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil …

R Street responds to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report

WASHINGTON (Nov. 2, 2014) – Congress should heed today's warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to pursue effective mitigation and adaptation strategies to counter the risks …

It’s time for Georgia lawmakers to end the auto dealership monopoly

From Peach Pundit: Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute spoke at length about the regulatory issues Tesla and other …

R Street disappointed in onerous regulations on ridesharing in the City of Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS (Oct. 31, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed deep disappointment in the onerous regulations for transportation network companies set to go in effect in the …

A carbon tax won’t happen without some give from the left

Despite growing support from some conservative policy wonks, the idea of taxing carbon dioxide emissions, even as an alternative to the sort of heavy-handed greenhouse regulations promulgated by …

Moylan on state franchise dealership laws

Earlier this week, R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined a Cato Institute-hosted "hangout" to discuss state regulations that restrict how auto-makers can sell their cars, which in …

Should music publishers be an antitrust concern?

On Aug. 6, a letter arrived at the U.S. Department of Justice from someone writing anonymously under the name John Doe. Mr. Doe was seeking to persuade the …

Gateway claims aimed at e-cigarettes: counterfeit, déjà vu

In their war against e-cigarettes, government officials often claim that the devices are a gateway to smoking. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden recently asserted that "many kids are …

Should we have to declare our emails at customs? The ITC says yes

"Threats to the open Internet come from all sides....Today’s threat comes from a patent and international trade agency." - Charles Duan, Public Knowledge The post-Snowden era of digital communication has …

How the EPA should modify its proposed 111(d) regulations to allow states to comply by taxing pollution

The attached piece was co-authored with Michael Wara and Marta R. Darby of Stanford University. I. Introduction The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is exercising its authority under section 111(d) …

ITC: The new digital cop?

Do you know where your e-mail account is located? No, "the Internet" is not a valid answer. More specifically, do you know on which of Google's many servers …

What’s the key difference between Bush in 2006 and Obama in 2014?

From the midterm elections in 2006 until well into President Barrack Obama's first term, the Democratic political message turned on one simple theme: "[T]he failed policies of the …

This tax proposal could be the largest obstacle to growing small businesses online

From American Legislator: Because of these numerous problems with the Marketplace Fairness Act it is no surprise that most Americans do not like the idea. A multi-state poll conducted …

To save Louisiana’s coast, protect our Restore Act funds

Louisianans received good news this month, in the form of an announcement from the U.S. Department of Treasury that BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill fines will begin flowing …

Steer clear of pricing for private business

The Orlando City Council's proposal to force Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies to charge more than their competitors as a condition to conduct business in Orlando is …

Bipartisan coalition sends letter to armed services with final NDAA recommendations

The Hon. Carl M. Levin Chairman Senate Committee on Armed Services Russell Senate Office Building, Room 228 Washington, D.C. 20510 The Hon. James M. Inhofe Ranking Member Senate Committee on Armed Services Russell Senate Office Building, …

New York City’s hotel war heats up

As any visitor to New York City discovers, the Big Apple isn’t the best place to get a hotel room. Rates top $300 per night, the highest in …

Earthquakes and home mortgage risk

The United States faces severe earthquake risk in many areas of the country, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake …

With Texas windstorm insurance, what you don’t pay for, you won’t get

There’s an old saying in business: you get what you pay for. Yet all too often, government policy seems based on the hope that you can make costs …

Bureaucracy’s latest challenge: listening to the public

The American public often rails about bureaucracy. It is not difficult to fathom why. Who among us has not fumed while standing in a long line at an …

Free-market think tank ramps up Texas efforts

From Breitbart: The R Street Institute, a non-profit, free market think tank with offices in Washington, D.C., Florida, California, Ohio, and Texas, is ramping up its efforts in the …

Snus users’ hearts keep on ticking, not fluttering

Swedish researchers from several institutions document that snus use is not associated with atrial fibrillation (commonly known as AFib), the most common heart arrhythmia (irregular timing of the …

Deconstructing the liberal myth of government management as a better solution

Too many Americans suffer from inadequate access to health care. The political left offers to construct government programs or expand the ones we already have. America's education system is …

America should learn from the German job-training model, but not copy it

The U.S. labor market may finally be picking up steam, but when it comes to our structural labor problems, big questions about stagnant wages and underemployed workers remain. Will …

Five potential consequences of Republicans winning the U.S. Senate in November

Here are five potential consequences of Republicans capturing the Senate majority in the upcoming elections: Democrats' only tool to stop GOP-crafted legislation from landing on President Obama's desk will …

Network neutrality and a dubious leap of faith

The latest wrinkle in the ongoing debate over network neutrality comes from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who suggests …

America’s motor state going the wrong way on direct sales

For most of my life, the Detroit area has been the epicenter of the domestic automotive world. Unless you are the sort of person who experienced a fainting …

Does Prop 103 violate itself?

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly …

‘Waters of the United States’ could be most significant EPA rule you’ve never heard of

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters." The federal government's legal authority to regulate …

Federal survey data on tobacco: It’s not about the children

I have documented for several years a continuous decline in smoking rates among American teens. Rates of smoking and use of other tobacco products among teens are so …

How SOPA would have cost the content industry billions

Ever since the advent of Internet-based, user generated mass media, Hollywood has been fighting a losing game of whack-a-mole against ordinary online users who share copyright-protected material in …

Search engines, free advertising and the content industry

In 1925, a music industry professional complained to the New York Times that the new medium of radio was destroying the industry's business model by making songs too …

Mandates, subsidies and political semantics

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in 2012, the nation was gripped by an intimate and personal political drama …

NSA spying harms the economy, as well

Last week, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., hosted a forum in Silicon Valley on NSA spying as a means to drum up support for proposed reform legislation that …

Why hasn’t the market for ride-sharing insurance taken off?

As ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft continue to expand in cities around the country, the services have been dogged by questions about whether their drivers are fully …

U.S. government celebrates half-trillion dollar deficit

Yesterday’s presentation by the U.S. Treasury was a comical spectacle—at least for those of us with sardonic senses of humor. The good news? The deficit for FY2014 (which …

State lawmakers, doctors debate e-cigarette merits and vices

From KOB-4: "We have a substantial understanding of how and why e-cigarettes can help smokers switch to a far lower-risk product," said Dr. Joel Nitzkin, who testifies around the …

Clinton and Enamorado on ‘The Fox News Effect’

Too often, political science journals publish articles focused on questions too distantly connected to real-world political phenomena. It is a modern sort of scholasticism, as my friend Professor Lawrence Mead …

Labor force participation rates paint a bleak economic picture

Most politicians know how to articulate their political goals. Whether it is low-cost energy, explosive job creation, less bureaucratic red tape, more personal freedom or high quality education, …

‘War on Public Education’ focuses more on preserving public system than education

In case you missed it, the beleaguered Alabama Education Association does not like public school choice. The AEA has referred to the Alabama Accountability Act, which created a …

Cornyn smokes patent trolls out from their bridge

Most children who’ve heard the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff know that if an ugly, parasitic troll comes out to get you, the best thing to …

A welcome message from R Street’s Governance Project

The R Street Institute this month launched the Governance Project, an effort to assess and improve the state of America’s system of national self-governance, with particular attention to …

Washington-area appointments and promotions for Oct. 13

From the Washington Post: The R Street Institute of the District appointed Kevin Kosar senior fellow and governance project director. …

Gov. Brown forces AB 2616 to walk the plank

California’s workers’ compensation system is a political flashpoint that attracts the interest of labor, management, attorneys and insurers. Last session, a skirmish about expanding the scope of workers’ …

FCC’s Wheeler likes the ‘idea’ of muni broadband

Speaking at the recent National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors annual meeting, Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler endorsed Lafayette, La.’s municipal fiber optic system—or more specifically, he …

How the Wind Production Tax Credit undermines wind power

U.S. renewable-energy policy is largely defined by mandates and subsidies that maintain an artificial market for investment and generation. Heavy dependence on government creates significant vulnerability for the …

Airbnb regulated into legality

One of the many oddities of San Francisco is that the city is full of libertarians who love regulation. You can do your own thing, unless you’re a …

Let’s help the strivers

In 2009, Bryce Harper—then a sophomore at Las Vegas High School and already the best high school baseball player in the nation—made the unusual and controversial decision to …

Is all-or-nothing better than nothing at all?

The loudest criticism of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships negotiations between the United States and the European Union is that they are conducted behind closed doors. …

More third-hand nicotine nonsense: From vapor?

Nicotine can be detected in a chamber after releasing vapor directly from an e-cigarette, according to a report in Nicotine and Tobacco Research by Roswell Park Cancer Institute …

No, the F-22’s success against ISIS doesn’t justify its price tag

The controversial F-22 fighter just had its combat debut in Syria, bombing ISIS-controlled targets. The plane, which costs $412 million per copy, finally saw action 23 years after …

Governance Reform

Tobacco Harm Reduction

Insurance Regulation

Carbon Tax

Carbon Tax

Innovation Policy

RESTORE Act

Internet Sales Tax

Peer-Production

Telecom

Governance

Flood Insurance

Income Mobility

Digital Privacy

Data & Transparency

Governance →

Conservation

Income Mobility

Innovation Policy

Insurance Regulation

Internet Sales Tax

Open Data & Transparency

RESTORE Act

Telecom Regulation

Tobacco Harm Reduction

Carbon Tax

Conservation

Digital Privacy

Disruptive Technology

Energy Policy

Flood Insurance

Events

Law against porn-watching by fed workers?

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has introduced legislation to prohibit federal employees from accessing pornographic websites on their computers. As reported by The Washington Post, this legislation was prompted …

Five ideas to put taxis, limos and ride-sharing companies on equal footing

Recent polling by the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Global Markets find that economists overwhelmingly agree that the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is good …

Conservatives ask: What would Milton Friedman do about warming?

From E&E News: A handful of center-right think tanks have also joined the fray, including the R Street Institute. In an op-ed in The Oregonian over the weekend, the group's …

Florida’s insurance industry a big contributor to state economy

Its status as a low-lying peninsula jutting 500 miles into the warmest, most hurricane-active waters in the world makes Florida one of the riskiest places to live. So …

Detroit enables ‘prison guards of the past’

"There you go again..." exclaimed  Ronald Reagan famously, as he claimed the debate audience and eventually the White House.  The City of Detroit is once more eschewing hospitable …

Supreme Court’s action validating same-sex marriages in 11 states creates critical juncture for political reaction

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of all seven petitions that resulted from opposition to state bans on same-sex marriage. The court's orders carried specific significance because …

Emerging markets create need for innovative insurance products, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (October 7, 2014) - Emerging markets in the ride-sharing industry have created an opportunity for new insurance products that encompass both personal and commercial lines, according to …

Blurred Lines: Insurance challenges in the ride-sharing market

The world of property/casualty insurance long has been divided into two separate and entirely circumscribed hemispheres: the personal and the commercial. Personal lines policies – primarily home and …

Why conservatives should support carbon taxation

Conservatives are conditioned to wince at the mention of the word "tax." Mention the term "carbon tax," and many will recoil altogether. Still, in the only place in …

Jacksonville should find a commonsense solution for ride-sharing

Jacksonville, Fla., is making headlines over plans to enact stiff penalties against ride-sharing drivers. Some transportation network company drivers in Jacksonville have recently gotten into trouble for not carrying …

Tax reform and the family life cycle

Over the last several decades, one of the central objectives of conservative tax reformers has been to "neutralize" the tax code – to cut down on the incentives …

One Republican’s carbon-tax campaign faces an uphill battle

From the Seattle Times: "The people on the political left have worked very hard to associate this with an agenda of the things they want to do, and that …

Insurers worry about House GOP delaying extension of terrorism program

From the Washington Examiner: It "is entirely possible ... that the House will demand a six-month extension so that a Republican Senate next year is a better negotiation partner …

What’s the matter with Paul Krugman?

Rarely does a Nobel Prize-winning economist specifically inquire about the job performance of a state like Alabama. This week, Paul Krugman, a popular liberal commentary writer for the …

R Street welcomes Kevin Kosar as senior fellow and governance project director

WASHINGTON (October 6, 2014) - The R Street Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Kosar as senior fellow and governance project director. Kosar comes to …

Earthquake coverage should be standard for mortgage loans

When it comes to California earthquake insurance, affordability is in the eye of the beholder. Californians are not convinced that earthquake risk is sufficient to warrant the purchase …

Here’s how NYC’s new on-demand shipping app could actually survive

From CityLab: Special thanks to Kevin Kosar, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, for his insight into the Postal Service. …

Four reasons why international climate discussions should matter to U.S. industry

Virtually every American in the climate change policy space is supporting, fighting or still deciphering the EPA's plan to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants – commonly …

‘Ike contingent’ pounding insurers with Texas hail claims

Insurance availability crises are nothing new. Nor is finger-pointing about what exactly causes them. In Texas, a red state that is nonetheless home to a robust plaintiffs' bar, …

Survey: Louisiana voters opposed to change in Internet sales tax

From The Advocate: The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted June 4-5 on behalf of the National Taxpayers Union, which lobbies for lower taxes, and the R Street …

CDC sees e-cigarette use at marked increase and leveling off – tortured logic

The CDC has released another "more of the same" report on e-cigarette awareness and use. The lead author is Dr. Brian King; the report appears in Nicotine & …

Does simply calling for Judge Fuller to resign send the right message about domestic violence and the federal bench?

In August, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested for assaulting his wife and charged with misdemeanor battery. The Atlanta Police report noted that Fuller's wife "explained that …

How Google Fiber is spurring more internet competition

From AEI Ideas: As R.J. Lehmann of the R Street Institute points out, “it’s useful to remember that Eugenio Barsanti and Felixce Matteucci invented the free-piston, four-cycle internal combustion …

Transformation, tests and t-shirts

Intellectual property laws sometimes pit different camps of creators against each other. On the one hand, makers want the freedom to pull inspiration from works that have already …

Under carbon rule, the EPA will be either Alabama’s overlord or its puppet master

In June of 2014, the EPA proposed a draft rule to regulate carbon dioxide. The rule made headlines for weeks and then largely dropped from public conversation. While …

R Street is hiring a new outreach manager

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C., is looking for a dynamic, versatile, bright and well-connected person to serve as our outreach manager.  …

RESTORE Act committee should get back to work

The committee established by Monroe County to recommend how to spend nearly $1.2 million in BP Oil Spill money has an unprecedented and unique opportunity. (RE: "Back to …

Pornographers choke in ‘Deep Throat’ case

While Hollywood is often known as one of the groups most fiercely committed to protecting copyrighted works, a recent case shows that even in Tinseltown, the veto power …

Despite Senate inaction, progress on patent trolls

In May, Senate Democrats -- led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. – tabled the patent reform bill on which his panel had worked for months. The …

A modest proposal to the e-cigarette community

    At the Sept. 24, 2014 IQPC ECig USA Industry Conference in Las Vegas, I opted to abandon my previously anticipated presentation in favor of the following, based on …

Creating a national dialogue about sustainable greenhouse gas reduction

From Policy Interns: As Doug Holtz-Eakin, the President of American Action Forum, stated earlier this month during a panel discussion co-hosted by R Street and the American Action …

Conservatives cultivate taste for a green tea party

From Texas Observer: Among the panelists: former Texas Republican state Sen. Kip Averitt, now head of the Texas Clean Energy Coalition; Debbie Dooley, founder of the Green Tea Coalition …

Dealing with Uber, Birmingham City Council must understand that common-sense regulation is not the same as deregulation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Alabama's failure to create opportunity for Uber, a popular ride-sharing service, to operate. I was particularly hard on the Birmingham City …

The Swedish snus experience isn’t Finnished

Despite the wealth of evidence demonstrating that snus has helped thousands of Swedish men and women avoid the ravages of smoking, the European Union continues to enforce an …

The unfortunate rise of data protectionism

The age of Internet exceptionalism is at risk of coming to a close. Thus far, the Internet has served as a platform for data transfer and information sharing …

Tax-free internet purchases could be coming to an end in Florida

From ABC Action News: "A majority of those surveyed here in Florida are against an internet sales tax," said Christian Camara of the Washington D.C. based think tank R …

D.C. cabs companies blame ride-sharing for loss of revenue

From HotAir: Eli Lehrer and Andrew Moylan have more in a policy paper for National Affairs. It’s called “Embracing the Peer Production Economy” and calls such shifts a “godsend …

Presentation to Ecig USA Industry Conference

  The attached presentation was delivered by R Street Senior Fellow Joel Nitzkin at the IQPC Ecig USA Industry Conference, held in Las Vegas, Nev. from Sept. 23-25, 2014. …

State-run lottery grows government at the expense of the poor and uneducated

With budgetary challenges again facing the State of Alabama, politicians are mulling the idea of a state-run lottery to provide an infusion of cash. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parker …

America’s F-35: Coming in for a ‘crash landing’?

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is slated to enter service for the U.S. military next year, with the Marine Corps shooting to achieve initial operational capability …

Rob Schneider: Makin’ enemies

In a decision that had to be as awkward as it was necessary, State Farm has cut ties with pitchman Rob Schneider, following a social media campaign to …

YODA takes on the dark side of copyright enforcement

Imagine the following scenario: You buy a computer secondhand off eBay at a bargain price that would put most computer stores out of business. You then boot up …

Study shows Florida voters rejecting federal internet sales tax push

From SaintPetersblog: A study released Monday by the National Taxpayers Union and the R-Street Institute shows that Florida voters polled oppose a federal bill that would force online retailers …

LEADS Act: another small step toward digital privacy

It may take incremental steps to ensure due process against government seizure of online data, but step-by-step protections are better than no protections at all. The Law Enforcement Access …

If we valued government like the iPhone, we would be lining up to pay taxes

Last Friday, the line to purchase the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York extended more than 10 blocks. …

Sanders on EPA carbon rules

R Street's Lori Sanders joined the American Action Forum's Douglas Holtz-Eakin and the Brookings Institution's Adele Morris in a panel discussion examined flaws in the structure of forthcoming …

What the peanut salmonella case teaches us about overcriminalization

Brothers Stewart and Michael Parnell — the company owner and buyer at the center of the salmonella-tainted peanut scandal that killed nine people in 2008 and 2009 — …

Nashville regulators seek to bring Airbnb into the fold

On its face, Airbnb would seem to violate Nashville laws against short-term rentals of any sort, other than licensed hotels and historic bed-and-breakfast inns. And so, lawmakers are …

Conservatives should champion the free-market system of the peer-production economy, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2014) – Regulation of the “peer production” or “sharing” economy can be a good political issue for both the left and the right, argue R …

Tesla takes Massachusetts

High-end electric car consumers rejoice! If you want to buy one of the famous Tesla cars and you live in Massachusetts, you can now do exactly that. This …

Embracing the peer-production economy

    (The attached paper, co-authored by R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan, appear in the Fall 2014 edition of National Affairs.) Enthusiasts of the growing "peer-production" or "sharing" economy are …

Do these videos show VP Biden making mistakes or are they signs of a bigger problem?

In modern American politics, each and every slip, gaffe and poor choice of words is judged and scrutinized hundreds of times over. In some instances, honest mistakes are …

Up in smoke

Undoubtedly much to the chagrin of the former mayor, more New Yorkers are smoking these days. According to the latest data from the city’s Department of Health and …

Islamic State responds to Obama’s measured approach with Flames of War video

On Sept. 10, 2014, President Barack Obama stated that the United States will "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State. He outlined a four-part strategic plan to accomplish that …

Benton woman dropped from insurance because of old, vacant home

From ArkansasMatters: According to  Lars Powell, UALR Professor of Insurance, this isn't common, but it can happen depending on the insurance company's policy. Powell said living next to an abandoned …

TNC battle ends with Gov. Brown’s signature

Gov. Jerry Brown has lent his signature to compromise legislation that clarifies how and when transportation network companies are commercially insured. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, A.B. 2293, …

Fraud costs Michigan drivers $220M a year

Auto insurance fraud costs Michigan drivers more than $220 million a year, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced while unveiling a set of 17 legislative and regulatory anti-fraud …

If Hillary does not run, Martin O’Malley will be the next Democratic nominee

Despite some wishful thinking ("she's sick/she doesn't want to run") from my fellow conservatives, every credible source indicates that Hillary Clinton will run for the presidency and, in …

Oral cancer scaremongering by public health officials

A range of public health leaders, who should know better, have rushed to repeat (and, with their stature, endorse) the apparently unfounded claim by baseball great Curt Schilling …

Publish the Constitution Annotated as data

Dear Library of Congress and Government Printing Office, For decades, you have jointly published a handy compendium that explains the U.S. Constitution as it has been interpreted by the …

Constitution Day message to members of Congress

    Dear Congressional Leaders, We write to urge you to bring to the floor S. 607 and H.R. 1852, the bipartisan Leahy-Lee and Yoder-Polis bills updating the Electronic Communications Privacy …

Think back to 2004

A record four major hurricanes struck Florida in late 2004, meaning we are in the midst of commemorating the 10-year anniversaries of their landfalls. Former Gov. Jeb Bush …

Airbnb helps, not hurts, SF housing shortage

San Francisco is in the midst of a housing shortage, fueled by huge demand and exacerbated by decades of wrongheaded regulatory intervention and, more recently, by professional troglodytes. Firms …

Alabama’s leaders can reform prisons now or lose control waiting for political cover

This past week, I had the privilege of serving on a panel discussing Alabama's prison woes at the Faulkner Law Review's Annual Symposium in Montgomery. The discussion highlighted …

Upcoming Events

Self-driving cars could require overhaul of insurance regulation

What is an autonomous vehicle? As demonstrated in a Sept. 15 California Department of Insurance informational hearing, that's a misleadingly simple question. Regulators' attempt to stay in front of …

Alabama slightly above national average for annual car insurance premiums

From the Birmingham Business Journal: “There is definitely correlation between population density -- and thus traffic density -- and insurance rates," said Eli Lehrer, president of the nonprofit research …

Does America need Thomas Jefferson’s limited government progressivism?

In a letter to Samuel Kercheval dated July 12, 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions." Since …

Detroit takes another title: highest car insurance in America

The Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor metropolitan area has higher auto insurance rates than any other top 25 metro area in the United States. It wasn’t even close, according to the …

Are Google Fiber speeds ‘too fast’?

Our recent policy study by Associate Fellow Steven Titch -- "Alternatives to government broadband" -- looks to recent efforts some municipalities have made to attract Google Fiber's super-high-speed …

Small Business Coalition letter to Gov. Christie

  Sept. 15, 2014 The Honorable Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey State House Trenton, NJ 08625 Gov. Christie, We are encouraged by recent movements by the state Legislature calling for the elimination of the …

R Street hosting two energy events on Capitol Hill this Wednesday

The R Street Institute will be hosting two energy events on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, September 17. We hope you can join us for one or both of …

Hiking the minimum wage won’t help the poor

The ground has been shifting in the battle over the minimum wage. With President Obama's proposal to hike the national minimum from $7.25 to $9 an hour …

test

Events

The Friday Five: Questions to get your conversations going this weekend

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) in crisis – This week, former AEA head Paul Hubbert penned a bombshell letter to members of the AEA board highlighting a crisis …

New England Journal of Medicine downplays its error in exaggerating youth e-cigarette data

Last week, the New England Journal of Medicine inflated a study of mouse brain activity with nicotine into a gateway-to-cocaine claim. This week, I report that the journal …

A negative income tax beats both the minimum wage and welfare

Recently, there have been demonstrations by fast food workers and labor unions calling for an increase in the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to a …

From the world’s greatest leaders to an American leadership vacuum

Take a minute to list the top three American leaders of the past half-century. It does not matter whether they are politicians, religious leaders, or social reformers. Focus …

Auto insurance is cheaper in St. Louis

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "There is definitely correlation between population density -- and thus traffic density -- and insurance rates," said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, …

What’s new with TRIA? Nothing at all

From PropertyCasualty360: R.J. Lehmann, editor-in-chief and a senior fellow of the R Street Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank, said House Republicans appear to have been unable to secure enough …

Reform and renew terrorism risk insurance

With Congress returning from its August recess this week for an abbreviated two-week session, one of the lingering bits of unresolved business is the fate of the 12-year-old …

Lehmann: It’s time to both renew and reform terrorism risk insurance

From PropertyCasualty360: R.J. Lehmann, the editor-in-chief and a senior fellow with th R Street Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC, writes in Thursday's edition of The Hill, …

Metro Denver has sixth-least expensive car insurance in the nation

From the Denver Post: Eli Lehrer, president of the nonprofit research group The R Street Institute, said there is a correlation between insurance rates and population density — and …

Nicki Minaj and the rule of law

Conservatives have long stood for the principle that the state ought to abide by the rule of law. Application of the law ought to be uniform across all …

Turkish rights and digital delights: an IGF recap

The annual Internet Governance Forum was established to foster an open, inclusive dialogue among the parties that "govern" the Internet. IGF is a conference designed, somewhat counter-intuitively, to …

Ray Rice’s knockout punch is ample reason to teach boys never to strike a woman

This week, the Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice, their star running back, after additional video emerged of him knocking out his future wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator …

Letter to U.S. Congress on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

    The Honorable Harry Reid Majority Leader U.S. Senate Washington DC 20510 Dear Leader Reid, We write to urge you to bring to the floor S. 607, the bipartisan Leahy-­Lee bill updating the Electronic …

The inequality of unisex pricing

Equality before the law is a foundational principle of American democracy. Many policymakers are proud to pursue efforts to realize that principle. Perhaps that is why, cloaked by …

Official policy on ninjas

Local governments should reform to encourage broadband investment

WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2014) – Local governments should explore ways to cut taxes, fees and regulations to spur renewed investment in broadband infrastructure, according to a new paper …

Alternatives to government broadband

  Universal access to high-speed broadband is a desirable social goal. There is no question that broadband brings incalculable utility and value to individuals, businesses and organizations. Because broadband …

Letter to Congress: Oppose the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act!

    Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned organizations, we write in strong opposition to S. 2609, the so-called "Marketplace and Internet …

Alabama’s Uber failures showcase big brother bureaucracy over consumer opportunity

First it was Birmingham that refused to accommodate Uber, the popular app-driven transportation service, and then the Tuscaloosa Police Department began enforcing the city's transportation regulations against drivers …

Survey: Ky. against Internet tax

From the Bowling Green Daily News: States rely on taxpayers to report their online purchases and remit the taxes that are due, but few do. Online retailers that have …

Letter to Senate on USA FREEDOM Act

    Majority Leader Harry Reid Minority Leader Mitch McConnell U.S. Senate Chairman Patrick J. Leahy Ranking Member Charles E. Grassley U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Dianne Feinstein Vice Chairman …

It doesn’t take much to imagine that campaign cash is buying influence in the courtroom

Imagine for a minute that a corporation with an effective monopoly in the State of Alabama became the target of litigation initiated by a state prosecutor. Not only …

NEJM irresponsibly damns e-cigarettes as gateway to cocaine, based on mouse nicotine studies

The New England Journal of Medicine yesterday published an incendiary anti-e-cigarette article that tags nicotine as a gateway to cocaine use… in mice. It's another sad day for …

Poll: Kentucky voters reject Internet sales tax law

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 4, 2014) -- When it comes to a federal law allowing out-of-state tax collectors to reach into the pockets of Kentucky’s online merchants, by a …

Letter to U.S. Senate on permanent Internet tax moratorium

    Dear Senators, On behalf of the undersigned, we encourage you to pass a clean permanent extension of the Internet Tax Moratorium, and commend the House of Representatives on passage …

Kevin Kosar

California state funds continue to shake up cat bond market

California's recent "Winequake" brought the public's focus back to the state's significant vulnerability to seismic events. Fortunately, the tremors, while costly, did not tally a high human score. …

Why does job-hungry Alabama tax businesses to open their doors?

In spite of what Alabama's lawmakers suggest on the campaign trail about the need to promote job creation, they have not bothered to examine a tax provision that …

R Street is looking for a Texas director

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, is looking for a dynamic, super-smart, energetic person to serve as the director of its Texas office.  …

Losing better solutions in the cloud of media bias

This past Sunday, the Opelika-Auburn News ran a column by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard in which Hubbard argued that President Obama is politically targeting Alabama for taking jobs …

R Street taps Ian Adams for California state director

WASHINGTON (September 2, 2014) – The R Street Institute is pleased to welcome Ian Adams as senior fellow and California director. In this role, Adams will be responsible …

Congress could delay passage of TRIA renewal bill past November elections

From Business Insurance: R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow at the free market-oriented R Street Institute in Washington, which wants more terrorism risk shifted to the private market, said that a …

The ‘right to be forgotten’ and the quagmire of global Internet regulation

Is an open and free Internet a fundamental human right? And if so, how do we enforce it in an international context? These questions have become acutely pressing …

Three things conservatives wrote this week that everyone should read

From ThinkProgress.org: One theme that has been rising to the surface more and more in conservative arguments is the potential threat state occupational licensing and regulations pose to innovation …

Not-so-common core

At last week's 40th annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators, several rock stars lit up the stage and podium. I'm not mostly talking about sold-out …

Ian Adams

Cameron Smith

Slowing the rise of the oceans

From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about …

In the CDC-FDA e-cigarette study, ‘probably not’ is the new ‘yes’

Assume that you conducted a survey in which you posed two multiple-choice questions: "Do you think you will smoke a cigarette in the next year?" "If one of your best …

Virginia lawmaker takes on patent trolls

From the Daily Caller: Zach Graves, policy analyst at the R Street Institute, is more concerned about the need for promising developments on the state level to be followed …

The Islamic State and the rebirth of a familiar fascist evil

"Bizarre," "hard-line" and even "barbaric" are words that often describe terrorists and their activities, but "evil" carries a stronger moral quality. "Evil" is a strong word, but in …

Can Prop 103 handle driverless cars?

Earlier this year, Google announced the introduction of a completely driverless car. On this blog, Eli Lehrer took time to discuss the insurance implications of such a development. …

Delaware becomes first state to include digital accounts in estate law

Say you have an iTunes library that’s the envy of the most obsessive music collectors. Or a Facebook account with thousands of friends who obsessively share and “like” …

Justice Department confirms Lois Lerner emails still exist, proving that IRS officials are a pack of liars

Well, look at that. The Justice Department has confirmed to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch that the emails of several IRS officials, including those of Lois Lerner, …

Ten great policy panels to vote for at SXSW

I recently wrote a short post highlighting the four panels we put forward for the 2015 SXSW Interactive conference, including the one I'll be on (along with folks from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the …

How big government and cronyism are slowing the growth of solar in the south

An Aug. 9 article in the Los Angeles Times explored why states in the U.S. South that get plenty of sunlight -- such as Virginia, South Carolina and, of …

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the broken copyright law

Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is fond of saying that one must never alter facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Given …

Lessons from Napa’s ‘winequake’

In the early hours Sunday morning, Northern California shook with the largest earthquake it has experienced since 1989. The South Napa Earthquake, as it is being referred to …

Odds of municipal pension reform grow slimmer

From Sun-Sentinel: The eight-member coalition includes business interest groups – the Florida Chamber Foundation, Associated Industries of Florida and the National Foundation of Independent Business – as well as …

Mouth cancer facts

Baseball star Curt Schilling says he has mouth cancer that was caused by chewing tobacco. His announcement has generated considerable interest in mouth cancer, its frequency and causes. What …

Scary armored vehicles aren’t the biggest danger of police militarization

The problem of police militarization has been in the news for more than a week, as the city of Ferguson, Mo. continues to deal with the aftermath of …

Letter to FCC on Comcast-Time Warner merger

    Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street SW Washington, DC 20554 VIA ELECTRONIC COMMENT FILING SYSTEM Re: Comcast - Time Warner Cable, MB Docket 14-57 Aug. 21, 2014 Dear Commission Members: On behalf of the …

On politics, prosecutions and public perspective

On Aug. 15, 2014, a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, indicted Governor Rick Perry for abusing his official capacity and for coercion of a public servant. The criminal …

As competition between Lyft and Uber grows, questions linger about disruption

As Americans become more familiar with the concept of “ridesharing,” things are heating up in what the Wall Street Journal last week dubbed the “fiercest battle in the …

Florida opens, closes surplus lines opportunities

From Insurance Journal: Don Brown, a senior fellow at the free-market think tank R Street Institute, said that the new legislation has provisions that could lead to more involvement …

Don’t intervene in Azeroth: Thieves in MMOs shouldn’t face criminal charges

While the world reels from the Ebola epidemic, the instability in Gaza and the intensifying tensions between Russia and Ukraine, one British politician seems to have put his …

For insurers, California’s ‘diverse procurement’ is well-meaning and wrong

Under Section 927.2 of the California Insurance Code, insurers writing $100 million or more in annual premiums in the state are required to submit reports to the Department …

Why global efforts to combat cybercrime are so difficult

From Tech Page One: “A district attorney would rather spend time prosecuting local crime and criminals so he has something to show for it than spending a lot of …

Is American entrepreneurship declining or simply changing?

From Reason: Whatever you call it, an under-appreciated aspect of this economy is how it puts self-employment, of sorts, in many more people's reach. Sure, companies like Uber, Lyft, …

Republicans’ lukewarm climate warrior

From Bloomberg View: Across the street from the Washington Convention Center, through a narrow door tucked between a bar and what used to be a furniture rental store, up …

Wikipedia, cybersecurity and Aspen Forum this week

From Roll Call: On Thursday, the R Street Institute hosts a panel event Thursday on startups and regulation.   …

Climate change and the intellectual decline of the right

From Inside Story: The billboard fiasco led to the departure from Heartland of Eli Lehrer’s insurance policy group, one of the few areas in which Heartland research had any …

Sanders on Paul Ryan’s poverty plan

R Street Senior Fellow Lori Sanders joined Lowman Henry of American Radio Journal to discuss the anti-poverty agenda put forth recently by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, …

North Carolina physicians endorse e-cigarettes

A survey of North Carolina physicians documents that many understand the benefit of e-cigarettes and some actively recommend that their smoking patients switch. The results were published in …

Poll finds bipartisan opposition in Tennessee to online sales taxes

From Nashville Business Journal: Those are the findings from the survey conducted by National Taxpayers Union, a conservative tax advocacy organization, and R Street Institute, a nonprofit, free-market think …

How ‘Dead Poets Society’ changed my life

The passing of a Hollywood star makes headlines one day, and most of us move along the next. After all, fame and life are equally fleeting. When I heard …

Poll finds Georgians against online sales tax bill

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle: The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, worked with the National Taxpayers Union on the poll. Christian Camara, the institute’s state affairs director, said …

Nathan Deal: Talk of gas tax hike is ‘premature’

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A statewide poll by the National Taxpayers Union and the conservative R Street Institute found that 57 percent of likely Georgia voters are opposed to …

Legal fiction and fictional legality

"The Case of the Speluncean Explorers," a 1949 Harvard Law Review essay by Lon L. Fuller, may prove instructive to the ever-growing number of Americans who follow with …

Groups form coalition, want local pension reform revisited in 2015

From WFSU: According to the coalition—which includes the Florida League of Cities and Associated Industries of Florida—the Florida Legislature in the late 1990s imposed mandates on local governments that …

Vote for R Street at SXSW 2015

We've put together four awesome panels for SXSW Interactive. Your vote can help us bring free market ideas to Austin's annual gathering of 30,000 technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs. Please …

Lehmann talks Uber and Lyft in Virginia

R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann, co-author of our recent white paper on principles for regulating the peer production economy, discusses a recent deal struck by the Commonwealth …

Fla Citizens’ business travel saves Florida money

A recent article by the Palm Beach Post blasting Citizens Property Insurance Corp. executives for traveling overseas casts a negative image onto the state-owned and operated insurer. However, …

How many Americans use smokeless tobacco?

I recently described how the federal government is all thumbs when it tries to count how many Americans smoke. Further evidence of the government's ineptitude is seen in …

A decade after Charley, Florida’s still paying the bill

Tomorrow, Aug. 9, marks the ten-year anniversary of the formation of Hurricane Charley. The third named storm of the 2004 hurricane season, Charley did $13 billion of damage, …

Gingrich advises state lawmakers not to kill innovation

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is known as a font of ideas, even by detractors who don’t necessarily approve the product of all his …

Pending gas price hikes make California lawmakers skittish

As the California Legislature wraps up its last few weeks of this year's session, some lawmakers are anxious to head off a scheduled gas price increase set to …

Virginia reaches deal with Uber and Lyft

From Matthew Feeney at the Cato Institute's blog: It is welcome news that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring have worked out an agreement with Uber and …

R Street Institute applauds Houston city council vote on Uber, Lyft

Houston, Texas (August 6, 2014) - By a 10-5 vote, the Houston City Council today paved the way for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in …

Congress must stop allowing the president to unilaterally create laws

Over the last several months, President Obama's administration has seemingly created laws for the America people without any relevant input from the legislative branch. While many liberal legislators …

Half a trillion unaccounted for on federal spending transparency website

The federal government can’t find $619 billion dollars on the website it built six years ago to give a transparent account of its spending activities. USA Today‘s Gregory Korte has …

Political hacks stand to gain from Florida gerrymander fix

Looks like Florida lawmakers will have to put their summer campaign activities and fundraising on hold. Last week, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ordered the Legislature …

R Street applauds Virginia agreement on ridesharing services

WASHINGTON (August 6, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today's news of an agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and transportation networking companies Uber and Lyft. This arrangement …

California’s incomplete prescription for reducing climate risk

The California Natural Resources Agency has just released its Final Safeguarding California Plan for Reducing Climate Risk. The roughly 350-page plan is designed to provide policymakers with recommendations …

R Street testimony to Houston City Council on ride-sharing

      Remarks by Steven Titch Associate Fellow, R Street Institute Re: Legalization of ride-sharing services Houston City Council meeting Aug. 5, 2014 Good Afternoon, I would like to thank the City Council for the opportunity …

Paying for permissionless innovation

We're big fans of permissionless innovation—the concept and Adam Thierer's excellent book. The biggest, most consequential enemy of permissionless innovation in the United States is undoubtedly the Food …

The sharing economy will thrive only if government doesn’t strangle it

The so-called sharing economy is many things to many people. To Wall Street and Silicon Valley, firms like Uber and Airbnb offer tantalizing market capitalizations, the …

What Mississippi can learn from Louisiana

Good planning efforts can ensure that the coming financial windfall is not wasted. One month into the 2014 hurricane season, Gulf Coast residents, businesses and governments once again have …

Uber, Lyft and Houston’s policy leadership

Under the guise of needing to review a list of new amendments, the Houston City Council this week once again delayed a vote on granting legal status to …

The tide is turning: More scientific support for e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes get a positive health review in the new issue of the journal Addiction. Quoting from the abstract: [Electronic cigarettes, EC] aerosol can contain some of the toxicants present …

R Street applauds bipartisan bill increasing government preparedness for extreme weather

WASHINGTON (August 1, 2014) - The R Street Institute is encouraged by today's introduction of H.R. 5314, the bipartisan Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience …

Letter to Houston City Council on transportation network companies

    Houston City Council City Hall Annex 900 Bagby Street First Floor Houston, TX 77002 July 31, 2014 Dear Honorable Council Members, By approving the proposal to allow vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft to operate, …

Letter to Gov. Nixon on veto of tobacco harm-reduction bill

July 31, 2014   Gov. Jeremiah Nixon P.O. Box 720 Jefferson City MO 65102 Re: Veto of Missouri Senate Substitute for S.B. 841 Dear Gov. Nixon, As a public health physician, with …

New York Times’ call for marijuana legalization advances harm reduction

A milestone in the fight for harm reduction was reached on July 28, when the New York Times formally endorsed the legalization of marijuana. A Times editorial, "Repeal …

Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s impact on the economy, Internet freedom & cybersecurity

From the Open Technology Institute: R Street Institute's January 2014 policy study concluded that in the next few years, new products and services that rely on cloud computing will …

R Street joins groups in support of USA FREEDOM Act

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2014) - The R Street Institute today joined a coalition of groups expressing support for the USA FREEDOM Act, which was reintroduced in the Senate this week by …

Coalition urges Congress to support updated USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685)

Majority Leader Harry Reid Minority Leader Mitch McConnell United States Senate Chairman Patrick J. Leahy Ranking Member Charles E. Grassley U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Dianne …

The peculiar benefit calculation of EPA’s carbon rule

This week, the EPA held a field hearing in Atlanta regarding the Clean Power Plan proposed rule. Once final, the rule, by 2030, "would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the …

Portable persistency and the Prop 103 roadblock

The emerging need to develop new insurance products to cover California's Transportation Network Company operators has spurred a reexamination of the nature of Proposition 103's quasi-constitutional status. In …

Today in Liberty: Treasury Department halts Ex-Im deals with Russia, federal court grants D.C. a stay on gun rights ruling

From UnitedLiberty: “Peer production” could be huge for the economy if left alone by bureaucrats: A new study from the R Street Institute explains that the emerging “peer production” …

NAF report quantifies cost of NSA snooping

In the year since Edward Snowden began disclosing the scope of National Security Agency's programs to use cell phone networks, the Internet and various commercial websites to spy …

The left’s case against Ex-Im

Efforts to finally kill the $140 billion federal boondoggle that is the Export-Import Bank -- led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas -- are getting …

The peer production economy should be allowed to succeed without heavy regulation, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (July 29, 2014) – Emerging "peer production" markets could unlock trillions in previously dormant capital, making it essential that lawmakers and regulators do not strangle these new business …

Five principles for regulating the peer production economy

  The attached paper was co-authored by R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan. Economic history over the last 200 years is largely the story of the industrial move from small-scale …

The national security social contract

Of all the news outlets that covered the mysterious replacement of the U.S. flags on one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, only the New York Post …

Open letter to the House and Senate: Keep the caps

  We, the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans dedicated to fiscal responsibility, urge you to strictly abide by the discretionary budget caps originally established by the Budget Control …

Ryan’s opening bid

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled his draft "opportunity agenda" in a speech this morning at the American Enterprise Institute, offering a plan broad and bold enough to give …

Address flood insurance and the environment with RESTORE Act funding

Many Alabamians may find it hard to believe that July 15 of this year marked four years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was capped in the Gulf …

Detroit: A city in transition

From Watchdog Wire: Starting a business in Detroit is still difficult – Real estate costs may be low but apparently the red tape is still very thick. I attended a …

Anti-tax groups take online sales tax campaign to Idaho

From the Times-News: The National Taxpayers Union and R Street say their poll of 400 Idahoans showed from 52 to 68 percent opposed to the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” depending …

Poll: Idahoans don’t want taxes collected from online shopping

From Idaho Business Review: Most Idaho voters, whatever their political stripes, don't want a sales tax on online purchases. That's the finding of a new poll commissioned by free …

Taxpayers Union releases poll on online taxes, Idaho retailers, lawmaker dispute results

From the Spokesman-Review: That’s the legislation the National Taxpayers Union opposes. In announcing its poll today, which the group said was conducted June 3-4, included 400 likely Idaho voters …

Questioning lethal injection

What appears to be a rather horrifically botched execution in Arizona should give additional pause to those (me included) who continue to support the death penalty. This and …

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel launches online gambling in California

In the spirit of the adage that it's better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission, the Native American Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Calif., has launched …

Federal judge to FDA: Tobacco advisory panel tainted by conflicts of interest

"The presence of conflicted members on [the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, TPSAC] irrevocably tainted its very composition and its work product" and "the committee's findings and …

Anatomy of a Trojan Horse: California’s permissive single-subject rule

When it comes to winning at the polls, hoodwinking voters by confusing the issues is a strategy that has stood the test of time. This November, Propositions 45 …

Survey: Coloradans oppose efforts to tax sales by out-of-state Internet retailers

From Denver Business Journal: The survey, conducted by the National Taxpayers Union and the R Street Institute, asks specifically about the Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the U.S. Senate …

Building again in Natomas is too risky

From the Sacramento Bee: This is misguided enthusiasm, said Ian Adams, a policy analyst specializing in insurance markets for R Street Institute, a libertarian think tank. "Overhauling the levees …

Market freedom paying off in South Carolina

Maintaining pricing freedom and a light regulatory touch is paying major dividends in South Carolina's property insurance market, where the state is reaping the benefits of the ongoing …

How many Americans smoke?

I answered that question on my blog a few years ago, saying it was: Either 45.3 million or 52.7 million in 2010, depending on which federal agency does the …

Learning from Detroit

R Street Executive Director (and Detroit native) Andrew Moylan took part this past week in the Cities on the Brink forum presented by the Manhattan Institute and State …

Think tank survey shows significant opposition to federal Internet tax

From 90.5 WCBE: The D.C.-based think tank R Street says more than 56% of Ohioans polled are against out-of-state taxation on e-commerce.     Executive Director Andrew Moylan says the federal …

Survey says most Ohioans oppose a federal Internet sales tax

From 89.7 WKSU: The D.C.-based think tank R Street says more than 56 percent of Ohioans polled are against out-of-state taxation on e-commerce. Executive Director Andrew Moylan says the federal …

Jerry Brown provides a powerful argument for California separation

From RealClearPolicy: Gov. Jerry Brown's spokesman has raised questions about the feasibility of the Six States proposal, arguing that "the proposal has serious practical challenges." But does this position …

Slenderman and the ‘mythos’ of modernism

From the American Conservative: Vice chalks the violence up to poorly-managed hormones and small-town boredom. And Mytheos Holt at R Street asks whether their violence could have been prevented by addressing mental …

Three things conservatives wrote this week that everyone should read

From ThinkProgress: So the conservative think tank R Street and author Ian Adams came to the plan’s defense this week, pointing to California’s socioeconomic diversity and some conceptual arguments …

Anti-tax groups say Iowans oppose online tax collectors

From the Des Moines Register: The National Taxpayers Union and the R Street Institute this week released a poll of 400 likely Iowa voters who were surveyed in May. …

Conservative group releases poll on online sales tax collections in Ohio

From the Aurora Advocate: The R Street Institute and the National Taxpayers Union say the results should prompt Ohio’s congressional delegation to think twice before backing federal legislation on …

New poll says Internet sales tax unpopular idea in Ohio

From 1370 WSPD: "Ohioans of all political stripes, majorities, count themselves in opposition to this," said Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute, a Washington D.C. think …

Keeping the American Dream alive is your responsibility and mine

In our country, we have all heard about one particular dream. Our parents likely mentioned it. We might have heard about it from a teacher or pastor or …

2/3 of Iowans oppose Internet sales tax, poll shows

From the Iowa Republican: National Taxpayers Union visited Iowa Wednesday to reveal the results of a poll that shows Iowans overwhelmingly oppose a sales tax on internet purchases. …

Moylan talks Internet sales tax on Radio Iowa

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan and Pete Sepp from the National Taxpayers Union joined host host Kay Henderson of the Learfield Radio Network's Radio Iowa to discuss …

Survey finds 67 percent of Iowans oppose paying sales tax on internet purchases

From RadioIowa: The National Taxpayers Union and a D.C.-based think-tank are touting a new survey which finds a majority of Iowans are opposed to paying sales taxes on internet …

Jerry Brown provides powerful argument for California separation

Gov. Jerry Brown's spokesman has raised questions about the feasibility of the Six States proposal, arguing that "the proposal has serious practical challenges." But does this position harmonize …

Senate terrorism insurance bill fails to make appropriate reforms

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute today urged members of Congress to commit to sensible reforms to the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, as called …

Internet sales tax opposed by voters in 6 states, poll finds

From Law360: Polling released Friday by free-market think tank R Street Institute and conservative lobbying group National Taxpayers Union indicates that a majority of residents in six states including …

Transportation reform debate is out of gas

With the impending shortage in the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, claws have come out across the political spectrum. Grassroots activists decry what they see as wasteful spending on …

The twisting tale of the CVT

Would you think that an unexpected ban of a disruptive technology, particularly a ban imposed 20 years ago by a private race car administrative organization, could retard timely …

Virginia residents, businesses split over Internet sales tax

From WVTF Public Radio: Both sides of the issue want to sway Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, to their side. The R Street Institute’s …

Lyft’s insurance move a first step toward regular TNC coverage

Even as it faces new regulatory headaches in New York, transportation network company Lyft is making news this week with a major announcement today that should quiet at …

Tuesday: Cárdenas, Mulvaney host briefing on worker relocation legislation

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2014) - Tomorrow, U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley, Calif.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) will host a bipartisan discussion regarding continuing long-term unemployment …

Overwhelming opposition to Internet sales tax scheme continues in week 2 of multi-state poll tour

WASHINGTON (July 11, 2014) - The second week of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and R Street Institute’s 20-state tour to announce poll results relating to the Marketplace Fairness …

Update on the Lyft/NYC dispute

Since I wrote about the Lyft/New York City fight for The Weekly Standard this morning, it has come out that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing the …

New York threatens to fine car service $2,000 for giving free rides

UPDATE: New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is indeed now suing Lyft for daring to offer free rides. See the update here. As anyone who has visited …

Democrat finds GOP help in addressing extreme weather

From ClimateWire: Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank that specializes in insurance issues, applauded Cartwright for finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans …

R Street/NTU poll: Majority oppose Internet sales tax

From PoliticsPA: A new poll conducted by the conservative R Street Institute and the anti-tax National Taxpayers Union has found that Pennsylvanians oppose the regulations proposed in the Marketplace …

Moylan talks Internet sales tax on the Bill LuMaye Show

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan was a guest on the Bill LuMaye Show on Raleigh, N.C.'s WPTF (NewsRadio 680/TalkRadio 850) to discuss federal proposals to allow states …

R Street applauds Rep. Gardner’s Earned Income Tax Credit bill

WASHINGTON (July 11, 2014) –The R Street Institute today welcomed the introduction by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., of the Earnings Advancement and Recovery Now Act, or EARN Act. By …

R Street’s Moylan to participate in Manhattan Institute panel on lessons of Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. (July 14, 2014) - On Friday, July 18, the Manhattan Institute and State Budget Solutions are partnering to host a panel discussion about how other cities …

Re: The gay war on smoking

Spencer Case does good work in making the case that the LGBT community in America has to pay more attention to smoking than it does. That said, I'm …

Dishonoring Tony Gwynn

The loss of American sports heroes is often accompanied by an outpouring of grief. But the death of San Diego Padre star Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer …

R Street’s Adams on flood insurance in Sacramento

R Street Associate Policy Analyst Ian Adams joined host Bruce Maiman yesterday on KFBK radio in  Sacramento, Calif. to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program. In particular, Ian …

Rand Paul and Cory Booker take a step in the right direction on criminal-justice reform

Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., deserve a lot of credit for the REDEEM Act they're putting forward in the Senate. The proposed law, which would …

Media Mentions

News Releases

Blog Posts

Hobby Lobby and the hobbling law

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell predictably unleashed a firestorm of controversy that has burned through every sector of the press. If nothing else, …

Family Business Coalition letter on the death tax

    Chairman Dave Camp H-208 U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C. 20515 Congressman Kevin Brady 301 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 CC: Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris …

E-cigarettes: A life-saving technology or a way for tobacco companies to re-normalize smoking in American society?

  The attached study appeared in the June 30, 2014 edition of the Food and Drug Law Institute's Food and Drug Policy Forum. Electronic cigarettes, commonly referred to as "e-cigarettes," …

An open letter to the U.S. Congress: Protect taxpayers and empower the states by reforming transportation spending

Dear House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden: With the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) on track to run out this summer, …

Some San Franciscans hopping mad over ReservationHop

ReservationHop is a start-up caught in the horns of controversy. Its business model places it at the intersection of San Francisco's built-in techno-libertarianism and urban third-estate populism. Is …

R Street to host extreme weather event with Rep. Cartwright

Come see R Street's president Eli Lehrer on extreme weather events and disaster policy Wednesday at noon. Full details below. No RSVP required. Washington, DC –On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, in …

Rep. Cartwright to host extreme weather event with R Street, American Sustainable Business Council

WASHINGTON (July 8, 2014) – On Wednesday, July 9, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, in conjunction with the R Street Institute and the American Sustainable Business Council will host “Saving Taxpayer …

The gap in conservative climate policy

From Bloomberg View: There's a lot to like about Eli Lehrer's argument for National Review that conservatives should stop downplaying global warming and instead try to take advantage of …

Prop 45: An internecine fight on the regulatory left

Ominously, Proposition 45, the "Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act," is heading for California's November ballot. If voters approve the Consumer Watchdog-sponsored initiative, health insurers would be …

The European right to be forgotten might be a Pandora’s box

From Intellectual Property Watch: "While the Canadian case [deals] with the sale of counterfeit products, rather than privacy, it embraces on the same logic to make its sweeping censorship …

It’s time for a conservative global-warming agenda

Conservatives should adopt a new strategy in the battle over global warming. Rather than falling back on the claim that global warming isn’t a problem, conservatives should take …

Public voices opposition to Internet sales taxes

From Somewhat Reasonable: This week, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the R Street Institute launched a 20-state tour to announce new poll results that demonstrate the publics near …

News from the front desk: Issue No 198

From The Fifth Estate: The thinking echoed what the conservative think tank the R Street Institute said last year after it broke away from the Heartland Institute that has …

Conservatives debate IP: A right or a privilege?

Can copyrights and other intellectual property be treated the same as physical property rights, and just how far should that analogy be taken? Those were among the key issues …

Got Obamacare tax questions? You might be out of luck — FATCA’s here — Koskinen gets the Times treatment

From Politico: NORTH CAROLINA VOTERS NOT FANS OF MFA. WRAL reports, “Most North Carolina voters oppose a federal bill that would allow online retailers to collect out-of-state sales tax, …

Arthur could strike around the Fourth in Morehead City

Ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, the U.S. East Coast is preparing for Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 season. Formed yesterday off the …

Swedish study: After a heart attack, quitting tobacco better than no tobacco

A recent study by Gabriel Arefalk and colleagues at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, published in the American Heart Association flagship journal Circulation, was purported by the …

Poll: Few like sales tax on online purchases

From WRAL-5: Most North Carolina voters oppose a federal bill that would allow online retailers to collect out-of-state sales tax, according to a poll released Tuesday by the National …

Poll: South Carolinians reject Internet taxes

From FitsNews: The data – released this week by the National Taxpayers Union and R Street Institute – underscores the extent to which the state wants the federal government …

Michigan scalping law is ‘consumer protection’ gone wrong

So-called "consumer protection" has evolved into a major legislative preoccupation, which would be fine if it was mostly related to protecting citizens from injury – physical or fiscal. Alas, …

Reinsurers starting to drop their terrorism exclusions

As property insurers lock up their July 1 reinsurance renewals, many are finding a bonus surprise above and beyond the soft pricing environment – the terrorism exclusions that …

New poll shows N.C. residents oppose federal bill targeting sales tax for online purchases

From the Locker Room: Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, joined R Street executive director Andrew Moylan and NTU executive vice president Pete Sepp today in presenting the poll results …

Internet Sales Tax Polls

Slender Man or slender minds?

Much of the media have been consumed in recent weeks by a lurid story with all the hallmarks of a psychological horror film by the likes of Guillermo …

Tour featuring new polling on unpopular Internet sales tax scheme hits the road

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2014) – Today, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the R Street Institute begin a 20-state tour to announce new poll results showing just how toxic the …

California Senate panel lowers insurance requirement for TNCs

California's A.B. 2293 – sponsored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord – crossed another hurdle Wednesday by earning approval of the state Senate Insurance Committee. Having earlier been amended …

No easy fix for California’s replacement parts regs

Henry Ford would be gratified to see how far mass production has come. Entire cars are constructed in a matter of hours. He would be somewhat less impressed …

The case for e-cigarettes

There are about 46 million smokers in the United States, and an estimated 480,000 deaths per year are attributed to cigarette smoking. Despite our best efforts, these numbers …

Letter to Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Oppose CISA

June 26, 2014 Chairman Dianne Feinstein U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Washington, DC 20510 Vice Chairman Chambliss U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Washington, DC 20510   Dear Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, and Members …

About that creepy biometric database, FBI, we’d like to know a bit more

From Reason: Yesterday, 32 organizations from across the political spectrum, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and R Street Institute, asked Attorney General …

Snus nicotine lowers risk for multiple sclerosis, may be therapeutic for other nerve disorders

New research published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal and authored by Anna Hedström of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine confirms that snus users have a significantly lower risk …

Let it grow

Last week, the Washington Post detailed a phenomenon which, to many twenty-something residents (or former residents) of the District of Columbia, is all too familiar: young people are …

University of California has strong opinions on peer-to-peer business

Earlier this week, the University of California's Office of the President (UCOP) determined that, as a result of a perceived shortfall in regulation, it would not reimburse faculty …

The risks of allowing Internet censorship

From NCPA: The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Google to remove information from the internet, reports Zach Graves for R Street. The Canadian case involves the sale of …

Don’t take the Texas GOP’s crazy platform too seriously

In recent weeks, more than a few groups – including one on whose board I serve – have denounced various aspects of the Texas Republican Party's platform. Indeed, there's …

Insurance by/at the pound?

It has never been more of a dog's world. Consider, 45 percent of households own dogs. With such a high rate of cohabitation, insurers have seen dog-related claims rise. …

Checkmate for E3’s critics

Imagine the following: A new form of entertainment enters the market, which engages its players in intense competition, sometimes to the exclusion of their social lives, and which …

R Street urges state and local governments to take steps on e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2014) – State and local governments should take steps to curb cigarette use and promote e-cigarettes as a real driver of tobacco harm reduction, said the …

E-cigarette primer for state and local lawmakers

Cigarettes kill an estimated 480,000 Americans each year. An estimated 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes, the most hazardous and most addictive of tobacco products. Despite our best efforts, …

The Burkean case for immigration reform

Demos blogger Matt Bruenig, in an apparently Burkean mood, writes: The biggest factor in production is not nature, labor, or capital, but in fact accumulated technology and knowledge that …

Patents? Where we’re going, we don’t need patents

A little more than a week ago, if you were to walk through the lobby of Tesla Motors – not that I ever have, but if one were …

California State Policy

California

Current design patent laws stifle innovation and competition, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2014) – Current design patent law provides incentive for frivolous lawsuits and abuse, said the R Street Institute in a policy paper released today. Authored by Ned …

Murray Rothbark

The case in favor of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction

This paper has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. A carefully structured Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) initiative, with e-cigarettes as a …

R Street commends committee for passing TRIA reform

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's passage of H.R. 4871, the TRIA Reform Act of 2014, by the House Financial Services Committee. The measure, …

Is interactive design becoming unpatentable?

If 20th Century design was inspired by American architect Louis Sullivan's 1896 pronouncement that "form ever follows function," the key realization thus far of the 21st Century has …

Ned Andrews

The fight over TNCs in California

Legislation regulating so-called "transportation network companies" in California passed the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee by a unanimous 8-0 vote earlier this week, amid a row …

Despite setback in Senate, there’s no reason to give up on patent reform

The last few weeks have brought both good and bad news to supporters of patent reform looking to reduce system abuse. Hopes for legislative action were dashed when a …

R Street welcomes Supreme Court decision on patents

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, which ruled that patents filed by …

Stroke risk same for menthol and nonmenthol smokers

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris in 2012 reported that "smokers of mentholated cigarettes, and in particular women and non–African Americans, have significantly increased odds of stroke compared with nonmentholated cigarette …

The dangerous proliferation of the ‘right to be forgotten’

Following on last month's ruling by the European Court of Justice that search engines could be forced to take down links that individuals believe infringe their privacy rights, …

Four other ethnic groups who could challenge pro team trademarks

Today's decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to vacate six of the Washington Redskins' trademarks on grounds that they are "disparaging …

R Street encouraged by House bill on terrorism insurance

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomes today's introduction of the TRIA Reform Act of 2014, legislation that would make significant, positive changes to the federal …

Sacramento’s soggy redevelopment plan

Those unfortunate enough to have attended California Gov. Leland Stanford's 1862 inauguration likely had to commute to the Capitol Building as he did – by boat. Sacramento is, if …

R Street urges alternative approaches to proposed FDA regulations of e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (June 17, 2014) – Alternative approaches to the proposed Food and Drug Administration regulations on e-cigarettes should be explored before final regulations are approved, said the R Street …

The reinsurance tax and TRIA: A recipe for massive taxpayer liabilities

Proposed taxes on "affiliated reinsurance" transactions sought by the Obama administration and some members of Congress would restrict trade and could make it impossible to transfer the costs …

R Street praises Gov. Rick Scott for signing private insurance marketplace bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 16, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed Friday's signing of SB 542 by Gov. Rick Scott, approving rules guiding the state's emerging private flood insurance market that …

Service, restrictions force CU fans to abandon CU

This piece was co-written by R Street President Eli Lehrer. We both love credit unions. The free-market think tank we lead considers them a vital part of America's financial …

Comments to FDA on e-cigarette deeming regs

This note is in response to the April 2014 FDA Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0189 requesting comment on proposed regulations for extending the authority of the FDA Center on Tobacco …

Big Ideas: On superheroes, inequality and Hollywood

From the Washington Examiner: Mytheos Holt for the R Street Institute: In what is likely the most bizarre story you will read all week, Seattle resident, trained fighter and …

What Eric Cantor’s loss — and a quirky economist’s win — means for Republicans

On Tuesday, Republican primary voters asserted themselves in spectacular fashion by wresting the GOP nomination from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and giving it to quirky economist Dave …

The California Earthquake Authority: A confused success story

This year, the California Senate Insurance Committee has hosted two informational hearings on earthquake risk, bringing together stakeholders, regulators and thought-leaders. The fact is that Californians are overexposed and …

Paper puts cost of patent trolling at $22B

A new research paper has calculated that frequent lawsuits by patent assertion entities—or patent trolls as they are known pejoratively—has scared off some $22 billion in venture capital …

Student debt isn’t the problem. Colleges are.

If you borrowed money from the federal government to finance your education and you're having an extremely hard time paying it back, I have good news for you. …

Open letter to Congress: Support amendments to reform crop insurance

June 11, 2014 An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Support Amendments to Reform Crop Insurance Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members of the undersigned organizations, we urge …

Swedish Match files to change smokeless tobacco warnings

Swedish Match has filed a modified risk tobacco product application with the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. The landmark event was announced in an Associated Press story. The company …

Conspicuous production

We are living in an era of makers. The objects being made are diverse: quadcopters, decorations, blog posts and hand-bound notebooks. The ones we hear about have some …

R Street testifies in support of free-market pricing in secondary ticket markets

LANSING, Mich. (June 10, 2014) - Offering tickets for resale on the secondary market should not be tantamount to a crime against the state, said Alan Smith, R Street …

Should taxpayers insure office buildings and sports stadiums against terrorist attacks?

From the Washington Examiner: As both Lawler and insurance expert Ray Lehmann of the R Street Institute point out, this is yet another fight pitting big business (the insurers …

Testimony on Michigan ticket freedom bill

Testimony on House Bill 5108 Alan Smith, R Street Institute Midwest Director Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Michigan Senate Government Operations Committee Good afternoon Chairman Richardville and members of Senate leadership constituting the …

In memoriam, Sean Carr

Sean P. Carr, one of the best reporters covering the insurance industry here in the nation's capital, died suddenly last night from complications during emergency surgery, just a …

Join R Street’s Christian Camara in Pembroke Pines

R Street State Affairs Director Christian Camara will take part this Thursday in a forum sponsored by Florida International University's Metropolitan Center on “The Hurricane Threat: Issues in …

Moylan on Virginia’s TNC ban

R Street's Andrew Moylan joined Afternoon Constitutional host Joe Thomas of WCHV-FM, 107.5 in Charlottesville, Va., to discuss Virginia's recent cease and desist letter to transportation network companies …

Terrorism insurance pits NFL and NHL against tea party

From the Washington Examiner: R.J. Lehmann, an insurance analyst and co-founder of the free-market R Street Institute, favors a slimmed-down TRIA program, rather than complete termination, acknowledging that “terrorism …

Why liberals should stop predicting the death of conservatism

From the Huffington Post: This became evident at a recent panel held at Columbia University by The Current, a journal of culture, politics and Jewish affairs. The event featured …

Virginia’s war on Uber and Lyft

The hidebound arm of an administrative state once again has descended upon one of the nation's most visible, exciting and novel industries. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles …

Pioneering innovative new approaches to rectangles

Microsoft, one of the largest corporate holders of patents in the United States, received another major bundle of approvals this week from the USPTO. In addition to some …

Who will weight-watch the watchmen?

In what is likely the most bizarre story you will read all week, Seattle resident, trained fighter and self-proclaimed "superhero" (read: costumed vigilante) Phoenix Jones has decided to …

Embracing safer tobacco products

From Convenience Store Decisions: "I’m a scientist, and I’ve tried to take a very scientific approach to this," Dr. Brad Rodu, professor of medicine and the endowed chairman of …

Delays on climate action could hurt the economy

From ClimateWire: Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, another panelist at the Brookings announcement, said Republicans will probably spend a year attacking President Obama and the new …

R Street disappointed by Virginia’s treatment of Uber and Lyft

WASHINGTON (June 6, 2014)  - The R Street Institute is deeply disappointed by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle's cease and desist order to Uber and Lyft this week, ordering …

De Blasio’s welfare mistake

If you care about fighting poverty, the best thing you can do is to simply give poor people money. That is the view of some of the smartest, …

Conservatives support Smarter Sentencing Act

June 5, 2014 The Hon. Harry Reid U.S. Senate 522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Sen. Reid: We are writing to urge you to advance the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410), …

E-cigarette TV ads: adults’ exposure much higher than kids

The June 2 edition of the journal Pediatrics features a study of e-cigarette advertising on television from 2011 to 2013. The research, led by Jennifer Duke of RTI …

Court rules no legal fees in ‘pocket bra’ patent troll case

Back in 2012, Kyle Bartlow and Mariah Gentry were juniors at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, looking to live out the American dream of entrepreneurship. …

Moylan on hurricane season

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance on TPA's "Taxpayer Watch Podcast" to discuss the June 1 start of the Atlantic …

Utah residents may be charged $20 a month to bail out UTOPIA

Residents of 11 Utah cities would be billed as much as $20 a month, as part of a plan to salvage the state's once-heralded UTOPIA fiber optic network. UTOPIA, …

The conservative case for precedent

Treating like cases alike is central to the U.S. legal system. Socially and morally, the advantages of juridical consistency are assumed to be foundational. For this reason, among …

Will carbon rule prod gridlocked Congress to act on climate change?

From ClimateWire: "Congress could have legislated this problem away many times ... but obviously that hasn't happened," said Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute, a conservative …

Taxes on Internet access likely unless Congress acts

From NewsMax: Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute, an independent think tank, said that contrary to supporters' assertions, the MFA does not "level the playing field." Moylan said …

History in the making: Seattle is raising its minimum wage to $15

From Slate: But, as Reihan Salam has written, the effects may also be more subtly damaging. As wages rise, businesses could simply seek to hire better educated and skilled …

R Street disappointed by EPA greenhouse gas rules

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2014) – New carbon emissions regulations proposed today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are likely to prove expensive and damaging to a still-fragile economic …

That’s how the cupcake patent crumbles

Perhaps the surest sign that the decade-long cupcake fad is really and truly over is that even cupcake-related lawsuits are wrapping up tidily. Most recently, news has come down …

Muni broadband: The gift that keeps on taking

LUS Fiber, the municipal broadband system in Lafayette, La., last month received another warning from city auditors, an advisory that appears to have become an annual thing. Although losses …

Big Ideas: Erasing the past, foreign policy and tax cuts

From the Washington Examiner: Steven Titch for R Street: The European Union’s highest court has ruled that Internet search engines must give serious consideration to users who request they …

Will the NFIP survive this year’s hurricane season?

This Sunday, June 1, marks the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. And though experts are predicting a relatively quiet one this year, our dutiful representatives in …

Nicotine/tobacco research and policy experts endorse THR in letter to World Health Organization

Fifty-three tobacco research and policy experts from 15 countries today endorsed many of the tobacco harm reduction principles that I have advocated for 20 years. In a widely …

Here’s why an Obama plan to regulate carbon could work

From Wired: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a corporate advocacy group, has charged that regulations would cost $51 billion and 224,000 jobs. The National Mining Association ran advertisements predicting …

Upcoming Google hangout on copyright reform

We'll be hosting a Google Hangout with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss copyright reform on Thursday, …

N.C. auto insurance price controls stifle innovation

There has been a great deal of heated discussion in North Carolina regarding auto insurance reform during the past several years. The insurance industry is divided and parties …

Five reasons why online poker is here to stay

The annual World Series of Poker got underway in Las Vegas Tuesday. Poker enthusiasts are looking to see if legalization of online poker has an impact on the …

The insurance implications of Google’s self-driving car

Google has announced a truly "driverless" car that lacks a steering wheel, brakes or anything else that allows a driver to control its movements. This actually strikes me as a …

Forget everything you know about six-pack organizers

Picture a six-pack of bottles or cans. Now, imagine you want to transport or organize those bottles and/or cans. How are you going to do it? Perhaps you might …

New York Times prison problems

A new study from the National Academies strongly suggests that we should reduce the number of people in prison and jail and make it easier for them to re-enter …

Alcohol taxes should be tripled

America is rushing headlong toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. A growing majority—54 percent as of a Pew survey released just last month—favor legalization, and an even …

Endow R Street’s office supplies of freedom

  After two years of serious work and a lot of fun, we at the R Street Institute feel like we've finally joined the big leagues. We've produced widely-circulated …

Meet the men fighting to keep minor drug criminals in jail

From BuzzFeed: "The American system is built to be deliberative," said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, a libertarian-skewing think tank that supports a reexamination of the …

Rate Bureau protects vested interests, not consumers

A recent Star News editorial on auto insurance reform in North Carolina ("Don't let companies wreck state's auto insurance system," May 24) argues that allowing companies to opt …

Prop 103’s troublesome legacy

It's been more than a quarter-century since California voters passed Proposition 103. Spurred on by questionable analysis of the causes of high auto insurance premiums, five competing insurance-regulation …

Africa can tap global reinsurance markets; why not Florida?

In what can only be taken as an exceedingly encouraging sign for emerging markets around the world, an African Union-created agency has established the continent's first-ever catastrophe insurance …

Patent trolls rejoice! Reform bill likely dead as sponsoring Sen. Patrick Leahy takes it off agenda

From Reason: "Very disappointing that patent reform efforts came to a halt with @SenatorLeahy's decision today," the R Street Institute, a D.C.-based think tank that has been following patent …

Letter to Chairman Leahy: Don’t kill prospects for real patent reform

May 22, 2014 The Hon. Patrick Leahy Chairman Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Chairman Leahy: On behalf of the R Street Institute, we urge you to reconsider your recent …

Coalition urges sensible spending reforms for NDAA

May 21, 2014 The undersigned organizations may not agree on many things, but we all agree on this: The United States must curb wasteful and ineffective spending at the …

Coalition opposes Section 303 of the FIRST Act

The Hon. Lamar Smith Chairman, Committee on Science, Space and Technology The Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson Ranking Member, Committee on Science, Space and Technology CC: Members of the Committee on Science, Space, …

School reformers should try to make public schools cheaper, not just better

Say you were given $26,000 to educate a young kid for a year. Do you think you could put that money to good use? I do. In most of …

Democracy and open data: are the two linked?

Are democracies better at practicing open government than less free societies? To find out, I analyzed the 70 countries profiled in the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Data Index …

R Street encouraged by draft bill offering alternatives to EPA regulation

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today's release of a discussion draft of legislation empowering states to adopt market-based solutions as a substitute for …

TNCs fight for footing in California’s legislature

A recent R Street post by Zachary Cohn laid out three steps that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar should take to solidify their place in …

Florida’s Citizens readies $1.5 billion catastrophe bond deal

From Insurance Journal: Members of the Safe Florida Coalition, which includes Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Wildlife Federation and the R Street Institute, expressed their support for Citizens plans. “The …

Privacy shouldn’t trump free speech

In a decision surprising to many close observers, Europe’s highest court ruled last week that Google must establish a process to receive and vet requests to take down embarrassing search results that …

Patent reform will benefit Utah business

Utah's technology-dependent economy makes current efforts in Washington to reform patent policies all the more important to the state's future, and our elected leaders are among the most …

Coalition letter on the National Defense Authorization Act

May 19, 2014 Dear Representative, We are writing you today in support of House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith’s proposed amendment to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act …

Showtime series highlights R Street carbon tax debate

The makers of the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously shot some footage of the carbon tax debate we hosted last June, pitting R Street Executive Director Andrew …

Listen to Madison on copyright

More than 200 years ago, James Madison warned us that copyright and patents, being "monopolies," "must be guarded with strictness aga[inst] abuse." Today that abuse is manifest: copyright …

Mouse, rat & cell studies don’t make e-cigarettes carcinogenic

In determining what causes cancer in humans, epidemiologic and public health research is far superior to lab studies based on cells, mice or rats. While the latter can …

Outreach

Letters & Testimony

Featured Events

Job Listings

Short men, unite

There are very few things that fill me with blind, foaming-at-the-mouth, let's-burn-some-cars, hey-did-you-bring-the-kerosene, no-I-left-it-in-my-other-pants rage. At the very top of this short list is the depressing and indeed …

House Republicans offer road map for the future of terrorism insurance

Having previously played (and arguably, lost) two prior rounds of legislative "chicken" with the insurance industry, congressional conservatives are making it known that, this time around, they're quite …

Wait, did Amazon just patent photography?

Watch out Glamour Shots, Amazon may be setting its sights on you. That's because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the most unlikely of all companies, Amazon, …

Letter to Congress on USA FREEDOM Act

Speaker John Boehner Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi United States House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor Minority Whip Steny Hoyer United States House of Representatives Chairman Pete Sessions Ranking Member Louise Slaughter Committee on Rules United States …

R Street paper urges more opportunities for nuclear power

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2014) - Opportunities to export U.S. nuclear technology should be expanded and subsidies granted to other forms of power should be eliminated to make the …

A rational approach to U.S. civil nuclear power

The U.S. commercial nuclear sector is in trouble. Absent significant policy changes, the near-term closure of a number of reactors appears increasingly inevitable. Much has been written about …

Memo to EU: There is no ‘right to be forgotten’

The European Union's highest court has ruled that Internet search engines must give serious consideration to users who request they remove links to any content or article that …

The net neutrality end-game

This Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to decide whether the network neutrality principle is feasible in a world where on any given evening, Netflix and YouTube …

R Street praises Florida Gov. Scott for signing hurricane legislation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 13, 2014) - The R Street Institute praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 5061 yesterday, which creates a sales tax holiday for hurricane …

How Google money is helping turn the political right against strong copyrights

From Vox: But two new publications suggest that that dynamic is changing, with conservative and libertarian thinkers increasingly skeptical about strong copyrights. The R Street Institute has published a new …

Joint letter on bonus depreciation

May 8, 2014 Dear Congressman: As Congress considers making some important pro-growth tax relief permanent this week, we write with a unified voice to also call for the permanent extension …

Job Listings

Coalitions

Coalitions

R Street study finds no new fracking regulations are needed

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2014) - Current research on the environmental and public health effects of fugitive emissions do not support more extensive regulation on hydraulic fracturing operations than …

Fugitive emissions from hydraulic fracturing: Current knowledge and policy implications

Recent innovations in drilling technology, especially staged hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and horizontal drilling, have unlocked unconventional resources of oil and natural gas.  These developments represent a revolutionary moment …

Unconstitutionally long copyright terms stifle content creation, just ask Disney

The R Street Institute recently released a report on copyright duration titled: "Guarding Against Abuse -- Restoring Constitutional Copyright." The report examines how copyright terms today are completely …

The New York Times plays patsy for anti-tobacco voices

In the tabloid tradition of "if it bleeds, it leads," he New York Times ignored the lack of peer review and wasted no space on critical analysis when …

Ryan Xue

Is the U.S. more like Sweden or Qatar?

Yet again, House Speaker John Boehner is in trouble with conservative lawmakers. This time it's because he wisecracked at a Rotary Club luncheon about his fellow House Republicans' …

Should artists be different from inventors when it comes to intellectual property?

From PetaPixel: Back in 2012, the Republican Study Committee caused widespread debate over intellectual property law after publishing and then pulling a paper on copyright reform. Derek Khanna, the …

FTC directors say states should scrap dealership laws

In what has to be taken as a surprisingly encouraging piece of pro-market sentiment coming from a trio of federal regulators, three high-level Federal Trade Commission staffers are …

R Street welcomes federal bill to encourage private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (May 5, 2014) -- The R Street Institute today welcomed introduction of legislation streamlining the process for private companies to begin offering, and states to begin regulating, …

Michael Farren

Adam Gurri

Our selective privacy panic

Somewhere around the time that Google launched its first ad-matching algorithm for Gmail, America and its policymakers became very concerned about privacy on the Internet. Never mind that …

The business/markets case for limits to copyright

From Boing Boing: You'll remember Derek Khanna as the Republican House staffer who got fired for writing a paper that used careful objective research to argue for scaling back …

5 years later, Aflac’s Midlands presence has ballooned

From The State: "Moving the product into the workplace … gives them a new niche," said Ernie Csiszar, an insurance professor at the University of South Carolina's Moore School …

Congressional Data Coalition asks Senate to publish legislative info in digital formats

Earlier today, the Congressional Data Coalition submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee on improving public access to legislative information. The coalition made two requests. First, we asked the …

How red (state) Is Marx?

From the American Conservative: It’s highly doubtful that an 80 percent global tax on the richest people, as proposed by Picketty, would much help these people. But efforts to …

4 ways to stop the U.S. from becoming a Piketty-style oligarchy

From the Washington Post: The other way to add people, of course, is to try to make life easier for parents, so they can work more and have more …

New paper says it’s time to reasonably decrease copyright term and rethink putting copyright in treaties

From TechDirt: Since then, Khanna has been working on a number of policy and advocacy campaigns and, working as an R Street Associate Fellow, he's put together a fantastic …

Conservatives coalescing against TRIA, Ex-Im

It has been the general Washington consensus of recent years – voiced, most recently, by my colleague Reihan Salam – that the conservative movement is inalterably riven between …

The campaign against (if you can believe it) third-hand smoke

Still fresh from victories over both cigarettes and the second-hand smoke they emit, many public health advocates have turned their attention to new supposed hazards: e-cigarette "vapor" and …

How the US Post Office killed innovative digital mail because it disrupted junk mailers

From TechDirt: Derek Khanna has yet another story of how politicians and incumbents have killed off an innovative service. Though, amazingly, unlike in other cases where the killing is …

We should keep the death penalty, but it’s time to rethink lethal injection

The botched execution in Oklahoma Tuesday night doesn't provide a good reason to get rid of the death penalty. But it should be a major point for reconsidering …

The conservative case against today’s copyright law

From the Washington Post: Despite these features, only a handful of conservatives seem ready to rethink intellectual property law.  One young conservative in that camp is Derek Khanna, whose …

30 groups to Congress: Let the Export-Import Bank expire

May 1, 2014 Dear Members of Congress: On behalf of our groups and organizations, together representing millions of Americans, we urge you to oppose the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank. …

R Street welcomes passage of private flood insurance bill in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 1, 2014) – The R Street Institute today welcomed the vote by the Florida Legislature to approve rules guiding the Sunshine State's emerging private flood …

Job Listings

The conservative case for taking on the copyright lobby

Today, the R Street Institute released a report on copyright duration titled "Guarding against abuse: Restoring constitutional copyright." In recent decades, a number of special interests called the "copyright …

FDA regulation: Defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products

The FDA has released a proposed rule to regulate "products that meet the statutory definition of 'tobacco products'…such as certain dissolvables, gels, hookah tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cigars and …

D.C. wants to lock up street vendors for code violations

From Reason: With the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation, Washington, D.C., seems like a place that needs more reasons to lock people up, right? Well, District Council members here seem to …

Letter to Judiciary Committee on patent reform

April 29, 2014 The Hon. Patrick Leahy Chairman Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 The Hon. Chuck Grassley Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking …

WORKING PAPER: Conservation in the 113th Congress

With no major storm events and few environmental catastrophes in the United States in 2013 or thus far in 2014, it's been easy for policymakers to lose a …

DC wants to lock up street vendors

The District of Columbia's food trucks, farmers markets, mobile boutiques and ticket resellers all potentially face harsh new criminal penalties under amendments to the district's vending regulations that …

Molly Schwartz

Derek Khanna

R Street paper calls for shortened copyright terms and examination of international treaties

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2014) -- U.S. copyright term lengths must be shortened and lawmakers should heed warnings handed down by the founders about the dangers of copyright as …

Guarding against abuse: Restoring constitutional copyright

Copyrights are intended to encourage creative works through the mechanism of a statutorily created limited property right. Under both economic and legal analysis, they are recognized as a …

Height Act debacle shows politicians aren’t serious about D.C. autonomy

The House of Representatives voted earlier this week to change the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, and it soon will be legal to build habitable spaces in …

How the tea party movement can save itself and become a force for good

The tea party is the most maligned major political movement of our time. But it has been maligned for all the wrong reasons. I am happy to report, though, …

Outbox vs. USPS: How the Post Office killed digital mail

Evan Baehr and Will Davis were summoned to Washington for a meeting with the postmaster general. Evan and Will wondered what it could be, "They must have seen …

R Street joins coalition urging President Obama to protect online privacy rights of Americans

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2014) -- The R Street Institute, along with a wide-ranging group of non-profit and industry groups, called on President Obama yesterday to support reforming the …

On the historically racist motivations behind minimum wage

From Forbes: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported that artificially inflating wages to this extent would cut about half a million jobs in the short run (though CBO …

Competition for cheaper flood insurance heating up in Florida

From the Bradenton Herald: Also, Lloyd's is more like a stock exchange than an actual private insurer, said R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow at the R Street Institute in Washington, …

Pushing the White House toward digital privacy

President Barack Obama is scheduled to review federal policies regarding both the corporate and governmental collection, use and retention of citizens' personal data. While this "big data" review could …

Coalition letter on H.R. 4301 to Judiciary Committee

April 28, 2014 Hon. Bob Goodlatte Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives 2138 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Hon. John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of …

Criminal Justice

Where neoconservatism went wrong

From The Week: Lost in all the recriminations surrounding Reihan Salam's recent blockbuster column about why he still considers himself a neocon is any sense of the distinctive strengths …

Facebook, McDonald’s and the divided American workforce

On Wednesday, Facebook released data on its performance in the first quarter of 2014, and the results were very impressive. The social network has succeeded in monetizing its …

Letter to Ways and Means on Wind Production Tax Credit

April 25, 2014 Congressman Dave Camp Chairman Committee on Ways and Means 341 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Congressman Sander M. Levin Ranking Member Committee on Ways and Means 1236 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC …

R Street recommends crowdsourcing in patent applications

WASHINGTON (April 25, 2014) - Crowdsourcing holds promise as a technique to expand the relevant prior art available to patent examiners, wrote the R Street institute in a …

Four principles for effective cybersecurity law and policy

Cybercrime is in the news again. The Heartbleed security flaw has damaged the reputation of open source computing—a situation only made worse by reports that the government exploited …

Clemency for drug offenders?

President Obama deserves some real credit for his intention to offer clemency to a number of drug offenders. Executive clemency powers have been greatly underused in recent years. …

Letter to USPTO on crowdsourcing design patents

April 24, 2014 Nicole Dretar Haines Senior Legal Advisor Office of Patent Legal Administration U.S. Patent and Trademark Office P.O. Box 1450 Alexandria, VA 22313-1450 Re: Docket No. PTO-P-2014-0013 The R Street Institute – a non-profit, …

R Street applauds reinsurance package from Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 24, 2014) - The R Street institute applauded today’s announcement from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. of a $3.1 billion risk transfer program for the 2014 …

R Street comments on FDA proposed regulations on e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2014) - The proposed regulations on e-cigarettes by the Food and Drug Administration released today will not require that existing products be removed from the …

Internships are an important rung on the ladder of opportunity

Prohibiting unpaid internships is an effective way to withhold economic opportunity from young and ambitious men and women, particularly those from modest backgrounds. That, of course, is not the …

Federal e-cigarette data AWOL

Americans are familiar with the census, taken every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau, but few are aware the bureau regularly collects information on a range of …

TNCs need to go on the offensive…nicely

In the past year, so-called "transportation network companies" like Uber and Lyft have gone from fighting for explosive growth to fighting for survival. They won their first fight …

USPTO strikes down sippy cup design patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has, for the first time, invalidated a design patent under a post-grant review process created by the America Invents Act. The patent in …

Bucking the ‘mother, may I?’ mentality

"Permissionless innovation" is what we call the unconstrained tinkering and continuous exploration that takes place at multiple levels across the digital economy today, from professional creators to amateur …

The Supreme Court case that will decide the future of television

In the past decade, home-media consumption of television content has changed significantly. Millions of people, particularly among younger generations, are becoming cord-cutters and converting to Netflix or Hulu. …

Peer production enters the kitchen

There's another peer production platform for regulators, taxmen, and assorted other busybodies to get the vapors about: Feastly, the "Airbnb of dinner." Feastly follows a pretty typical peer-to-peer model: …

Homesick: How housing tax breaks benefit the wealthy and create McMansions

Since its inception a century ago, the individual income tax code has been exceedingly generous to homeowners.  Homeowners may deduct the interest paid on up to $1 million …

R Street paper encourages re-examination of housing tax breaks

Panel discussion to take place on Thursday on Capitol Hill WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) - Housing tax breaks in the current tax code disproportionately benefit the wealthy and should …

Florida’s RESTORE Act funding decisions requires transparency

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jay Liles, policy consultant for the Florida Wildlife Federation. Later this month, Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast will mark the …

Pritzker’s pro-patent reform push should include designs

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker believes reforms are needed to rein in costly litigation in the U.S. patent system, adding in recent public remarks that "the president gets it," …

Molly Schwartz

The Cliven Bundy in all of us

At first glance, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle-rancher who has been fighting the Bureau of Land Management tooth and nail for more than 20 years, might strike you …

UCSF redefines youth smoking; Journal’s peer-review fails

The National Youth Tobacco Survey has been abused on an unprecedented scale by anti-tobacco forces.  First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released cherry-picked data, fabricating an …

Uber and Lyft prepare for Houston showdown

When Uber entered the Houston market in February it provoked the same outcry from the city's only two cab companies. The city code does prohibit drivers without livery …

Poor little rich man

From the Wall Street Journal: Krugman himself, in an email to Chase Robinson, interim president of the Graduate Center, acknowledges that the offer is "remarkably generous." But not everybody …

Public access vs. open access

“Doesn't Congress already make its information publicly accessible?” That's the question I hear most frequently when I tell people about the Congressional Data Coalition's mission to get Congress to …

Kochs’ flood insurance opposition becomes campaign issue

From Bloomberg: The R Street Institute, a Washington-based group that supports limited government, also opposed the bill. Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow, said the new law “re-breaks the flood …

Congress should help, not hinder, private terror insurance markets

Earlier this week, I took part in what I found to be a lively and enlightening panel discussion on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the now-12-year-old federal program …

Differentiation within the peer production economy

Earlier this week, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry posted a long and thoughtful comment on my response to his Forbes piece on the sharing economy from last week. I wanted to …

Paul Krugman isn’t a hypocrite

Paul Krugman may be America's foremost public intellectual. He's certainly a contender for the title. He has done more than any other thinker to sound the alarm about …

State Policy

Facing Social Security’s ignoble lie

That federal entitlement programs are heading for an increasingly unavoidable crisis has (justifiably) become conventional wisdom in Washington. What's more, these programs unquestionably hold the lion's share of …

How to tax sharing

Across the nation, so-called "peer production businesses" have become a common feature of the urban landscape, and cities are scrambling to figure out how to tax and regulate …

Improve business tax climate

From the Asbury Park Press: Not only that, but recent research from the R Street Institute’s Joel Nitzkin found that e-cigarettes can actually reduce the risk of tobacco-related death …

Treasury regs and Louisiana’s coast

Yesterday saw two significant bits of news come out of the Louisiana Gulf Coast. First, oil company BP announced that, almost four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil …

The sharing economy’s undead capital, and its discontents

From the American Conservative: Last week, R Street’s Daniel Rothschild described these services as bringing to life massive stores of previously “dead capital,” allowing a tremendous democratization of commercial …

Renters and rent-seeking in San Francisco

As anyone who’s lived in a major coastal American city knows, apartment renting is about as far from an unregulated free market as you can get. Legal and …

Legislators to consider state-wide public smoking ban, includes e-cig

From NBC News: Dr. Joel Nitzkin is inclined to agree. As the past co-chair for the Tobacco Control Task Force, Dr. Nitzkin brought his own findings before the California …

R Street’s Lehmann on terrorism insurance

R Street Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann participated in a panel organized by National Journal magazine and hosted at Chicago's Soldier Field by Zurich North America …

Expert FAQ: How will depopulating Citizens Insurance affect Florida?

From NerdWallet: According to the R Street Institute’s Florida director, Christian Cámara, “If the claims arising from a storm (or series of storms) taps all of Citizens resources, the …

How to fairly tax families

From The American: In his 2015 budget proposal, President Obama called for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children. Currently, that program heavily favors parents …

Happy Tax Day!

From the Washington Post: SALAM: How poor are America's poor? "(a) It is useful to think about absolute household incomes as well as household incomes in relative terms; (b) …

Responding to Coppage and Gobry on the sharing economy

This morning in the American Conservative, Jonathan Coppage writes about "The Sharing Economy’s Undead Capital, and Its Discontents," commenting on my essay in The Ümlaut last week, as …

Swedish tax proposal threatens successful tobacco harm reduction

Sweden, which represents the world's best example of the population effect of tobacco harm reduction, is considering increasing its snus tax by 22%, according to the Swedish national …

Why Congress must rethink sanctions on Cuba

Alan Gross, the 64-year-old American who has been imprisoned by Cuban authorities since 2009, is an unremarkable man on the surface. He could be a friend or colleague, …

A primer on patents: who’s getting them, where and how long it’s taking

From Entrepreneur: Legislation to limit the ability of "patent trolls" – individuals or companies who own patents they don't use and sue inventors for infringing upon them – is …

A way out of Detroit’s desperate times: Sell the family heirloom?

From The Canal: It hasn’t always been this way. Andrew Moylan and Alan Smith of the R Street Institute describe Detroit as something of a “predecessor to today’s Silicon …

The politics around welfare show why the poor need a real break, not just a tax break

From The Nation: Some conservatives do wish to expand low-income tax credits, but with certain revealing political caveats. For instance, one idea circulating on the right is to boost …

Should people without kids pay higher taxes?

From CNN Money: The chat-o-sphere has been abuzz lately about a proposal by Slate columnist Reihan Salam: The childless should pay higher taxes so that lower- and middle-income parents …

Democrats shift from climate ‘change’ to ‘adaptation’ to woo Republicans

From the Washington Examiner: "The best adaptation strategies are very good policy in any case," said Eli Lehrer, president of the conservative R Street Institute. "And whether intentionally or …

Housing tax benefits do not increase homeownership

From National Center for Policy Analysis: The tax code contains numerous benefits for homeowners. The largest is the mortgage-interest deduction (allowing homeowners to deduct interest paid on their mortgages …

Why right-wing isolationists are losing

From Washington Post: There is a growing recognition that one can be a critic of the Iraq War and yet not throw caution to the wind and join the …

Why I’m not a neocon

From The Federalist: Over at Slate, the always smart Reihan Salam has written piece with the self-explanatory headline “Why I Am Still a Neocon.”  It has, not surprisingly, attracted …

Ridesharing, insurance and regulation

ALEC's Cara Sullivan had a good post earlier this week on the American Legislator blog about the importance of balancing consumer protection with innovation in the ride-on-demand services …

Scott Rigell tries to resurrect totally discredited Marketplace Fairness Act

I'll say one positive thing about supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act: they're nothing if not persistent. They've been trying to hammer a square peg into a round …

U.S. Statutes-at-Large: Essential to understanding our laws and legislative history

One of the benefits of the Congressional Data Coalition has been our ability to collaborate on mutual projects of interest. CDC members recognize that reusable, cleaned-up legislative information, …

NEJM fails to correct data on children’s e-cigarette use

The New England Journal of Medicine and authors of a commentary on e-cigarette use have ignored our call for correction of a substantial error regarding e-cigarette use among …

How Uber and Airbnb resurrect ‘dead capital’

Arguably the two biggest economic stories of the last decade are the Great Recession and the rise of a category of new businesses that turn noncommercial capital and …

Mortgage breaks fail to boost home ownership

From prweb: The study, conducted by economists at R Street Institute and published on March 24, 2014, analyzed IRS data on a zip code basis to assess the distribution …

FSU center to benefit as effort to downsize Cat Fund ends

From the Tallahassee Democrat: Hays had also been pushing to reduce the size of the Cat Fund. As in past years, the effort faced bipartisan opposition because of concerns …

The Jeb Bush and tea party divide

From Wall Street Journal: At the other end of the generational spectrum, elderly Americans are trending Republican but do not favor the cuts in Social Security and Medicare that …

Business calls for US to renew terrorism backstop

From the Royal Gazette: Ray Lehmann, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the R Street Institute, a think tank which promotes free markets and limited government, said the fact the letter …

Tax policy can create level playing field

From REVE: In its Green Scissors report, the free market think tank R Street Institute found even with the comparably small amount of federal support that renewable energy receives, …

Emily Zanotti

Bias Report: Andrew Tyndall calls MSNBC ‘Wonkish,’ dismisses Fox as ‘ideological’

From Mediaite: But it is not a fair critique of conservative media to suggest that they lack "political wonkishness," as Tyndall put it. Policy mavens like The Washington Examiner’s …

Don Brown

R Street argues for keeping Coastal Barrier Resources System intact

WASHINGTON (April 8, 2014) - Removing units from the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CRBS) will have the adverse effect of raising taxes and forcing more customers into Florida’s …

Testimony to U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

Chairman Fleming, Ranking Member Sablan, and distinguished subcommittee members, My name is Christian Camara and I am the Florida director and a co-founder of the R Street Institute.  We …

Why I am still a neocon

We neocons have fallen out of favor, not just on the left, where "neocon" is routinely used as a term of abuse, but also on the right, where …

Free-market groups support Senate patent reform efforts

The Honorable Patrick Leahy The Honorable Charles Grassley United States Senate Judiciary Committee Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Committee Members, On behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations, we write to express our …

A more affordable D.C. starts with easing land rules

In her April 4 Metro column, "A plan to fix D.C.'s housing crisis can’t wait till Nov.," Petula Dvorak rightly lamented the district's high housing costs, but her …

HOT & bothered

From the Weekly Standard: And it’s not as if we don’t need more highways. As Reihan Salam noted in a 2013 paper for the libertarian think tank R Street, …

Columnist: Childless Americans should pay higher taxes

From Fox News: A Slate.com columnist says that childless Americans should pay higher taxes. “Who should pay more? Nonparents who earn more than the median household income, just a shade …

Virginia takes lead in patent reform

As awareness builds about the cost in dollars and innovation that patent trolling extracts from the economy, Virginia has been among the states that have responded with legislation …

How to get Americans back to work

Friday's Labor Department data shows an uptick in jobs, but an unemployment rate that remained steady from February to March. While the size of the labor force is …

Patent reform efforts shouldn’t overlook patent quality

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to take up legislation in the next several days that looks to combat so-called "patent trolls," it's imperative that lawmakers address the real underlying …

R Street’s Salam with FBI vet Michael German

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street's Reihan Salam discusses how the FBI has changed since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, with Michael German, a 16-year FBI …

To make Congress more accountable, make it more open

This piece was co-authored by Daniel Schuman is policy director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Nearly two decades ago, Congress began publishing some of its …

Coalition urges Congress to pass meaningful NSA reform

From United Liberty: A coalition compromised of nearly 40 groups expressed support for ending the federal government’s bulk data collection program in a letter to President Barack Obama, Attorney …

CDC report highlights poisoning risk from liquid nicotine in e-cigs

From the Winston-Salem Journal: Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and a smokeless-tobacco advocate, said he views the CDC report as “another example of …

Takoma NIMBYs go BANANAs

WMATA might finally be able to build something on its extremely valuable land surrounding the Takoma Metro Station, after 14 years of effort. Starting in 2000, it worked with …

Can a vampire serve in Congress?

While this might be the sort of question one usually only expects to hear on an episode of True Blood, it became a genuine concern this week. It …

Multiplication nation

From Reuters: Reihan Salam and Matthew Klein don’t want to legislate for demographics, but they do want to tax incentivize for them. Here’s Salam’s solution …

Tax the childless to help parents?

From the New York Times: "The willingness of parents to bear and nurture children saves us from becoming an economically moribund nation of hateful curmudgeons," Reihan Salam wrote recently …

Breaking wind

It's budget season, and with budget season comes a renewed debate over one of the most depressing elements of American politics – namely, its tendency to pick winners …

Sanders talks robopocalypse on FBC’s ‘The Independents’

R Street Outreach Director Lori Sanders joined hosts Kennedy, Kmele Foster and Matt Welch (editor of Reason magazine) on Fox Business Channel's "The Independents" to discuss whether the …

Give larger tax breaks for raising kids, childless columnist argues

From Deseret News: Although he is in his 30s without any kids, Slate columnist Reihan Salam argues that parents deserve better tax treatment, even if that means hiking taxes …

Should childless people be taxed to help families?

From news.com.au: It is a controversial proposal, floated today in the US by one childless columnist who was raised by two extremely hardworking middle class parents who battled—as many …

Childless should pay more tax

From the Times Union: Parents help the economy grow by producing tomorrow's workers, Reihan Salam says in Slate. To better compensate them for the cost and labor of raising …

Florida pivotal in Internet tax battle

This piece was co-authored by R Street Florida Director Christian Camara. A misleading piece of federal legislation, called the "Marketplace Fairness Act," passed the U.S. Senate last year. Contrary …

Should childless Americans pay more taxes?

From Hot Air: I’m surprised by some of the upset in Headlines to Reihan Salam's proposal. Granted, the phrase "more taxes" rarely induces happy thoughts among conservatives, but I …

Congressional Data Coalition launches with panel discussion

WHAT: Official launch of the Congressional Data Coalition and discussion on public access to congressional information WHO: Daniel Schuman, policy director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW); Director, …

Upside-down on mortgage interest deduction policies

From the Denver Post: In metro Denver, for example, the average tax saving from the mortgage deduction for households earning more than $100,o00 (in adjusted gross income) is $5,183, …

No stroke risk with snus

Swedish researchers who two years ago reported no association of heart attacks with snus use (abstract here, my blog entry here) now conclude there is no association with …

Letter to FCC on process reform

March 31, 2014 Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554 RE: GN Docket No. 14-25 Dear Ms. Dortch, Our organizations share and support the Federal …

Give parents free money

From Demos: Reihan Salam has a piece at Slate in which he advocates creating a tax system in which people with children pay lower rates than people without children. This would …

Housing tax breaks create inequality, benefit Democrats

From National Center for Policy Analysis: Are the tax breaks actually increasing home ownership? According to a study from the R Street Institute, no. Rather, the provisions are helping …

Tax credits and children: Parents should pay lower taxes, and childless people should pay higher taxes

When my mother was my age, she was working full time while raising three small children, and she spent every spare moment studying to finish a graduate degree. …

Letter to Congress and White House on bulk data collection

President Barack Obama The White House Attorney General Eric Holder United States Department of Justice Majority Leader Harry Reid Minority Leader Mitch McConnell United States Senate Speaker John Boehner Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi United States House of …

R Street advocates investment in new coastal mitigation program

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2014) – The R Street Institute today called on Congress to make a major public commitment to fund research into alternative technologies to aid citizens …

Tax smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes at lower rates

Gov. John Kasich's plan to increase taxes on all tobacco products is bad tax policy, built on an unscientific, unsuccessful anti-smoker strategy: wuit or die. Only one component of …

Congress must put a clamp on the ‘patent trolls’

The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote on a bill soon aimed at addressing patent demand letters from entities frequently referred to as "patent trolls." Clearly, the momentum …

Who cares about the value of work?

From the Washington Post: Two other conservative thinkers, Reihan Salam and Rich Lowry, say the antidote is for Republicans to become "the party of work." As they see it, …

George David Banks

George David Banks

Tax breaks impact home size

From Green Blizzard: Studies by economist at Marquette University have shown that because of this residential real estate t:ax incentive, people are buying a BIGGER residences – probably more …

Time to scrap the mortgage interest deduction

From the Washington Examiner: But even if one were to accept that boosting home ownership is a worthy goal for government, the interest deduction and accompanying tax benefits for …

Divorce is actually on the rise, and it’s the baby boomers’ fault

From the Washington Post: As an assessment of the health of American marriages, these findings cut two ways. On one hand, a divorce is a far more disruptive and …

Why it’s OK that startups prefer to hire younger workers

From Quartz: And as National Review columnist Reihan Salam points out, if low barriers to entry mean that lots of young people get a chance they otherwise might not, that’s probably …

Three things conservatives wrote this week that made us think

From ThinkProgress: By my lights, Reihan Salam is the conservative at National Review most worthy of liberals’ attention. He combines an almost super-human capacity for consuming oddball studies and …

Targeted taxes will spur economic growth

From MoneyNews.com: A recent study by the R Street Institute suggests this tax preference doesn't benefit the broad society. The data indicate this policy doesn't generally incent home ownership, …

Tonight on the Independents: Rise of the machines!

From Reason: Kicking things off on a fearful note is James Barrat, author of new book Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, …

Coalition to Congress: Reform agency grant processes

March 28, 2014 Dear Representatives: On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to support the Grant Reform and New Transparency …

Is it only violent people who fear video game violence?

Recently, residents of my home state of California got an uncharacteristically hilarious moment of political irony. In a storyline that may as well be from The Blacklist, state …

Smoking cessation expert to Health Canada: Stop killing smokers

Health Canada has blocked sales of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, even though the devices are readily available in the United States.  I previously commented on the agency's unfounded opposition to …

Can Bitcoin outrun the regulators?

Bitcoin is at the cutting edge of innovation. And like most new, potentially transformative ideas, most future job creators, and most disruptive innovations, Bitcoin does not have lobbyists, …

When does a school become a scam?

With the student loan debt bubble starting to look to many worried observers like Subprime Mortgages 2: Electric Boogaloo, the question of whether college is really worth it …

Why are rich people’s houses so big? Because Uncle Sam pays for extra rooms

From the Washington Post These data are from the National Association of Home Builders and research by economists Andrew Hanson, Ike Brannon and Zackary Hawley. Helping the wealthy live in …

Detroit: From ‘Heat Wave’ to deep freeze

In the early 1960s, a young songwriter from Detroit named Lamont Dozier signed an exclusive contract with Motown Records, teamed up with Eddie and Brian Holland, and eventually …

Fixing one driver of inequality may hit close to home for some progressives

From the Washington Post: Instead, the tax code’s main effect is to help people who already could afford a home buy a bigger one, as a team of economists …

The ‘House of Cards’ generation

In the first season of Netflix's runaway political hit "House of Cards," protagonist and antihero Frank Underwood remarks dryly about a liberal educational expert's bill that: Two things are …

Home mortgage interest deduction helps the rich, study says

From the Deseret News: It's the tax deduction that economists love to hate but has huge support among Americans. The mortgage interest tax deduction has long been defended on …

Mortgage interest mansions?

From the Patriot Post: Every tax deduction or credit has its lobbying constituency, and the mortgage interest deduction is no different. The deduction ostensibly supports the American dream of …

Deepwater Horizon restoration funding must be transparent and avoid cronyism

Next month will mark four years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded fifty miles off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men and spilling over four million barrels …

What the GOP can learn from the Koch brothers

Republicans are very enthusiastic about this year's midterm congressional elections, and it is easy to see why. Obamacare, the president's signature domestic policy legislation, remains unpopular. Turnout during …

Million-dollar homes, but at what price?

From NBC News: "We estimate that houses today, depending on the metropolitan area in question, are from 250 to 1,000 square feet larger than they otherwise would be," a …

America’s $100 billion tax break helps the rich buy bigger homes

From ThinkProgress: But instead of helping poorer people become homeowners, the tax break helps rich people buy bigger houses, economists at R Street Institute say. "The study estimates that …

Popular tax break just helps wealthy people buy bigger houses

From Gawker: Today in Ways the United States Tax Code Benefits the Rich: a new study indicates that the politically popular mortgage-interest deduction is useful mostly for helping affluent …

Rick Santorum’s geographic suicide pact

While the 2014 midterm election season has not yet fully taken shape, reading most major press outlets, one could be forgiven for concluding that the 2016 presidential primary …

Report: Key mortgage tax break just helps the wealthy

From Newser: The tax code is rife with home ownership incentives that are both popular with voters and staunchly defended by lawmakers. But it turns out the breaks mostly …

Vermont vapers cheesed off by tax proposal

The Vermont Legislature is considering a new (vastly higher) tax on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco that would treat them very much like cigarettes. The revenue Vermont hopes to …

‘4/04 Day’ panel and happy hour

The Congressional Data Coalition is hosting a panel and happy hour on April 4 ("4/04 Day") sponsored by the R Street Institute, and organized with help from other coalition …

Family Business Coalition letter to Gov. Cuomo

March 24, 2014 The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224 Governor Cuomo, We are encouraged by your budget, which calls for …

Mortgage tax breaks trickle up, new study shows

From the Wall Street Journal: Federal tax benefits for homeowners primarily help wealthier people borrow more money to buy larger houses rather than boost homeownership, according to a new …

Art sale could benefit retirees

The following piece was co-written by R Street Midwest Director Alan Smith. Next month, Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will release the latest iteration of a plan to restructure …

Rethinking tax benefits for home owners

The attached piece, which appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of National Affairs, was co-written with Ike Brannon and Zackary Hawley. The individual income-tax code offers a multitude of …

Study: Upper class entitlement helps upper class most

From Reason: The Wall Street Journal has a write-up of a new study by the R Street Institute that looks at how the mortgage-interest deduction is taken zip …

Mehrens confused about impact of Internet sales tax initiative

Nathan Mehrens is confused about the Internet sales tax issue and the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act," which he praises as addressing a "competitive advantage" enjoyed by online retailers …

Ticket-selling giants push for Florida legislation to help squash industry competition

From BizPac Review: Raulerson argues that proponents don't want to disrupt the free market. But that’s exactly what the bill does, according to Christian Camara, Florida director for R …

Artfully resolving Detroit’s bankruptcy

The attached policy study was co-authored by R Street Midwest Director Alan Smith. For the first three decades of the 20th Century, Detroit was the second fastest-growing city in …

R Street paper encourages using Detroit’s art collection to help combat debts

DETROIT, Mich. (March 24, 2014) - In order to relieve the crippling debt to creditors in the bankrupt City of Detroit, the city should turn to its priceless …

R Street promotes two as organization continues to grow

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2014) -- The R Street Institute today announced that Andrew Moylan has been promoted to executive director and Lori Sanders to outreach director, effective immediately. …

Clinical trial: e-cigarettes are satisfying cigarette substitutes

A clinical trial demonstrates that e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, reduce craving and satisfy vapers. The research, published in Scientific Reports, is the work of Konstantinos Farsalinos and colleagues at …

Apply now for our 2014 Google Policy Fellowship

The R Street Institute (a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, DC) is accepting applications for its 2014 Google Policy Fellowship in technology policy. R Street's Google Fellow …

Letter to Senate Armed Services Committee

March 20, 2014 Chairman Carl Levin and Ranking Member James Inhofe Senate Armed Services Committee United States Senate 228 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member Inhofe: We urge …

Fla Cat Fund missing out on best reinsurance market ever

Coming into 2014, we had modest expectations of the potential for significant property insurance reform in Florida. Given that it is an election year – and one featuring …

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: 30-year fixed rate mortgages a sticky wicket

From Value Walk: "Stripping away the façade of private banks and mortgage brokers who originate the loans, the U.S. mortgage market works almost entirely because the government transfers risk …

Survey finds businesses would reducing hiring, raise prices to offset minimum wage hike

Though the Congressional Budget Office has already warned that the proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage could cost the economy at least 500,000 jobs over the next two years, President …

R Street looking for a California director

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, is looking for a dynamic, energetic person to serve as the first employee and director of a …

Sea level rise predictions have little effect on Florida real estate

From National Public Radio: RUNDLET: Whether or not your property will be here 30 years from now, Johnson says it may be the insurance issue that determines real estate …

NSA can record every phone call in a foreign country

The NSA spying controversy has found its way back in the news, after a brief respite due to the foreign policy crisis with Russia and coverage of the missing …

Congress just undid the one good thing it’s done on climate change

From the Huffington Post: R Street, a right-leaning think tank, criticized the Democratic senators who took part in the climate talkathon and then voted for the repeal as "hypocritical." "Any …

Republicans should back Tesla, creative destruction at its best

Gov. Chris Christie's administration just effectively banned Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to consumers in New Jersey. Here's why his move is a quintessential example of how …

How to fix higher education

America's elite higher education institutions are the envy of the world. Foreign students flock to the oldest and wealthiest U.S. research universities to take advantage of resources that …

Rand Paul: Yes, he’s really the frontrunner

Sen. Rand Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky, surprised more than a few pundits when he topped one of the first major polls surveying voters' feelings on the …

People who can’t afford cars don’t need their own parking spaces

Imagine a world in which every apartment is required by law to include accommodation for around-the-clock butler services. In this world, developers would have to add an additional …

7 reasons we’ll never solve the software patent wars

From NetworkWorld: As I've noted in other posts, the SXSW conference is generally an optimistic event, so it was no surprise to see a panel called How to Fix …

Vapers, know your e-cig ingredients: propylene glycol

A common knock against e-cigarettes is that we don't know the long-term health effects of consuming nicotine vapor.  The fact is that while it's impossible to have complete …

Good News: The government will no longer make you put your house on stilts

From Businessweek: Praise didn’t come from all quarters. Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow at R Street Institute, a Washington think tank that was involved in drafting the 2012 overhaul, …

Phila. lawmakers move toward ban of e-cigarettes in public places

From CBS Philly: But many speakers spoke in opposition. Among them was Dr. Joel Nitzkin, speaking for what he described as a libertarian think tank called the  R Street …

Congressional Data Coalition

Criminal-justice reform and federal funding

If you need evidence of how much conservative thinking about crime has changed over the past few decades, look no further than the crowd gathered for last week's …

Judiciary Committee hears Internet sales tax testimony

From Heartlander: Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute. His testimony favored origin-sourcing, the concept of taxing sales based on where the seller is located rather than where the customer is …

House looks for best way to ‘level the playing field’ with online sales taxes

From National Journal: "Simply treating remote sales in the same way that we already treat brick-and-mortar sales would level the playing field in an honest way," said the R …

US House considers alternatives to Internet sales tax bill

From PC World: An online sales tax based on the seller's location would work much like brick-and-mortar sales taxes do today, added Andrew Moylan, outreach director at the R …

Origin sourcing takes a beating at congressional hearing

From Digital Marketing News: Another proponent of origin sourcing, Andrew Moylan, senior fellow of R Street, argued that MFA would hinder economic growth by penalizing the rampant growth of …

Free-marketeers, tree huggers join in opposition to dredging at Port of Palm Beach

From Palm Beach Post: The group, calling itself the Green Scissors Coalition, wrote a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the project. The Green Scissors Coalition …

Sea level rise predictions have little effect on Florida real estate

From WBUR Radio: RUNDLET: Whether or not your property will be here 30 years from now, Johnson says it may be the insurance issue that determines real estate prices. …

R Street testifies on alternatives to Internet sales tax

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2014) - Allowing states to apply sales taxes where a retailer is located, rather than where a consumer lives, offers a fairer and more efficient …

Testimony to House Judiciary Committee on Internet sales tax

In March 12 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, R Street Institute Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan noted that S. 743, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), would undermine …

Bipartisan agreement to keep subsidizing seaside homes

From the Washington Examiner: R Street, a free-market insurance think tank, blasted the House vote. Taxpayers for Common Sense also inveighed against it. …

Venice Beach to get millions for renourishment

From the Herald-Tribune: The R Street Institute, a nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., is an especially vocal critic of federally funded beach renourishment. “Beach renourishment is an enormous waste of …

House votes to reinstate flood insurance subsidies, limit premiums

From SNL Financial The next phase of the flood battle will be to see if the Senate goes along with the offset to cover "their foolish choice to dismantle …

SXSW: How to reform the nation’s patent laws for entrepreneurs and small businesses

From the Washington Post: Companies that purchase patents are increasingly targeting independent inventors and small businesses, drawing calls for Congress to act more quickly in reforming the nation’s patent …

This Week in Tech: House panel eyes online sales tax

From The Hill: Witnesses for Wednesday’s hearing include Chris Cox, counsel at NetChoice, which represents companies such as eBay; Joe Crosby, principal at MultiState Associates; and Andrew Moylan, senior …

Green Scissors letter on expansion of Port of Palm Beach

Col. Alan M. Dodd District Engineer Jacksonville District United States Army Corps of Engineers  701 San Marco Blvd Jacksonville, FL  32207-8175 RE:  Response to Final Integrated Feasibility Report …

In search of ‘Mr. Republican’

Who will be the next "Mr. Republican"? While the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination gets underway, there is another, more informal race going on as well. …

UCSF study falsely links e-cigarettes to smoking

Academics at the University of California San Francisco have used the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey to fabricate a claim that "e-cigarettes are likely to be …

R Street mocks Senate climate “talkathon” as hypocritical

WASHINGTON (Mar. 10, 2014) - The R Street Institute today mocked the Senate Democrat “talkathon” on climate change as a publicity stunt. Though R Street is unique on …

Congressional Data Coalition letter to House Appropriations Committee

Dear Chairman Cole, Ranking Member Wasserman Schultz, and members of the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee: We write on behalf of the  Congressional Data Coalition, a coalition formed in …

A carbon tax to rule them all

From Triple Pundit Finally, not many people would expect the Heartland Institute—long derided by climate advocates as the quintessential “climate denier”—to put its name anywhere near a carbon tax …

Flood insurance a key issue in Louisiana Senate race

From The Advertiser: “Amusingly to me, both Bill Cassidy in the House and Mary Landrieu in the Senate expressed annoyance when we pointed out the inconvenient truth that Louisiana …

Republicans dip toes in TV reg reform waters

Just when it seemed that Republicans might take the plunge in reforming outdated retransmission consent laws, it sounds like they found the water colder than expected and have …

R Street announces launch of Unfair By Design project

WASHINGTON (Mar. 6, 2014) – The R Street Institute today announced the launch of Unfair By Design, a project seeking to make the design patent system more transparent …

Design patents are a poor match for high fashion

As the lengthy Hollywood awards season has shown us, fashion - especially red carpet fashion - is rife with faux pas, but none so great as "stealing the …

Congress shouldn’t overlook design patents in its push for reform

With legislation passed in the House, the U.S. Senate is set to move forward on multiple bills to combat the costly problem of patent trolls. While current proposals …

House passes flood insurance bill

From the Greenville News: "Everybody we talked to, virtually without fail, recognize that these delay and repeal efforts are damaging and counterproductive,'' said Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow at …

The one budget proposal worth seizing

President Obama’s new budget for fiscal year 2015 is almost entirely free of surprises. The Obama administration supports a number of large tax increases, most but not all …

House votes to curtail flood insurance rate hikes

From the Miami Herald: Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a libertarian group, said his group’s goal was to move from a government-run flood insurance …

R Street deeply disappointed by House flood insurance bill

WASHINGTON (Mar. 4, 2014) - The R Street Institute is deeply disappointed by today's passage of HR 3370 in the House of Representatives. The bill represents a significant …

Letter to Washington Legislature on e-cigarettes

Dear Speaker Chopp,­­­ In the next few days, you and your colleagues will again consider measures that impose significant new taxes on e-cigarette products and will serve to make …

R Street concerned about protectionist reinsurance tax

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2014) - The R Street Institute today expressed concern about a plank in the White House's proposed 2015 budget that would impose protectionist taxes on …

Sen. Mary Landrieu endorses House flood insurance bill after ‘affordability’ provisions added

From the Times-Picayune: Landrieu lashed out at a statement last week by a leader of the conservative R Street Institute, that congressional leaders are moving away from the Biggert-Waters …

The limits of consumer choice

Most conservatives, and even some liberals of the dwindling "New Democrat" variety, put near-religious faith in the maxim that greater consumer choice would improve nearly every heavily regulated …

‘Innocence of Muslims’ ruling raises host of questions

From Politix: Remember the video that President Barack Obama cited as the reason behind the attacks in Benghazi? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to order …

Republican congressman to oil and gas industry: ‘No more subsidies’

From Greentech Media: Some recent history: in 2011, the environmental advocacy groups Friends of the Earth and Public Citizen partnered with climate deniers at the Heartland Institute (which …

Condo complexes reap huge savings by challenging federal flood maps

From the Tampa Bay Times: "We're taking away the people's hard-earned money,'' said Christian Camara, Florida director of the R Street Institute, an ardent supporter of Biggert-Waters. …

Portrait of the porn star as a young millennial

News that there is a Duke University freshman who acts in pornographic films was always going to make the Internet catch fire.  But the recent revelations, which have …

House GOP in a fix over fixing flood insurance

From National Journal: "This bill represents a fundamental betrayal of the free-market principles and fiscal responsibility the House leadership claims to embrace," said R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at …

Don’t wipe out flood insurance reform

From Roll Call: And those who benefit most from the continued subsidy are likely those who need help the least. Two-thirds of subsidized policies are for properties in counties …

With ‘no direct financial incentive,’ can Burlington get telecom back on track?

From Watchdog.org: "A lot of them aren’t business people by and large," said Andrew Moylan. Moylan is a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based free-market think tank who spoke with Vermont …

R Street applauds progress toward ticket freedom in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 27, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today's passage by the Michigan House of Representatives of HB 5108, which would repeal Michigan's archaic law …

‘Innocence of Muslims’ ruling raises host of questions

Remember the video that President Obama cited as the reason behind the attacks in Benghazi? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to order the video …

Daines, Fox brief Congress on dangers of Internet sales tax bill

From National Journal: At this morning's briefing, Congressman Daines and Attorney General Fox were joined by Phil Bond, executive director of We R Here, a nationwide coalition of small …

Opponent of flood insurance bill says Congress motivated by raw politics, not sound policy

From the Times-Picayune: Andrew Moylan, senior fellow at the R-Street Institute, a conservative advocacy group, said both Republicans and Democrats feel pressured to act to protect their candidates running …

R Street encouraged by preservation of credit union tax exemption in tax reform bill

WASHINGTON (Feb. 26, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed news that the credit union tax exemption is protected in the latest draft of the House Ways & …

Back to work

From the Weekly Standard: Of course, raising the minimum wage is not the only, and certainly not the most efficient way to increase the value of work. There is …

A federal clean energy program with GOP fans

From the Washington Examiner: That will be a constant threat, especially in an era of fiscal tightening, for the relatively young program, said Eli Lehrer, president of the conservative …

House postpones vote on flood insurance bill

From the St. Petersburg Tribune: Influential conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and the R Street Institute have written editorials and lobbied members of Congress …

Private insurers start to offer flood coverage

From the Wall Street Journal: An unlikely coalition of conservatives, environmental groups and the insurance industry has opposed the latest legislative proposals to blunt the premium increases. The House bill …

Coalition concerned about changes to Unlocking Consumer Choice Act

February 25, 2014 Dear Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, We the undersigned organizations and individuals are extremely disappointed in the addition of a poison pill amendment to …

The grand compromise that wasn’t

One of President Obama's defining convictions is that he is the most reasonable man in our nation's capitol. He seems to view opposition to his agenda as a …

Movin’ on up to the right side

In a debate near the end of her premiership, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was faced with a questioner who complained that while "the prime minister has achieved …

Governor Scott pushes President on flood insurance hikes

From Bay News 9: Opponents like R Street Institute said, "less than two years after passing landmark reforms to fix the National Flood Insurance Program, which remains $25 billion …

State attorneys general support patent reform

The attorneys general of 42 states have signed a letter supporting efforts in Congress to enact comprehensive patent reform legislation. The letter emphasizes the need for increased transparency, …

Gov. Scott pushes flood fix in D.C. as new House plan emerges

From the Palm Beach Post: "This bill represents a fundamental betrayal of the free-market principles and fiscal responsibility the House leadership claims to embrace," said R.J. Lehmann, a senior …

In D.C. meeting with Obama, Gov. Rick Scott calls for flood insurance solution

From Miami Herald: "Less than two years after passing landmark reforms to fix the NFIP, which remains $25 billion in debt to American taxpayers, lawmakers appear poised to gut …

House introduces NFIP rate-hike delay that is gaining bipartisan support

From PropertyCasualty360: It would also repeal would repeal entirely the section of the flood insurance reform law that calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update its maps, …

R Street warns time is short to consider TRIA reforms

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25, 2014) – With the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program set to expire at year's end, the R Street Institute urged members of Congress to act …

Justice trumps compassion

Late in season two of House of Cards (spoiler alert!), the show's protagonist, Vice President Francis Underwood, is confronted with a thorny and uncharacteristically human problem when Freddy, …

R Street applauds introduction of the American Worker Mobility Act

WASHINGTON (Feb. 24, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed news of the introduction of H.R. 4033, the American Worker Mobility Act, sponsored by Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., …

Budget reform in reverse: Congress prepares to hike flood insurance subsidies

From Forbes: Over time, observed Eli Lehrer...there was "continued erosion of premiums intended to get more people into the program coupled with the program’s long term financial deterioration."  Congress …

Government should butt out on e-cigarettes

From the Chronicle Herald: Dr. Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP), also argues that their vapours pose …

R Street deeply disappointed by House bill gutting flood insurance reform

WASHINGTON (Feb. 24, 2014) -- The R Street Institute is deeply disappointed by U.S. House leadership's introduction of legislation that would completely repeal significant portions of the Biggert-Waters …

The Netflix effect

Last fall, during an earnings conference call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made an announcement that landed him on the front page of every newspaper business section: His company …

The REINS Act doesn’t go far enough

In a recent Rasmussen poll, more than half of likely voters (51 percent) said they believe EPA regulations should require congressional approval before they are implemented.  Given that …

Why doesn’t the left push a universal basic income?

It seems barely a week goes by without the release of some statistic that sparks an unwieldy volume of conflicting interpretations. Last week, it was the projection by …

Flood insurance bill heads to House

Fromm the St. Petersburg Tribune: Analysts with the R Street Institute think tank, which has offices in Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee, said the House bill would undermine the government …

Response to ANR fact sheet: Electronic cigarettes and secondary aerosol

This note is in response to the so-called “fact sheet” entitled “Electronic Cigarettes and Secondhand Aerosol” produced by Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (ANR) February 20, 2014 [1] in …

Flood insurance fight intensifies

From the Jackson Clarion Ledger: “We would oppose such a scheme strongly,” said Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, which describes itself as a libertarian …

House to consider flood insurance rates

From the News & Observer: Andrew Moylan with R Street Institute, a libertarian think tank, said his organization would support a plan that slowed down rate increases for remapped …

R Street’s Sanders on the Thom Hartmann Show

R Street's Lori Sanders took part in an hour-long panel with progressive commentator Nate Sweet and Project 21/MoveOnUp.org's Hughey Newsome on RT's Thom Hartmann Show. Topics covered include …

Salam on whether racist incidents are on the rise

Over at CNN's OutFront with Erin Burnett, R Street's Reihan Salam joined Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to discuss a recent incident in …

Tobacco harm reduction endorsed in New England Journal of Medicine

In late January, the New England Journal of Medicine published a ringing endorsement of tobacco harm reduction.  The authors of "Smoke, The Chief Killer – Strategies for Targeting …

Join AFF and R Street’s Lori Sanders for a panel on the right’s response to poverty

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a damning chart examining the War on Poverty. The chart showed the poverty rate's fluctuations over the last 50 years, once taxes and …

Internet comments sections are more dangerous than video games

In the past few weeks, two fascinating pieces of research concerning technology and the Internet have come to light. A study from Brock University in Canada suggests prolonged …

Budget gimmickry on the Bayou

Sometimes a trust fund isn't a trust fund and sometimes an appropriation isn't an appropriation. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana has done some important work over the …

The silliness of Florida’s film tax incentives

A spectre is haunting Florida: The spectre of running out of taxpayer money to subsidize Hollywood productions in the state! Tampa's Bay News 9 reports: Hollywood producers have been scouting …

Support the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Democratic Leader Pelosi, and Democratic Whip Hoyer: We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to encourage the House to consider the bipartisan Access to …

Beaver pelts and broadband

In 1670, King Charles II of England granted a group of 17 men—now called the Hudson Bay Co.—a royal charter, which gave them control over 40 percent of …

God and man and supply and demand

In 1951, William F. Buckley Jr. published the first of his many books, "God and Man at Yale." An instant commercial success, and an instant source of controversy, …

Burlington boondoggle: How the telecom scandal is still costing taxpayers millions

From VermontWatchdog.org: "I think the evidence speaks for itself," Andrew Moylan, senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, told Vermont Watchdog. "Funneling millions …

GOP: Beyond repealing to reforming

The last time the federal government approached its statutory debt limit, Republicans in the House of Representatives fought tooth and nail to attach tough conditions to any increase. …

How e-cigarettes could save lives

From the Washington Post: Yes, we still need research on the long-term health and behavioral impacts of e-cigarettes. Brad Rodu, a pathologist at the University of Louisville, offers an …

R Street Institute applauds efforts to depopulate Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

AUSTIN, Tex. (Feb. 17, 2014) -- The R Street Institute welcomed news of a study to examine the benefits of enabling private insurers to voluntarily take homeowners policies …

Salam on Chris Christie’s political career and prospects

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN OutFront host Erin Burnett and New Republic Senior Editor Alec MacGillis to discuss MacGillis' cover story in the latest issue …

Crony Agriculture: Failing to reform the farm bill left taxpayers out in the cold

From the American Conservative: Shortly after Congress passed the farm bill late last month, the Atlantic published a piece touting this example of Washington “getting better.” According to Molly …

U.S. House leaders stiff 231 sponsors for flood fix, propose modified plan later

From the Palm Beach Post: Conservative groups say premium increases are needed to help the National Flood Insurance Program get out of $24 billion in debt and discourage building …

Congress to vote on phone unlocking

From Forbes: Alternative legislation has been introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Thomas Massie (R-KY), (H.R. 1892), which would legalize technologies like …

U.S. House majority co-sponsors stalled flood insurance bill, supporters say

From the Palm Beach Post: Boehner has said he does not foresee taking up a four-year delay but might consider more modest measures. Conservative groups have argued premium increases …

Poisoning public health issues: Chapter 2

Three years ago I discussed an unfounded claim by Harvard University's Dr. Gregory Connolly that smokeless tobacco products are a major cause of poisoning among American children.  A …

R Street responds to planned House flood insurance vote

  WASHINGTON (Feb. 13, 2014) – With U.S. House leadership announcing it will take up consideration of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, the R Street Institute expressed optimism …

R Street applauds shrinking Fla Citizens policies

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 12, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has seen its policy count fall to under 1 …

The role of intellectual property in fashion

From Innovation Asset Group: Fashion designers are urging Congress to extend intellectual property protection to fashion design, a move R Street calls unprecedented. In the current fashion market, discount …

This is the GOP’s big chance to stop American exceptionalism from destroying itself

From Forbes: Reihan Salam makes a typically suave and commonsensical argument in favor of a much larger American diaspora, insisting that emigration deserves our attention as much as immigration. …

Local control is better management for federal lands

In his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama promised to use presidential authority to "protect more of our pristine federal lands." Similar to most political statements, …

The Washington Report: Industry support for FIO; farm bill a plus for insurers; flood update

From PropertyCasualty360: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, said the SCO covers up to 90% of a farmer’s crop revenue when elected in combination with …

Reasons to fight back today

There comes a point when people just can't take it anymore, when frustration and anger boil over into public displays. Two years ago, that anger manifested in the …

The Obamacare trap

Last week's release of Congressional Budget Office numbers showing that Obamacare is projected to decrease employment by 2.5 million jobs has, by now, been litigated almost to the …

A day to fight back

Hoping to capture the same grassroots outcry that successfully blocked ham-handed anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA two years ago, a number of organizations on both the left and …

Federal lands should be opened to more local knowledge

WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2014) -- As a growing chorus of states in the American West stand up to claim shared or sole sovereignty over federal lands within their …

Bringing local knowledge to federal lands

The United States might indeed be one nation, indivisible, but there are huge differences between its eastern and western halves when it comes to federal lands. In the …

Our Opinion: The true cost

From the Tallahassee Democrat: Don Brown, a former legislator, an expert on insurance and now a senior fellow with R Street’s Florida project, tells of a trick he sometimes …

More Americans should work abroad

On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner told members of the press that though immigration is "an important issue in our country" (thanks for that, John), it will be …

Nicole Roeberg

Nicole Roeberg

Holly Fretwell

Holly L. Fretwell

$1 trillion ag bill full of subsidies, special favors

From the Mackinac Center While the Congressional Budget Office says the bill will reduce federal spending by $16.6 billion, the R Street Institute notes that only $8.6 billion of …

Nitzkin on Oregon’s proposed e-cigarette ban

R Street's Dr. Joel Nitzkin testified yesterday before the Oregon Legislature regarding bills that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors and ban their use in areas where …

CVS to end sale of tobacco products by Oct. 1

From the Winston-Salem Journal: Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and a smokeless-tobacco advocate, said CVS' decision "is not simply about health or profits, …

An open letter to appropriators in Congress: End the budget gimmicks and cut the Pentagon’s slush fund

An Open Letter to Appropriators in Congress: End the Budget Gimmicks and Cut the Pentagon’s Slush Fund February 6, 2014 We are writing you today as a diverse coalition of organizations …

E-cigarettes: a $1.5 billion industry braces for FDA regulation

From Bloomberg BusinessWeek: As nothing but a replacement product for existing smokers, e-cigarettes seem like a public-health win. Widespread adoption by current smokers “could potentially reduce smoking deaths by …

Lawmakers study e-cigarettes

From the Register-Guard: "E-cigarette vapor as exhaled by the user does not contain any toxic chemicals that are detectable above background levels in indoor environments," said Dr. Joel Nitzkin, …

Salam discuses student debt with Anya Kamenetz

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street's Reihan Salam interviews Anya Kamenetz, staff writer for Fast Company and a columnist for Tribune Media, about the state of higher …

How can businesses ‘regulate their rivals’ in a bill eliminating regulations?

Fred Campbell, executive director of a new group called the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, had a curious piece on retransmission consent on The Hill’s Congress Blog …

CVS abandons tobacco and reason

Tobacco control advocates have for years pressured pharmacies to stop selling tobacco. Today, CVS, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, announced it will end all tobacco product sales effective …

5 reasons Ronald Reagan’s secret identity was Captain Planet

If we've learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. …

NSA surveillance should not be the new normal

It's saying something when National Security Agency data collection becomes a reference point in the sports pages. In an article in this morning's Houston Chronicle, reporter Roy Bragg begins …

To an ‘ordinary observer,’ design patents flunk the test

The U.S. Supreme Court laid down the legal standard for what constitutes infringement of a design patent in the 1871 case Gorham v. White. The court's decision, which …

Don’t encourage risky development

The Jan. 30 editorial, Mapping our future, is right to commend South Florida’s governments for doing more to “tackle the threat of climate change” and rising sea levels. …

Design patents are an ornamental drag on innovation

What's the purpose of a patent? If you answered "to promote scientific progress and development by giving incentives to inventors," then you're at the top of the class. …

Has NSA spying poisoned the growing cloud computing industry?

From United Liberty: Such is life when our economy is as corporatist as it is. Things will only change if the big corporations that stand to make a ton …

AGA calls on Congress to stop patent trolls

From the American Gaming Association: Washington – American Gaming Association (AGA) and Credit Union National Association on behalf of the Main Street Patent Coalition, called on Congress today to pass comprehensive patent reform. Speaking at a forum hosted …

The D.C.’s Roeberg lands at R Street

From Media Bistro: Last week, we reported that The Daily Caller had shaken up their editorial and business teams with some internal hires. McKenzie Vaughn  is the new Director of Operations …

Doctor to OR lawmakers: Ban e-cigs for minors, but don’t restrict adult use

From Watchdog.org: Joel Nitzkin, a physician who owns a private consulting firm, will testify before the Oregon House Committee on Human Services and Housing at 3 p.m. Wednesday in favor …

R Street welcomes vote to right-size Fla Cat Fund

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's unanimous vote by the Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee approving S.B. 482, a measure to scale …

Congress’ farm bill falls $29 billion short of Obama’s proposed cuts

WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2014) – The R Street Institute today called on President Barack Obama to use his veto pen to reject the five-year farm bill approved by …

R Street names Nicole Roeberg director of communications

WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2014) – The R Street Institute is pleased to announce it has hired Nicole Roeberg to serve as director of communications, effective Feb. 10. She …

The farm bill: Left and right on one side; special interests and the mainstream media on the other

From the Washington Examiner: The free-market-favoring R Street Group is "deeply disappointed by $1 trillion farm bill." At US News, you see experts from the National Taxpayers Union and …

The farm bill is up for a final vote soon. Here’s why so many people hate it.

From the Washington Post: In theory, the extra subsidies for crop insurance are supposed to cost less than the old direct payments did. But, again, it depends. More droughts …

FISA requests way more interested in email content than ‘metadata’

In a major step forward for transparency, Google today offered the first batch of disclosures made pursuant to new U.S. Department of Justice rules allowing companies to publish …

New $1 trillion farm bill 50% bigger than last farm bill

From Heartland.org: “Given the Congressional Budget Office’s history of underestimating the cost of prior farm bills, we take it as given that much, if not all, of the $23 …

Congress tried to cut subsidies for homes in flood zones. It was harder than they thought.

From the Washington Post: Some context here: Critics of the flood-insurance subsidies have pointed out that they disproportionately benefit wealthier homeowners. The libertarian R Street Institute, drawing on data …

Watching gas prices? Insurance rates are even wilder

From CNBC: Combating the wide range of rates to ensure the best pricing can be tough, and it requires consumers to be extremely savvy about insurance trends, said Eli …

Hurricane mitigation sales tax holiday would be nice

Gov. Rick Scott's announcement that he will pursue legislative action to grant a 15-day sales-tax holiday for hurricane preparedness is a big win for Florida. The tax incentive …

Tomorrow: Event on Patent Reform

From Technology Liberation Front: I am speaking on a panel tomorrow at the Dirksen Senate Office Building at an R Street Institute event on patent reform. Here’s R Street’s …

To win votes, the GOP should focus on jobs, not immigration

One of the most curious political developments in recent memory is House Speaker John Boehner's decision to press for a new Republican immigration bill before addressing America's bona …

Flood insurance and the phantom real estate crash

To hear proponents tell the tale, the reason the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to gut reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program that it had approved overwhelmingly just …

Let’s Move: A better approach to poverty

The following piece was co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer. President Obama's State of the Union speech brimmed with ideas to increase upward mobility and spur job creation—most …

Senate votes to delay flood-rate hikes for four years

From PropertyCasualty360: Ray Lehmann, a fellow at the R Street Institute in Washington doubted that the Senate bill will even get a vote in the House, even though it …

Senate votes to delay flood insurance hikes

From the Boston Globe: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, said the Toomey amendment aligns more with the position of the …

SOTU: Obama defines the challenge, but misses the solution

For those who care about wage stagnation, alleviating poverty and increasing income mobility, the president's speech Tuesday night was a mixed bag. Granted, it's difficult to delve deep …

R Street optimistic House will preserve responsible NFIP reform

WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2014) – The R Street Institute is disappointed by today's U.S. Senate vote gutting reforms of the National Flood Insurance Program, but expressed optimism that …

R Street praises progress toward ticket freedom in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 30, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed yesterday's vote by the state House Criminal Justice Committee approving legislation to repeal Michigan's archaic 83-year-old law …

Free-market groups call on Gulf Coast governors to use RESTORE Act wisely

WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2014) -- Governors of the five Gulf Coast states – all Republicans – have a unique opportunity to ensure the windfalls those states are set …

Letter to Gulf Coast governors on RESTORE Act

Jan. 30, 2014 Dear Govs. Perry, Jindal, Bryant, Bentley, and Scott - As you know, Congress passed the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economy Act, better known …

Exploiting the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report on smoking

Fifty years ago, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued a landmark report describing the health risks of cigarette smoking. Tobacco prohibitionists are using the anniversary to promote onerous …

Today in Liberty: Audit the Fed, NSA spying hurts tech firms, earmarks make a comeback

From UnitedLiberty: NSA endangers multi-billion dollar tech industry: A new policy study from the R Street Institute takes a look at how the NSA’s domestic surveillance apparatus could hit …

R Street welcomes Florida sales tax holiday on storm supplies

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed this week's proposal by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that the state enact a 15-day sales tax holiday …

Intellectual property roundup

From Overlawyered: "The patent had an interesting enforcement clause: that anyone who copied [ship designer] Brunelleschi’s work would have their own designs set on fire" [Jeremy Kolassa, R Street] …

The Republican Party has taken a big step forward

From Business Insider: "One theory is that President Obama's been in office a long time," said Reihan Salam, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and a contributing …

Geographic mobility as a cure for income mobility

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson launched the "War on Poverty" during his first State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is widely expected to revisit that …

Obama ready to sidestep Congress in today’s State of the Union

From Newsweek: "There are real things he needs to work on that can't be done by executive order," said Lori Sanders, a policy analyst at the libertarian R Street …

Toomey flood insurance amendment would protect taxpayers

WASHINGTON (Jan. 28, 2014) – As the Senate prepares to vote on a measure that would gut reforms of the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program, the R …

R Street deeply disappointed by $1 trillion farm bill

WASHINGTON (Jan. 28, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed deep disappointment at the five-year conference committee farm bill that cuts just 0.11 percent in projected federal spending …

The GOP’s new base?

Today saw the release of the Washington Post's January poll of registered voters on a singularly interesting question: "Which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans), do you …

It’s time to protect data in the cloud

Tuesday’s State of the Union address affords President Barack Obama another opportunity to address the government’s massive overreach in collecting data about ordinary Americans in the name of …

RFS opponents seek legislative reform

From Agri-Pulse The organizations, including Action Aid USA, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Turkey Federation and R Street Institute, called on Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Henry Waxman, …

Letter to the House Energy & Commerce Committee on ethanol mandate

Jan. 27, 2014 The Honorable Fred Upton, Chairman The Honorable Henry Waxman, Ranking Member Committee on Energy & Commerce U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Upton & Ranking Member Waxman: Last year, …

Conservatives rethinking mass imprisonment and the War on Drugs

From the Washington Post: Conservative policy analyst Reihan Salam has an interesting column on on conservatives who are reconsidering their movement’s traditional support for mass incarceration and the War …

Obama’s SOTU should address NSA damage to tech sector

WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2014) – As the nation awaits President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow evening, a new paper from the R Street Institute makes …

Has the NSA poisoned the cloud?

The U.S. technology industry enters 2014 facing a backlash to its perceived role as accomplice to a series of National Security Agency surveillance programs, each making extensive use …

Flood-bill vote could put lives, careers at risk

If a plan to delay the phase-out of some federal flood insurance subsidies is successful, Congress could be setting itself up for a nasty pre-election “October surprise.” Should …

Senate adds NARAB registry to bill halting flood insurance premium hikes

From SNL Financial: A NFIP-as-reinsurer plan seems unnecessary, as reinsurers are already one side of the industry most interested in taking on flood risks, R Street Institute Senior Fellow …

Buckley’s revenge

In a 1988 debate over drug policy, William F. Buckley Jr struck what would have been, for a conservative, a rather unconventional position on a hot button social …

Fear and clarity in Davos

I happened to be watching the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and was struck by the number of CEOs who mentioned "clarity" as the overarching need …

A call for fair rates of flood insurance

From the Miami Herald: Critics grumbled that the program amounted to a hand-out to the well-heeled, who prefer living near the water while forcing folks in the hinterlands to …

E-cigarettes prompt debate at Oklahoma Capitol

From the Daily Oklahoman: Dr. Joel Nitzkin, a public health physician and senior fellow in tobacco policy for the R Street Institute, argued that getting people to switch from …

Learning to love the Brooklyn Nets

Before the Nets moved to Brooklyn, I knew almost nothing about professional basketball, or basketball in any incarnation. I understood that it was a sport in which tall …

One anti-poverty initiative both sides can agree on

From the Huffington Post: "Don't forget the poor," Lori Sanders and Eli Lehrer of the R Street Institute (a conservative think tank), urged Weekly Standard readers, explaining that "Properly …

‘Isn’t the president above that?’ CNN’s Don Lemon confused by Obama’s Fox News attack

From the Daily Caller: Lemon spoke with liberal commentator Hilary Rosen and conservative columnist Reihan Salam about the president’s comments in an interview with The New Yorker published this …

Chris Christie and the ‘failed war on drugs’

What would you do if you were a high-profile governor caught in the midst of a pseudo-scandal, with the national news media hanging on your every word? Here’s …

BMJ editorial: Holding the line for ignorance

The British Medical Journal grossly erred in its Jan. 2 commentary "Hold the line against tobacco" by Editor Dr. Fiona Godlee. BMJ asserts that e-cigarettes pose a "grave risk …

Should Snowden get clemency?

Over at the VICE podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam hosts a debate between Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy & Technology …

SmarterSafer letter to Speaker Boehner on flood insurance reform

The Honorable John Boehner Speaker U.S. House of Representatives H-232 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 January 23, 2014 Dear Speaker Boehner, In light of your comments last week about the need to modify the Biggert-Waters …

Game over for video game violence alarmism

From The Blaze: In 1999′s comedic classic, “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” a mob of angry parents, searching for an explanation for their children’s increasingly profane language, point …

Are Hollywood starlets glamorizing smoking by using e-cigarettes?

From Forbes: Based on these data, Brad Rodu, Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, concludes that worries about e-cigarette use as a stepping stone to smoking is …

GAO finds delaying Biggert-Waters would discourage private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2014) – Delaying the phase-out of federal subsidies for flood insurance would discourage private insurers from writing the coverage and moving more risk from the …

Nitzkin on the benefits of e-cigarettes

Oklahoma City's KFOR NewsChannel 4 carried this report on the Jan. 21 joint hearing of the Oklahoma Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and the Oklahoma House …

Joint hearing on electronic cigarettes

From the Shawnee News-Star: Dr. Joel Nitzkin, a physician and a former Louisiana State Health Director, is scheduled to make a presentation as part of the hearing. "Tobacco control policy …

Rothschild on how Florida should use RESTORE Act funds

Florida lawmakers should ensure the windfall that will soon come to the state's counties under the federal RESTORE Act are used as intended for environmental and economic reparations …

R Street encourages Oklahoma to explore tobacco harm reduction

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 22, 2014) – Lawmakers should avoid public health policies that perpetuate the myth that that all tobacco and nictotine products present a similar risk of …

Steven Titch

Steven Titch

Congress should put NSA back on target

Before Christmastime, hackers from Eastern Europe loaded malware onto big box store Target's computers, collecting credit card information on millions of people. No one seriously disputes that what these …

Game over for video game violence alarmism

In 1999's comedic classic, "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut," a mob of angry parents, searching for an explanation for their children's increasingly profane language, point the finger …

Testimony to Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee

Testimony of Alan Smith, R Street Institute Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 Michigan House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee Good morning Chairman Heise, Vice Chairs Graves and Oakes and members of the Criminal …

At Last, Conservative Reform

From the New York Times The conservative policy larder was genuinely bare by the end of the Bush presidency. But that changed, reasonably swiftly, across President Obama’s first term. …

Smokers can turn to safer smoke-free tobacco products

Kentucky State Police report that traffic fatalities in 2013 fell to 635 — down 15 percent from the year before and the lowest count since 1947. Lower traffic …

The National Review diaspora

From FirstThings.com: Over the last eight or so years, a group of conservative writers (Ross Douthat, Yuval Levin, Reihan Salam, Ramesh Ponnuru and many—though not enough—others) have tried to …

After Sandy: Use of disaster funds questioned

From Newsday: "Ultimately, states and municipalities don't know what FEMA is going to reimburse them for and what FEMA is not going to reimburse them for," said Daniel Rothschild, …

Congress scrambles as coastal residents rail at insurance rates

From the Boston Globe: Fiscally conservative groups cite a Congressional Budget Office analysis that projects delaying the rate hikes would cost $900 million over five years and cause the …

U.S. privacy law requires operating system upgrade

From Politix: This may not be obvious but, as a short trip through some of Buzzfeed's less serious listicles will quickly reveal, the world has changed since 1986... …

Where is the GOP heading on immigration reform?

After falling off the radar for months, immigration reform is back. Late last year, Speaker John Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent — a veteran of Arizona Sen. John McCain's …

Deregulation may not eliminate poverty, but it can help

From Forbes: The always thoughtful Reihan Salam has a post about whether regulations entrepreneurship stifling can really do much to help poor people. Here is how he puts it... ...To …

Free-market groups express concern over offshore reinsurance tax

Jan. 17, 2014 Dear Sen. Baucus: On behalf of a broad spectrum of groups supporting free markets and sound tax policy, we write to express our deep concern regarding proposals …

R Street welcomes privacy reforms, asks they go further

WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's speech by President Barack Obama as a significant step forward on electronic privacy, but expressed disappointment that …

Fannie, Freddie and the big one

Twenty years ago today, the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake struck the San Fernando Valley 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, killing 60, injuring 7,000, and damaging more than …

R Street welcomes private reinsurance plan for Florida Cat Fund

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed news that the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is working on a plan to buy private reinsurance, reducing …

Mike Rogers’ one-half percent

As negotiations in Congress over the so-called "farm bill" continue, Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican representing Alabama's Third District, is seen as a key vote on the small …

Burn all the patent violators!

In 1421, an Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, designed a truly massive creation. Called ll Badalone, or "The Sea-Going Monster," it was a ship intended to haul a hundred tons …

US privacy law requires operating system upgrade

This may not be obvious but, as a short trip through some of Buzzfeed's less serious listicles will quickly reveal, the world has changed since 1986. Ronald Reagan is …

Open SUNY fraught with uncertainty

From the Daily Gazette: In a piece titled, “Online Education Can Be Good or Cheap, But Not Both,” writer Reihan Salam cautioned against expecting miracles from online education. “Somehow we …

The case for treating windfalls like bonds

Windfalls are, by definition, irregular occurrences that disrupt state and local governments' regular flow of finance. And because each windfall is, at least to some degree, sui generis, …

When low unemployment is bad news

From Bloomberg: But don’t let Congress’s dysfunction convince you that extending benefits is at all controversial. It would be one thing if Jason Furman and Gene Sperling, two of …

House to hold hearings on Internet sales tax

The issue seemed to be dead going into 2014, but some House Republicans — those who seem determined to find a way to raise taxes — are planning …

R Street disappointed by delay language in omnibus appropriations bill

WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment today at language included in the omnibus appropriations bill that would delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood …

A sad day at National Underwriter

Before jumping into think tank life in late 2011 (technically speaking, jumping back into think tank life, as I did have a brief spell with the Independent Institute …

Saving the bayou

Morgan City, La. — Last Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reined in BP's efforts to curb payouts for what the oil company called "absurd" and "fictitious" claims …

Handouts aren’t enough

Conservatives, for the first time in quite a while, are beginning to take the issue of poverty seriously. Tea party figures like Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have …

Our Views: Not mansions, our homes

From The Advocate: One of the major advocates for Biggert-Waters is R Street, a conservative Washington think tank. “While it is reasonable for Congress to address hardships that could …

David Brooks’s nostalgia

From National Review: David Brooks’s column yesterday highlights the excellent content of the latest issue of National Affairs: Michael Strain of AEI’s jobs agenda for the Right, Eli Lehrer …

From Marco Rubio, a new approach to ending poverty

I realize that I ought to be writing about Chris Christie, the recently re-elected Republican governor of New Jersey, who has just had a brush with political death. …

High school seniors’ tobacco use: another year in decline

Smoking by teens has declined to record-low levels, according to the latest University of Michigan annual Monitoring the Future Study, which examines youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use …

Are we all #fullcommunists now?

The explosively angry reaction on the right to Jesse Myerson's recent Rolling Stone piece, "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For" is, like its earlier reaction to …

Fla bill would encourage private alternatives to NFIP

From PropertyCasualty360: The Florida bill, introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, authorizes insurers to write policies, contracts and endorsements for flood insurance coverage with …

Manchin OK with premium delay

From Weirton Daily Times: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, which describes itself as a "free market think tank," believes the impact of higher premiums …

Lehrer talks ‘ban the box’ on WBAL

R Street President Eli Lehrer was on WBAL Radio in Baltimore, Md., to discuss his recent Huffington Post piece on proposals to "ban the box" -- that is …

Movement on the right

From the New York Times: This conservatism knows that central decision-makers, even conservative ones, are no match for complex reality. Therefore, they favor market mechanisms, which take advantage of …

Towards a conservative jobs agenda

From the Washington Post: Conservatives could even stick a lot of work requirements or other beloved supply-side reforms in there. Eli Lehrer and Lori Sanders have a sample agenda outlined …

Groups urge Congress to target flood insurance fix to help needy, not wealthy

From Insurance Journal: Ray Lehmann, of the free market think tank R Street Institute, another SmarterSafer.org member, agreed. “No one should be thrown out of their homes because they …

R Street says Obama’s ‘Promise Zones’ continue failed place-based relief

WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2013) – A new White House initiative to ladle federal funding on socially and economically challenged communities continues a policy of "place-based relief" that has …

Repeal duplicative USDA catfish inspection program in farm bill conference legislation

January 8, 2014 Honorable Debbie Stabenow U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture 328A Russell Senate Office Bldg Washington, DC, 20510 Honorable Thad Cochran U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture 328A Russell Senate Office Bldg Washington, DC, 20510 Honorable Frank …

SAVE THE DATE: Florida Chamber’s 7th Annual Insurance Summit

Those interested in the future of insurance in the Sunshine State should register for the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Seventh Annual Insurance Summit, set for Jan. 15-17 at …

Flood insurance rate delays opposed

From the Bradenton Herald: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at free markets think tank R Street Institute, said the proposed legislation to delay insurance increases would subsidize wealthy homeowners …

The left’s half-baked critique of gamer culture

From Politix: With the advent of video gaming as an art form, it is both natural and appropriate that criticism of its "canon" should arise. Just as scholars puzzle …

CBO: Bill to delay flood-rate hikes would add $2.2B to NFIP debt over 10 years

From PropertyCasualty360: The CBO “scored” the legislation as costing $900 million over five years, according to R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. Lehmann says he did not know about …

State leaders push for flood insurance overhaul

From The Advocate: The libertarian R Street Institute in Washington also opposes the bill. “While it is reasonable for Congress to address hardships that could make flood insurance unaffordable …

Let flood insurance rates increase, group says

From USA Today: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, said only 9% of homes with subsidized flood insurance rates are owned by people in the …

Florida moves forward on private flood insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's unanimous vote by the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee of legislation clarifying the regulatory treatment …

Bankers and realtors split from insurers as Senate prepares vote on flood bill

From SNL Financial: With the NFIP currently looking at a 2017 sunset, delay would wreck that hard-won progress, R Street Institute Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann said in a statement. …

An open letter to the Congress: Spending smarter on defense can make us stronger

January 8, 2014 Our organizations don’t agree on many issues, but we have come together to ask Congress, as it finalizes the Department of Defense portion of the Fiscal …

Upcoming R Street tech policy briefings

Please join us for two days of tech policy briefings followed by a networking happy hour at Capitol Lounge presented by the R Street Institute and Generation Opportunity. …

The left’s half-baked critique of gamer culture

With the advent of video gaming as an art form, it is both natural and appropriate that criticism of its "canon" should arise. Just as scholars puzzle over …

Senators renew push to delay flood insurance increases

From the Palm Beach Post: R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann said urged senators not to “gut” the Biggert-Waters Act, which was designed to get the program out of …

The contradictions of liberal populism

From the New York Times: But I suspect that Reihan Salam is right about De Blasio when he describes the new mayor’s likely agenda as basically “Bloombergism with a …

New farm bill would bring more insurable risks, premiums to crop insurers

From PropertyCasualty360: The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) would be available for as an additional policy to cover part of the deductible under the crop producer’s underlying policy. R.J. Lehmann, a …

Proposed program can help property insurance

From the Sun-Sentinel: The James Madison Institute and R Street Institute of Washington, D.C. recently released a backgrounder titled "Ten Reforms to Fix Florida's Property Insurance Marketplace – Without …

Five conservative reforms millennials should be fighting for

From the Washington Post: So an even better idea would be to make the government a large institutional investor — basically, to create a government hedge fund, or "sovereign …

R Street urges Senate not to gut flood insurance reform

WASHINGTON (Jan. 7, 2013) – As the U.S. Senate prepares to consider changes to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, the R Street Institute urges an open process …

10-step plan could end property insurance blues

From the News-Press: Coming right on cue, there is a new study from The James Madison Institute that says it all in its title: "Ten Reforms to Fix Florida’s …

Are we seeing the end of Baptist-bootlegger politics?

Thirty years ago, economist Bruce Yandle introduced the world in a classic essay to the pervasive power of "Bootleggers and Baptists," a catchphrase used to refer to any …

Universal preschool may help parents more than children — and that’s okay

As a small child, I vaguely recall having attended a Montessori preschool in Brooklyn, which was loud, lively and colorful. One day, a classmate made a reference to …

How to spend oil spill fines wisely

A federal judge in New Orleans will soon decide how much oil company BP has to pay in Clean Water Act fines for its role in the 2010 …

NYU to e-cigarette users: Cigarettes are healthier

I have noted in the past how prestigious organizations sometimes spew misinformation about the risks of smokeless tobacco; I have been especially critical of individuals representing the Mayo …

BP spill windfall will test Texas conservatives

From WOAI Radio: But Daniel Rothschild, a senior fellow at the free market R Street Institute, says huge sums of money in the hands of greedy and irresponsible politicians …

R Street scholars argue relocation is key to fighting poverty

WASHINGTON (Jan. 2, 2014) – Decades of declining geographic mobility have been a key contributor to stagnating incomes and, more recently, persistently high unemployment rates, R Street President …

Moving to work

The following piece was co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer. Between 1776 and 1890, when the U.S. Census Bureau famously declared the frontier closed, Americans who found themselves …

‘Ban the Box’ goes too far…and not far enough

All over the country, towns, cities and even states have begun a move towards policies that "ban the box" and forbid employers from asking individuals about previous criminal …

The new year will get off to an awful start

From Slate: One way we know they won't is from the experience of North Carolina, which for reasons of state politics did a UI cutoff for the long-term unemployed …

Do e-cigarettes cause passive vaping?

"Passive smoking" has been hotly contested. Is there a case for "passive vaping?" Hardly. A detailed study of e-cigarette vapor by German investigators at the Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz Institute's Department …

Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen

Flood insurance hikes loom for La. homeowners

From The Advocate The free market-supporting, nonprofit R Street Institute in Washington also has helped lead the effort to prevent undoing the NFIP “reforms” of 2012. “(The) bill proposes an …

Letter to the South Carolina PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee

PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee c/o Communications Department PO Box 11661, Columbia, SC 29211-1661 Dec. 26, 2013 Members of the Committee: My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R …

Why I signed up for Obamacare

The deadline for enrolling in the Obamacare insurance exchanges for those who want coverage that starts on Jan. 1 is about to pass. Late last week, I became one …

RESTORE Act is key to flood insurance affordability

The following was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, passed as part of 2012's transportation bill, is an important step forward …

Letter to the Tampa Bay Times: Sifting flood program data

"Flood insurance rhetoric ignores reality," Dec. 15 This column on the National Flood Insurance Program's subsidized properties takes my organization, the R Street Institute, to task for asserting that …

More than environmentalism; protecting a valuable driver of our recreation economy

From the Durango Herald: I recently participated in a review of a new report’s release, “The Economic Benefits of Protected Public Lands,” by R Street Institute, a self-described, free-market …

The death of the Obamacare individual mandate

Obamacare is best understood as a collection of carrots and sticks designed to expand access to insurance coverage. But what happens to Obamacare if we get rid of …

Missing the point on ‘Pajama Boy’

From Politix: Like every conservative, when I saw the recent Obamacare ads featuring the by-this-point infamous "Pajama Boy," my first reaction was near-instant derision, and not just because of …

Why Christians (and Americans) should support A&E’s Duck Dynasty decision

From Politix: The past 48 hours have seen lots of hand-wringing over cable channel A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the patriarch in the hit show "Duck Dynasty," for …

Jackson must seize opportunity to invest in restoring the Gulf

A federal judge in New Orleans will soon rule on how much oil company BP must pay in Clean Water Act fines for its role in the 2010 …

Rothschild talks RESTORE Act on New Orleans’ WWL

R Street State Projects Director and Senior Fellow Daniel M. Rothschild joined host Garland Robinette on New Orleans WWL Radio, AM 870/FM 105.3, to discuss how Louisiana will …

Missing the point on ‘Pajama Boy’

Like every conservative, when I saw the recent Obamacare ads featuring the by-this-point infamous "Pajama Boy," my first reaction was near-instant derision, and not just because of unpleasant …

R Street disappointed by NYC e-cigarette ban

NEW YORK (Dec. 19, 2013) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment with today's vote by the New York City Council to ban the use of electronic cigarettes …

Scalise to the retrans reform rescue

I've been working on the issue of retransmission consent, the process by which broadcasters and television service providers negotiate a price for delivering video content to consumers, for …

Why Christians (and Americans) should support A&E’s Duck Dynasty decision

The past 24 hours have seen lots of hand-wringing over cable channel A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the patriarch in the hit show "Duck Dynasty," for controversial …

Shining a light on federal advertising

From Politix.com: News broke this week that insurers plan to spend more than $500 million in coming months to market the health care plans available on the Obamacare exchanges. …

Alabama’s coast needs wise RESTORE Act investments

Early next year, a federal judge will decide how large a fine BP must pay for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. No matter what …

Why A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson is something Christians (and all Americans) should support

From the Huffington Post: Lots of handwringing has gone on in the last 24 hours since A&E made the decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the patriarch in the hit …

Legacy tells the truth, THR revolution gains momentum

After 20 years of staunch opposition to and misinformation about tobacco harm reduction from anti-tobacco forces, one prominent figure has broken ranks, offering the truth and a cautious …

Sanders on the farm bill

R Street Senior Fellow Lori Sanders discusses the farm bill on 1070 AM WINA in Charlottesville, Va. Click here to download the podcast. …

Virginia ranks first, New York last, in R Street’s 2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card

WASHINGTON (Dec. 18, 2013) -- Virginia and Vermont had the best insurance regulatory environments in the United States this year, while New York had the worst, according to …

2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Welcome to the R Street Institute's 2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card, our annual examination of which states are doing the best job of regulating the business of insurance. …

The public policy lessons of ‘Doom’

Last week saw the 20th anniversary of the release of Doom, almost certainly the greatest first-person shooter game of all time, if not the greatest electronic game of …

Shining a light on federal advertising

News broke this week that insurers plan to spend more than $500 million in coming months to market the healthcare plans available on the Obamacare exchanges. This will …

The problem is NSA overreach, not the technology we use

Blaming big tech companies for enabling our runaway surveillance state is like blaming Toyota or Ford for drunk drivers. It's a dangerous distraction, and it's the wrong strategy …

E-cigarette etiquette creates new questions for would-be smokers

From Huffington Post: But still, the jury is still out on whether the gadgets are safe or not. "Without question, e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes," Joel Nitzkin, …

Bill filed Tuesday designed to reform flood insurance

From the Gainesville Sun: The legislation drew praise from the R Street Institute Florida, a group that advocates for free-market principles. "This bill responds to clear market demand to create …

R Street welcomes Florida bill to authorize private flood insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction of legislation creating a statutory definition of private flood insurance that may be written by …

Bernard Mandeville and consumerism’s buzz

When addressing the right’s awkwardness surrounding issues of extreme economic inequality, it's lately become almost de rigeur among conservative reformers to cite Adam Smith as a polestar that conservatives ought …

The CDC abuses the facts about e-cigarettes – Part II

In a previous post, I noted false and misleading information in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release about e-cigarette use by youth. The CDC reported …

Eliminate the Corn Ethanol Mandate

Dec. 10, 2013 Dear Congress: Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency, which is charged with implementing and administering the Renewable Fuel Standard, released its proposal for the amount of biofuels that …

R Street applauds Florida for fast-tracking private flood insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2013) – The R Street Institute applauded the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's timely approval of a request by Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty …

House, Senate reject efforts to delay NFIP rate increases

From PropertyCasualty360: R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow at conservative think tank R Street Institute, said the “unstated, but quite clear, goal of this convoluted process is simply to gut any …

The budget deal’s central achievement: protecting America’s military strength

Remember 1986? Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Dionne Warwick was topping the charts, and movie audiences swooned as Tom Cruise romanced Kelly McGillis in Top Gun. …

Big insurers are brought into discussions on how to protect NYC against future storms

From ClimateWire: Still, some insurance experts question one of the group's main assertions -- that a barrier system would dramatically reduce disaster claims. In an industry filled with number-crunchers, …

Wisconsin workers’ comp insurers propose to rein in costs

States once again show the way to management and reform of public systems by having affected interests sit down together to work out a plan. In Wisconsin, the …

Tech companies revolt as government spying threatens to wreak havok on U.S. business interests

When tech companies AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo wanted to voice their concerns about government surveillance, they took to a very traditional medium: full …

Driving a Motor City revival

In the wake of officially receiving approval for bankruptcy protection, Detroit's story has become a familiar one. Once the poster child of America's industrial might and middle-class prosperity, …

Bill takes wrong approach on earthquake insurance

WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2013) – Research from the R Street Institute suggests new legislation introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both D-Calif., offers the wrong approach …

Week In Politics: A budget, Republican infighting, Obama’s agenda

From National Public Radio: CORNISH: And sitting in this week, Reihan Salam a columnist for The National Review and Reuters and a fellow at the R Street Institute. Hi …

R Street paper makes the case for road pricing

WASHINGTON (Dec. 12, 2013) --Road-pricing advocates need to link their proposals to tangible benefits like increased capacity, reduced congestion and improved transit service if they are to overcome …

Why road pricing matters

Road pricing — the use of fees or tolls applied to road usage — is the most promising tool we have to improve the productivity of America's aging …

Insurance shows that federalism works

Fifty-four years ago, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations was established by statute to examine the best or most logical accommodations of federalism. For many years, it held …

ECPA reform campaign will get official White House response

Early Thursday morning, with just hours remaining before the cutoff, a WhiteHouse.gov We the People petition to reform ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) and update privacy laws to …

Effort to gut flood insurance reform fails in Senate

WASHINGTON (Dec. 11, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that an effort to gut vital flood insurance reforms has failed in the U.S. Senate. S. 1610, …

Good news from Florida

Good news from Florida on the insurance front: the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has shrunk their exposure by some 35 percent. This is a win for competitive insurance …

R Street applauds successful efforts to shrink Fla Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has seen its policy count fall to just …

Letters to the Tampa Tribune: Great promise

Regarding your editorial "Coming to the aid of the Gulf of Mexico" (Our Views, Dec. 5), you are absolutely correct that the RESTORE Act presents an exceptional opportunity …

The election Obamacare postponed

Imagine a purely hypothetical election. An incumbent president who is despised with unmatched wrath by his party base is swept out of office in disgrace after his administration's …

The Montreal Protocol, a little treaty that could

From the New York Times: Why? One idea is that Mr. Reagan himself had had skin cancer, and allowed a concern for public health to triumph over ideology. Eli …

A new red state slush fund?

The Gulf Coast states — Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas — are all governed by Republican governors and have Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. With the …

R Street applauds creation of coalition to reform government surveillance

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that leading private sector technology firms have formed a coalition seeking reform of government surveillance laws …

E-cigarettes reduce harm from tobacco

From NCPA: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should highlight e-cigarettes as a way to reduce tobacco harms, says Dr. Joel Nitzkin, a senior fellow in tobacco policy for …

Flawed govt study minimizes Internet tax effects

From NewsMax: The trouble is it paid $80,000 to two longtime advocates for letting states levy sales taxes on remote online sellers to do so. ("Hat tip," or credit, …

Mandela’s heirs face a rocky economic future

The death of Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the world, and for good reason. As the first president of post-apartheid South Africa, he served as a symbol …

Taxpayers still face storm threats

Last Saturday, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season came to a close, not with a bang but with a whimper. While in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan was responsible for …

Patent trolls receive first blow

From Rare.com “The Innovation Act isn’t a panacea for the problem of so-called ‘patent trolls,’ and in some ways doesn’t go as far as we’d like,” R Street Institute …

Companies and conservatives prepare for oncoming carbon taxes

From the American Conservative: In the September/October issue of The American Conservative, R Street’s Andrew Moylan laid out the conservative case for a carbon tax. He looked at the manner …

Doing the wrong thing

After a decade-long run of bad weather that included Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Ike, and a host of other river valley and storm-surge floods, the 45-year-old National Flood …

Lehrer: Flood reform debate a test of Congress’ ability to fix larger fiscal ills

From PropertyCasualty360: The president of a conservative think tank is highly critical of the current effort to roll back flood insurance rate increases imposed through a 2012 law, saying …

The CDC abuses the facts about e-cigarettes, part I

The headline on the Centers for Disease Control's Sept. 5 press release was dire: "E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012."  …

R Street applauds House passage of the Innovation Act

WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's 325-91 vote by the U.S. House to approve H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act. Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee …

House passes anti-patent troll bill, sends to Senate

From Reuters: One Washington D.C.-based business group gave the House vote a half a thumbs up, encouraging the movement of lawmakers to address the problem even as it acknowledged …

House passes anti-patent troll bill, sends to Senate

From Entrepreneur: One Washington D.C.-based business group gave the House vote a half a thumbs up, encouraging the movement of lawmakers to address the problem even as it acknowledged …

Join today’s ‘Day of Action’ on electronic privacy

This week, Congress updated one outdated technology law, but they've left a more serious one languishing.  While Congress has renewed the Undetectable Firearms Act, which bans plastic guns, …

The conservative case for patent reform

What would you think if someone knocked on your door one day and threatened to sue you for everything you're worth unless you paid a settlement fee to …

Letter to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

This memo urges USPSTF to expand their consideration of options for smoking cessation to include tobacco harm reduction, alternative health education interventions not involving use of pharmaceuticals, and …

Coalition to Congress: Stop preventable waste!

December 3, 2013 Dear Member of Congress: On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to support the Eliminate Preventable Waste …

An X-boneheaded argument

In the 1980s, a group was formed which warned of an emerging danger to American's youth. That danger was a new, and increasingly popular form of entertainment that, …

Support the Innovation Act!

Dear Representatives, On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of Rep. Bob Goodlatte's H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, which seeks to strengthen the patent system …

Free-market groups support Goodlatte’s Innovation Act

WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2013) – Legislation set to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would crack down on frivolous patent lawsuits that are "imposing a significant …

R Street warns NYC e-cigarette ban would be harmful to public health

NEW YORK (Dec. 4, 2013) – The New York City Council should consider the potential adverse effects on public health should it move forward with a proposal to …

Small Business Saturday supports local employers and national parks

From The Hill: Or, as the free-market R Street Institute says: "It would be preposterous to ignore the recreation economy’s potential…. As the United States adjusts to an economy …

Letter to U.S. House supporting the Innovation Act

December 3, 2013 The Honorable John Boehner Speaker United States House of Representatives The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader United States House of Representatives Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi: The broad-ranging group of undersigned …

Government sources of systemic insurable risk

In mid-2013, three years after the Dodd-Frank Act's passage, American International Group Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc. became the first insurance companies to be designated by the Financial …

R Street paper looks at government sources of systemic insurable risk

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2013) – Natural disasters pose significant threats to taxpayers and the economy at-large, thanks to trillions of dollars of insurable risk concentrated on the balance …

When progress trumps privacy

In 1890, two of America’s leading legal minds, Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren, published an article called "The Right to Privacy" in the Harvard Law Review. Scandalized by …

No deniers in the foxholes: Insurance industry copes with climate reality

From Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Worth considering in this discussion: Eli Lehrer, founder of the conservative R Street Institute, and formerly of the climate denialist Heartland Institute, …

Surplus flood insurers need path to market, regulators told

From Law360: Free-market groups on Monday urged banking regulators to create a path for surplus lines insurers to provide flood coverage on mortgaged property and to set up protections …

Pope Francis and the three-legged stool

Spend any time at a gathering of conservative thinkers, and soon enough, the conversation will turn, like clockwork, to the idea that conservatism needs to remain a "three …

Letter to federal banking regulators on flood insurance

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Parts 22, 172 [Docket ID OCC-2013-0015] RIN 1557-AD67 And FDIC, NCUA, Farm Credit Administration and Federal Reserve Board Re: Comments on "Loans in Areas …

Free-market groups urge banking regulators to accept private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (Dec. 2, 2013) -- Federal rules requiring flood insurance coverage to secure certain mortgaged loans should include a safe harbor for equivalent coverage offered by private excess …

Floridians frustrated by flood-insurance hike

From the Sun-Sentinel: They are backed by some insurance and environmental interests that want to press ahead with the new law to gradually phase out subsidized premiums and set …

Salam on the Obamacare delay for small business

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN's Erin Burnett and Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis to discuss the latest announced Obamacare delay, as the portion of the federal …

What the EU snus ban means: 290,865 casualties per year

A Nov. 12 e-cigarette summit at the Royal Society in London featured a range of views on European prospects for these new products. Tobacco harm reduction proponents included Clive …

The oil spill windfall: A test for Republicans

A federal court in Louisiana will decide in the next few months how much oil company BP must pay in Clean Water Act penalties as a result of …

Few ports in a storm without Cat Fund reform

From Miami Herald: The James Madison Institute and the R Street Institute, members of the Stronger Safer Florida coalition, to which the Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN) belongs, recently …

(Un)happy Thanksgiving, from USDA’s family to yours

Every Thanksgiving, our pre-dinner routine is the same. We trek out, mile-long list in hand, to our local grocery store, prepared to fill our buggies with every food …

Calm hurricane season over, but rocky waters ahead for Florida insurance scene

From the Florida Current: "Now that the Cat Fund is at its healthiest, the time is right to shift some of that risk to the private market, so the …

Another flood insurance canard washed away

When the cause of flood insurance reform is advanced, one immediate bit of pushback that one tends to hear is that reform is unfair. The reasoning usually goes …

Federal snooping’s chilling effect on writers, data

The expansion of government surveillance— or, more precisely, our expanding awareness of government surveillance— has had a chilling effect on writers. According to a survey conducted by the PEN …

The FDA’s war on information

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a "dangerous" medical product, but it's not a drug or a diet or a surgery. It's information. On Nov. 22, the …

They left their hearts in San Francisco

To the Editor: You write that because of the influx of wealthy tech employees and a shortage of affordable housing, San Francisco "city officials must grapple with the arithmetic …

What the filibuster’s demise means for the Supreme Court

Now that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ended the filibuster for district and appeals court nominees and executive branch appointments, it's only a matter of time before …

Where the buffalo, jackalopes and presidents roam

From the Huffington Post: A recent report, "Protected Lands: A Government-lite Approach," is trying to reframe the issue and its economics. The policy's premise is that keeping American's public …

New study counters health arguments against e-cigarettes

From Watchdog.org: A new paper from the R Street Institute, a national research group, aggressively defends e-cigarettes. Dr. Joel Nitzkin’s analysis broadly counters attacks on e-cigarettes, which have mounted in …

Australia: tobacco control and bootlegger paradise

Australia is the darling of anti-tobacco extremists.  They tout that country as the model for draconian cigarette regulation and taxation.  Australia imposed mandatory plain packaging last December and …

Turning the tables: report finds prohibitionists prone to exaggeration

From Steve K's Vaping World: The same independent Oklahoma news site that found Oklahoma cities might be banning e-cigarettes for the benjamins, reports that some anti-smoking advocates are full …

Did Obamacare reveal its own alternative?

When it comes to Obamacare's current problems, there is a story often told at libertarian seminars that springs to mind. The story tells of a town that, plagued …

Taxpayers foot the bill for study supporting new Internet sales taxes

From Somewhat Reasonable: Critics of the Marketplace Fairness Act immediately called foul on the study. Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute quickly pointed out in an article responding …

Letter to U.S. Senate on National Defense Authorization Act

November 20, 2013 Dear Senator, The undersigned groups strongly object to Amendment #2319 offered by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and supported by Senators James Inhofe (R-OK), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) …

The 375 Charts You Must See

For years, blog posts promising "The One Chart That Explains" some complex subject or "Three Graphs Tell You Everything You Need to Know About" a current policy debate …

R Street applauds committee vote on Innovation Act

WASHINGTON (Nov. 21, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomes the House Judiciary Committee's overwhelming vote to approve the Innovation Act, legislation to encourage innovation by cracking down …

R Street paper looks into the promise of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction

WASHINGTON (Nov. 21, 2013) -- The Food and Drug Administration and other public health authorities should look to the promise of e-cigarettes as a vehicle for tobacco harm …

The promise of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction

Nicotine vaporizers, usually referred to as e-cigarettes, show substantial promise as a vehicle for tobacco harm reduction (THR). Skyrocketing sales of e-cigarettes, consumer advocacy for these products, and …

Congress blames lack of affordability study for high flood insurance rate increases

From the Houston Chronicle: Andrew Moylan, outreach director and senior fellow at R Street Institute, a think tank in Washington, said, “We should be having a completely different conversation, …

Government “study” on Internet tax hides harmful small business effects

From OpenMarket.org: The trouble is it paid $80,000 to two longtime advocates for letting states levy sales taxes on remote online sellers to do so. (Hat tip to Andrew …

Senate discussion draft contains reinsurance tax provision

From Business Insurance: The insurance industry itself is divided on the issue.The discussion draft, which includes the reinsurance proposal among other tax changes, drew immediate fire from free-market groups …

Obama’s SBA spent $80,000 in taxpayer money on study to promote Internet sales tax

There's wasteful spending and then there's wasteful spending, Chicago-style. File this under the latter. To translate the bureaucrat-ese at the link for you, this is an award notice for …

R Street concerned by protectionist reinsurance tax proposal

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19, 2013) – A new proposal from the Senate Finance Committee would raise catastrophe insurance rates by limiting the ability of foreign-based insurers and reinsurers to …

Overdue patches for privacy law

The furor over National Security Agency spying keeps turning up surveillance ops that are stomach-turning, but legal, thanks to too permissive law.  Some regulations were deliberately written to …

Restoring the RESTORE Act’s conservative principles

The 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill was the largest offshore oil spill in American history. For 87 days, the Macondo prospect gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico …

Joint R Street-Pelican Institute report calls for careful oversight of RESTORE ACT

NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 19, 2013) – Nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it is crucial that conservatives engage as local authorities implement federal law passed …

Report: Public land a ‘financial asset’ on US balance sheet

From Public News Service: CORTEZ, Colo. - In states like Colorado, it doesn't always have to be "the economy versus the environment," according to a new report that suggests …

Obama’s secret attempt to ban cellphone unlocking, while claiming to support it

From Slate: The FCC came out in favor of our petition, as did numerous outside groups such as Freedomworks, Public Knowledge, R Street and the editorial boards of the …

R Street is seeking a think tank office manager

[Update: Position filled. Thanks to everyone who applied!] The organization The R Street Institute is fast-growing a non-profit 501(c)(3) think tank in Washington, D.C. with a full-time staff of 11. …

Another reason to defend the fraternal tax exemption

The Roman politician, general and renowned orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, once wrote that "custom is the best interpreter of the law."  Even today, his observations are relevant to …

Bill Maher slams ’60 Minutes’ story

From Politico: However, the National Review's Reihan Salam acknowledged that "There are Republicans who really regret how the Benghazi story has unfolded," adding it was a foreign policy failure. "The …

New energy for the farm bill

I’ve written several times criticizing the efforts of the House on the farm bill, highlighting the myriad ways in which the House’s agriculture supports are far too generous, …

Finding new ways to make work pay

One of the scariest notions about America's sluggish labor market recovery is that it doesn’t represent an aberration, but rather a new reality in which good jobs are …

School choice: a solution to bullying

As readers may or may not be aware, it's School Choice Week. However, given the items in the news, you could be forgiven for not knowing. In fact, …

Misinformation from federal officials, 2013 edition

"See, in my line of work," said President George W. Bush in 2005, "you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth …

A stronger environment, a freer economy

It is almost taken for granted in America that, when it comes to the environment, you have two choices: either the environment is protected and the economy suffers, …

New York AG treating Airbnb customers to fishing expedition

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, has issued a subpoena to Airbnb to request data on all users in New York who have ever used the popular Internet …

Doubling down on dishonesty

"Somebody is on the wrong side of history," said Joe Trippi, the "netroots" guru and former campaign manager for Howard Dean's presidential quest, on a recent TV news …

Hot new national security priority: taxing Internet sales

From Politix: Wait, what? Yes, according to rumblings on Capitol Hill, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), will once again attempt to attach the Reid-Durbin-Obama Internet sales tax bill known as …

All testifying members at congressional hearing support TRIA renewal

From Insurance Network News Ernest Csiszar, former director of insurance in South Carolina and former president of the NAIC, was most open to such changes being made in the …

Reinsurer exec says industry can take on terrorism risks

From Law360: Ernest Csiszar, an associate fellow at free-market think tank R Street Institute, testified that the program's trigger should be raised significantly, to as much as $20 billion …

TRIA issue could wait until spring; backstop could look different

From PropertyCasualty360: In testimony that also likely represents the views of committee Republicans, former NAIC president Ernest Csiszar testified that the program's $100 million loss trigger should be raised …

Testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance

The attached testimony was delivered by R Street Institute Associate Fellow Ernst Csiszar to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance at a Nov. 13, 2013 …

R Street’s Csiszar recommends shifting more terrorism risk onto private market

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2013) – Congress should extend the $100 billion federal terrorism risk reinsurance backstop, but only after moving much more risk off the backs of taxpayers …

Hot new national security priority: taxing Internet sales

Wait, what? Yes, according to rumblings on Capitol Hill, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will once again attempt to attach the Reid-Durbin-Obama Internet sales tax bill known as the Marketplace …

The economic benefits of protected lands: A government-lite approach

During the 1966 fight over whether to construct dams within the Grand Canyon, the Sierra Club made their objections known through a full-page advertisement in the New York …

R Street paper argues for ‘government-lite’ approach to conservation

WASHINGTON (Nov. 12, 2013) – A new paper from the R Street Institute argues that taking a middle-ground "government-lite" approach to conservation on federal lands would better serve …

Salam talks ‘sketching rebellion’ with artist Molly Crabapple

Over at the VICE Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam sits down with artist Molly Crabapple to discuss her work, much of which deals with subcultures and …

Sarvis gave Republicans their key to victory

A few weeks back, I noted that libertarians were turning to Robert Sarvis over Ken Cuccinelli due to a combination of historical resentment from the Bush era, and hard political …

Actions, not Obama rhetoric, will lure FDI back to the United States

From RealClearMarkets: At least when it suits him, President Barack Obama proves himself more than willing to welcome international business to the United States. In late October, for example, …

Words alone won’t draw foreign investment

At least when it suits him, President Barack Obama proves himself more than willing to welcome international business to the United States. In late October, for example, he …

SAVE THE DATE: IMBYdc launch party and panel discussion

WASHINGTON (Nov. 11, 2013) -- Is the District of Columbia emerging as a "second Brooklyn"? Commentators like Andrew Sullivan think so. But are current land-use and development regulations …

Obama’s apology (of sorts) for his ‘keep your plan’ promise

This week, President Barack Obama offered an apology (of sorts) to Americans who believed him when he repeatedly assured the public that anyone who liked their current health …

Open letter to House and Senate Republican leadership: preserve the sequester

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell, As you know, the recently passed Continuing Appropriations Act provides the government with funding through January 15, 2014. As Congress considers appropriations for …

Free-market groups urge Congress not to delay flood insurance reform

WASHINGTON (Nov. 8, 2013) – Efforts to delay reform of the National Flood Insurance Program must be resisted to protect taxpayers, the R Street Institute and 15 other …

Common sense solution for indoor vaping

E-cigarettes are gaining traction as legitimate harm-reduction alternatives for cigarette smokers, but one nagging question persists: should vaping be permitted in interior public spaces? With few exceptions, indoor smoking …

Consumers deserve open ticket markets

Like most Americans, I enjoy attending live entertainment events. But also like most Americans, I find the complex world of online ticket sales as user-friendly as the Healthcare.gov …

Does the right need to call a ceasefire on the safety net?

American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks recently claimed the right needs to declare a ceasefire on the safety net, a controversial statement for the leader of what is …

Comments to EPA on greenhouse gas emissions

The following comments by R Street Policy Analyst Lori Sanders were delivered at the Environmental Protection Agency's Nov. 7 public listening session on regulation of carbon emissions from …

Don’t gut flood insurance reform by extending subsidies!

November 7, 2013 An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Don’t Gut Flood Insurance Reform by Extending Subsidies! Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the millions of members of …

Where does Obamacare leave millennials?

The Obamacare rollout has been a disaster. In sharp contrast to the devastating technological effectiveness of President Obama's 2012 campaign, HealthCare.gov has become the butt of jokes not …

Join the R Street Institute for a discussion of ‘government-lite’ conservation

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2013) -– In light of recent attention over the closure of the National Parks System during October's federal government shutdown, a new paper from the …

JMI and the R Street Institute recommend ten reforms to fix Florida’s property insurance marketplace without raising rates

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2013) – On the heels of certain reforms in Florida's 2013 Legislative Session, the James Madison Institute and the R Street Institute today released …

Ten reforms to fix Florida’s property insurance marketplace — without raising rates

Florida's property insurance system remains broken and need of significant changes. Past studies from the James Madison Institute have demonstrated the challenges that Florida's unstable property insurance market …

Could the EPA endorse a carbon tax?

From the Daily Caller: The idea of implementing a carbon tax in lieu of EPA regulations is also being pushed on the federal level by the R Street Institute …

10 reforms to fix Florida’s property insurance market without raising rates

From PropertyCasualty360: On the heels of certain reforms in Florida's 2013 Legislative Session, the James Madison Institute and the R Street Institute released a policy study that outlines pragmatic reforms …

Why scalping opponents are losing their heads

When one thinks of ticket scalpers, one generally conjures a mental image of shady men waiting outside theaters offering scandalously overpriced tickets to late buyers from under several …

Vincent Orange’s ‘Superdome’ would compound previous land-use blunders

In case you missed it, Vincent Orange and other District Council members want to commission a study to look into building an enormous, 100,000-seat stadium and recreational complex on …

102 conservative groups target wind power subsidies

From the Daily Caller "The wind industry has very little to show after 20 years of preferential tax treatment; it remains woefully dependent on this federal support," wrote conservative …

Over 100 organizations to Congress: Let the Wind PTC expire!

R Street was one of 102 organizations to sign this coalition letter calling on Congress to oppose extending federal wind subsidies. The organizations listed on the letter are …

Is the ‘Northern Strategy’ replacing the ‘Southern Strategy?’

Today, if polls are any guide, two events are at least likely: First, we can probably say with absolute certainty that Chris Christie will be reelected governor of …

Florida should encourage private flood insurance market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2013) -– As Florida lawmakers ponder potential legislative responses to rising flood insurance rates, it is crucial no additional catastrophe risk burdens be placed …

A state approach to flood insurance reform in Florida

With various provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 taking effect this year, there is growing concern that scheduled rate increases by the National Flood …

Salam with Kleiman on crime and punishment

Over at the VICE Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam interviews Mark Kleiman of the University of California-Los Angeles, author of the book When Brute Force Fails. …

Noonan: Insurers can cover terrorism privately

A poll released last week by the Risk and Insurance Management Society -- the trade association for risk managers of corporations, non-profits and local government agencies, who together …

About those ‘huge’ flood insurance rate increases

Recent news reports on the roll-out of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program have focused on astronomical increases in rates faced by some home and business owners. …

Why New Jersey and Virginia matter to the GOP — and its future with black voters

This week’s election will be an important one for the future of the GOP. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is up for re-election, and by all …

The GOP’s insurance hypocrisy

For most of last month, a group of committed tea party Republicans helped shut down the government to hold back a wave of subsidies and regulations set to …

Restore Gulf treasure

Regarding "Maintaining a healthy Gulf Coast is key to local economy" (Page B7, Wednesday), Sinclair Oubre is absolutely correct when he argues that the RESTORE Act presents an …

R Street’s morning round-up for Nov. 4, 2013

Chairman Lucas says farm bill conference schedule still up in the air: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal How Florida Citizens' new clearinghouse will work: Sun-Sentinel Commercial real estate market starting to get spooked …

Conservatives demand free market after Librarian of Congress bans phone unlocking

From Breitbart.com: This action cascaded into support across the right from Freedomworks, R Street, Tea Party Nation, Young Americans for Liberty, National College Republicans, Consumers Advocacy, the Competitive Carriers …

Climate change inaction costs taxpayers billions

From Triple Pundit: "The report shows that dealing with climate change doesn’t require large-scale schemes or a total restructuring of our global economy," said Eli Lehrer, president of the …

The scientific evidence for e-cigarettes

I am honored to join Drs. Riccardo Polosa and Pasquale Caponnetto and their colleagues at the University of Catania in Italy as a coauthor of a new scientific …

R Street’s morning round-up for Nov. 1, 2013

Michigan auto reform is a must: Michigan Capitol Confidential Tea party groups targeting ending federal terror backstop: The Hill Cleveland's catalog king says Internet sales tax would kill his business: …

What does it take to be a federally subsidized ‘farm manager’?

I've written before on one of the more egregious aspects of federal farm payments, namely that they frequently go to those who aren't actually farming. I last wrote …

Geo-engineering a solution to climate change

A new article in the Yale Forum by freelance writer David Appell discusses the way climate change "deniers" also tend to favor geo-engineering.  Although I'm quoted (correctly) in the …

All Publications

What would Buckley do?

In the ongoing dust-up over tactics currently dominating conservative sites – turning former comrades against each other and causing many consternation about the fate of the GOP – …

Mike Lee wants conservatives to stop calling poor people moochers

From Slate: That's not all he said, but the Utah senator's speech at the Heritage Foundation has been heralded by many on the right and hardly noticed on the …

Insurance, tax, climate groups hit possible delay in flood insurance changes

From Insurance Journal: Today only about 50 percent of the damages in the U.S. caused by extreme weather events are privately insured, according to Ceres. "The report shows that dealing …

GOP primary fights cloud online sales tax bill

From the Wall Street Journal: On the other hand, a recently released poll by two conservative advocacy groups, National Taxpayers Union and R Street, shows that voters nationally oppose …

Strange bedfellows? Climate change denial and support for geoengineering

From Yale Climate Forum Of course, not everyone sees a problem with favoring a certain solution because it aligns with their cultural values. "I think it's laudably honest," says …

Letter to farm bill conferees

Oct. 28, 2013 Dear Farm Bill Conferee, I write on behalf of the R Street Institute to urge your support for two important crop insurance reforms in any farm bill …

Strange bedfellows? Climate change denial and support for geoengineering

From Yale Climate Connections: Of course, not everyone sees a problem with favoring a certain solution because it aligns with their cultural values. “I think it’s laudably honest,” says …

The right needs to take the reins in Gulf Coast restoration – before the left does

It has now been more than three years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men and spilling millions of …

The 1 percent’s flood insurance scam

From Salon: The law represented an alliance between fiscal conservatives interested in bringing the NFIP back into balance, and some environmental groups, who believed that subsidizing homeowners with low …

Congress tried to cut subsidies for homes in flood zones. It was harder than they thought.

From the Washington Post: Critics of the flood-insurance subsidies tend to point out that they disproportionately benefit wealthier homeowners. The libertarian R Street Institute, drawing on data from the …

National Review Institute is accepting applications for 2013-14 fellows

The National Review Institute is accepting applications for their 2013-14 class of fellows. As a fellow from the 2012-13 class, I highly recommend the program to conservatives of …

To industry’s chagrin, Congress intros bills to delay flood rate increases

From PropertyCasualty360: The R Street Institute, a conservative think tank, said the Government Accountability Office has determined that 78.8 percent of subsidized policies are in counties that rank in the …

UK market offers hints on how insurers may treat e-cigarettes

For several years now now, a lot of people involved with insurance—me included —have been puzzling out the ways that new tobacco products like e-cigarettes and snus might impact …

Sandy struck a year ago, but some federal moves could make climate risks worse

From ClimateWire For Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, that begins with overhauling flood insurance. "For more than 40 years, we've subsidized huge numbers of people to live …

R Street welcomes bill to overturn Michigan anti-scalping law

LANSING, Mich. (Oct. 29, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomes today's introduction of H.B. 5108, legislation that would repeal Michigan's outdated anti-"scalping" law. Under the terms of a …

Salam on whether unpaid internships should be legal

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam recently joined political commentator Stephanie Miller and Mediaite's Joe Concha to discuss unpaid White House internships on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront. …

Why libertarians won’t vote for Cuccinelli

Next week, voters in Virginia will go to the polls to choose the next governor of their state, and if current forecasts are any guide, it will be …

Coalition letter to U.S. Senate supporting the REINS Act

Oct. 28, 2013 Dear Member of the United States Senate: We, the undersigned public interest organizations, write to urge you to support the Regulations from the Executive In Need of …

R Street warns Congress not to gut crucial flood insurance reforms

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2013) -- Legislation set to be introduced by House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., would gut crucial reforms passed by Congress last …

Congressional accord reached on flood insurance rate delay

From the Miami Herald: But the conservative R Street Institute, a free-market research group, condemned the proposed rate hike delay on Monday, calling it a give away. "Delaying the scheduled …

Gay marriage: good, polyamory: bad

Walter Olson has a top-notch blog post over at Independent Gay Forum that describes why increased acceptance of same-sex marriage isn't going to lead to acceptance of polyamory. I …

Ceres report highlights rising taxes due to climate change

From Claims Journal: "The report shows that dealing with climate change doesn't require large-scale schemes or a total restructuring of our global economy," said Eli Lehrer, president of the …

Bipartisan deal in Congress to delay flood insurance hike: sources

From Reuters: Critics of subsidized federal flood insurance say the benefits disproportionately favor high-risk and wealthy properties. "Delaying the scheduled phase-out of flood insurance premium subsidies amounts to a gift …

Making the conservative case for sustainability

From U.S. News: In Washington D.C. this week, business leaders in the sustainability movement opened up a new dialog with conservatives. Four conservative thinkers from R Street, the Future …

Huzzah! Europeans have purchased our brewery!

To listen to some of my beer snob friends talk, Belgium invaded Kansas this month. Figuratively, of course—the Belgians have not been serious aggressors since the times of …

The future of conservatism—a few remarks

From the American Conservative: Also worth watching is the subsequent panel, which illustrates some of the gender and generation gaps on the right, with panelists including Norm Singleton from …

Flood insurance jumping sevenfold depresses U.S. home values

From Bloomberg Research groups that advocate market-based policies, such as Heritage Action for America and the R Street Institute, have urged members of Congress to leave the measure in …

Don’t let them delay it

What did I tell you? Barely a week after the most pointless show of political muscle since 1995, Democrats are now starting to think about delaying Obamacare, after …

Changes to property insurance are welcome

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

A directory of tobacco harm reduction experts for inquiring media

Mass media are in complete denial of the voluminous scientific literature supporting e-cigarettes as harm-reduction products.  A recent report on National Public Radio is representative.  The host set …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 24, 2013

Chris Christie says climate change is real, human activity plays a part: New Jersey Gubernatorial Debate Private management could make the national parks a source of revenue, instead of …

R Street welcomes bill to crack down on patent trolls

WASHINGTON (Oct. 1, 2013) -- The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., of legislation to tackle the $29 billion problem …

‘Moral hazard’ isn’t a good reason to end TRIA

My friend Mark Calabria at the Cato Institute has a good piece in Roll Call that makes the case for allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program to lapse. …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 23, 2013

North Carolina ranks at the bottom in availability of common insurance discounts: CNBC Despite flood, wind insurance reforms, Florida real estate market continues to boom: Sun-Sentinel American Farmland Trust urges …

Oppose reform-less Water Resources Reform and Development Act

October 22, 2013 Dear Representative, We understand that H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, will be on the House floor as early as Wednesday, Oct.23. …

GOP goes back to the future

Following the unmitigated political disaster that was the two-week government shutdown, there has been a heartening rise in the number of people on the right speaking out against …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 22, 2013

Michigan lawmakers renew talks on no-fault reform: MLive.com Credit unions worried new lending rules will slow mortgage market: The Hill Shale gas boom may not do much for climate change: …

Why Ken Cuccinelli will lose in Virginia and what it means for the GOP

Ken Cuccinelli, currently behind in the polls by more than seven points, will not win the November election to become Virginia's next governor. This spells very serious problems …

Instead of a divorce, the GOP needs primary reform

A few days ago, an older and wiser friend of mine and I had a lengthy conversation about divorce, that most cheerful of subjects. He noted that one …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 21, 2013

RFF paper estimates $30/ton carbon tax would reduce emissions 16% by 2025: Resources for the Future Prudential drops fight against systemic risk tag: Bloomberg Global urbanization raises natural disaster risks: …

U.S. seeks ways to privatize insurance for flood risks

From Business Insurance: R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a Washington-based free-market oriented think tank, said that expanding private reinsurance's role in public risk pools is …

Georgia Republicans to the poor: ‘We can’t hear you now’

If you want to reduce fraud and abuse in a government program, you can figure out the sources and experiment with reasonable solutions. Or you can do what …

Don’t subsidize Citizens’ out-of-state policyholders

While politicians repeatedly have tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, state legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property …

R Street welcomes introduction of disaster savings accounts bill

WASHINGTON (Oct. 17, 2013) – The R Street Institute today welcomed introduction of the Disaster Savings Accounts Act of 2013, legislation that will help Americans to better save …

The lost opportunity for ‘Grace’

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan initiated a two-year effort to ask thousands of businesses and associations to help his administration root out inefficiencies in the federal government. This …

Five lessons from the shutdown

On Wednesday night, a miracle happened. Not only did the country avoid default on its debt and reopen the government at the same time, but it did so …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 17, 2013

NAIC releases proposed 2014 budget: NAIC Projected deficits are all about health care: Washington Monthly Obamacare sign-ups are way behind schedule: Associated Press S&P says the shutdown cost the economy $24 …

Good news for Amtrak? Not so fast (just like their wifi)

I'm a big fan of train travel in the Northeast, at least relative to the other options. I've never understood people who fly between DC and New York …

Crop insurance cuts test farm power as lobbies push back

From Bloomberg: Curbing the rise in premium subsidies is a small step toward correcting the "abomination" of the farm bill, said Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow for R Street …

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A vindication of Juggalo society: Why America is increasingly down with the clown, and that’s ok

In February 2012, Cato Institute Vice President Gene Healy tweeted what may be the funniest think tank tweet to date: "Someday, the 'Think Tank Network' (TTN) will sponsor …

Why do we invest in infrastructure?

Katrina vanden Heuvel engages in a fun bout of meta-trolling in the hometown paper this morning, arguing that Democrats have already compromised so much that Republicans have basically …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 16, 2013

Supreme Court will hear challenge to EPA emissions rules: New York Times Texas wind pool claims trial judge is rushing litigation: Law360 The copyright reforms Congress should be considering: Daily …

The GOP’s ‘moral’ hazard

In just a couple of days, it is quite possible that the impasse which has gripped Washington's divided government may have another casualty -- that is, the United …

Shutdown highlights role of conservation in local economies

WASHINGTON (Oct. 15, 2013) – The Obama administration's decision to shutter the U.S. National Park System during the ongoing government shutdown has already cost local tourism economies billions …

Report shows bad hurricane season could knock Florida Cat Fund for a loop

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2013) -- One bad hurricane season would leave the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund in precarious financial condition, raising the specter of huge hurricane taxes …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 15, 2013

Boehner, McConnell poll their respective caucuses on debt ceiling/shutdown proposals:Politico Feds want banks to accept private flood insurance: Tampa Bay Times Study finds Michigan auto insurers pay too much for …

Carbon fee takes climate change to market

From the Columbia Daily Tribune: Many conservatives such as Gregory Mankiw, economic adviser to George W. Bush; Andrew Moylan, R Street Institute; Art Laffer, economic adviser for Ronald Reagan; …

Fla. hurricane fund still strong at end of season

From the Associated Press: Some critics contend that legislators should scale back the size of the fund to avoid the chance of a surcharge. "Now that the Cat Fund is …

Government shutdown is already doing severe damage

With the political battle over the government shutdown still raging in Washington, it's worth noting the shutdown is already having a serious adverse impact on hundreds of small communities across …

Federalism, immigration and deciding who can practice law

Federalism is a theory of balance. The American system disperses power over fifty states, some much larger number of localities and the federal government. The idea of federalism …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 14, 2013

Should Florida create its own flood insurance program?: Palm Beach Post Obamacare deductibles may cause sticker shock: Chicago Tribune A.M. Best urges insurers to prepare for life after TRIA: Insurance …

Reforming American Agriculture Policy

Reforming American Agriculture

State Policy →

Ronald Reagan’s Environmental Legacy

Ronald Reagan’s Conservation Legacy

The hazards of hookah

One of the hot trends in tobacco use is waterpipe smoking (the terms hookah, narghile or shisha are also used). Hookah bars are located throughout the United States, …

Supreme Court takes another look at the takings clause

In good news for property rights, the Supreme Court granted cert this term to hear a case about a kind of abuse that has been festering for nearly …

Let them eat care

Last week, Obamacare's exchanges opened. Not that you'd know, given that they have remained inaccessible ever since. Almost as inaccessible as a decent excuse by which the GOP …

The coming Republican rebellion against the tea party, and how it could backfire

From ThinkProgress: Revolt is the all the rage among conservative intellectuals. Fed-up folks like David Frum and Reihan Salam want someone inside the party to take on the Tea …

PATRIOT Act author introduces measure to end NSA bulk data collection

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the author and primary sponsor of the USA PATRIOT Act, announced Wednesday that he would introduce legislation, the USA FREEDOM Act, to end the …

An open letter to the United States Congress: Support efforts to curb crop insurance subsidies!

Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of a Sense of the House of Representatives instructing farm …

Set campaign finance free

The First Amendment protects assembly, speech and the resources that make speech possible. Yet the rules governing political speech in the United States are fraught with limits, red …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 11, 2013

Study offers climate change clock: Washington Post Coastal homeowners underestimate storm risks: Houston Chronicle Who pays to build on the Conn. coast?: Connecticut Mirror 20 years ago, only 20% of farmers …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 10, 2013

House GOP proposes six-week debt hike: Politico Report finds carbon tax the most cost-efficient climate policy: OECD Farm Bureau drops support for conservation compliance: House Agriculture Committee Florida Gov. Rick Scott …

Debt ceiling breach could leave markets not enough debt to go around

From Politix: In recent weeks, public discourse here inside the Beltway (and on Wall Street, and within various other corridors of power near and far) has focused on the …

Sanford talk critiques current health care industry

From the Duke Chronicle: Health care reform as it is currently imagined does little to address the most pressing concerns of the industry, said political commentator Reihan Salam. In a …

Safety isn’t an issue in going paperless

From EvolvIT: According to R Street, workers and leaders alike need to be aware of the various rules and regulations that apply to files that are stored online, in terms of …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 9, 2013

Janet Yellen nominated to be first female Fed chair: New York Times Florida attempts to lure private insurers to write flood insurance in the state: Miami Herald Internet sales tax …

Charge out-of-state residents more

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

Debt ceiling breach could leave markets not enough debt to go around

In recent weeks, public discourse here inside the Beltway (and on Wall Street, and within various other corridors of power near and far) has focused on the need …

Sanders on the future of conservatism

R Street Outreach Director and Policy Analyst Lori Sanders took part last month in a panel sponsored by the Future 500 on the future of conservatism. Moderated by …

Salam talks with director of Let the Fire Burn

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam chats this week with Jason Osder, director of the new documentary Let the Fire Burn. Comprised of …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 8, 2013

Yes, debt prioritization is possible: Felix Salmon Halloween might be the "real" debt ceiling deadline: The Hill Salmonella outbreak emerges while CDC staff on furlough: Wired No consensus among Open Markets …

Gilles and Lund on firearm liability insurance mandates

The cover story in this quarter's edition of Regulation is a fascinating article by Stephen G. Gilles and Nelson Lund looking at the possible constitutional ramifications of mandatory …

New proposal to slay patent trolls would be a boon to the digital economy

Following a slew of other bills introduced earlier this year to address America's broken patent system, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., recently released a second draft of a proposal to extend …

Letter to Kathleen Sebelius and Richard Durbin on e-cigarette flavoring

Dear Secretary Sebelius and Senator Durbin: I write to you as a public health physician self-employed as a policy consultant. I have been a local health director, state health …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 7, 2013

International property owners benefit big from Florida insurance subsidies: Florida Current Storm formerly known as Hurricane Karen makes landfall as a weak tropical depression: Bloomberg What is America's most libertarian …

Florida’s think tanks – newcomers

From Florida Trend: R Street Institute - Tallahassee 2012 Revenue: $792,000 Key Personnel: President and co-founder Eli Lehrer, Florida director Christian Cámara and senior fellow Don Brown, an insurance agent from …

Keep act on course

Tribune columnist Joe Henderson is wrong to call for delays in changes to the National Flood Insurance Program ("Fair play needed in flood insurance debate," Oct. 1). Although …

How to fix the GOP’s discipline problem

As the government shutdown grinds on, the Republican leadership in the House is struggling to unite GOP lawmakers around a fiscal deal that Senate Democrats and the Obama …

The e-cigarette as ‘genuine competitor’ – Czech survey

A survey of smokers in the Czech Republic shows that e-cigarettes "may develop into a genuine competitor to conventional cigarettes." The lead author of the study, which was …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 4, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen prepares to soak Gulf Coast: Reuters Hank Paulson and Mike Bloomberg on climate change: Washington Post Rep. Royce again questioning NAIC's authority: PropertyCasualty360 Betting market suggests the shutdown …

The Republicans have a tea party problem

One year ago this week, Mitt Romney, then the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, scored a surprising victory in his first debate with President Barack Obama. Having endured withering …

Centennial Institute on Renewable Portfolio Standards

Renewable Portfolio Standards are policies that mandate electricity producers generate certain percentages of their power from renewable standards. As of 2012, 30 states had RPS mandates and another …

Bill would take the Florida Cat Fund in the wrong direction

Florida state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, has filed Senate Bill 228 to maintain the current statutory requirement that the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, better known as the …

Voters aren’t buying the Internet sales tax scheme

From U.S. News: Hard questions like these are tough for the bill's proponents to answer, but for their part the American people have made up their minds – they're not …

A reminder: credit unions didn’t cause the financial crisis

From Politix: The past several weeks have seen the fifth anniversaries of several of the epic failures of the 2008 financial crisis. There was the conservatorship of Fannie Mae …

What the shutdown says about D.C.’s cultural scene

Since America's founders picked a site near their own landholdings to serve as the nation's seat of government, Washington, D.C., has remained a government town. In the city's …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen likely to hit Gulf Coast this weekend: National Hurricane Center Harry Reid offers to talk tax reform is GOP ends shutdown: The Hill The role of personal …

A reminder: credit unions didn’t cause the financial crisis

The past several weeks have seen the fifth anniversaries of several of the epic failures of the 2008 financial crisis. There was the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and …

Regulatory cloud hangs over e-cig revolution

From Channel NewsAsia: "There is no doubt in my mind that e-cigarettes are saving the lives of smokers who have switched to them, and persons around them who would …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 2, 2013

The hard math of flood insurance in a warming world: Time Supreme Court will decide whether it should be easier for patent suit defendants to collect attorneys fees: Bloomberg Harry …

Stop trying to fix Obamacare

Yesterday, the Twitter feed of fictional House of Cards main character (and House Majority Whip) Francis Underwood offered this gem of wisdom: Never interrupt your enemies when they are …

Conservatives can fight climate change without growing government

From the American Conservative: Rather than acknowledge climate change as a major public-policy issue and draft a serious proposal to deal with it—to counter the left's plan to expand …

Letter to Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health

Oct. 1, 2013 Sen. John F. Keenan, Senate Chair Joint Committee on Public Health General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts Dear Chairman Keenan, My name is Eli Lehrer and I am …

Massachusetts’ e-cigarette ban would not improve public health

BOSTON, Mass. (Oct. 1, 2013) – A statewide ban on the indoor use of electronic cigarettes could actually do more harm than good for the commonwealth's public health, …

What happens when the government shuts down…

There's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the government shutdown that started today. Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been complaining about how it …

R Street’s morning round-up for Oct. 1, 2013

Federal government shuts down for the first time since 1996: Washington Post Property/casualty industry optimistic about renewing terrorism backstop: Insurance Insider Could the debt ceiling crisis become a financial crisis?: …

Coalition to Congress: End the renewable fuel standard

September 26, 2013 Re:  Renewable Fuel Standard "Reforms" Dear Senator & Representative: It has come to our attention that Congress is considering legislation this fall to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard …

Some in Congress want to undo important flood insurance reforms

From Health Care News: In response, a group of nine free market, conservationist and taxpayer protection groups – including R Street Institute, Americans for Prosperity, American Consumer Institute, ConservAmerica, …

CNN poll: 57% oppose Obamacare, GOP gets blame for government shutdown

Opposition to Obamacare has hit its highest level since March 2011, according to the latest CNN poll, but Americans place the blame for the government shutdown largely on …

Daniel M. Rothschild

Daniel Rothschild

R Street’s morning round-up for Sept. 30, 2013

Stocks slide ahead of likely government shut-down: The Hill Take-out numbers for Florida Citizens are disappointing: Miami Herald What conservatives can teach environmentalists about global warming policy: The Breakthrough Institute Michigan …

The credit union tax exemption issue

From Nerd Wallet: Tax exemption is widened. R Street has proposed a plan to allow mutual savings banks, cooperatives and other institutions to reclaim the tax-exempt status they lost …

The Regulatory Improvement Act: a ‘least-best’ solution for regulatory inefficiency

From The American: Sam Batkins, director of regulatory studies at the American Action Forum, and Ike Brannon, director of research at the R Street Institute, insightfully argue in their …

The history of Illinois stadium subsidies

From Quad-Cities Online: These types of deals are never good for the taxpayers, said Andrew Moylan, a senior fellow for the R Street Institute, a free market think tank …

Sept. 24 telepresser on flood insurance

Our friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who recently published a fascinating report on how climate change and rising sea levels could impact the flood insurance, held …

Obamacare’s threat to health-care innovation

Next week, the new state-based health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will be open for business. Or rather — some of …

Lawmakers target flood insurance hikes

From the Cape Cod Times: "A number of legislators are trying to delay implementation or to cancel it. The impression is that this is a new issue. Both the …

Could a Republican health care reform ever happen?

From the New York Times: On the second point, I think he’s mistaken, or at least oversimplifying (not least because Obamacare itself doesn’t achieve universal health coverage), but I’ll just …

Snus saving Swedish smokers’ lives as tobacco consumption declines

New research confirms earlier findings demonstrating that widespread snus use is tied to reduced rates of smoking. A decade ago I worked with scientists from Sweden's Umeå University to …

Politicians who support the Internet sales tax face a rude ballot-box awakening

This piece was co-authored by Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. According to conventional political wisdom, selling a bad tax idea to voters is simple …

R Street’s morning round-up for Sept. 27, 2013

The FHA may be next in line for a bailout: Reuters Farm bill conferees expected to be named in October: Quincy Journal Florida's insurance consumer advocate quits: Sun-Sentinel Internet sales tax …

La. weighs a state plan to insure against floods that ‘cannot work’

From ClimateWire: "Mr. Kennedy needs to take Insurance 101," said Eli Lehrer, who works on flood insurance issues as president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank. …

Groups oppose delaying flood reforms for commercial properties, real estate sales

WASHINGTON (Sept. 26, 2013) -- A proposal forwarded by the Massachusetts congressional delegation to delay phasing out federal flood insurance subsidies for commercial properties and properties that are …

GOP leaders still fight with right

From Politico: If one of the lessons of 2012 for the GOP leadership was to make peace with its rightward flank, so far, it’s not getting a passing grade …

How Republicans can win the shutdown showdown

When it comes to most issues coming before Congress, my personal sympathies lie very much with the Republican Party. I'd be delighted to see Obamacare repealed (or at …

The farm bill: best if used by Sept. 30

Lost in the noise regarding the impending government shutdown is a separate deadline Congress faces on Sept. 30 – the expiration of the farm bill. While there’s been …

Flood insurance set to rise

From the Herald-Tribune: Free-market advocacy groups have urged lawmakers not to delay the rate hikes. R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow with the Washington D.C.-based R Street Institute, said the reforms …

A realistic timetable for greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act

From Brookings: The politics remain “a heavy lift,” as Bailey and Bookbinder put it.  Many people think that the idea of getting Republican support for a proposal, the second …

Bracing for a letdown, advocates ask Congress to help needy with rising flood insurance costs

From ClimateWire: Ray Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank that advised some lawmakers on Biggert-Waters, indicated that many people receiving subsidies might …

A revitalized conservatism: still more than one more panel discussion away

From the Morning Jolt: Lori Sanders, a policy analyst over at the R Street Institute, noted that a big reason why Republicans have lost the women vote in just …

Poll shows Florida voters oppose subsidizing out-of-state Citizens policyholders

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2013) – A new poll released today by the Stronger Safer Florida coalition concluded that 77 percent of Floridians oppose paying taxes to subsidize …

Living in a flood zone? Check your insurance. It may be about to go up.

From the Christian Science Monitor: Subsidized insurance will still be available for about 715,000 properties, mostly single-family homes, notes Ray Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, …

Coalition opposes delaying flood insurance revamp

From The Advocate: The Union of Concerned Scientists teamed up with the free market-supporting, nonprofit R Street Institute to argue that the National Flood Insurance Program rate hikes are …

In childhood obesity battle, BMI-tracking by schools is losing policy

As schools around the country wrap up their first month back in session, parents soon may start receiving the first reports on how their children are shaping up …

R Street’s morning round-up for Sept. 25, 2013

Treasury says federal debt limit will be reached by Oct. 17: Politico Florida Senate insurance panel chair wants to bar out-of-staters from Citizens: Sunshine State News France unveils plans for …

Why I am not a libertarian populist

"You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your condition which you simply take for …

The conservative case against flood insurance