Patent reform is not a left wing thing

From the The Beacon: Over at R Street, Zach Graves has a good piece up looking at the American Conservative Union’s opposition to patent reform pending in the Congress. …

Leamer talks Trump on The Big Picture

R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer participated -- along with  Neil Sroka of Democracy for America and Sean Noble of American Encore-- in The Big Picture host Thom …

Cities, states keep piling on the Internet taxes

The City of Chicago has the dubious distinction of becoming the first jurisdiction to apply a sweeping tax to "cloud-based" services, ranging from streaming video to tax preparation. Beginning …

5 reasons to support the REINS Act

The House is likely to vote this week on H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act, also known as the REINS Act. Introduced …

Senate still debating transportation bill with last-minute record-secrecy provisions

From Marketwatch: In a rare Sunday session, the U.S. Senate considered amendments to a transportation bill, a must-do by Friday before funds run out, without deciding on others related …

Coalition to Congress: Support PTC Elimination Act

Dear Representatives, On behalf of the millions of members that our organizations represent, we encourage you to support H.R. 1901, the PTC Elimination Act, introduced earlier this year by …

McConnell’s highway bill robbery

Before I start into the GOP-on-GOP war that took place last night while I was zoning out watching a David Crosby-lookalike save puppies on Animal Planet, I want …

Congressional Internet Caucus and ‘fractally complex’ music licensing

Speaking at a July 17 discussion hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus on music streaming and Congress' role in the world of music licensing, caucus Advisory Committee Executive …

A liberal nightmare: What if GMOs were the solution to climate change?

From the Daily Caller: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that GMOs are more environmentally friendly. Josiah Neeley, a senior fellow at R Street Institute, writes that “existing GMO crops …

GMOs help fight climate change, but will anyone care?

Last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a new study that ties together two highly charged issues in the ongoing political battles over science: genetically modified organisms …

In the Bible Belt, Alabama politicians look to tax “sin” and spend

If you're a politician who promised not to raise taxes in Alabama, increasing the amount of "sin taxes" or creating new ones violates that pledge. We already have some …

Coalition urges removal of FOIA exemptions from transportation bill

Dear Senators McConnell and Reid: On behalf of the undersigned organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, we are writing to urge the removal from H.R. 22 of the …

North Carolina Senate passes ridesharing bill

Yesterday was a big day for ridesharing in North Carolina as the state Senate passed S.B. 541, which creates a regulatory framework for transportation network companies. The bill …

6 charts to debunk fear-mongering about contractors and the Uber economy

From the Foundation for Economic Education The headlines are, by now, depressingly familiar: “more Americans are stuck in part-time work” or “part-time jobs put millions in poverty... …

And then there were three: Obamacare forces health insurer consolidation

In the latest in what has become a roller coaster of mergers and acquisitions in the health insurance sector this month, No. 2 insurer Anthem Inc. announced this …

Uber dust-up shows the Empire State has an innovation problem

Unless you live under a rock, it was hard to miss the showdown this past week in New York City between Mayor Bill De Blasio and ridesharing platform …

Labor roundup

From Overlawyered.com: “6 charts that debunk the ‘gig’ economy” [R.J. Lehmann, R Street Institute] …

Solar bailout? Don’t bet on it

Is the U.S. solar energy market in a bubble? Analysis suggesting that the burgeoning industry is overvalued certainly aren't new, and the list of observers who have deigned …

The dysfunctional federal workforce

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar.   The Survey on the Future of Government Service, released last week by Vanderbilt University's Center for …

Letter to Congress: Support the PREPARE Act

On behalf of the undersigned free-market and taxpayer organizations, we urge you to join Reps. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., and Leonard Lance, R-N.J., in supporting the Preparedness and Risk …

6 other federal agencies you don’t want creeping on your life

The Electronic Communication Privacy Act, first passed back in 1986, is badly in need of an update. For instance, current law allows federal civil agencies to obtain any …

On highway bill, good governance and bipartisanship head in opposite directions

A recent Senate deal marked a win for bipartisanship, but at the cost of responsible governance. After a highway bill was finalized Tuesday afternoon, a vote for cloture …

E-cigarettes used by 4.2% of men, 3.4% of women in 2014, as smoking declined

Last week, I announced first-ever national estimates, generated from new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, of U.S. e-cigarette users in 2014, almost 2 million of whom …

TNCs, price optimization and roofing fraud top agenda at NCOIL

Model legislation governing insurance for transportation network companies may have headlined the summer meeting of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, but other topics – from "price optimization" …

SCOTUS’ mercury decision probably won’t end EPA overreach

Conservatives have spent the past month rejoicing over the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to appropriately account for industry costs when deciding to …

Making oversight win-win

Mere mention of the word “oversight” can make a public administrator queasy. It’s not because bureaucracies inevitably have something tawdry or corrupt to hide. Indeed, government agencies often …

6 charts that debunk the ‘gig’ economy

The headlines are, by now, depressingly familiar: "more Americans are stuck in part-time work" or "part-time jobs put millions in poverty." Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently …

Map of State TNC Laws

Map of state-level ridesharing laws

To capitalize small business, let’s free up 401(k)s

Something has gone wrong with small business in America. For the first time since statistics were kept, the rate of business failure now exceeds the rate of business …

TNC rain dance shows how NCOIL is all wet

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance." – Unknown Cowboy aphorisms have a lot to offer contemporary culture, in spite of their dubious …

There’s no good reason to delay conservation compliance

Even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture was reporting a record 98.2 percent of farmers and ranchers have met new "conservation compliance" guidelines required to qualify for federally …

Conferees should spike IP czar language in customs bill

With customs bills having passed both chambers of Congress, it's now up to conferees to decide if the final legislation will include language from the Senate bill to …

Tallahassee City Commission right on Uber vote

Last week, the Tallahassee City Commission showed that even a broken clock is right twice a day. I have oftentimes taken issue with its decisions over the years …

In the tanks

From National Journal: As the new director of energy policy at the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank, Catrina Rorke hopes to persuade fellow conservatives that a tax …

30 under 30

From Red Alert Politics: Lori Sanders is the outreach director and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute. In this role, she is responsible for R Street’s coalition …

Policy Studies

Dear Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville welcome Uber…why can’t we?

With a unanimous vote, Mobile's City Council affirmed amendments to the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance, enabling app-based transportation companies like Uber to operate. Huntsville has also declared itself open for …

Wisconsin Supreme Court slams vicious, partisan ‘John Doe’ probe

For months, conservative donors, activists and groups in Wisconsin were terrorized by partisan district attorneys using loosely interpreted election law to comb through their finances, enter their homes …

Members of Congress warn against throwing patent system out of balance

From Watchdog.org: Citing the conservative Heritage Foundation, for example, the DC-based R Street Institute recently blogged that patent reform was “not just about the patent system.” “Patent-reform offers a case study for broader …

Judge fixes troubling court order in CloudFlare filtering case

I've written before to express skepticism about whether it makes sense for a federal court to order a content-delivery network like CloudFlare to filter its services proactively for …

Preserving energy access for distributed generation

ISSUE SNAPSHOT Moving our energy generation paradigm increasingly toward distributed generation and market choice provides many potential benefits. Regulations and state policy should ensure access to existing infrastructure at rates …

Support for the Innovation Act grows

From House Judiciary Committee: Below are excerpts from the letter sent by R Street Institute, Niskanen Center, Center for Individual Freedom, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Institute for Liberty, Small Business …

Letter supporting S.B. 602, California seismic retrofit financing

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit think tank headquartered in Washington. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, …

30 million U.S. adults have used e-cigarettes, unpublicized CDC data reveals

Analyzing fresh data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, which involved nearly 37,000 respondents, it can be estimated that 30 million American adults have used an e-cigarette …

Progressives turn their backs on the sharing economy

Santa Monica, Calif., is now spending $410,000 a year investigating, ticketing and fining residents who sublet their houses and apartments on Airbnb. In Key West, Fla., a new city …

Proxy access proposals do not maximize shareholder wealth, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (July 15, 2015) – Shareholder-sponsored proxy access proposals, which have passed at 39 of the 65 companies that have voted on them in 2015, do not maximize …

Proxy Access: Shareholder democracy or creeping mercantilism?

Following certain rule changes made by Congress and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the 2015 proxy season has seen a deluge of shareholder proposals at U.S. public …

Texas Supreme Court strikes stupid licensing law

Last month, the Texas Supreme Court struck a blow for liberty. Progressives are predictably upset about it. In Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the court …

Free-market, taxpayer and consumer groups to Congress: Support the Innovation Act

Dear Representatives, On behalf of the undersigned free-market, taxpayer and consumer organizations, we write to express strong support for ongoing efforts to enact patent-litigation reform in the U.S. House …

Coalition for Tax Competition urges Congress to represent taxpayer voices in the OECD

Dear Senators and Representatives: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is rapidly working to rewrite global tax rules in the name of combating base erosion and profit …

Support civil asset-forfeiture reform in California

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

Two tables show how complicated music-copyright rate-setting is

Even after you’ve learned the basics of U.S. copyright law, once you delve into music copyrights, you discover an even more complex—I like to say "fractally complex"—framework at …

In midst of drought, Sacramento needs to prepare for flood

In the midst of a serious drought, it's time to become concerned about a coming flood. Orbiting high above the Pacific Ocean, a Japanese weather satellite has spied …

Should Congressional Research Service reports be public?

From Roll Call: “Making them public would make them publicly available more equally, more equitably,” said former CRS analyst Kevin R. Kosar, who penned an essay on his decision …

Clinton raps ‘gig’ economy as GOP rivals hail Uber

From Investor's Business Daily: "There is a little more of a backlash among liberals," said Andrew Moylan, executive director of R Street Institute, a libertarian think tank. "It's not …

Hillary Clinton, old person, does not like this newfangled Uber app

A week or so ago, my friend Lisa De Pasquale penned an article over at Breitbart about how this election cycle is shaping up to be Gen-X versus …

Tax pollution, not profits: a reply to Rep. John Delaney

The carbon tax is an elegant mechanism for imposing a price on carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector, especially when compared to the alternatives. The patchwork of federal …

Neeley talks climate change at EarthDay Texas

R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley sat down with Michael Quirke, executive director of the Climate Change National Forum, at the recent EarthDay Texas in Dallas to discuss …

What California’s anti-SLAPP law can teach the country about free speech

Once seen as a singular source of new and useful public policy ideas, California has slowly devolved into a judicial and business hellhole, with the inevitable loss of …

A misguided FDA crusade

From Brussels to Chicago to the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, Md., public health officials, antismoking crusaders and mayors are waging a battle …

The latest First Amendment fun

From Ann C. Logue: The power of California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which my lawyers used in my free speech defense against convicted felon Keith Gilabert’s suit. Full disclosure: I occasionally …

Texas’ risky decision on multiproperty insurance

Fifteen years ago, Texas faced a mold crisis. The crisis was caused not just by the fungus itself, but by ambiguous provisions in many homeowners insurance contracts that …

The Dodd-Frankenstein monster

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2010 as Congress' response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis, with a goal of reducing financial risks …

Alabama Legislature to put Bentley’s special session on ice

An email sent to members of the Alabama House of Representatives from Speaker Mike Hubbard reveals plans to thwart Gov. Robert Bentley's abrupt call for a special session. The email shares plans …

RSS Feeds

(Some) Republicans get religion on climate

From Bloomberg Politics: His timing may be good. Two-thirds of Americans say they think the world would benefit from reducing carbon emissions, according to a March poll by Yale …

Airbnb faces trouble at home

Airbnb’s fate in San Francisco may soon be up for a vote. While the village that raised the 7-year-old company is not yet ready to abolish it completely, …

15 sheep explain the Chinese stock market crash

In the Chinese lunar calendar, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. Thus, what better animal to guide us through the market panic that has seen China's stock …

C.A. blasts lawyer over ‘Nazi’ references, overturns verdict

From the Metropolitan News-Enterprise: Bilotti not only violated the in limine orders, she also broke “Godwin’s Law,” the Internet adage invented by attorney and author Mike Godwin, Bedsworth went …

Vox Sentences: South Carolina waves the white flag

From Vox: Or you can have it explained to you with sheep GIFs. [R Street Institute / R. J. Lehmann] …

Feds spent $2 million to have wives nag men about chewing tobacco

From the Washington Times: “This is big government intervention for a small-risk lifestyle choice,” said Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. Mr. Rodu, who has …

Procedural quagmire dooms California vaping ban, for now

In a victory for commonsense, the California Assembly's Governmental Organization Committee has voted to amend a bill that would have classified vapor products as tobacco products. As a …

Michigan v. EPA: Pyrrhic victory or a sign of more to come?

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency hit a roadblock in its quest to enact new standards for mercury emissions from U.S. power plants. In Michigan v. EPA, the …

Florida fumbles ridesharing

After not taking up ridesharing legislation during either the Legislature’s earlier this year or its special session in June, Florida has left ridesharing companies subject to the often …

How conservatives should deal with climate change

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery Climate of Confusion: How Should Conservatives Think About Climate Change? Co-Hosted by The R Street Institute and National Affairs The Rayburn Building Washington, D.C. July 6, 2015 In 1980, …

Can this businessman’s green turn GOP green?

From the Washington Examiner: Andrew Moylan, executive director of the free-market think tank R Street, also believes that money isn't the difference-maker many assume. "The impact of political donations tends …

A new dawn for solar in Texas?

Something peculiar is happening in Texas. In 2011, Austin Energy, the electric utility for the Texas capital, began receiving electricity from Webberville Solar, a 30-megawatt photovoltaic plant, at a …

Government doesn’t need a ‘golden key’ to our communications

Encryption has a rich history in the United States, dating all the way back to the coded messages smuggled by George Washington’s network of spies. While the technology …

Pandora’s radio station purchase just latest twist in labyrinth of music rights

Anyone who follows the ongoing disagreements between Pandora and the publishers rights organizations (PROs, including the two giants, the American Society of Composers and Broadcast Music Inc.) is …

Health-care premiums about to spike again

The Affordable Care Act is about to get a little less affordable. Again. Health insurers have petitioned for rate hikes of 20 percent or more, because all the people who've …

Conservatives refusing to celebrate America should be ashamed

On a planet filled with more than 7 billion people, less than 5 percent have the privilege of calling themselves Americans. Yeah, that's right. It's a privilege. Yet this past …

For conservatives, it’s the ‘right time’ to discuss climate change

From ClimateWire: "Environmentalism is actually very fertile territory" for Republicans, Levin said at event co-hosted by his magazine and the R Street Institute. He said the way that conservatives …

How Jeb Bush handled risky business in a disaster-prone state

From ClimateWire: Eli Lehrer, president of the conservative R Street Institute and an insurance expert, described Bush's pursuit of a national backstop as the kind of populist promise made …

Sanders talks TPP on Thom Hartmann Show

R Street Outreach Director Lori Sanders appeared on the July 1, 2015 edition of the Thom Hartmann Show to discuss the role of intellectual property in the pending …

The Daily Dig for Saturday, July 4

From Bankless Times: Judge strikes down patent lawsuit against Kickstarter A small crowdfunding site claimed its idea of soliciting altruistic donations was covered by patent. Kickstarter disagreed and filed suit. …

Federal district strikes down crowdfunding patent

Earlier this week, my friend Trace, who is writing a book to inspire children with disabilities, reached his $5,000 goal on Kickstarter.com. Like Trace, who was born without …

Why did the pope condemn carbon credits?

Last month, Pope Francis released Laudato Si, a papal encyclical devoted to environmental issues. The document combines reflections on environmental ethics from a religious perspective with background descriptions …

Seven questions for how states will use the BP oil spill money

Today, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states have reached an $18.7 billion settlement agreement with BP plc for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that …

Heritage on how conservatives should approach patent reform

The following post was co-authored by Zach Graves. Patent reform bills have cleared markup this session in both the Senate Judiciary Committee (S.1137, the PATENT Act) and the House Judiciary …

Study shows Airbnb has positive economic impact for New Orleans

Like many cities, New Orleans has struggled with whether and how to crack down on short-term rentals such as those offered through services like Airbnb. Some neighborhood activists …

High stakes for online poker

With the future of online poker hanging in the balance, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, refuses to fold. Entrenched in a legislative showdown with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Barton …

Kaiser Permanente’s not-so-negative take on smokeless tobacco

Kaiser Permanente might better call itself "Kaiser In Transition." A week ago I noted that the company’s website provides smokers with three grossly incorrect reasons to avoid e-cigarettes.  As …

The ‘cyberporn’ scare of 1995, and the early Web’s corrective power

From The 1995 Blog: One implacable critic of Rimm’s work was Mike Godwin, then staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who likened the study to surveying adult bookstores …

401(k) investments a potential alternative to small-business loans, study finds

From NerdWallet: A Washington, D.C.-based research group wants to make it possible for individuals to invest up to 10% of their 401(k) money in small businesses through intrastate crowdfunding websites. In …

A tale of two nations and one very important pig

We at the R Street Institute would like to wish our Canadian friends a happy Canada Day. Institutionally, R Street owes a debt of gratitude to Canada. A former …

America’s Greece

The world is watching the situation in Greece closely, in the wake of the nation's default last night on a $1.7 billion loan payment to the International Monetary …

After Supreme Court’s mercury decision, what now for environmental law?

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Michigan v. EPA will force the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate its recently promulgated rules governing mercury emissions by coal-fired power plants. …

R Street welcomes expiration of Export-Import Bank

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed last night’s expiration of statutory authority for the Export-Import Bank, halting the bank's ability to make new loans. Created …

Je suis Uber

Imagine you are approaching an airport using your chosen transportation-for-hire service in a foreign city, when suddenly a brigade of angry, savage men start attacking your car with …

The high cost of free college

While President Barack Obama was gathering victories critical to his legacy last week on Capitol Hill and at the Supreme Court, the D.C. Council worked on another of …

As video on-demand expands, TV regulation should shrink

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2015) – On-demand services that stream video instantly over the Internet already are radically changing the way we watch television. But rather than expand regulatory …

TV regulation in the age of digital downloads

Television viewing must now be added to the long list of activities the Internet has changed. The time when audiences across the country simultaneously experienced a televised event—such …

Letter to D.C. Council on e-cigarette taxes

My name is Dr. Edward Anselm and I am a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a D.C.-based free-market think tank that takes a pragmatic approach to …

California committee stands up to the fourth branch of government

Like other myths and fairy-tales meant to conceal and excite, California's school children are taught to believe that there are three branches of government. In fact, there clearly are …

Supreme Court missed opportunity to clarify copyright law in API case

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2015) – The U.S. Supreme Court's decision earlier today not to hear arguments in Google Inc. v. Oracle America Inc. represents a missed opportunity to …

R Street praises Supreme Court for affirming cost-benefit analysis in rulemaking

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the requirement that federal agencies consider costs before determining whether a rule is …

SCOTUS sides against EPA and environmentalists

From Red Millennial: In 2012, there was a significant backlash from a group of Latino Democrats in the California Assembly, who were worried that California’s Cap-and-Trade law would hurt …

Nikki Haley signs bill legalizing TNCs in South Carolina

While the country was focused this past week on the flag that flies above the South Carolina statehouse, important work was being done inside its doors. In a major …

Email privacy bill could move by August recess

With its passage of the USA FREEDOM Act earlier this month, Congress declared a commitment to restore privacy protections that many feel have been violated. But civil libertarians …

The inside of John Roberts’s head

From The Economist: R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at R Street, a free-market think tank, sees a big smaller-government upside to Mr Roberts' Obamacare ruling. "Roberts has just opened …

‘Disloyal competition’ — here and abroad

Commuters on their way to Paris' major airports and train stations were disrupted this week by the presence of a rolling blockade. Taxi drivers, under pressure from competition …

John Roberts and the long con

Conservatives and libertarians aren't very happy with John Roberts right now, and for good reason. For the second time, the Bush-appointed chief justice has handed down a decision …

Obamacare’s CO-OPs proving to be one big money pit

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the IRS' decision to provide health insurance subsidies through the federal exchanges, it's important to analyze whether these subsidies …

Avoiding protectionist reinsurance tax key to ensuring low-cost insurance

As proposals are floated both in Congress and in the White House's budget plan to change the tax treatment of reinsurance purchased by U.S. insurers from offshore affiliates, …

Interpreting the law in 2015

Almost any high school textbook on U.S. government will tell you Congress makes the laws, the president approves the laws and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. Based …

Members and staff may use official resources to participate in open source projects, procure and publish open source software

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2015) — The OpenGov Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation and the Congressional Data Coalition (CDC) today announced that members, committees and staff within the U.S. House …

R Street welcomes bipartisan bills to encourage private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2015) — The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction of bipartisan legislation streamlining the process for private companies to begin offering, and states to begin regulating, …

R Street at SXSW

SXSW Interactive

Patent Reform Briefing

US Congress – Room TBA

R Street’s Anniversary Celebration

R Street’s Anniversary Celebration

Issues

Letter to Washington House Finance Committee on distributed generation

My name is Ian Adams and I am Western region director of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, with five offices spread throughout …

Power plant bill clears House, Capito says uphill Senate fight ‘worth happening’

From Energy and Environment Daily: In a Washington Post op-ed yesterday, R Street Institute President Eli Lehrer wrote that while conservative criticism of the Clean Power Plan is warranted, …

How to fix the federal prison system

From the Washington Times: And grass-roots conservatives are enthusiastic about this movement, too. At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference the session on state criminal justice reforms was packed. …

Why can’t the federal government sell unneeded real property more quickly?

This piece was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar. Consider the hut. Its real name is unknown. For all anyone knows, it might have been used …

Honor our Southern heritage by leaving the Confederate flag behind

It's easy to condemn a mass murderer fueled by hate; it's much harder to root out symbols, conventions and comments masquerading as innocuous relics of a time gone …

Letter to California Legislature supporting S.B. 602

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

The moral case for fossil fuel taxes

One of the downsides of working in policy is that you end up hearing the same arguments over and over again. So I was excited to read Oren …

Don’t cast CloudFlare as copyright/trademark enforcer

You may be used to thinking of the Internet as being built of:  Services that directly connect you to the Internet; Services that offer their own content to the Internet; …

The GOP needs its own plan for climate change

The Obama administration’s ongoing campaign to regulate climate-change causing pollutants under the Clean Air Act deserves all of the withering criticism it has gotten from the political right. …

Internet consumers beware!

From FreedomWorks: Language in the bill also includes a provision that entangles all users of platforms such as Amazon or eBay. It specifies any use of an “electronic marketplace,” …

Freeing investor capital for small business

Something has gone wrong with small business in America. For the first time since statistics were kept, the rate of business failure now exceeds the rate of business …

R Street study examines potential sources of capital for small businesses

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2015) – Loosening qualified retirement plan rules to allow some investment in state-regulated securities could pave the way for many more small businesses to gain …

Supreme Court takes on raisins, Spider-Man and hotels, but not marriage and Obamacare…yet

There's only one more SCOTUS "Decision Day" left in June, and it's going to be a big one. On their second-to-last day before skipping town to enjoy their …

A practical approach to climate change

The attached policy study appeared in the Summer 2015 edition of National Affairs. Climate change resulting from human activity likely poses the biggest environmental risk modern society faces. Its …

Internet tax battle revived in Congress

From Watchdog.org: A coalition of conservative groups including R Street Institute and Americans for Tax Reform, however, denounced the Chaffetz’s bill as “a massive expansion in state tax-collection authority and dismantling a …

Wharton study finds disaster aid displaces property insurance

Federal disaster aid granted to communities hit by natural catastrophes causes demand for property insurance to fall by six times as much, according to a new issue briefing …

Good intentions and bad incentives in New York’s housing market

It’s a sad state of affairs when all sides agree a policy is bad, but none can muster the will to do anything about it. That's the situation …

A new era in government transparency

Ohio citizens can access an in-depth look at how their tax money is spent, thanks to a first-of-its-kind online "checkbook" launched last year by Ohio State Treasurer Josh …

Why does Congress diminish itself?

The Founding Fathers set up Congress as the most powerful of the three branches. Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress possesses "all legislative power." This includes the most fundamental …

Is the encyclical a measured document?

From National Review: Josiah Neeley has a very nice piece at First Things making the case that the Pope’s environmental encyclical is really “a more measured affair” than the …

GOP candidates bound to feel ‘climate shock’ on the campaign trail

From the Huffington Post: Though the connection between extreme weather and climate change is easy to hyperbolize (God's or Mother Nature's wake-up call?), the Weather Channel - owned by …

Let’s listen to the pope on climate

The Syllabus of Errors, issued in 1864 under the auspices of Pope Pius IX, famously ends by condemning the proposition that: The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile …

Utah TNC bill makes optional coverages mandatory

When Utah's brief legislative session came to a close in March, proponents of ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies rejoiced. The state had passed S.B. 294, sponsored …

Copyright lobby seeks new hammer to pound free speech in Florida

From Clay Today: Anonymity and pseudonymity have been key threads in the fabric of American life since the Colonial era. From arts to politics, from the Revolutionary era-tracts known …

Campaign of contradictions

During the first post-announcement speech of her second presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton took a page out of the book of the godfather of the welfare state himself, Franklin …

Obama’s $4bn clean-energy initiative: a big number hiding a bigger idea

From The Guardian: Granted, the Obama administration’s approach won’t make everyone happy. Eli Lehrer, founder of libertarian thinktank R Street, would prefer to see the government eliminate all energy …

California regulators say Uber drivers are employees. Here’s why that’s a big deal.

From Vox: Ian Adams, an analyst at the free-market R Street Institute, argues that the best solution would be to create a new legal category for people who work …

Washington state lawmakers should save solar for another day

Washington state's second special legislative session was made necessary by lawmakers' earlier failure to pass a budget that remedied the state's chronic shortfall in education funding. But some lawmakers …

Rep. Chaffetz, how could you?

From the American Spectator: But critics think the measure may go the way of the failed Marketplace Fairness Act, considered a predecessor of this bill, as it would dismantle …

Chaffetz swings and misses with Internet sales tax bill

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is the latest to step up to the plate to solve the vexing question of how to apply sales taxes to purchases made online …

Is Texas ready for a second round of tax cuts?

The Texas Legislature wrapped up its biennial legislative session last month by passing a $3.8 billion package of cuts to the state's property and business franchise taxes, which …

Muni broadband: sanity in Seattle, questions in Council Bluffs

The mayor of Seattle has shelved a plan to use city funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network after a feasibility study projected the cost could be as …

Donald Trump, stupid leaders and the Great Wall of Mexico

We're all tired of presidential politics, and we haven't even made it to the election year. We've heard it all before...and before that. Then, on a hot hazy Tuesday …

Obama administration ‘bans’ trans-fats

Our obesity epidemic is over. Although the science of "trans-fats" being ultimately responsible for Americans' untimely deaths and need for double airplane seats is questionable at best, and banning …

Reason.com subpoena is outrageous prosecutorial overreach

Just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Elonis decision in a case centered on online threats, a federal prosecutor issued a grand jury subpoena …

The troubling intersection of national courts and international censorship

Should national-level courts routinely assume or impose their jurisdiction on international entities when it comes to content? That's the question Daphne Keller of Stanford University's Center for Internet …

Oren Litwin

Congress introduces remote sales tax bill

From Accounting Today: However, a policy research group known as the R Street Institute expressed its opposition to the bill, claiming the RTPA would dismantle proper limits on state …

R Street spearheading coalition to fight the Remote Transactions Parity Act

WASHINGTON (June 16, 2015) – The R Street Institute today announced the formation of a coalition of nearly 20 groups representing millions of citizens opposed to a new …

Coalition letter opposing Remote Transactions Parity Act

Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned organizations, we write in strong opposition to the so-called Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA). Despite what …

Letter to House Education and the Workforce Committee on workforce mobility

Dear Committee Members, On behalf of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington and with offices in five states, I write to urge your support …

Free-speech advocates support SPEAK FREE Act

Dear Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Chairman Franks and Ranking Member Cohen: Every year, many Americans are sued for speaking out on issues they feel are important to express. …

Committee-passed Innovation Act includes significant litigation reforms

Now that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has successfully shepherded the Innovation Act through his committee, I'm heartened to note the significant major reforms that made …

R Street opposes new Internet sales tax bill

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed deep disappointment at today's introduction of new Internet sales tax legislation, the so-called "Remote Transactions Parity Act" sponsored …

‘If we don’t act now, we’re all going to pay': 5 arguments for climate action that even conservatives can’t ignore

From Salon: Name: Eli Lehrer Why conservatives might listen: The former vice president of the climate denying Heartland Institute, Lehrer left to co-found the R Street Institute, and is currently …

Jeb Bush, climate-change equivocator

From the New Republic: Long before he even launched his campaign, Bush managed to raise hopes that he will be one of the few reasonable Republican presidential aspirants on climate change. …

Postal banking is an idea whose time has come—and gone

From 1911 through 1967, the old U.S. Post Office offered savings accounts. The enterprise started because private banks seldom insured deposits. The establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance …

Saving Atlantic City: A mayor who thinks small may be the answer

Atlantic City, N.J. – Just about every morning when the weather is nice, Don Guardian rides his bike along the boardwalk and digs into the beach sand. "They're …

Coalition letter to Sen. Cardin on private prisons FOIA loophole

We, the undersigned 20 organizations committed to transparency and open government, write to thank you for your concern with the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) …

Coalition letter to OMB on evidence-based budgeting

We want to thank you, once again, for the important steps the Obama administration has taken over the last seven years to increasingly drive taxpayer dollars toward evidence-based, …

USPS should sell its real estate

The U.S. Postal Service's latest financial results have been released. They are not good. The agency booked a loss of $2.1 billion in the first half of the fiscal year, which …

Confronting public misconceptions about ridesharing

I had a conversation with my mother several months ago about how I commute on a regular basis around Washington. As many young Millennials would reply, I told …

Insurers could underwrite more terrorism risk, CBO says

From SmartBrief: Surplus capital in the reinsurance market means insurers could take on more terrorism risk than they are, Ray Lehmann writes, arguing that reforms passed by Congress this …

Obama admin wants ‘economic diversity’ for wealthy neighborhoods

The City of Chicago has an interesting Section 8 philosophy that mandates apartment buildings - even the really fancy ones - have a certain number of abodes set …

FTC should heed advice on the sharing economy

Regulation shouldn't be used to make new business platforms fit the rules crafted for older regimes. That was the consensus of policy experts, bureaucrats, economists and industry representatives …

Obama admin asks FISA Court to ignore ruling finding NSA actions illegal

Just a few short weeks ago, our elected legislators were very, very concerned about the future of the National Security Agency's bulk data-collection programs. Some were absolutely convinced that …

New paper: economic liberty requires patent reform

R Street Associate Fellow Derek Khanna has an excellent new paper on the economic case for patent reform. Writing for the free-market technology group Lincoln Labs, he argues not …

Jurassic Pork: A policy blockbuster

Much to the chagrin of The Newsroom's Will McAvoy, many Americans no longer get their news from prime-time news anchors like Walter Cronkite, let alone the humble messaging …

Wendler: A ribbon for everyone

From The Southern Illinoisan: Now, you say, this language is too strong and clearly an overstatement. Not really. It is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee, according to …

Indoor ban on e-cigs imminent

From Delaware Public Media: Other detractors, like Joel Nitzkin, a doctor and lobbyist for the libertarian R Street Institute found those short-term studies questionable. Nitzkin also says the ban could have unintended …

Democrats seek GOP support for carbon tax bill, face questions about jailing skeptics

From ClimateWire: Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank that supports revenue-neutral tax policies for carbon, asked how the senators could gain the …

CBO confirms private insurers could take on way more terrorism risk

I hate to say I told you so. Actually, scratch that. I love to say I told you so. I just wish it weren't necessary in this case. Back …

A buzzword glossary for tomorrow’s Innovation Act markup

The Innovation Act, a bill in the U.S. House that aims to reform patent litigation in the United States, has gotten a lot of bipartisan support, but has …

USTR doesn’t need an IP czar

In a Congress that is likely this year to pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation, aimed at making trade agreements easier, you may ask why pro-free-trade legislators also proposing …

Senate extension of Internet Tax Freedom Act ‘virtually certain’

From Washington Internet Daily: It's "virtually certain" that the Senate will pass some sort of ITFA extension, but "whether that's [S-431] ... is another story," said R Street Institute …

Lehrer talks climate change and insurance on the Weather Channel

On the Weather Channel recently, R Street President Eli Lehrer explained the most straightforward reason why those who believe in a free market ought to accept the reality …

Free trade doesn’t have to be a trade secret

Secrecy around the conduct of international trade agreements has been tightening, in what amounts to a disturbing and counterproductive trend. This lack of transparency gives additional fodder to …

Ex-Im Bank backs Boeing, but plane nowhere to be found

Suffice it to say, when it comes to crony capitalism, the Export-Import Bank's customers are some of the worst offenders. We may talk about how the state siphons …

Passage of fast-track trade authority for president is critical for our nation and Texas

From the Waco Tribune: The U.S. House has indicated that it’s likely to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority in the coming weeks. Also known as “fast-track” trade authority, TPA makes …

Busting the myth that patent reform is a left-wing idea

In a relatively short period of time, the debate over patent reform has transformed an arcane, low-salience issue into one that sparks fierce controversy and national headlines. Listening …

Trade authority is good for Texas

The U.S. House has indicated that it’s likely to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority, and that’s good for Texas. Also known as “fast-track” trade authority, TPA makes it easier for …

California’s conservatives should draw from the Tory playbook

California is a deep blue state, but there is reason for California conservatives to be optimistic. And it's not just that the structural apogee of liberal influence in …

Give federal employees bonuses for finding spending cuts

Congress seems to have a problem finding places to cut in order to get government spending under control. Budget deficits are a way of life in Washington, adding …

No, the America Invents Act did not cost ‘the economy’ $1 trillion

Congress will once again take up significant patent reform this week, with the PATENT Act – a version of which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday – …

Time to raise the oil spill liability cap

From the Muscatine Journal: Santa Barbara County is the latest seaside community to watch its coastline dirtied by an all-too-recognizable black sludge. Early estimates project that more than 100,000 …

How EPA’s ethanol cut could hurt taxpayers

Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the Renewable Fuel Standard's corn-ethanol mandate by 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. This naturally prompted pushback from the …

Republican pledges $175 million to push party on climate

From Politico: "What's important to remember is that [climate change] doesn't really register as an issue with many Republican primary voters," said Eli Lehrer, who helped form the free-market …

Can ‘The Rock’ rescue the CEA?

The California Earthquake Authority long has had trouble getting Golden Staters to buy protection for the most devastating natural disaster most of them face. Indeed, if anything, California's …

No need to renew the Export-Import Bank

Statutory authorization for the $140 billion Export-Import Bank is set to expire at the end of the month. Created more than 80 years ago, the bank has far …

Raise oil-spill liability cap

From the Courier-Post: Santa Barbara County is the latest seaside community to watch its coastline dirtied by an all-too-recognizable black sludge. Early estimates project that more than 100,000 gallons …

Why you should care about the ‘third dimension’ of government information

From The Conversation: As one example, advertising contracts, estimated a Congressional Research Service report, totaled US$892.5 million in fiscal year 2013. These expenditures, said the author of the report, Kevin …

Supreme court dodges First Amendment issue, but still puts limits on criminalizing speech

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I first wrote about federal prosecutors' novel effort to prosecute repulsive Internet speech by using 18 USC Sec. 875(c), which prohibits "in interstate …

Yes, healthy congressional politics are transactional…and more

Jonathan Rauch has written both an impish and important report for the Brookings Institution, Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money and Back-room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy …

Metric, schmetric

Presidential candidate and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has promised he will switch the United States to the metric system in the exceedingly unlikely event he ends up in …

Bernie Sanders wants to spend $5B to employ 1 million young people

There's something you have to admire about Sen. Bernie Sanders: when he commits to something, he commits all the way. While most of his ideas might be half-baked, …

Leamer talks USA Freedom on Lars Larson Show

R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer appeared on the Lars Larson Show June 2 to discuss the USA Freedom Act. Appearing just moments after the U.S. Senate passed …

Raleigh restauranteur pushes local government to regulate sidewalk seating

From Reason: Lawmakers (or in this case, a particularly well-situated business owner) frequently cite “safety” or “public good” when advocating restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol (or …

It’s time to raise the oil spill liability cap

Santa Barbara County is the latest seaside community to watch its coastline dirtied by an all-too-recognizable black sludge. Early estimates project that more than 100,000 gallons of oil …

The debate over NSA spying is finished. Or is it?

From Advocates for Self Government: With the support of hawks in the Senate Republican Conference, McConnell proposed amendments that would have increased the transition period from three to six months, removed …

New Eurobarometer report supports the ‘Swedish Miracle’

How can the European Union continue to deny Sweden's success in tobacco harm reduction?  I have documented how Swedish snus has contributed to that country's world-record-low rates of …

Stacey Edington

On Alabama’s coast, preserve the environment or protect the economy?

Would you rather preserve the environment or protect the economy? What if I told you that, right here in Alabama, we're coming up with creative solutions that benefit both …

A gambling ban’s federalism problem

Even as the rise of the Internet has driven communications and economic growth to heights previously unimagined, some lawmakers are using that very explosion as pretext to expand …

More laws should have sunsets

The past weekend's Senate debate over the PATRIOT Act reminds us of the value of placing sunsets in legislation. For years, the National Security Agency had operated far …

R Street commends Gov. Scott for signing coastal preservation bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 3, 2015) – The R Street Institute today congratulated Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 715, legislation that clarifies provisions of a key coastal preservation …

R Street praises Senate for passing USA FREEDOM Act

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the U.S. Senate today for passing the USA FREEDOM Act by a strong vote of 67-32 and for …

E-cigarettes ‘far, far safer’ than tobacco

The statements of Terry Towne in your recent article “Butt out: If you’ve got ’em, don’t light ’em,” (May 28) are wrong. Although Ms. Towne is to be …

A guide through Senate amendments to the USA FREEDOM Act

The attached policy brief was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. NSA apologists (we sometimes call them “the security hawks”) could use the USA FREEDOM Act as …

R Street urges veto of SB 900

R Street is a free-market think tank dedicated to limited, effective government, free markets and responsible environmental stewardship. One of R Street’s core focus areas is insurance reform …

DOJ collecting your ‘right-wing’ social media posts

One of the primary contentions of establishment Republicans and Democrats in defense of the National Security Agency's massive data-collection program was that the program was not only free …

Daniel E. Innis and Eli Lehrer join Log Cabin Republicans national board of directors

From Log Cabin Republicans: Washington, D.C. — The Log Cabin Republicans National Board of Directors has announced two new prominent and historic additions to its growing roster: Daniel E. Innis …

D.C. Circuit strikes down ‘cascading’ retrocession excise taxes

The federal excise tax does not apply to reinsurance or retrocession transactions between foreign insurers, even if the transaction covers U.S. risks, according to a May 26 decision …

Alabama’s budget breakdown

Contrary to recent political fear mongering, Alabama has enough money to pay its bills. All the state needs is leaders willing to make tough choices. Projected at over $6.2 billion, the …

Will McConnell’s amendments gut surveillance reform?

From the Michigan Standard: There are two other amendments that alter and weaken a couple of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court transparency issues that are vital to surveillance reform, …

A guide through Senate amendments to the USA FREEDOM Act

The following was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. As most anyone interested now knows, Congress last night allowed Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to sunset. …

R Street encouraged by sunset of Section 215, which will advance lawmakers’ ongoing privacy debate

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed encouragement over the sunset of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, fueling and expanding the ongoing debate over …

DOD spent millions on strippers and booze

The next time you ponder the defense budget, consider, beyond that they pay a ridiculous sum for things like toilet seats and hammers, that the people who get …

Ten years since its last hurricane, Florida more vulnerable to catastrophe than ever, experts say

From the Tampa Bay Times: Christian Cámara, director of the free market R Street Institute in Florida, said subsidized flood insurance has exacerbated the coastal population crunch, too. "When you …

One last chance to reform Texas’ spending limit this session

As the clock ticks down to the end of Texas’ legislative session, the fate of numerous major pieces of legislation remains unclear. From ethics reform to gun rights …

Lessons from the Rock

From The Economist: Previous seismic models had drastically underestimated the risks of earthquake damage. The R Street Institute, a think-tank, notes that the insured losses from the Northridge earthquake …

Free-market groups support Senate patent-litigation reform legislation

We write on behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations to express our strong support for your committee’s efforts to advance patent-litigation reform and applaud your balanced and judicious …

Why AB 24 is a bad idea

Just as a cook’s creation is only as good as the ingredients she uses, so too is public policy only as good as the premises that undergird it. That’s …

The Rock won’t save you from earthquakes; retrofitting might

It has been a big week for earthquake news in California. Hollywood gave us “San Andreas,” a thrill a minute dystopian drama starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) as …

Questions for the record on Restoring America’s Wire Act

Questions for the Record to Andrew Moylan Executive Director, R Street Institute "H.R. 707, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act" Hearing of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, …

Assurance contracts for indie films

From Marginal Revolution:  Most indie films and documentaries don’t get to most markets. It’s hard for a theatre to know which of the many indie films audiences really want …

Assurance contracts and the indie film market

In some ways, there has never been a better time for fans of independent film. The video on-demand revolution has led to thousands of titles becoming available for …

R Street praises Texas budget bill

AUSTIN, Texas (May 28, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the Texas Legislature today for both providing tax relief and restraining spending growth in the new state …

Oracle v. Google: Dropping the ball

From RealClearPolicy: You probably already know it's baseball season, but you may have missed some particularly interesting inside baseball going on in the world of copyright law and policy. The …

Biloxi’s crude deal: Oil spill reparations are funding a baseball stadium in Mississippi

From Vice: "For something that is a 'combination event' where there are environmental and economic impacts, you should be looking at projects that have environmental and economic benefits," says …

Is regulatory reform a hopeless cause?

In short, no, although the reader of Charles Murray’s new book might come away with that conclusion. In By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission (Crown Forum, 2015), …

Daily fantasy sports and the case for legal online gambling

If daily online fantasy sports contests are legal, why aren’t online poker or other casino-type gambling games? I’m not against the idea of playing fantasy sports for money, I …

Oracle v. Google: We’re not screwed yet

From InfoWorld:  I think the Solicitor General's critique reflects the incorrect understanding of a non-programmer. An API is certainly written in code, but it's being used in a different …

There is no ‘conservative’ and no ‘liberal’ in wine politics

From Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog: I was reminded of this upon reading, “Free America’s Beverage Markets” by Kevin Kosar, a senior fellow at the right-leaning R Street Institute. …

Free America’s beverage markets!

It is difficult to understate just how politicized America’s alcoholic beverage markets are. And I say “markets” because the country does not have a single nationwide market. Rather, …

The federal government is looking to control your puddles

And lo, he of the name Obama shall have dominion over all of the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the water that …

Congress looks to reduce the regulatory behemoth

The Code of Federal Regulations is more than 170,000 pages long. How did it become such a behemoth? Simple: every year, about 4,000 new regulations are proposed, and …

Comments to Federal Trade Commission on the sharing economy

Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the Federal Trade Commission's Sharing Economy Workshop. I offer the following comments on behalf of the R Street Institute, …

Solicitor General drops the ball in Oracle v. Google copyright case

You probably already know it’s baseball season, but you may have missed some particularly interesting inside baseball going on in the world of copyright law and policy. The most …

Tech groups seek targeted changes, if any, to PTO’s review process

From Politico: Four tech advocacy groups urged lawmakers Friday to avoid fundamental changes to the process for challenging patents at the USPTO — but they suggested a few ways …

Reagan thought taxing the poor was a bad idea; Alabama should too

Alabamians below the federal poverty line should not pay income taxes. In spite of the fact that almost 20 percent of Alabama's population falls below the poverty level, Alabama …

Letter to New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

My name is R.J. Lehmann. I am editor-in-chief, a senior fellow and a co-founder of the R Street Institute, a nonprofit public-policy research organization headquartered in Washington. I …

Nevada lawmakers send bill legalizing ridesharing to Gov. Sandoval

There was no rest for lawmakers in Carson City over the weekend as the Nevada Legislature was hard at work in the early hours of Saturday morning. The …

R Street urges Texas Legislature to oppose S.B. 900

R Street is a free-market think tank dedicated to limited, effective government, free markets and responsible environmental stewardship. One of R Street’s core focus areas is insurance reform, …

Coalition letter to Senate Judiciary Committee on the PATENT Act

Dear Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Leahy, and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, We are proud to support the PATENT Act. We believe it is a well-rounded piece of …

The road less traveled: surveillance reform

Two years ago, major revelations about the National Security Agency’s massive intrusion into the lives of all Americans jumpstarted a renewed national debate about the right to privacy …

Remembering a victim of the War on Drugs

President Barack Obama has wielded his executive authority to reduce the amount of military equipment flowing to local cops. His action comes in response to demonstrations of force …

Federal storm policies put Florida in danger

The following piece was co-authored by Jay Liles, a policy consultant with the Florida Wildlife Federation, and Gary Appelson, policy coordinator of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Andrew. Charley. Wilma. …

General Motors says it’s just loaning you your car’s software

Imagine a world in which automakers declared that, even though you own most of the vehicle you purchased from your auto dealer, you don’t own the tires. No, …

How to reform Amtrak?

In an ideal world, Amtrak wouldn't exist. Transportation is one of those services best left to the free market. But the fact is that virtually all of America's …

Green power lines hogtie poorest Texans

From Watchdog.org: Josiah Neeley, Texas director of the market-oriented R Street Institute, acknowledges that even if SB 931 reins in the government-designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, Texans will be …

Shelby’s financial reforms could face problems on the floor

The Hill is reporting that the Senate Banking Committee's more moderate Democrats intend to vote against the financial services reform package put together by Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., …

Copyright lobby seeks new hammer to pound free speech in Florida

Anonymity and pseudonymity have been key threads in the fabric of American life since the Colonial era. From arts to politics, from the Revolutionary era-tracts known as Cato’s …

Tom Cotton blocks NSA reform measure

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was instrumental in saving some of Iraq's most precious feline assets, but that's about the only nice thing I can say about Tom Cotton …

Alabama GOP supermajority, governor should hold their noses and pass budget

Shameful. That's the word you're looking for. If Republican supermajorities in the Alabama House and the Senate can't pass a General Fund budget, put it on the Republican governor's …

Nevada should embrace disruption in energy markets

Things are changing rapidly in America's energy markets. The shale revolution of the past decade already has brought about enormous changes both in the price of energy and in …

Insurance bills could have a big impact on Texas

Most people find insurance regulation boring, and maybe that’s understandable. But in a state with some of the highest home insurance rates in the nation, Texans have good …

Jersey Strong…but not strong enough to pump gas

As a New Jersey native who has spent most of his adult life living elsewhere, I often find myself standing up to defend my much-maligned homeland against the …

It turns out people don’t like when the government spies on them

The past two years have seen a series of revelations about the National Security Agency's systematic mass-surveillance programs, prompting a national debate about the relevance of the Fourth …

Laffer: Keep protectionist reinsurance tax out of tax reform

A proposal to bar insurers from claiming a tax deduction for premiums ceded to offshore affiliates would cost the U.S. economy $1.35 billion in gross domestic product, with …

D.C. appeals court rules some iPhone trademarks invalid

A $930 million verdict against South Korean phone maker Samsung that claimed its Galaxy phone infringed patents held by Apple could be knocked down by as much as …

Congress continues to withhold Congressional Research Service documents from the public

From Techdirt: Like this request, which resulted in the CRS losing an analyst: Why is the US Postal Service "stockpiling ammunition"? That sort of question helped lead CRS analyst Kevin …

Nevada should take steps to foster a competitive electric market, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2015) – Nevada lawmakers have a unique opportunity to set a national example for how best to regulate distributed generation, according to a new policy …

Governance in distributed generation: A Nevada case study

Disruptive innovation has hit electricity markets. Just as disruptive technologies and services have revolutionized telecom and urban-transportation markets by expanding consumer choice, electricity customers can now take advantage …

Ninth Circuit strikes down order that YouTube take down ‘Innocence of Muslims’

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an order that YouTube take down the infamous video "Innocence of Muslims," rejecting an actress' claim that her brief …

It really is hard to fire a fed

From GovManagement Daily: A recent report from the Merit Systems Protection Board challenges the perception that it's impossible to fire a federal employee. But in 1978 a Democratic Congress and …

Marketing maternity: Are we valuing the message over the medicine?

Imagine you're a woman who just found out she is going to have a baby. You see a hospital advertisement for maternity care that includes words and phrases …

Testimony to City of Sonoma on e-cigarette flavoring

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

New study shows how Florida Citizens subsidizes the rich

The policy subsidies offered by Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. flow disproportionately to the wealthy and, in concert with similarly regressive subsidies from the National Flood Insurance …

It really is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee

Some credulous Beltway media sure took the bait last week. Consider: “A lot of people still think it’s close to impossible to fire a federal employee, but that’s just …

House committee bars publication of reports by Congressional Research Service

From AllGov: “Even when we did find time and space to do serious research, lawmakers ignored our work or trashed us if our findings ran contrary to their beliefs,” …

Will self-driving cars need hacker insurance?

From Hopes & Fears: R.J. Lehmann, Policy Expert in Insurance, Co-Founder of R Street Institute It’s obviously a very complicated issue. Before you even get to what do you …

‘Beach Plan’ insurance needs to do no further harm

When he was speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, now-U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was fond of pointing to “the conservative revolution” that has taken hold in …

Coalition letter supporting the PATENT Act

Dear Sens. Grassley and Leahy, The undersigned organizations represent technology, small business, consumer and the public interests in the area of patent policy. We write to provide our views …

Yes, the U.S. Congress has a role in foreign affairs

As the U.S. Congress this week continues to debate legislation to address President Barack Obama's proposed nuclear deal with Iran, some critics howl that the bill would usurp …

Fixing the Texas tax-cut stand-off

As the Texas Legislature nears the end of its biennial session, the biggest issue on the table is how best to cut taxes. The state House has proposed a …

Odd couple asks EPA for carbon tax

From the Washington Examiner: That's what environmental group Friends of the Earth and the free-market R Street Institute advocated for in a Wednesday meeting with EPA officials. Neither organization would …

House renews ban on CRS publication of its reports

From Federation of American Scientists: Why is the US Postal Service “stockpiling ammunition”? That sort of question helped lead CRS analyst Kevin Kosar to leave his job, he explained …

R Street praises House for passing USA FREEDOM Act

 WASHINGTON (May 13, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised today's bipartisan vote by the U.S House to pass H.R. 2048, the USA FREEDOM Act. The measure represents an important …

R Street praises Texas Legislature for strengthening rights of property owners

AUSTIN, Tex. (May 13, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the Texas Legislature for passing S.B, 1626, a bill to strengthen homeowners’ rights to choose how to …

Copyright, pharmaceutical enforcement shouldn’t be imposed on ICANN

Since 1998, U.S. policy has held that the Internet’s “IANA functions” — the technical functions collectively referred to as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, administered by ICANN.org — …

Legal ridesharing comes to Portland…sort of

Uber is operating legally in Portland, for now. A pilot program adopted by the Portland City Council has given transportation network companies the green light to operate for …

Hollywood celebrities aren’t abiding California drought rules

The California drought, that exceptional byproduct of an exciting, unnatural approach to preserving the lives of millions of tiny, endangered fish for no discernable purpose except to prevent their …

Uber, but for GOP hypocrisy

From the Daily Beast: Andrew Moylan, the executive director of the R Street Institute—a conservative think tank that works extensively on issues involving transportation network companies like Uber and …

Nevada Senate gives green light to ridesharing

With just three weeks to go in Nevada’s legislative calendar, a bill that will give the green light to hitherto illegal ridesharing activity has cleared an important hurdle …

If payday loans are horrible, what about federal student loans?

When I was researching payday loans, I came across an interesting statistic: Within three years of entering into repayment, 13.7 percent of federal student loans wind up in …

Audio from SxSW ‘Your Laws, Your Data’ panel

In the two decades that it has been managed by the Library of Congress, THOMAS -- the online record of Congress' activities, named for Thomas Jefferson -- has …

California: dry, earthquake zone, fire hazard

From the Washington Examiner: Ian Adams for the R Street Institute: California is a land of calamity. The ground shakes, it runs dry and, with underappreciated frequency, it catches …

Should Alabama have a flat tax?

They'll probably label it a tax hike. That's what always happens anytime anyone attempts to reform Alabama's mangled tax code. Alabamians hate tax increases. Just ask Gov. Robert Bentley. If …

Smoke-free tobacco can save lives

While our federal government dreams of a tobacco-free society, 42 million Americans continue to smoke cigarettes and nearly half a million die each year. That’s 1,300 smoker deaths …

IRS created tool to calculate Obamacare repayments, didn’t share with public

The Internal Revenue Service developed an online tool that would have helped Americans who received health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to better calculate their tax …

Washington Monthly was warning about domestic digital surveillance…40 years ago

Via Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog, we have a reminder of a December 1975 article in Washington Monthly that warned about the potential for government spooks to use the newfangled …

TNC bills could be on agenda for Florida’s special session

One of the consequences of the Florida House of Representatives' decision last week to commence an abrupt sine die adjournment, rather than play out an intractable battle with …

E-cigarettes are a friend to public health

Delaware lawmakers are now considered H.B. 5, a bill that would ban e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited. Experience as a public health physician has taught me to …

House appropriators look at legislative branch transparency

At last week’s full committee markup of the legislative branch appropriations bill, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., offered an amendment that set the stage for more transparency around Congressional …

Second Circuit declares NSA bulk collection illegal

There is exciting breaking news out of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers the states of Connecticut, Vermont and, most importantly, New York. A three-judge panel …

Uber’s not in Kansas anymore; will New Jersey be next?

The decision by the Kansas Legislature earlier this week to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of onerous ridesharing legislation already is yielding its inevitable consequence. Transportation network company …

Kamala Harris aide was running a secret police force

Sen. Barbara Boxer plans to vacate her U.S. Senate seat in the next few years, and the Democrats are looking for the Next Great Hope of the party …

Senate drops attempt to override Obama’s ‘double veto’

From USA Today: Kevin R. Kosar, a fellow at the conservative-leaning R Street Institute, said the Senate should make time to protect Congress against encroaching presidential power. The pocket-and-return …

Signs of hope in North Carolina

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill 119-1 Monday which, for the first time, would disclose to North Carolina drivers what they pay in surcharges to …

Nitzkin testimony on Delaware HB 5

My name is Joel Nitzkin. I am a public health physician, board certified in preventive medicine as my medical specialty. I have been a local health director, a state …

Kansas overrides Brownback veto on TNC bill

In a disappointing development, the Kansas Legislature has overturned Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of S.B. 117, the so-called “Uber bill.” While S.B. 117 is not without redeeming qualities – …

Good news (sort of) out of Texas

From Somewhat Reasonable: As Josiah Neely, senior fellow and Texas director for the R Street Institute, points out in an article on the MasterResource Blog... ...Neely argues, “With Texas wind …

DMCA is turning ownership into ‘loanership’

From RealClearPolicy: During the Great Depression, farm-equipment giant John Deere Co. famously refused to repossess tractors it had sold to American farmers who were having difficulties keeping up with …

Meet the money behind the effort to keep Alabama in the liquor retail business

"If you thought this bill was not going anywhere; that it would die or get killed like it always has, you need to think again!" Bob Leavell is concerned …

California is learning to pay its own way

California is a land of calamity. The ground shakes, it runs dry and, with underappreciated frequency, it catches fire. Surprisingly, the cost of modern life in the Golden State …

How the DMCA is turning ownership into ‘loanership’

The following piece was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. During the Great Depression, farm-equipment giant John Deere Co. famously refused to repossess tractors it had …

Coalition statement on World Press Freedom Day

On May 3, the United Nations will celebrate “World Press Freedom Day,” even though the organization has an abysmal track record of press freedom. In October last year, at …

Leaked email: Mayor Walt Maddox and Councilor Kim Rafferty’s municipal cabal to keep ridesharing out of Alabama

"Clearly, controlling the narrative is in our best interests," writes Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty favors forming an ad hoc committee "to keep control of …

We can’t stop the rain, but we can build smarter

This piece was co-authored by Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s troubling to see images of American families assessing the soggy aftermath of a …

Texas moves closer to hail insurance reform

There’s one month left to go in the Texas legislative session, and things are starting to get interesting. On Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed S.B. 1628, a bill designed …

Detroit mayor’s insurance plan crashes head-on into reality

We have seen over and over the folly of government-run insurance schemes. Whether it's the National Flood Insurance Program, the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., the Texas Windstorm Insurance …

Diverse coalition to promote balanced copyright law

From Health & Beauty Close-Up: "The Internet has lowered the barriers for everyone. As technological innovation continues to advance at a rapid pace, copyright law must catch up. Overregulation …

Credit unions should focus on the middle class

As the 2016 presidential and congressional elections draw nearer, credit unions and their representatives undoubtedly will be meeting with any number of potential candidates for office. For those …

Risk transfer success leads to ratings upgrades for Florida Citizens

It's an exceedingly rare thing that I'd ever point to anything my adoptive state of Florida does in the area of insurance markets as an example that others …

R Street applauds introduction of bipartisan patent reform bill in the Senate

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2015) - The R Street Institute welcomed today’s introduction of the the PATENT Act, which seeks to address the problem of rampant patent litigation abuse, …

Texas moves to abolish renewable energy mandates (but much damage has been done)

Texas has always been big on energy. The state's long history of oil and gas production is well-known. And on the electric generation side, Texas ranks first in the nation in nuclear …

Letter to House Commerce Committee on the TROL Act

Dear Mr. Upton and Mr. Pallone, The undersigned organizations represent the small business, consumer and public interests in the area of patent policy. We write in regretful opposition to …

Growing doubts about surveillance shown in House GOP votes

Froom CQ: "There is a significant strain of Republicans in the House that have concerns about bulk collection of data," says Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street …

Letter on e-cigarette provisions of Minnesota tax bill

I am a public health physician who advises the R Street Institute on tobacco-related policy. Detail on my background and how I got to where I am today …

Louisiana mulls duplicative rules for solar

Rooftop solar has emerged in recent years as the primary challenge to the staid business model of large-scale regulated electric utilities. It turns large numbers of what were strictly …

R Street welcomes introduction of USA FREEDOM Act legislation

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction of bipartisan legislation intended to curb the National Security Agency's bulk collection of communications records. The USA …

More oversight needed of conservation compliance, R Street study claims

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015) – Conservatives in Congress should take great interest in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's conservation compliance rules, particularly as new regulations are implemented to …

R Street joins coalition to promote balanced copyright law, creativity and free speech

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015) – Organizations from across the political spectrum, companies and associations joined forces today to launch Re:Create, a new coalition dedicated to promoting balanced copyright laws …

Catrina Rorke

10 groups launch copyright coalition

From Politico: CDT and R Street are among the 10 consumer and business tech groups standing up a new alliance on copyright policy today, pushing lawmakers to rethink their …

Oversight needed to get conservation compliance right

Ever since they were first signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the so-called “conservation compliance” provisions of America’s agricultural support programs have stood as prime …

Libertarian groups press McConnell on surveillance reform

From The Hill: “Today’s domestic surveillance programs are just the tip of the iceberg compared to how the NSA could use its current authority to spy on Americans’ communications …

Coalition letter to Senate leadership on USA PATRIOT Act

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid: As organizations and individuals dedicated to free markets and constitutionally limited government, we write to express our strong opposition to the …

Libertarian groups urge McConnell to change course on surveillance

From Politico: TechFreedom, the R Street Institute and a coalition of other limited-government groups are today asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to drop his clean reauthorization of the …

Catrina Rorke joins R Street as director of energy policy

WASHINGTON (April 27, 2015) – The R Street Institute is proud to announce Catrina Rorke has joined the organization as director of energy policy. Rorke brings with her significant …

A ‘believer’ takes over conservative carbon tax effort

From ClimateWire: The first time Catrina Rorke worked on a carbon tax, it got her boss fired. Now, she has another shot. The millennial 30-year-old, with bold-rimmed glasses and a …

Michigan House could vote this week on auto insurance reforms

For a brief moment early this year, social media made James Robertson an international celebrity. The story of the 56–year-old Detroit man whose commute involved both an arduous …

Pointier Heads: Efficiency shrinks while government grows

I had my first reckoning with big government in a small town in New Jersey. The incident remains startlingly fresh in my mind, although it was years ago. A …

Legislative project ideas for coders and noncoders

I thought it would be useful to identify legislative data projects in advance of the House's annual Legislative Data and Transparency Conference and #Hack4Congress, a congressional hackathon the …

Disruption can be a good thing

The ideal of a staid, heavily regulated industry that offers blue-collar jobs with respectable wages, pensions and strong community ties—usually lamented as a thing of the past by …

Testimony on fraud in Texas hail claims

Chairman Frullo, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit, free-market think tank that specializes …

2016 presidential truck stop buffet: Plenty of options with reheated ideas

Most of us don't talk about it, but we've been there. It's late at night, way past the time when we should be eating. Then you see it …

Testimony on Texas Windstorm Insurance Authority reform

Chairman Frullo, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit, free-market think tank that specializes …

R Street praises Florida Legislature for limiting exposure faced by Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 23, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the Florida Legislature today for its unanimous passage of H.B. 715, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo. The …

Tobacco control is getting it wrong

From CSPNet.com: Anti-tobacco campaigns are getting it wrong, Dr. Brad Rodu, professor of medicine and holder of the endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research at the University of …

Meet the NSA’s ridiculous recycling mascot, ‘Dunk’

The National Security Agency will likely get a gift from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week: a massive reauthorization of their metadata collection and surveillance program, codified …

Free-market groups support fast-track trade authority

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell: On behalf of the free-market, taxpayer advocacy, and limited government grassroots and public policy organizations listed below, we urge you to pass Trade …

SmarterSafer letter on federal flood standards

To Whom It May Concern: SmarterSafer, a coalition of environmental organizations, taxpayer advocates, insurance representatives, housing and mitigation groups is pleased to submit comments on the Federal Flood Risk …

Whether they like it or hate it, conservatives must look to California

The State of California is fun to mock, easy to condemn and, particularly for many conservatives and libertarians, simple to write off. A little perspective from outside the …

Why disaster policy matters

A major plot point of the most recent season of Netflix's House of Cards saw fictional President Frank Underwood try to exploit the Stafford Act's vague definition of …

Patent coalition says TROL Act doesn’t go far enough

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members: We, the co-chairs of United for Patent Reform, on behalf of the coalition members represented below, acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the Energy …

Is Alabama broke or just stupid?

This may be difficult, but let's start with the facts about Alabama's current budget crisis before we start talking about our feelings on things like taxes, gambling and …

Coalition tells Congress to let the Export-Import Bank expire

Dear Members of Congress: On behalf of our groups and organizations, together representing millions of Americans, we urge you to oppose the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. It unfairly …

Bracing for the storm

The attached report was co-authored jointly by members of the SmarterSafer Coalition. Hurricanes, floods, fires, and heat waves resulting in millions of dollars of damage are no longer unusual …

Coalition letter on NSA surveillance reform

Dear Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Chairman Grassley, and Ranking Member Leahy: We urge you to end mass surveillance of Americans. Among us are civil liberties organizations from across …

E-cigarette taxes aren’t the answer to Louisiana’s budget woes

Louisiana is facing a $1.6 billion deficit, according to the most recent estimates, and state lawmakers are looking at various ways to close the deficit. One popular option among …

TPA: Trading up for a better deal

I have the National Football League draft, set to start April 30, on my mind this week. As fellow Philadelphia Eagles fans know, there is major speculation about whether …

R Street praises Gov. Brownback for vetoing damaging ridesharing bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (April 20, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for heeding consumer concerns and vetoing S.B.117, a bill that would have placed …

Copyright could be stumbling block in trade bill

From The Hill: Woodworth's sentiment was echoed by advocacy groups including the Center for Democracy and Technology, R Street and the American Library Association. “Ensuring our Internet platforms are successful …

What’s really in the new Trade Promotion Authority bill?

From Cato at Liberty: On fair use, this statement from R Street on TPA’s IP objectives is informative: 'Although R Street supports TPA legislation in principle, we’re strongly concerned about …

R Street expresses concerns about TPA bills

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed reservations today about H.R. 1890, better known as the "Trade Promotion Authority" bill, introduced April 17 by House …

Testimony on Texas auto franchise rules

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

R Street urges Texas to restore local control of pension plans  

AUSTIN, Tex. (April 20, 2015) - The R Street Institute expressed strong support for H.B. 2608, under consideration today by the Texas state House Pension Committee. Sponsored by Rep. …

The question of raising taxes

It was shrewd of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board to choose its words carefully when it called for tax reform (“There’s no time like April to talk about …

The online sales tax cash grab

From Reason: "Finally, someone in Congress has drafted an approach to the Internet sales tax issue that doesn't empower bureaucrats to tax across state lines and saddle Web-based retailers …

Conservative case for surveillance reform Hill briefing

Two years ago, major revelations about the National Security Agency’s massive intrusion into the lives of all Americans kickstarted a national debate about the right to privacy and …

R Street praises Michigan Senate for tackling reforms to the auto insurance system

LANSING, Mich. (April 17, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomes last night's 21 to 17 vote by the Michigan state Senate to adopt significant reforms that would …

The crackdown on naming post offices

From National Journal: "These bills are, on the one hand, pretty innocuous, but you've also got staff spending time on this. There's a lot of little scut work," says …

Reality bites the dust in new smokeless tobacco study

It’s surprising what passes for “science” in some journals today. Chemical Research in Toxicology has published a study from the University of California’s Berkeley and San Francisco campuses …

Man lands gyrocopter on Capitol lawn, wants campaign finance reform

What do you get when you cross Citizens United, an unlawful single-pilot airborne vehicle, the Postal Service and Florida? Apparently, the dude who decided to land his "gyrocopter" on …

A TWIA by any other name

As I’ve written ppreviously, Texas’ market for coastal windstorm insurance is in dire need of reform. Insurance rates for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, a state-run agency that …

Testimony to Minnesota House Committee on Taxes

My name is Alan Smith and I serve as senior fellow and Midwest director for the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit 501(c)3 institution devoted to …

Pennsylvania’s energy economy is a model for the rest of the country

President Barack Obama has been aggressively promoting the advantages of fast-track authority for his Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement by pushing a message of job creation, economic growth and …

More on hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosols

This letter was co-authored by Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health and Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, …

The IRS spent lots of cash on office furniture and toys

According to a press release from Sen. Orrin Hatch's office, the IRS has spent a boatload of taxpayer money on lots of things it really doesn't need. Now, normally, …

Is it time to rethink the congressional budget resolution?

April 15 has arrived and Congress once again has not adopted a budget resolution. It was not for lack of trying. The Senate voted for S.Con.Res.11 on March …

Coalition urges reform to milk-pricing rules

Dear Secretary Vilsack: As consumer and taxpayer organizations that represent millions of Americans, we are pleased to offer these comments in response to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Notice …

The Kafkaesque horror Of Tax Day

Congratulations! You get to pay taxes to the federal government. The upside is that you earned money. The downside is that you just realized how much of it …

Testimony on Oregon carbon-pricing proposals

My name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a non-profit, free-market think tank, headquartered in Washington, …

Gwyneth Paltrow takes SNAP challenge, fails miserably

Years ago, in need of some unintentional hilarity in my life, I signed up for Gwyneth Paltrow's "lifestyle email newsletter" called, somewhat unappetizingly, "GOOP." Since then, on a …

R Street congratulates Florida Cabinet for approving transfer of Cat Fund risk

TALLAHASSEE (April 14, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised today’s Florida Cabinet decision to allow the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to purchase $1 billion of retrocessional coverage. The …

R Street, ATR urge Gov. Brownback to veto anti-competitive ridesharing legislation

Dear Gov. Brownback, On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and the R Street Institute, we urge you to veto S.B. 117, which would burden ridesharing services with hostile …

Groups push to end NSA spying before June

From Watchdog Wire: The coalition includes a range of organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press Action Fund, DownsizeDC, TechFreedom, Fight for the …

Congress should vote to override Obama’s latest veto

Congress returns from its two-week break on Monday. If it has any respect for itself, it will promptly schedule a vote on President Obama’s most recent veto. The nixed …

R Street alarmed by FDA panel ruling on tobacco

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment and alarm at the decision by a key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel to bar Swedish …

R Street congratulates Gov. Herbert on signing insurance modernization bill  

SALT LAKE CITY (April 13, 2015) – The R Street Institute congratulated Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for today's signing of H.B. 141, which will modernize arcane insurance terms …

PTO smacks down podcasting patent troll

Notorious patent troll Personal Audio LLC did not invent adding episodic content to a webpage, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in an April 10 decision that's …

Key FDA panel votes down warning label change for snus

Swedish Match should not be allowed to alter the warning labels on its U.S. snus products to reflect evidence they are safer than cigarettes. That was the determination …

The ‘green’ tea party fights for a more environmentally friendly GOP

From Public Radio International: Summit panelists (from left): Former Texas Republican Senator and head of the Texas Clean Energy Coalition Kip Averitt, former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, Eli …

This costs less for married couples than it does for single people

From Deseret News: "Marriage really does make people more careful and responsible it isn't at all surprising that this translates into better driving behavior,” Eli Lehrer, president of nonprofit …

Fracking and quakes

Over the past decade, huge improvements in hydraulic fracturing techniques used to unlock natural gas deposits have lowered energy prices and boosted the economy. They’ve been great for …

Limited government? Four Republicans keep Alabama in state-run retail liquor business

You'd expect it from Democrats in the Alabama Senate - they've never met a state-run operation they did not want to preserve. But Republicans in the Alabama Senate? Last …

Hawaii considers bill to regulate ride-sharing…in 2112

No two states are the same. What passes for polite in New England may be considered downright abrasive in the Pacific Northwest. What a Californian finds politically correct, …

Coalition urges Congress to pull funding for the OECD

Dear Senators and Representatives: American taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize international organizations working against U.S. interests. The undersigned organizations, representing the Coalition for Tax Competition, call on …

Moving toward real water prices

Gov. Jerry Brown has taken a dramatic, but dangerous, step by issuing an executive order to cut non-agricultural water usage by 25 percent. The unprecedented and problematic step …

Plan to regulate Airbnb might lead to total deregulation in Maine

A summer trip to Maine has it all: fresh air, ample boating, moose watching, covered bridges, picturesque lighthouses, lobster rolls, blueberry pie, perhaps a visit to downtown Portland's …

Congress revives plan to collect sales tax on Internet purchases

From the Heartland Institute: R Street Executive Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan says MFA would make doing business more complex and expensive for small business owners and workers …

Diverse group of advocacy organizations, intellectual property experts come together in opposition to Florida digital goods bill

WASHINGTON – Today, a diverse group of advocacy organizations issued a joint public statement in opposition to the True Origin of Digital Goods Act being considered by the …

What the ‘zero rating’ debate reveals about net neutrality

February's vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose demanding net-neutrality rules on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has now been followed by a 300-plus-page Report and Order. Add in more …

Testimony to California Senate Health Committee

Sen. Ed Hernandez Senate Committee on Health California State Senate Re: S.B. 140 (Leno) Electronic Cigarettes Chairman Hernandez: My name is Edward Anselm and I serve as medical director for Health Republic Insurance …

Testimony on California Earthquake Authority resolution

Chairman Daly, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. R Street is …

Coalition letter to ITC over international digital data transmission

The attached letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman Meredith M. Broadbent from a coalition of 26 organizations and scholars (including R Street) critiques the commission's April 2014 …

R Street joins broad coalition to reform government surveillance

WASHINGTON (April 8, 2015) – The R Street Institute has joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and more than 30 other organizations to launch Fight215.org. This new site …

Does no one die rich in Atlanta?

Lifehacker calls attention to this two-year-old chart by Amanda Cox and Shan Carter of the New York Times graphics department, illustrating relative income mobility in various U.S. cities, …

FDA must correct snus warnings

An FDA advisory committee is meeting this week to discuss a landmark proposal to correct federal health warnings that have been misleading the public for almost 30 years. Swedish …

CEA says it’s seen no fracking-related earthquake claims

The California Earthquake Authority, the state-run insurance pool that is the primary source of residential earthquake coverage in the Golden State, says it hasn't received any claims that …

The conservative case for surveillance reform

This Wednesday, R Street is hosting a panel discussion on the looming battle over government surveillance in America. With key sections of the Patriot Act set to expire May …

Top 5 findings on the environmental harms of crop insurance subsidies

We at R Street do a lot of warning that our nation’s misguided crop insurance supports, in combination with the disastrous Renewable Fuel Standard, are distorting land and …

Patent Reform Briefing

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center — Congressional Meeting Room South

Parliament’s lone Pirate wants copyright restrictions to walk the plank

Geo-blocking is more than just an annoyance. Which is why Julia Reda, the sole member of the Pirate Party serving as a member in the European Parliament, is …

#LegalHack #CopyNight at R Street

R Street Institute

The Conservative Case for Surveillance Reform

Rayburn HOB – B354

Do we still need the Post Office?

Do you like trees? I do. Who doesn’t? So why does our government encourage private companies to chop down millions of them each year and grind them into …

Don’t let local control undermine the Texas model

Texas has always been fiercely protective of its prerogatives as a state. From challenging federal regulatory overreach in court to maintaining our own electric grid, we are willing …

Could ridesharing shift to an ad-supported business model?

(This post was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Ian Adams.) In a recent blog post, tech entrepreneur Andrew Chen discussed what a free, ad-supported service tier for …

Moylan testimony on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act

The video below features R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan in his testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations during their March …

Kansas City could make terrible ridesharing market even worse

I was in Dallas last week and used my Uber account to hire rides from Love Field to the hotel, and then back again when I was finished …

NTU urges Washington legislators to oppose House Bill 2211

From National Taxpayers Union: Before implementing this 60 percent tax, lawmakers should consider the make-up of an e-cigarette. The main ingredients that produce the water vapor—propylene glycol and glycerin—are …

Cutting defense in a time of war

Defense spending is a hot topic in Washington, with growing pressure to bust the budget caps agreed to in the Budget Control Act in 2011. With uncertainty over Russian …

Lawsuit over cable and satellite sports packages may be a bad play for fans

As major league baseball teams ready for the start of the new season this weekend, a federal court in New York is considering whether to grant class-action status …

End life tenure for federal employees

J. David Cox traveled to Selma, Ala. at the invitation of. President Barack Obama to commemorate the hallowed civil rights march. It was an honor for the president …

The West not yet fully won for ridesharing

On the heels of last week’s cross-industry compromise on insurance requirements for ride-sharing drivers, and with some legislative sessions drawing to a close, it's a good time to …

It’s time for open data in insurance

The National Association of Police Organizations is a non-profit group that represents and serves police officers, police unions and local police associations. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners …

What do conservative policy intellectuals think about climate change?

From the Grist: Eli Lehrer, president and cofounder of the R Street Institute Lehrer previously worked at the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute, then cofounded R Street as a …

British Medical Association misleads on e-cigarettes

Dr. George Rae, chairman of British Medical Association Northeast, made reckless comments about e-cigarettes in a March 31 BBC radio interview, available here. I highlight Rae’s most egregious …

What if Congress won’t do its job?

The U.S. Constitution is abundantly clear about which branch of the federal government creates our laws: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of …

Lehrer talks flood insurance on Morning Edition

R Street President Eli Lehrer joined reporter Charles Lane recently to discuss pending flood insurance rate increases on National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. The full audio of …

NSA was totally going to stop spying until Edward Snowden showed up

Edward Snowden doesn't seem to be enjoying his Russian home - word has it that he's looking to barter a plea deal with the United States in order …

PPA cautiously optimistic after RAWA hearing

From Cards Chat News: That viewpoint was represented at the hearings by Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute. Moylan provided a conservative voice on the panel …

Five thoughts: RAWA hearing, Global Poker Masters, Urbanovich and more

From Poker News: Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety, and Andrew Moylan, Executive Director of the R Street Institute served as the voices of reason. Aftab actually acknowledged that …

Net neutrality rules full of faults, R Street warns

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute expresses deep concern about this morning's announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it would expand its recently proposed …

Single-device user Hillary Clinton actually used two devices at State

Remember when Hillary Clinton stood in front of a press gaggle at the United Nations and claimed that she used her personal email in order to simplify her …

Recap of RAWA House subcommittee hearing and what it means for igaming

From JD Supra: Some balance was introduced by Andrew Moylan, Executive Director of R Street, who strongly argued that RAWA would be dangerous precedent which substitutes the judgment of …

Biased witnesses give testimony at RAWA hearing

From Online Casino Reports: The other two witnesses were more subjective on the issue of RAWA. These were WiredSafety executive director Parry Aftab and R Street Institute executive director …

Letter on Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code reform

The Honorable Kevin Eltife Chairman, Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee Texas State Capitol Austin, TX 78711 Dear Chairman Eltife: My name is Josiah Neeley, and I am Texas director of the R …

NAIC rises above ‘No Action Is Contemplated’ on ride-sharing

Regular attendees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' thrice-yearly meetings are known to joke that NAIC actually stands for “No Action Is Contemplated.” At the group’s latest meeting …

How age, gender and marital status affect your car insurance

From the Huffington Post: Eli Lehrer, president of the nonprofit research group The R Street Institute, says, "Marriage really does make people more careful and responsible... it isn't at …

RAWA gets a hearing but supporters’ testimonies failed to impress committee members

From OnlineCasino.org: Another testifier, Andrew Moylan, the Executive Director of R Street Institute, a free-market research, and consultancy firm, voiced his opinion that allowing the introduction of RAWA is …

Five best ideas of the day: March 30

From Time: 3. With an eye on the White House, politicians won’t admit it, but the ethanol mandate is terrible policy. By Josiah Neeley in the American Conservative …

Moylan on the Heartland Daily Podcast

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan recently joined Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of the Heartland Institute's Budget & Tax News, for a discussion of recently reintroduced proposals to …

How Gov. Bentley stopped being a conservative on taxes

First came his signing of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 2010, which reads: "I, Robert Bentley, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of Alabama, that I will …

The U.S. Postal Service’s existential problem

The U.S. Postal Service has an existential problem. For five years, the agency has flirted with insolvency. It has $15 billion in debt, its statutory maximum. According to …

Rise in government insurance rates to mirror rising waters, flood debt

From the Washington Post: “In general it’s a move in the right direction,” said Eli Lehrer, president the R Street Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, but doesn’t go …

CDC testimony to the Senate Committee on Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee

The attached written testimony was submitted by the Congressional Data Coalition to the Senate Committee on Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee regarding appropriations for open government data as part …

Ethanol isn’t the only renewable fuel source Iowans love

When people think of Iowa, they almost instantly think of corn. Iowa is the nation's largest producer of the stuff, and also has become famous (or infamous) for …

Last call for Alabama’s state-run retail liquor operations

In the 21st century, why does the State of Alabama need to be in the liquor business? Frankly, that is the question state legislators need to consider, and Sen. …

RAWA hearing falls short on facts – leaves questions on state rights

From NJ Poker Online: The two witnesses that helped to actually put a negative spin on RAWA were Parry Aftab and Andrew Moylan. Aftab is an attorney that specializes …

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 …

Online gambling: Rolling the dice on Congress

From Barron's: The bill’s critics talk about the Constitution and benefits of state regulation. Andrew Moylan, executive director of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, cautioned that …

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 …

Transferring risk is good for Citizens

Claiming that the purchase of private reinsurance is a “gift” to offshore reinsurers that somehow harms Florida consumers is wrong (“Foes see ‘gift’ to reinsurers in plan for …

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. …

Kirk offers bill to lessen impacts on small business

From E&E News: "Congress' mostly hands-off approach to regulation has ceded a huge amount of its lawmaking authority to the executive branch, often with deleterious consequences," R Street senior …

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 …

Fifth witness added to RAWA hearing

From Poker News Daily: The new panelist is Andrew Moylan, the Executive Director of the R Street Institute, which is, according to its website, a non-partisan think-tank whose mission …

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 …

United for Patent Reform coalition letter on the STRONG Act

The undersigned members of United for Patent Reform (UPR) have formed a broad coalition of diverse American businesses to pursue comprehensive solutions to abusive patent litigation. We write …

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 …

RISK: N.C. lawmakers seek public money for megastorms as coastal population surges

From ClimateWire: "It definitely would increase the risk to North Carolina, to taxpayers who are ultimately the guarantors of all of this," said Ray Lehmann, a senior fellow with …

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 …

Statement on e-cigarettes at FDA workshop

The attached statement on e-cigarette regulation was delivered by R Street Senior Fellow Dr. Joel Nitzkin to the March 9, 2015 FDA workshop in Hyattsville, Md. …

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 …

THR statement to Preventive Medicine 2015 conference

The attached statement on tobacco harm reduction was delivered by R Street Senior Fellow Dr. Joel Nitzkin to the Preventive Medicine 2015 conference in Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. …

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 …

Categories

Locations

Events

Categories

Tags

Tags

My Bookings

My Bookings

Locations

Categories

Tags

My Bookings

Events

Events

Locations

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 …

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

Innovation Policy

RESTORE Act

Internet Sales Tax

Sharing Economy

Telecom

Governance

Income Mobility

Digital Privacy

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …