Ben Carnes

Ukraine is silently leading a digital currency revolution

There’s a witticism sometimes used among Ukrainians: “may you be forced to survive only on your official salary.” The quip is both a tongue-in-cheek nod to the endemic …

Florida lawmakers weigh streamlining short-term-rental rules statewide

New legislation introduced in the Florida Legislature would establish a framework that does away with the hodgepodge of regulations governing vacation rentals across the state. The most publicized aspect …

Zero rating pricing increases innovation and competition

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2017) – Though opposed by many net-neutrality advocates, allowing certain types of data usage to be priced differently could be a positive step that leads …

R Street Praises Reintroduction of Bill to Encourage Private Flood Insurance

WASHINGTON (March 8, 2017) — The R Street Institute today welcomed the reintroduction of legislation that would help create a more robust private market of flood-insurance products to …

Anglosphere nations offer models to rein in executive overreach

WASHINGTON (Mar. 2, 2017) – If Congress and President Donald Trump want to address the ever-growing power of the executive branch to issue orders and regulations, Australia, Canada, …

Jersey’s new ridesharing law should put New York on notice

With Gov. Chris Christie’s signing of legislation outlining a regulatory framework for ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, New Jersey became the 36th state to legalize and …

‘Internet of things’ holds promise, creates security challenges

WASHINGTON (Feb. 16, 2017) – The growth of the internet of things – a term that encapsulates everything from networked medical devices and kitchen appliances, to automated homes …

R Street welcomes bill to rein in Texas hail claims

AUSTIN, Texas  (Feb. 13, 2017) – The R Street Institute welcomes today's introduction of S.B. 10, legislation to rein in the disturbing growth in Texas hail-related litigation. Sponsored by …

‘Heat not burn’ products hold promise for harm reduction

WASHINGTON (Feb. 9, 2017) – “Heat not burn” (HNB) products, which heat tobacco rather than incinerating it at temperatures that cause many harmful chemicals to form, represent a …

New York is rightly moving to reduce barriers for companies such as Uber and Lyft

With this week's passage of legislation in the New York Senate aimed at allowing ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate upstate—until now, state laws have limited …

Nuclear’s value doesn’t justify intervening to ‘save’ it

WASHINGTON (Feb. 7, 2017) – Though market forces and external regulatory factors have combined to retire roughly 10 percent of the American nuclear power fleet, the facts don't …

Florida Legislature should seize opportunity to enact needed insurance reforms

WASHINGTON (Feb. 3, 2017) – Florida is unusually well-positioned to enact reforms that would address the artificial cost inflation created in the state's property insurance and workers' comp …

R Street Institute announces addition of C. Jarrett Dieterle

WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2016) – The R Street Institute is pleased to welcome C. Jarrett Dieterle as governance project fellow, working alongside R Street Governance Policy Director Kevin …

R Street Institute hires Ian Adams as senior fellow on insurance and next generation transportation

WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2016) – The R Street Institute has announced the addition of Ian Adams as senior fellow, responsible for overseeing matters related to insurance and next …

Video: Orange County short-term rentals panel

Internet-based short-term rental companies such as Airbnb have built a burgeoning industry connecting homeowners with vacationers, who rent out rooms or entire houses for short-term stays. It’s a …

New study: Eight tobacco harm reduction proposals for the government

WASHINGTON (Jan. 31, 2016) – The federal government’s decision to regulate all nicotine products without regard for the amount of harm they cause will ultimately be detrimental to …

Earmark ban and rise of ‘lettermarking’ could be detrimental to transparency

WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2016) – While earmarks were an easy target for those looking to reduce government spending, banning them has led members of Congress to secure funds …

The Nebraska internet sales tax…comes for you!

P.J. O’Rourke once snarkily noted that the American tax code was clearly designed by “A” students, as “every April 15, we have to pay somebody who got an …

Competitive electricity markets promise economic and environmental benefits

WASHINGTON (Jan. 24, 2016) – Over the past two decades, some states have transitioned their electricity markets away from the traditional regulated monopoly model and toward competitive markets …

Online Eye Care Offerings Promise Consumer Choice, Face Regulatory Hurdles

WASHINGTON (Jan. 12, 2016) – The contact lens market represents a microcosm of the regulatory impediments that continue to face online medical retailers, with incumbent businesses seeking to …

R Street applauds introduction of Email Privacy Act

WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2017) – The R Street Institute welcomes today's introduction by Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., of legislation to update and modernize the …

R Street study: Swap the corporate income tax for a fee on carbon

WASHINGTON (Dec. 23, 2016) – As the 115th Congress prepares to tackle corporate tax reform in 2017, a new study from the R Street Institute finds that the …

Private cyber insurance capable of managing most risks

WASHINGTON (Dec. 15, 2016) – Cyber vulnerability is a growing source of significant risk for both the public and private sectors that has prompted a market for insurance …

2016 Insurance Regulation Report Card Released Today

WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2016) – For the second year in a row, the R Street Institute finds that Vermont has the best regulatory system for insurance and that …

R Street comments on surgeon general’s report on e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2016) – The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General today released its first ever report on e-cigarettes and nicotine vapor devices. While the R Street …

Kevin Kosar on Federal News Radio: How do we draw a line between government information and propaganda?

Governance Project director Kevin Kosar discussed executive branch propaganda with Federal News Radio's Tom Temin. Their conversation focused on the new R Street Institute report, Government Information and Propaganda: …

Changes to WIC eligibility have led to poorly targeted program

WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2016) – Changes in methodology used to determine eligibility for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, have …

R Street Institute statement on HUD plan to make all public housing smoke-free

WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2016) – The R Street Institute welcomes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's plan to require the nation's 3,100 Public Housing Agencies to …

Fight for $15? New study finds minimum wage increase would cost millions of jobs

WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2016) – With “Fight for $15” protests planned for today in 340 cities, a new R Street Institute policy study—co-authored by R Street associate fellow …

Panel Video: Legislative Reform: Then and Now

In the early 1970s, Congress found itself overpowered by the executive branch. In response, it reorganized, resuming power over budgeting and augmenting legislative support agencies. This was a …

R Street, CEI and TechFreedom ask NHTSA to revise autonomous vehicle guidance

WASHINGTON (Nov. 22, 2016) – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's should revise its recently issued safety guidelines for self-driving cars to improve their transparency and clarify that …

Vapescore Report Ranks American Cities on Vaping Regulations

WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2016) – As e-cigarettes and other nicotine-vapor products grow in popularity, state and local jurisdictions that rely extensively on the revenues produced by cigarettes taxes …

R Street encouraged by FTC proposal to improve portability under Contact Lens Rule

WASHINGTON (Nov. 10, 2016) - The R Street Institute is encouraged by the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed updates to the Contact Lens Rule. The decade-old rule was crafted …

R Street Welcomes Bill Legalizing Ridesharing in Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2016) – The R Street Institute welcomes Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to sign S.B. 984 into law, at last legalizing ridesharing across the entire …

Report: Congress needs to examine rules for federal propaganda

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2016) – The federal government’s widespread use of advertising – a frequently ignored budget line-item – and other forms of communication carry significant implications for …

R Street Criticizes New York’s Anti-Airbnb Law

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent signing of a New York State law that institutes a fine of between $1,000 and $7,500 for posting a property on a short-term …

“Third Wave” of tech companies need to be more engaged in the regulatory process

The arrival of what AOL founder Steve Case dubbed the “Third Wave” of internet companies will require revisiting the discussion of how tech companies will need to interact …

Free-market groups recommend changes to California self-driving vehicle rules

WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2016) – The R Street Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, TechFreedom and the International Center for Law & Economics joined today in submitting comments to the …

Consumers would benefit from reduced insurance licensing burdens

WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2016) – As policymakers at both the state and federal level examine ways to streamline and repeal burdensome occupational licensing laws, they should look at …

With state law still stalled, Lyft and Uber ordered to shut down in Philly

Most Americans are at least vaguely familiar with the Christmas Truce of 1914. Occurring during the early stages of World War I, the inspirational tale of a tenuous …

Study: Where have all the nuclear plants gone?

WASHINGTON (Oct. 6, 2016) – With nearly 10 percent of the U.S. nuclear-energy fleet either closed or scheduled to close, a new R Street policy study by R …

R Street urges Congress to reject protectionist reinsurance legislation

WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2016) – The R Street Institute responded to this week's introduction by Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., and Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., of H.R. …

Pokémon Go: Regulatory Testbed for Augmented and Virtual Reality

WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2016) – As augmented and virtual reality technologies grow in popularity, they raise new questions about how regulatory frameworks will adapt to concerns over safety, …

R Street encouraged by Senate decision not to block internet governance transition

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2016) -- The R Street Institute responded to today's passage by the U.S. Senate of a continuing resolution without language to delay the transition of …

New study calls for free-market environmental stewardship

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2016) – Though current policies restricting the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases tend to expand the size of government dramatically, a new …

R Street supports introduction of Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2016) – The R Street Institute supports today's introduction of H.R. 6196, the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act, sponsored by Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Earl …

Report: Corporate income tax is burdensome and ineffective

WASHINGTON (Sept. 22, 2016) – The corporate income tax enjoys overwhelming popular support, even from many who traditionally favor lower taxes. Unfortunately, the policy is so popular largely …

Study on smoking’s damage to DNA underscores need for cessation options

New research on the effects of smoking is capturing the internet’s attention today – a million people are discussing it and it is a top-trending subject on Facebook …

R Street sees NHTSA guidance on self-driving cars as positive step

WASHINGTON (Sept. 20, 2016) – The R Street Institute responded to this morning's release of guidance from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety …

Defending America’s grids from emerging threats

WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2016) – America’s electrical grid serves an irreplaceable, central role in the national economy. However, the grid’s vital importance also makes it a potential vulnerability, …

Strengthening congressional oversight of the intelligence community

Report: Strengthening congressional oversight of the intelligence community

WASHINGTON (Sept. 13, 2016) – A coalition consisting of the R Street Institute, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks has jointly released a report featuring a …

R Street welcomes decision in 9th Circuit CDA case

The R Street Institute welcomes today's decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a lower-court finding that Yelp! Inc. was not liable for negative business …

R Street responds to bill forgiving flood program’s debt

WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2016) -- The R Street Institute responded to today's introduction by House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., of legislation to forgive the …

Reforming America’s farm supports without hurting midsized farms

WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2016) – While the American agricultural landscape has changed dramatically over the past century, the federal farm support system still largely reflects an outdated view …

R Street Institute names David Bahr media relations manager

WASHINGTON (Sept. 7, 2016) – The R Street Institute has announced the addition of David Bahr as media relations manager. Before joining R Street, David served as assistant literary …

Competition is the Key to a Better Electricity System

WASHINGTON (Aug. 30, 2016) – Efforts to introduce competition into the electricity industry through organized wholesale markets operated by independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) …

From congressional bootleggers to Beltway booze bans

Fans of the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire will no doubt recall the series' many Prohibition-era scenes featuring high-level politicians rubbing elbows with bootleggers and openly imbibing in private, …

R Street Institute responds to Goodlatte internet sales tax proposal

WASHINGTON (Aug. 25, 2016) – The R Street Institute responded to today’s introduction of draft legislation by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. The “Online Sales Simplification …

California’s misguided anti-vaping measure will harm public health

WASHINGTON (Aug. 25, 2016) – California’s ballot initiative Proposition 56, which would increase the state’s cigarette tax by $2 a pack and apply comparable levels of taxation to …

R Street Institute Hires Arthur Rizer as Justice Policy Director

WASHINGTON (Aug. 22, 2016) – The R Street Institute today announced the addition of Arthur Rizer as justice policy director and senior fellow. Before joining R Street, Arthur was …

New FEMA Regulations Will Better Protect Americans from Flooding

WASHINGTON – A coalition of unlikely allies are supporting a proposed rule announced Friday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Organizations representing professional floodplain managers, insurance companies, fiscal conservatives …

Fixing Congress Through More Powerful Committees?

WASHINGTON (Aug. 17, 2016) – In addition to being viewed negatively by a record number of Americans, Congress increasingly is shifting from a body that generates and develops …

An Appeal for a Conservative Approach to Conservation

WASHINGTON (August 11, 2016) – Although environmental conservation is a fundamentally conservative principle, modern conservatives have ceded the debate to the political left, according to a new policy …

R Street responds to DOJ review of ASCAP and BMI consent decrees

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4, 2016) – Following a two-year review of the antitrust consent decrees that govern coordinated action by the major performing rights organizations the American Society of …

R Street adds Sasha Moss as technology policy fellow

WASHINGTON (Aug. 2, 2016) – The R Street Institute announced today it has added Sasha Moss as technology policy fellow. Sasha previously served as counsel to U.S. Rep. …

California’s Coal Divestment Initiative Puts Politics before Good Policy

WASHINGTON (July 26, 2016) –The California Department of Insurance’s recently announced “Climate Risk Carbon Initiative,” which calls for insurers who operate in the state to divest “voluntarily” from …

Time to pass long-term ridesharing reforms in Pa.

"Never laugh at live dragons," warns the protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, a reminder to avoid premature celebrations before an adventure has truly ended. It's a timely …

Insurance Subsidies Exacerbate Climate Change Risks

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2016) – Years of government involvement in property insurance markets have led to artificially low rates that mask the true risk of living in regions …

Demand Response Promises More Competition and Reliability

WASHINGTON (July 19, 2016) – Demand response (DR) – a system under which customers are able to reduce their electricity usage in exchange for compensation – promises a …

MEDIA ADVISORY: R Street’s Catrina Rorke to address conservative sustainability forum

CLEVELAND (July 15, 2016) – R Street Energy Policy Director Catrina Rorke will highlight conservatives' record in promoting sound environmental policies that advance clear, predictable, market-oriented results, as …

R Street hires Ryan Call as Central Region director

WASHINGTON (July 7, 2016) – The R Street Institute announced today that it has hired Ryan Call as senior fellow and Central Region director, a role in which …

Due Process Act Promises Necessary Civil-Asset Forfeiture Reform

WASHINGTON (July 5, 2016) – H.R. 5283, also known as the Due Process Act, would implement necessary reforms to federal civil asset-forfeiture procedure, and marks the latest the commendable …

Taxpayers Subsidies Don’t ‘Feed the World’

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2016) – Recent debates over the structure and extent of the federal farm-support system have been governed by romanticized notions of the role American farmers …

Some U.S. doctors buck health authorities to recommend e-cigarettes in clinical practice

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2016) – The rapid rise in popularity of e-cigarettes and other nicotine vapor devices has led some American doctors to begin to incorporate them into …

Policymakers should focus on ways to encourage the gig economy to grow

WASHINGTON (June 22, 2016) – Contrary to claims both from critics and supporters of the so-called "sharing economy," there is little to no evidence the United States is …

R Street adds Rebecca Coffman as media director

The R Street Institute announced today it has enhanced its communications team with the addition of Rebecca Coffman to serve in the newly created role of media director. Rebecca …

Gov. Cuomo needs to veto terrible short-term-rental bill

Forces aligned against short-term rentals are on the cusp of victory in their battle to harm the ability of spacesharing services like Airbnb and HomeAway to conduct business …

 ICYMI: Gov. Cuomo needs to veto terrible short-term-rental bill

Forces aligned against short-term rentals are on the cusp of victory in their battle to harm the ability of spacesharing services like Airbnb and HomeAway to conduct business …

MEDIA ADVISORY: 2014 Farm Bill Didn’t  Produce ‘Savings’ for Taxpayers

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2016) – The 2014 farm bill's projected "savings" in federal spending on agriculture programs have evaporated completely in the two years since the bill was …

Arizona flips the narrative, legalizes spacesharing statewide

Did you see the one in which the terrorist organization recruits a kid to destroy a government facility, killing millions of innocent bureaucrats in the process? What about …

Can E-Cigarettes Survive The War Against Vaping?

Joel Nitzkin, former cochair of the Tobacco Control Task Force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, who is now a fellow at a free-market think tank …

The government crackdown is here: What the FDA regulations mean for e-cigarettes

“If the FDA’s current approach is implemented, producers would be required to remove every single product from the market and submit expensive and burdensome applications for the chance …

Experts Savage FDA’s Most Recent Claim That Killing 99% Of An Industry Spurs ‘Innovation’

“In order to preserve this growing market and allow continued innovation in the vapor-product industry, it’s essential that Congress act to amend the grandfather date set out in …

R Street Institute Commends Passage of H.R. 2901

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2016) – The R Street Institute today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for its passage of H.R. 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and …

Less than 10% of Farmers Would Feel Effects of Cap on Premium Subsidies

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2016) – Less than 10 percent of farms that plant major cash crops in some of the largest farm states would feel the impact of …

Dear Philadelphia, Uber isn’t ISIS

One of the most disappointing aspects of being involved in politics is the tone one consistently encounters. Differing opinions are rarely given the benefit of the doubt. Do you …

R Street Institute welcomes Uber settlements in California, Massachusetts

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2016) – Concluding a legal battle that began last year, ridesharing company Uber announced it will pay $100 million to settle two class-action lawsuits initiated …

Realizing Texas’ Clean Energy Potential

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2016) – Texas’ solar-power potential outpaces that of nearly every other state. But according to a new R Street policy brief, that potential remains largely …

Regulatory Dark Matter: Why Regulatory Reform Efforts Must Address Interpretive Rules

WASHINGTON (April 12, 2016) – While increased national debate surrounding regulatory reform is commendable, recent discussions have focused largely on the traditional rulemaking process that includes publication in …

Iowa’s ridesharing bill is good for bankers, bad for Iowans

When I was a child, the notion of “staying up all night” was a sort of Holy Grail. In my elementary school-aged mind, successfully doing so was tantamount …

‘Raising the age’ in Michigan would offer economic, public safety benefits

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2016) – In most states, individuals aren't generally tried in criminal courts as adults until they reach age 18. A new R Street study from …

Why Congress is Best Positioned to Craft Music Licensing Reform

WASHINGTON (May 5, 2016) – Debate over how best to reform the United States’ music licensing system has increased, following the Department of Justice’s recent inquiry into the …

Nevada net energy metering reform is cautionary tale for states

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2016) — Increased consumer adoption of renewable-energy technologies has led to a rise in public utilities’ use of net energy metering (NEM), a model under which …

Reforms should put control of retirement-savings back in employees’ hands

WASHINGTON (March 24, 2016) —  As a growing number of Americans take part in the so-called “gig economy,” in which a single worker may simultaneously fill part-time and …

Amid Airbnb debates, Arizona offers sensible solutions

Ronald Reagan famously summed up the federal government’s view of the economy as, “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, …

Flawed ridesharing bill moving in Massachusetts

Consider a world in which your morning commute and the afternoon drive to drop your children at soccer practice each required a separate license from your state government. …

New Report: Opposition to Free Basics plan in India is shortsighted

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2016) – February's victory by net-neutrality activists to shut down Facebook’s Free Basics initiative in India might kill the country's best near-term hope to address …

Congress should consider federal anti-SLAPP protections, new paper finds

WASHINGTON (March 3, 2016) — Congress should examine ways to extend the protections afforded by state-level laws against "SLAPPs" – strategic lawsuits against public participation – to the federal …

R Street commends House committee for expanding private flood insurance options

WASHINGTON (March 2, 2016) — The R Street Institute today commended the House Financial Services Committee for its markup of H.R.2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, …

Federal EITC should reflect cost-of-living disparities across U.S. cities

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2016) – The Earned Income Tax Credit has been shown to be an effective incentive to work, but those benefits are lost in cities with higher …

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