Eli Lehrer

Lawmakers should accept that the Census Bureau needs more money

Not without reason, conservatives bring attention to many federal policies and programs that bring Washington bureaucrats into areas best handled by states, localities or the private sector. On …

Where R Street stands on birth control issues

The following post was co-authored by R Street Policy Analyst Caroline Kitchens. After R Street Policy Analyst Caroline Kitchens, who co-wrote this post, wrote about birth control access in …

Confederate statues in U.S. Capitol must go

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. At the top of the U.S. Capitol stands the statue of Freedom Triumphant, the work of …

Faulty program exposed by this year’s storms

Nearly 50 years ago, Congress made big promises when it established the National Flood Insurance Program. But with this year’s bad hurricane season sending the already indebted program, called …

Putting men back to work

The attached policy study was co-authored by Catherine Moyer, a human-resources strategist living in Northern Virginia. It originally appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of National Affairs. Perhaps the …

Letter: We Support Stronger and Tougher Flood-Ready Infrastructure Standards

September 7, 2017 Dear Mr. Cohn, Mr. Mulvaney and Mr. Bossert: On behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the R Street Institute, we are writing to express our support …

Taxpayers will pay a high price for loss of flood protection standards

The following op-ed was co-authored by Robert Moore, a senior analyst in the Water Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers …

With businessmen in the White House, an unimpressive record

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump made much of his success as a businessman. While investors have often lost money on ventures with him, there’s no doubt he …

How messaging smart flood planning as ‘climate’ policy led to its demise

When a bunch of reporters called me to discuss President Donald Trump’s decision to turn back Obama-era flood protection standards, I was happy to criticize the administration, because …

Unemployment numbers are not a hoax; they also don’t tell the whole story

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump called unemployment numbers “one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics” and claimed that the “real” unemployment rate might exceed …

America’s upper middle class problem

Richard Reeves’ new book "The Dream Hoarders" (Brookings, 2017) forwards a thesis that should disturb all Americans who hold professional or managerial jobs. A Brookings Institution scholar and …

An Open Letter to Congress: Taxpaying Travelers Deserve Better – Modernize Air Traffic Control!

Dear Member of Congress: As Congress prepares to craft a comprehensive FAA reauthorization package, lawmakers have numerous opportunities to improve the nation’s aviation infrastructure without burdening taxpayers. We, the …

Remarks on the fifth anniversary of R Street

Let me start by saying “thank you” to Caroline Kitchens and Patricia Simon for their hard work in organizing this party. If you’re having a good time, thank …

Five years of R Street

Five years ago today, Deborah Bailin, Christian Cámara, Julie Drenner, R.J. Lehmann, Alan Smith and I resigned our jobs at the Heartland Institute over a horrifically ill-advised billboard advertisement and …

Letter: ABLE 2.0 extends vital lifeline to families with special needs children

On behalf of the groups we represent and their members, we write to you in strong support of the ABLE Financial Planning Act (H.R. 1897), the ABLE to …

Letter: Support policies encouraging smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives

Dear Administrator Gottlieb, We the undersigned organizations dedicated to improving public health and reducing taxpayers’ burden through innovation, congratulate you on your confirmation to chair the Food and Drug …

Let’s enable parents of special-needs kids to set money aside for lifetime care

My 10-year-old son, Andrew, loves his iPad, McDonald’s cheeseburgers with no pickles, walks in the woods and Disney’s Pocahontas. Since he was two, my wife and I have …

A conservative looks at climate change

My name is Eli Lehrer. I grew up in a home with a Ronald Reagan doormat, a stream of progressive direct mail and a regular parade of leftist …

Letter: Support private flood insurance as an alternative to NFIP

Dear Members of Congress, On behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations and taxpayer advocates, we write to encourage you strongly to support efforts to promote the availability of private …

Fixing California’s bloated sex-offender registry

R Street just signed a letter calling for commonsense reform of the California sex-offender registry, based on a bill proposed by our friend and Legislative Advisory Board member …

The rise of vaping has nothing to do with ‘big tobacco’

There are reasonable debates to be had about the role e-cigarettes can and should play when it comes to harm reduction and public health. Some public-health advocates see …

Let ex-offenders hold a job

Getting a job can be a particular challenge for those who have a criminal record. Surveys by the Kauffman Foundation find that between 60 and 75 percent of …

Coalition to National Economic Council: Don’t repeal Executive Order 13690, the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)

Dear Mr. Gary Cohn: Our organizations represent reinsurance businesses, civil engineers, and fiscal conservatives. We are deeply concerned by reports that the Administration may be considering repeal of Executive …

Why infrastructure spending is not as simple as it seems

In a deeply divided America, infrastructure investment appears to be a rare area of political consensus. Donald Trump called for a major road-and-bridge program in his victory speech. …

Fixing the power grid through open markets and new technologies

The following op-ed was co-authored by Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, a national business organization. The electric power system makes our modern, mobile, information-age economy possible. But it …

Comments to Taiwan Health Promotion Administration regarding the Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act

We are an American physician with a background in health benefits management and smoking cessation and the head of an influential U.S.-based think tank, the R Street Institute, …

Will Trump follow in the footsteps of other very wealthy presidents?

President Donald Trump has a big ego, to say the least. Before taking office, he loved nothing more than flying around in his private jetliner, talking about his …

How to modernize labor law

The attached policy study was co-authored by Andrew Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union and a senior fellow at Columbia University. It appeared first in the …

It’s time for real innovation in U.S. labor law

Over the next few days, I am sure there will be a fair amount of ink spilled over Andy Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump's designate to be secretary of …

Memo for media and Hill staff on surgeon-general’s e-cigarette report

To: Media and congressional staff From: Clive Bates, The Counterfactual and Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute Re: Office of the Surgeon General’s forthcoming report on e-cigarettes On Thursday, …

Four ways a President Trump could actually help the Climate

President-elect Donald Trump obviously doesn’t have very many fans on the environmental left. And he has said things about climate change that don’t jibe with reality. There are …

The burgeoning air-taxi industry

Having a private plane is one of the key perks of the rich. Donald Trump makes much of his personal 757, while Leonardo DiCaprio received well-deserved criticism for …

Sex offender registries need reform

Twenty-five years ago, with activist Patty Wetterling by his side, Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson signed America's first law establishing a public registry system for sex offenders. The law, …

Do Less Harm: The vapid opposition to vaping

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hates e-cigarettes. The devices, he says, are little more than an evil plot, "the new frontier in tobacco companies' quest to get kids addicted …

Energy Subsidies: End them all!

R Street, along with our friends and allies at Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense, have put out a new letter on tax extenders as …

Do Less Harm: The vapid opposition to vaping

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hates e-cigarettes. The devices, he says, "are little more than an evil plot, the new frontier in tobacco companies' quest to get kids addicted …

Waivers can fix out-of-date federal labor laws

The following op-ed was co-authored by Andrew Stern, former president of Service Employees International Union and a senior fellow at Columbia University. Few relationships in America suffer as unnecessarily thanks …

Letter to Mitch Zeller on FDA e-cigarette rules

The attached letter was co-authored by Clives Bates, director of The Counterfactual.  We were pleased when, in a May 2015 interview in The New York Times, you called for …

Marking kids for life on sex offender registries

The following op-ed was co-authored by Nicole Pittman, director of the Center on Youth Registration Reform, and Stacie Rumenap, president of Stop Child Predators. For decades, our country has been putting …

Science Committee broadens witch hunt against nonprofits

The U.S. House Science Committee has subpoenaed the head of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the presidents of some other left-of-center advocacy groups like Greenpeace to testify …

Under control, for now

Is crime spiraling out of control in America? Are we letting too many dangerous people out of prison and jail? Is the nation retreating from the policies that …

Upward mobility in the on-demand economy

The following remarks were delivered at the June 29, 2016 R Street event "Boost or Barrier? Upward mobility in the on-demand economy." The mutual-fund prospectuses that I quickly direct …

Paths not taken

If angst, lovesickness, and ennui alone made for half-decent poetry, just about every moody high school student would be in the running for the Pulitzer Prize. Although strong …

The future of work

The attached policy study appeared in the Summer 2016 edition of National Affairs.  In recent years, more than a few Americans in public life have spoken of a revolutionary …

Will we ever really get flying cars?

If you listen to some entrepreneurs and investors, the flying car – a longstanding staple of science fiction – is right around the corner. Working prototypes exist. At …

Comments on the supplemental guidelines for juvenile registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

We, the undersigned organizations, represent a diverse and bipartisan alliance called “Just Kids.” Our national coalition is made up of legal experts, child advocates, juvenile justice policy experts, …

The best solution for ‘wicked’ environmental problems

Some environmentalists claim that more environmental protection always or almost always is a means to a stronger economy. That’s silly. Digging coal out of the ground, burning natural gas …

Turnabout is still foul play in politically motivated subpoena fight

House Republicans’ recently announced effort to probe the activities of environmental groups and foundations like the Rockefeller Family Fund and Union of Concerned Scientists is wrong. And it’s wrong for almost …

FDA moves to kill e-cigarettes

If Congress has any self-respect or desire to preserve its own prerogatives, it needs to overturn the FDA's new proposed regulations on e-cigarettes. The regulations, announced last week, would …

Environmentalists’ attack on free speech

I'm a former employee of the Competitive Enterprise Institute who disagrees with the organization's take on the subject of climate change. I'm nonetheless outraged that CEI now faces …

Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill? Hell yeah

Harriet Tubman is a good choice to replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. Jackson, the first Democratic president, is exactly the sort of overheated, …

Treat kids like kids until 18

The following oped was coauthored by Marcy Mistrett, chief executive officer at the Campaign for Youth Justice. The state Senate should be ashamed of itself. For the second time in …

People deserve second chances, even in the insurance industry

Two years ago, the online health-insurance broker and human-resources portal Zenefits hired an insurance agent with a criminal record. Now the San Francisco Chronicle is attacking the firm …

Cyber Insurance: A functioning free market

When a few high-profile hacking incidents hit household-name firms like Target and Home Depot in 2014 and 2015, some in the insurance industry – and more than a …

Trump recommends the cutting edge in failed 1980s urban renewal

In a March 21 chat with the Washington Post's editorial board, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump offered his vision for how to turn around the fortunes of struggling …

Juveniles don’t belong on the sex-offender registry

At the age of 17, Mark O. of Grand Rapids, Mich., got his then 15-year old girlfriend pregnant. Taking responsibility for his actions and agreeing to provide support, …

Justice for Juniors: How should courts deal with kids and crime?

How should we treat children who get into trouble with the law? For more than a century, American attitudes have shifted between sometimes-wild extremes. Between the 1970s and early …

Dealing with children in trouble

This piece was co-authored by Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. Since officials in Cook County, Illinois established the nation’s first juvenile courts 117 years ago, …

Heroin in Ithaca

Ithaca, New York—an Ivy League town that proudly styles itself America's "most enlightened city"—provides a home for plenty of unusual ideas from the political left. The most recent …

Why scientists shouldn’t make laws

A century from now, the great evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould may be best-remembered for his 1997 essay “Nonoverlapping Magisteria.” In it, Gould argues …

Fixing South Dakota’s offender registries

My name is Eli Lehrer and I’m here to testify on H.B. 1244. I am president of the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank headquartered in Washington. I …

You’ll never guess who’s targeting federal disaster spending

Politicians of both parties have learned in recent decades the perils of being seen handling a disaster poorly — as was the case with George W. Bush following …

A cost curve that bent way down

Warby Parker is the most celebrated of the online optical shops upending the traditional eyeglass business. In a market where the average price for a pair of prescription …

Comments to NCUA on association common bonds

Dear Mr. Poliquin, My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank committed to finding real solutions to public-policy problems. I …

No, the rest of the world doesn’t use ‘single payer’

There’s plenty of reason for free marketers to be skeptical of proposals, like the ones emanating from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and hinted at by Republican Donald …

New and Improved: The late medieval epic gets an English update

To the medieval Europeans who built magnificent cathedrals and oversaw the greatest flowering of Western culture since Rome, few stories had more resonance than that of Troilus and …

Reform the sex-offender registry

In 1972, at the age of 21, Phillip Garrido had his first arrest. The charge: sexual assault of a minor. Four years later, he kidnapped and raped Katherine …

Rethinking sex-offender registries

The attached was published originally in National Affairs Issue Number 26 - Winter 2016.   As they bicycled and scootered back to their homes from a trip to the local …

Practicing what we preach on smoking cessation

R Street’s work on tobacco harm reduction matters a great deal to us. On these matters, we’ve taken a position different from many other libertarian groups. It might …

Opening comments at ‘The Politics of Star Wars’ event

My name is Eli Lehrer. I'm president of the R Street Institute and I'd like to welcome all of you to our offices. I'm also a huge Star Wars …

An unrealistic smoking ban

The regulations proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development described in the Nov. 13 Federal Eye column, “Plan to snuff smoking in public housing” [The Fed Page], …

Public housing smoking bans won’t work

While the Sun is right to draw attention to the significant health dangers of cigarette smoking, your editorial's implication that the experience of existing public housing authorities in …

Remarks prepared for Re:Create Coalition briefing

In the sweaty summer of 1787, our Founding Fathers created the oldest working written constitution in the world. This document, as those of us on the political right …

Feds to punish public-housing tenants for smoking in their own apartments

Sometime in the next two years, if Obama administration bureaucrats get their way, public-housing tenants who smoke in their own apartments will face sanctions, fines and perhaps even …

Study: E-Cig bans on minors lead to higher smoking rates

As electronic cigarettes have proliferated and spawned a sub-culture of their own—vape shops, chai-latte-flavored vaping fluid and even the "sport" of cloud chasing—few policies have seemed as intuitive …

Right reform for the prison system

As recently as 1990, America’s federal prison system contained too few inmates and sent many serious criminals away for sentences that were too short. In recent years, however, …

Support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

We are writing to voice our support for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S.2123). As conservative and faith-based organizations, we applaud your thoughtful deliberations resulting …

Keep kids off the sex-offender registry

It’s time to rethink the wisdom of including juveniles on sex-offender registries. There is abundant evidence—reviewed in a new paper from my organization—that the social costs far outweigh …

The Republican base would welcome the right messages on energy policy

Even as Democratic candidates for president prattle endlessly about energy issues – Hilary Clinton couldn’t resist a dig at the Keystone XL pipeline during her Saturday Night Live …

Poll: Clean-energy issues pretty popular among conservative base

Some new findings on how conservative voters think about energy issues from a bevvy of top-tier GOP pollsters ought to be required reading for the eventual Republican presidential …

Calling all presidential campaigns

At the R Street institute, we value the unique impact presidential campaigns have on public policy discourse. We have some of the smartest, most capable experts in the …

Take kids off the sex-offender registries

At age 10, Maya R. did something that would disturb just about anyone: “Me and my step-brothers, who were ages 8 and 5, ‘flashed’ each other and play-acted …

Letter to National Credit Union Administration

My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, with offices in Tallahassee, Fla.; Austin, Texas; …

Remembering Whitney Ball

Whitney L. Ball, who died Sunday at 52, was one of the true heroes of the conservative movement. Like just about everyone else who heads a conservative organization, …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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) …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 — …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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), …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Free-market groups express concern over offshore reinsurance tax

Jan. 17, 2014 Dear Sen. Baucus: On behalf of a broad spectrum of groups supporting free markets and sound tax policy, we write to express our deep concern regarding proposals …

Handouts aren’t enough

Conservatives, for the first time in quite a while, are beginning to take the issue of poverty seriously. Tea party figures like Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have …

‘Ban the Box’ goes too far…and not far enough

All over the country, towns, cities and even states have begun a move towards policies that "ban the box" and forbid employers from asking individuals about previous criminal …

Letter to the South Carolina PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee

PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee c/o Communications Department PO Box 11661, Columbia, SC 29211-1661 Dec. 26, 2013 Members of the Committee: My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R …

Doing the wrong thing

After a decade-long run of bad weather that included Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Ike, and a host of other river valley and storm-surge floods, the 45-year-old National Flood …

Letter to federal banking regulators on flood insurance

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Parts 22, 172 [Docket ID OCC-2013-0015] RIN 1557-AD67 And FDIC, NCUA, Farm Credit Administration and Federal Reserve Board Re: Comments on "Loans in Areas …

R Street is seeking a think tank office manager

[Update: Position filled. Thanks to everyone who applied!] The organization The R Street Institute is fast-growing a non-profit 501(c)(3) think tank in Washington, D.C. with a full-time staff of 11. …

Another reason to defend the fraternal tax exemption

The Roman politician, general and renowned orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, once wrote that "custom is the best interpreter of the law."  Even today, his observations are relevant to …

Words alone won’t draw foreign investment

At least when it suits him, President Barack Obama proves himself more than willing to welcome international business to the United States. In late October, for example, he …

The GOP’s insurance hypocrisy

For most of last month, a group of committed tea party Republicans helped shut down the government to hold back a wave of subsidies and regulations set to …

Geo-engineering a solution to climate change

A new article in the Yale Forum by freelance writer David Appell discusses the way climate change "deniers" also tend to favor geo-engineering.  Although I'm quoted (correctly) in the …

UK market offers hints on how insurers may treat e-cigarettes

For several years now now, a lot of people involved with insurance—me included —have been puzzling out the ways that new tobacco products like e-cigarettes and snus might impact …

Gay marriage: good, polyamory: bad

Walter Olson has a top-notch blog post over at Independent Gay Forum that describes why increased acceptance of same-sex marriage isn't going to lead to acceptance of polyamory. I …

‘Moral hazard’ isn’t a good reason to end TRIA

My friend Mark Calabria at the Cato Institute has a good piece in Roll Call that makes the case for allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program to lapse. …

Why Ken Cuccinelli will lose in Virginia and what it means for the GOP

Ken Cuccinelli, currently behind in the polls by more than seven points, will not win the November election to become Virginia's next governor. This spells very serious problems …

What the shutdown says about D.C.’s cultural scene

Since America's founders picked a site near their own landholdings to serve as the nation's seat of government, Washington, D.C., has remained a government town. In the city's …

Letter to Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health

Oct. 1, 2013 Sen. John F. Keenan, Senate Chair Joint Committee on Public Health General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts Dear Chairman Keenan, My name is Eli Lehrer and I am …

How Republicans can win the shutdown showdown

When it comes to most issues coming before Congress, my personal sympathies lie very much with the Republican Party. I'd be delighted to see Obamacare repealed (or at …

Needed insurance reform

The following letter to the Tampa Bay Times was written in response to the editorial "Slow down flood insurance rate hikes" that appeared in the Sept. 17 edition. The …

What the Australian elections mean (and don’t mean) for climate policy and the left

As a right-wing Republican, I consider newly elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a man after my own heart. He wants to deregulate his country's economy, protect the …

With a grain of salt

The show’s hero has huge muscles, wisecracking sidekicks, and a mysterious origin. In each episode, he performs feats beyond the abilities of mere mortals. He fights for values …

Why Robert Smith is wrong about Ronald Reagan’s environmental record

Last week in The American Spectator, CEI’s Robert Smith criticized the organization I head, the R Street Institute, for celebrating the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's dedication of the …

The case for boycotting the Sochi Olympics..and the Rio ones too

The United States should boycott the Olympics. Not just the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and not even the planned 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. …

A just law

Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), one of the most overdue and sorely needed human rights laws in recent …

Climate change: It’s time for a conservative alternative

President Barack Obama's climate agenda announced in June 2013 represents the latest of many Democratic Party efforts to address climate change. Although it includes no new legislation, the …

I benefit from Obamacare…and that’s a problem

I'm a conservative and would have voted against Obamacare if I were a member of Congress. I think many of its provisions are silly and have criticized some …

Eric Holder’s ‘new’ approach to prison and the war on drugs

Attorney General Eric Holder's speech offered more symbolism than substance. Many of the reforms Mr. Holder announced actually have limited impact. The changes in policies relating to mandatory minimum …

Immigration opponents: Ignore them (even if they scream a lot)

In any democracy, public officials and the law itself must take special care to protect the rights of minority groups. In many cases, this makes sense. But in …

Sen. Landrieu’s plan: Handouts for vacation homes

No matter their stated ideologies, overwhelming majorities of Americans would agree in principle that the government should try to help the vulnerable and poor before it lifts a …

Getting rid of the dollar bill is a bad idea

Members of Congress, government waste watchdogs and a lot of others I admire have called on the United States to replace its dollar bill with a dollar coin. …

Obamacare Fee: $3; Cost of Paying: $100

From Townhall.com: Like a lot of conservatives, I have plenty of doubts about the president’s massive health care overhaul that’s going to change the way Americans get health coverage …

Obamacare fee – $3; Cost of paying – $100

Like a lot of conservatives, I have plenty of doubts about the president's massive health care overhaul that's going to change the way Americans get health coverage come …

Of bunny rabbits and stupid regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's efforts to require birthday party entertainer Marty the Magician to develop a written "disaster plan" for taking care of his rabbit is a …

Internet access for prisoners?

It will draw howls of protest from politicians and the punditocracy, but the time has come to allow Internet access in jails and prisons. It would open a …

Responsible prison reform

Between 1979 and mid-2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the number of Americans behind bars rose from roughly 314,000 to about 2 million. Today, the United States …

End fossil fuel giveaways in energy and water bill: Vote yes on Speier amendment to end wasteful subsidy

July 10, 2013 Dear Representative, On behalf of our members and supporters, the Green Scissors Coalition urges you to support the amendment offered by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., to eliminate …

George W. Bush and the verdict of history

For the first time since 2005, most Americans think well of George W. Bush. As the Associated Press reports, the once widely mocked commander-in-chief seems to be emerging …

California’s sterilization of female prisoners

Conservatives, particularly religious conservatives, already play a leading role in efforts to reform America’s prisons. Some stomach-churning revelations out of California should give many of these same conservatives …

Fourth of July: A time to remember and recount lessons learned by a great county

Ronald Reagan, ever the wit, did a good job summing up the difference between Republicans and Democrats when he observed: “Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of …

Republicans need a new game plan on climate change

There’s no reason for conservatives and libertarians to celebrate President Barack Obama’s recently announced climate change plan. While Obama does seek to confront a real problem, his plan …

The coming gay Republican wave

As counterintuitive as it may sound, it seems safe to predict that this week's Supreme Court rulings that overturn key sections of the terribly misnamed Defense of Marriage …

Climate change for the GOP

It’s time for a conservative alternative to liberal alarmism. President Barack Obama’s climate agenda announced last week represents the latest of many Democratic party efforts to address climate change. …

Climate change, Chris Christie and the truth

To hear some on the political left describe it, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to ignore what he knows is true -- that the climate is …

Climate change: Conservatives make the argument for a carbon tax

The following piece was co-authored with Bob Inglis, the founder and executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative. If conservatives don't begin to engage on the important issue …

Washington, DC: It’s a small town for dating

Rachel Ryan is absolutely right to say that D.C.'s dating scene is full of people who have exceptional resumes. And she's also right that this doesn't always lead …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

Nearly a quarter century after he left the White House, President Ronald Reagan’s legacy still looms large in many areas. His successful effort to win the Cold War …

Lehrer: Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

From Green Conservatism Now: Another day brings yet another good piece of green journalism, this time from Eli Lehrer of R Street. By Eli Lehrer, the original posting of this …

Strange bedfellows: SmarterSafer.org and the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012

  PDF Download Text This paper by R Street President Eli Lehrer, which originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum,  focuses …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

Ronald Reagan was probably the last really great leader to serve as president of the United States. Although disdained and considered a dangerous ideologue by most elites while …

Reagan, the environmentalist

Mention Ronald Reagan to an avowed environmentalist, and you’ll generally elicit a groan. In the conventional telling, the Gipper appointed right-wing extremists to key environmental positions and proceeded …

A DC neighborhood’s ills: Bad policy knows no party

For the first time in the 15 years since I graduated from college and moved to the Washington, D.C. area, I feel like I'm working in a real …

Disney’s America

The Walt Disney World Resort, located outside of Orlando, has more than twice Manhattan’s land area and about the same number of hotel rooms as Philadelphia. It’s America’s …

What the race for Virginia governor does (and doesn’t) mean

Ken Cuccinelli, the person I'm supporting for governor of Virginia -- my home state and locus of what's likely to be the most watched political race of 2013 …

Insurers and climate change: The truth is more complicated than the sound bytes

As an insurance guy who has been on both sides of the climate change debate (I’ve worked for organizations full of climate change skeptics and now head one …

Sorry, D.C. just isn’t Paris

Rachel Ryan is a good blogger; I respect her opinions. But, well, D.C. just isn't Paris. Sorry. I've lived in the D.C. metro area continuously since I graduated …

End IRS scandals: Abolish the corporate income tax

With good reason, the Obama administration's Internal Revenue Service has come under fire for targeting conservative and tea party groups. As Kimberly Strassel demonstrates in The Wall Street …

‘Shallow Loss’ is a loser of a program

Buried deep inside the $950 billion farm bill soon to come before the House and Senate agriculture committees is a policy proposal that easily ranks among the most …

Risky business

Buried deep in the recesses of President Obama’s budget are two items that could have vast and potentially devastating consequences for millions of Americans involved with dozens of …

Going green, shrinking the state: Florida leads the way

With the stroke of his pen on a piece of insurance reform legislation, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will soon have the opportunity to begin writing another chapter to …

The Sequester: A policy triumph

There's no shortage of pundits, left and right, who cite the $85 billion sequester as evidence that Washington just doesn't work. And at first blush, the facts appear …

Farmers with benefits

American farmers did well in 2012, to say the least. They benefited from record-high commodity prices, burgeoning organic produce markets and high sale prices for farmland. As they …

An agenda for regulatory reform: Think big (and small)

If they want to get serious about doing away with job-killing government regulations, congressional Republicans need to get practical about the battles they choose. Last session, Congress' deregulatory …

What Republican war on sex?

I'm a conservative Republican, a married father, and a strong supporter of everyone's freedom to marry. And it strikes me that the Huffington Post is being hugely unfair …

Why don’t we eliminate farm subsidies?

The 2014 White House budget includes some real cuts in farm subsidies, including to the absolutely absurd Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program. As Justin Green points out, this …

Time to open fire on farm subsidies

President Barack Obama, quite rightly, has been derided as the "food stamp president." While serving in office, the 44th president has presided over continued, massive expansions of the …

Witt and Loy are dead wrong

James Lee Witt and James Loy are dead wrong to pretend that a national catastrophe fund would be anything other than a bailout for wealthy beach homeowners. Although they …

Bob McDonnell: Yes, he has a future

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is exactly the sort of candidate -- an appealing, conservative pragmatist who knows how to govern -- that the Republican Party needs if it …

The best choice for your state’s lieutenant governor: Nobody

When Jennifer Carroll resigned as Florida's lieutenant governor earlier this month amidst reports that she was linked to legally shady Internet cafes, it became front page news in …

Meredith’s insurance proposal has merit

The Citizen-Times is wrong to dismiss Sen. Wesley Meredith’s automobile insurance reform proposals out of hand (“Apodaca has a better idea on auto insurance,” March 8). Fundamentally the bill …

Extremism is OK, thoughtlessness isn’t

Even in their "best" years -- the times when they manage to convince their colleagues to support measures that benefit their districts, themselves, and their values -- members …

The party of prison reform

Michael Hough​—​a second-term Republican state legislator from Frederick County, Md.​—​is about as conservative as blue-state legislators come. He played a prominent role in opposing the state’s new gay …

Snowquester and climate change: The boring truth

Like the budget sequester -- a miniscule, almost unnoticeable cut in a vastly overstretched federal budget -- the expected blizzard nicknamed "snowquester" that hit Washington this past week …

Disaster aid: Federal proposal might help Florida but not California

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., recently introduced the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2013, which would create a semi-private federal pooling mechanism to help states deal with large-scale natural …

Saving the earth, saving tax dollars: The case for conservation compliance

This piece was co-authored by Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. Whether they've inherited historic family farms, are setting out to grow crops …

House of Cards: good television, questionable research

Although its producers at Netflix won't release the viewership numbers for their district-set, Baltimore-filmed TV series House of Cards, a visit to any water cooler in the D.C. …

The big social changes are the ones we ignore

When, in the late 1970s, the momentum behind the proposed Equal Rights Amendment seemed unstoppable, a group of "new right" activists led by conservative populist Phyllis Schlafly offered …

How smokers will tell us if Obamacare is working

Cigarette smoking, to say the least, poses serious and well-known health risks. Stern public health warnings about the dangers of tobacco have been issued just about everywhere since …

The right way to eliminate state income taxes

Even as the newly reelected president calls for ever-bigger government, a tax-slashing season has started in some Republican-leaning states. Efforts to eliminate or significantly cut state income taxes …

Dead in the water

Of course, the same can be said for dozens of other federal efforts. What sets the NFIP apart is that, in looking to address what was at the …

Rep. Wilson’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea

Rep. Frederica Wilson's recent comments about disaster recovery rank among the most wrong-headed and poorly thought-out pieces of commentary ever to come from a sitting member of Congress. …

Something for everybody (to hate): Rep. Wilson’s beach house bailout

If nothing else, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., has learned how to bring people together: by proposing to resuscitate a zombie-like bill called the Homeowners Defense Act, the U.S. …

Rebels with cause

NBC’s Revolution (Mondays, 10 p.m. ET/PT) features swordfights, gun-fights, and crossbow fights, chases on horseback, chases on trains, and chases on foot. It is gripping, loud, and entertaining. …

Talking it out: It will solve (some) problems in Congress

It's a new year. More than 100 new members of Congress were sworn in Wednesday and a majority of President Barack Obama's first-term cabinet members will likely depart …

Guns are good, cops are good, the NRA’s proposal isn’t

Like a lot of other gun rights supporters, I awaited the National Rifle Association's Friday press conference eagerly. And, like many others on both sides of the gun …

Newtown, gun control, and accepting America as it is

In the last few days, more than a few voices, almost all on the political left, have decided to use the Newtown, Conn. school shootings as an occasion …

The green(ish) case against wind power subsidies

As an energy source, wind power looks just about perfect: it creates no greenhouse gases, requires pulling nothing out of the earth, and relies on an inexhaustible resource. …

The case for ending Powerball

The chance to win over a half billion dollars in this week's Powerball drawing brought millions of Americans out to buy lottery tickets. (I was one of them.) …

By the rivers of .  .  . Quebec?

Jake Irving looks excited. Sitting at a table in a noisy Washington, D.C., bistro, he pulls a chart out of a briefcase with a flourish. The numbers are …

The postal service should go…now

Finding true "fat" in the government budget proves harder than it appears at first blush. Many commonly cited sources of "waste" like the National Endowment for the Arts, …

Why the GOP has every reason to look forward to 2013

The Washington Redskins lost their last home game before the 2012 election; President Barack Obama still won the presidency. As a result, the already battered Redskins rule -- …

Why Romney lost: It’s governance, stupid

Every faction of the Republican Party will use the 2012 presidential campaign to draw conclusions that pander to their ideological biases. Arch Tea Partiers will argue that the "moderate …

Gas lines in Jersey and the quirks of democracy

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina temporarily crimped oil supplies, gas lines have appeared in a significant part of the United States. This time, they're in New …

When does mitigation make sense?

There is little doubt that free, sensibly regulated insurance markets provide the best incentives to encourage people to prepare their properties against nature’s worst. Given limitless resources to …

‘Climate silence’: It’s just common sense

As any number of activists and journalists -- nearly all of them on the left -- have noted, the two major party presidential candidates aren't talking much about …

Conservation compliance: The obscure environmental provision key to protecting taxpayers and privatizing crop insurance

The overwhelming majority of American farms receive federal subsidies of some sort. These payments are controversial and, in the opinion of many who favor smaller government, ought not …

Energy policy akin to a Cheesecake Factory menu: Is it needed?

If nothing else, the Cheesecake Factory, a mall favorite sit-down restaurant with Gaudi-esque décor, offers an all-of-the-above menu. Want Asian? There's pad thai and orange chicken. Americanized Italian? …

Pay Per Venue: A new attraction for the movie palaces of old

As multi-screen stadium-seating theaters with huge parking lots, endless rows of seats, anonymous lobbies, $12 popcorn, and annoying pre-movie ads have sprouted throughout the country, the act of …

Welcoming (some) New England liberals back into the GOP

Given his overwhelming lead in the polls, Maine independent candidate and former Gov. Angus King seems almost certain to serve as the Pine Tree State's next U.S. senator. …

The fringe candidate who could cost Mitt Romney the presidency

If he cares at all about the future of his own country, Virgil Goode, the fringe Constitution Party nominee for president, needs to drop out of the race …

Sorry conservatives, the polls are (probably) right

My Facebook feed, email inbox, and the chatter I hear in conservative meetings are all telling me the same thing: the polls -- all of them -- are …

Newsflash: Consumers prefer free auto insurance (and other stuff too)

Our friends at the Consumer Federation of America have issued yet another shocking new study. This one shows something that’s truly nefarious: that auto insurers use things like …

Memo to GOP Senate candidates: Be independent

Just about a year ago, 2012's Senate offered a source of great happiness to just about every Republican in the country. The math, it seemed, was simple: Democrats were …

Nixon’s lesson for Romney

If President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden win in Massachusetts (certain) and Wisconsin (very likely), the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket could become the first major party …

Better than a stick in the eye, but not by much

A few days back, Florida's troubled Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced a plan to "depopulate" its book of business through a program of loans to well-capitalized insurers. On its …

Small business credit still a problem

PDF Download Text American small businesses create 65 percent of all net new jobs and employ roughly half of all workers in the private sector. According to the …

Charlie Crist: A sorry legacy

As a piece of political oratory, the short, upbeat speech that ex-Republican former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist delivered at the Democratic Convention Thursday worked pretty well. The perpetually …

Comments to Federal Insurance Office on global reinsurance markets

These comments from R Street President Eli Lehrer were offered in response to the Federal Insurance Office's request for input on a forthcoming study of the breadth and …

Let market determine our insurance rates

Twenty years ago today, Hurricane Andrew — at the time, the costliest storm in U.S. history — made landfall near Homestead. Andrew ended a 20-year period of modest Atlantic …

Yes, Akin’s gaffe is bigger news than Biden’s

Missouri U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin has headlined most newspapers and websites over the past 72 hours because of his absurd claim that women who were subject to …

The GOP’s dismal electoral math

Mitt Romney, the man I will vote for in November, has not had much good news lately. President Obama's persistently negative campaign, the natural advantages of the incumbency …

Kill the farm bill

The Farm Bill is now stalled in the U.S. House as members head back to their districts for their traditional break. This is a good thing. The measure, …

A democracy, not a technocracy

Groups on the political fringes like to quarrel with science. Some of my fellow travelers on the political right regularly reject evolution and certain findings of climate science. …

What is insurance, anyway?

A friend involved in the crop insurance industry recently wrote to me taking issue with a reference I had made proposed shallow loss “insurance”  (my words) program in …

R Street is looking for an outreach director

R Street, a new free-market think tank located in Washington, D.C., is looking to hire an outreach director to coordinate its coalitions work on insurance, energy, environmental, entitlement …

Save the earth! Shrink the state!

America has some good things to show for its more than 40 years of intense environmental activism: the air and water are cleaner than they were and the …

Of hurricanes, insurance, mitigation and carbon taxes

I’m in New Orleans at a conference on Preparing the Gulf Coast for Extreme Weather. Its lead sponsor is a reinsurer; the Institute for Building and Home Safety …

The Great Unmentionable: The role of high salaries and wages in health care inflation

In discussions of America’s high health care costs, surprisingly little attention is paid to salaries and wages. Yet the fact that medical jobs simply pay more than those …

Farmers, farms and the GOP’s brand of client politics

I'm a Republican, but on a handful of issues -- gay marriage, the earned income tax credit and some types of environmental laws -- my own views are …

The awful Hoeven levee bill

Mid-morning tomorrow, I’ll be attending a meeting in the office of Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., to debate be "educated about" the senator’s bill to exempt his state from …

Yes, of course, we do need a national catastrophe solution

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators has a tendency to be a very deliberative and, yes, dilatory, body. During the July 13 meeting of its Property-Casualty Insurance Committee …

Cut Medicare and Social Security now

Everyone has a different way of defining the "fat" in the federal budget. Liberals like to point to waste at the Pentagon and certain types of "corporate welfare" …

How should insurers treat tobacco use?: A review of the research

Co-published by R Street and the Heartland Institute, this paper explores a growing body of data, including several studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, finding that certain …

Testimony to Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce

In testimony delivered July 10, 2012 to the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, R Street President Eli Lehrer discusses the state of the homeowners insurance market …

TDI’s report on insurance rates: You need to go beyond the statutes

Sometime around mid-afternoon on July 10th, Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman will sit down at a witness table before the Texas Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee and launch …

Is the real unemployment rate 40%?

It all depends on who is in office. When George W. Bush oversaw an economic recovery as president, liberals pointed to alternative unemployment numbers to cast doubt on …

Dred Scott? Really, fellow conservatives? Really?

More than a few of my friends on the political right have taken to comparing the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual health insurance mandate to the infamous …

A conservative defense of the Obamacare ruling and what’s next

Walking near the Supreme Court just a few minutes after it handed down its ruling on Obamacare, I overheard part of a Tea Party rally. "Are we going …

Green Scissors 2012

PDF Download Text Green Scissors 2012 recommends nearly $700 billion in cuts to wasteful and environmentally harmful federal spending. It is produced by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for …

Dear historic preservationists: Please leave us alone

As it has every summer since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private group with an official-sounding name, has released a list of America's most endangered …

Consumer Federation of America’s ‘shocking’ new study

When one strips away the posturing and insinuations of sinister corporate conspiracies contained in the new report on auto insurance rates from the Consumer Federation of America, you're …

This is it: Senate flood insurance bill vote coming up

It’s almost time. After 17 (count ‘em) short-term extensions, almost a half dozen lapses in the program, and tons of political wrangling, a flood insurance reform bill–a real …

Ron Paul’s plan to win the leprechaun vote

If you're a shoe-making elf who jealously guards his gold coins -- a Leprechaun -- you don't have many friends in American politics these days. President Obama, gold-bug …

Letter to Sen. Tim Johnson and Sen. Richard Shelby on Hagan amendment

Dear Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Shelby: Thank you for your continued efforts to pass S. 1940, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012. As this important …

What Florida conservatives should say about backstopping

It’s pretty clear that Florida’s state-run property insurance system is a total mess in just about every way. As we have previously written, the Legislature–given sufficient political will–could …

Blame your Florida legislators; don’t expect to get paid if there’s a really bad hurricane season

Don't expect to get paid if there's a really bad hurricane season Mother Nature didn't get the memo about the official start of hurricane season. Tropical storms Alberto and …

A civic sitcom

"Parks and Recreation" (NBC, Thursdays, 8:30 ET) offers every ingredient of a good television sitcom: It’s smart, laugh-out-loud funny, well-acted and nicely photographed. Despite good reviews, and a …

How Mitt Romney can win the environmental vote

Mitt Romney just had an awesome week but, unless he attracts new groups to the Republican coalition, it still seems he won't win the November election. If he …

Raise rates, but keep Florida Citizens

The Fort Meade Leader, a smallish Florida Newspaper, has a bang up editorial today about Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s continuing woes. Despite significant improvements in its management, and …

Dear Libertarians: Stop being nuts

If nothing else, Mark Hemingway's terrific reporting from the Libertarian National Convention will leave readers informed and amused. As Hemingway's largely sympathetic article for The Weekly Standard makes …

Eli Lehrer: Florida’s lawmakers ignore storm warnings

The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is always June 1, but Mother Nature apparently didn't get the memo this year. Tropical storms Alberto and Beryl crashed …

Free markets don’t have to mean no regulation

A one-time boss of mine—a bearded gentleman who liked cigars, opera, candy and the Austrian School of economics—used to insist to me that the private sector would insure …

Ron Paul should drop out now

In recent weeks, Ron Paul has emerged as the greatest threat to the Republican Party's future. If the Texas Congressman and one-time Libertarian Party presidential nominee actually wants …

Letter from Washington: Why we should mend, not end, federal flood insurance

As the staff of the Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate transitions to R Street, Out of the Storm News is going to be transitioning …

Prison rape standards: A start, but only a start

Almost a decade after the law requiring them passed Congress and two years after the original deadline for announcing them, the Department of Justice has, at last, come …

The best flip-flop he could make: Romney should support gay marriage

If Mitt Romney wants to win the election and become president, he should come out and support gay marriage. Doing so will work not so much because it's …

Letter from Washington: Florida, auto rates, and Tide as a currency

At a conference on insurance near Jacksonville, Fla. this past week, I spoke a bit about Heartland’s 2011 insurance report card— OOTS Managing Editor R.J. Lehmann is taking …

Letter from Washington: Some Florida reforms pass, but much work left to do

As much of our other coverage shows, the Florida Legislature did pass some substantive insurance reforms during its just-completed 2012 session: a personal injury protection bill that mends …

Letter from Washington: Credit-scoring and the downside of market prices

Dealing with insurance-related credit scoring is like playing whack-a-mole: whenever one effort to ban the generally beneficial practice is defeated, another one pops up. At the National Conference …

Letter from Washington: Homeowners insurance is a crummy business

There’s an elephant in the room I probably should mention:  someone impersonating a Heartland Institute trustee defrauded Heartland last week, stole internal documents and created one outright fake. …

Letter from Washington: 41 senators ask for flood vote

Later today, Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., will join Heartland Institute CEO Joe Bast and the heads of several other major organizations—National Wildlife Federation, American …

Letter from Washington: ‘Hurricane Hukill’ and fixing the University of California

More than one-third of the U.S. Senate has already signed onto a letter that calls on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, …

Letter from Washington: Flood reform a rare opportunity for bipartisanship

On issues ranging from heath care to financial regulation, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have almost nothing in common. And since most Americans say they want their political …

Romneycare: A road not taken

It's quite clear to me that President Mitt Romney's healthcare plan has been and will continue to be a disaster for the country. Like all other progressives, I'm …

Letter from Washington: The Tarheel State’s sticky auto insurance market

This coming week, I’ll be testifying before a North Carolina study committee  on that state’s auto insurance system. I’ve written a good deal about the system in the …

Letter from Washington: Finance and insurance predictions for 2012

Happy New Year! It’s time to take down the holiday decorations, finish the eggnog, and get back to work. It’s also time for some predictions about what’s going …

Letter from Washington: Feeling out FIO, government insurers and a farewell to Hitchens

This past week, CFIRE Deputy Director (and OOTS editor) R.J. Lehmann and I met with new director of the Federal Insurance Office: Michael McRaith. I had met him …

Letter from Washington: The case for, and against, occupational licensing

Based on the reports I’ve heard in the past week, it strikes me as overwhelmingly likely that the National Flood Insurance Program will lapse again sometime in December. …

The case for creating a Michigan auto insurance fraud prevention agency

PDF Download Text This report, authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer, was issued by the Heartland Institute in November 2011. It recommends the State of Michigan, which …

Letter from Washington: Why we’re no longer supporting optional federal charter

Some forthcoming comments from the Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate to the newly created Federal Insurance Office are going to include a public reconsideration of a …

We can’t bail out college students

The ‘Occupy’ movement protesters all over the country are angry above all else. Their demands remain unclear, but calls for total (or partial) forgiveness of student loans seem …

A flood floor vote, corporate taxation and Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan

The U.S. Senate, riven as always by internal dispute, continues to sit on one of the few major bills—flood insurance reform—where a rough sort of bipartisan consensus appears …

Earthquake bailouts, D.C. as tax haven and corporate personhood

Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has introduced a bill—which I write about at FrumForum —that would put taxpayers around the country on the hook for earthquake insurance in California …

Green Scissors 2011

PDF Download Text This report, co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer, was issued in August 2011 as a joint project of the Heartland Institute, Friends of the …

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