Upcoming Events

Can TV White Spaces Close the Digital Divide?

07/26/2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Over 23 million Americans living in rural communities do not have Internet access, primarily because of the high capital costs required to serve less densely populated geographies. A new approach could reduce deployment costs by as much as 80%, thereby providing rural communities with affordable Internet services. However, this proposed wireless broadband service requires using a portion of TV spectrum.

Will the plan work? What will the infrastructure requirements be? Do we have sufficient spectrum? Will the new service interfere with existing communications services?

An expert group of panelists will discuss what this new approach will mean for rural investment, broadband deployment and access, small businesses and consumers:

• Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

• Graham Dufault, Director of Government Affairs, ACT (The App Association)

• Tom Struble, Tech Policy Manager, R Street Institute

• Steve Pociask, President, The American Consumer Institute


To attend, RSVP to Research@theAmericanConsumer.Org

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NAFTA for the 21st Century: Politics and Policy of Renegotiation

07/28/2017 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


In the decades following World War II, a broad, bipartisan consensus formed about the benefits of relatively free trade and expanded economic interdependence. While some on the political left and right opposed this development, policymakers in Washington continued pushing for more trade liberalization. Given the rise of heated anti-trade rhetoric from leading politicians, the high tide of free trade may be receding.

It’s been 23 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. With the rise of the internet, commerce has changed, but NAFTA hasn’t. NAFTA went into effect in 1994, a year before Amazon or eBay launched. People still bought compact discs rather than digital downloads. E-commerce wasn’t well-established or nearly as economically significant as it is today. While other free trade agreements contemplate digital transactions and related issues like intermediary liability, NAFTA does not. Modernizing NAFTA to cover these issues could set a beneficial precedent for future trade agreements.

NAFTA was the first trade agreement to implement comprehensive protection of intellectual property. In 2017, there are strong incentives to modernize these protections and tackle such issues as piracy and digital IP enforcement. While this is an important function, there’s a lot that could go wrong – recalling bitter fights like the one over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Going too far on enforcement measures could erect new barriers to legitimate trade, or benefit a small number of companies at the expense of other sectors of the U.S. economy. Not going far enough would mean missing an opportunity to modernize rules for the digital age. Striking the right balance will require careful negotiation by the Trump administration.

With the administration’s recent notification of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA, trade policy will be front and center of the political debate in the coming months. We invite you to join us for a discussion of the politics and policy surrounding NAFTA modernization, moderated by R Street’s Clark Packard.


  • Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union
  • Farzaneh Badiei, Ph.D., Executive Director, Internet Governance Project; Research Associate, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Claude Barfield, Ph.D., Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Matt Schruers, Vice President of Law & Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association
  • Clark Packard, Policy Analyst, R Street Institute (Moderator)

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The Future of Traditional Urbanism: Conservatism in cities and towns

07/31/2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Why should conservatives care about cities? While urbanist ranks are admittedly liberal, the ideas underlying New Urbanism are decidedly conservative: traditional designs, close community, and the preservation of historical modes of living. When urban-rural polarization shows no signs of slowing down, and liberal metropolises flourish at the expense of Main Street and the Rust Belt, it’s time to reexamine our built environment–and its effect on our politics. Join The American Conservative and the R Street Institute as we explore the conservative case for traditional urbanism, and outline the way forward for responsible development of our cities and towns.

All are welcome to join a cocktail reception at 4:30, directly before the discussion.


Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Lewis McCrary, The American Conservative

Jonathan Coppage, R Street Institute

Gracy Olmstead, The Federalist

Register here.

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Book Signing With Kevin Kosar

08/01/2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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