Opeds

Texas floods show need for federal flood insurance reform

The pictures were almost unimaginable. Over 48 hours, parts of Houston were pummeled by more than 30 inches of rain as Hurricane Harvey swept across the Texas coast. …

California’s soaring poverty rates tied to its fiscal irresponsibility

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics, released this month, find that California’s poverty rate remains the highest in the nation, despite dipping ever so slightly. The reason is no …

Solar panels, washing machines and free-trade cronyism

What does Suniva (a bankrupt, Atlanta-based, Chinese-owned solar firm founded in 2007) have in common with Whirlpool (a company founded in Benton Harbor, Mich., in 1911)? On first blush, …

Antidote to NEJM ‘formaldehype’ arrives at last

In January 2015, R. Paul Jensen and colleagues created global headlines with a defective e-cigarette experiment.  They claimed in the New England Journal of Medicine that vapor contains “hidden” formaldehyde …

Yes, you can believe in internet freedom without being a shill

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Tech Policy Director Zach Graves. You may have noticed lately that there's an increasing (and increasingly coordinated) effort to paint …

Put Silicon Valley in D.C. with a cyber workforce incubator

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jesse Goldhammer, associate dean for business development and strategic planning at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and senior adviser to the Center for …

‘Bring me some tariffs’?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Electricity Policy Manager Devin Hartman.  Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump promised a bold new trade agenda for the United …

There’s nothing funny about Trump’s troubling policing edicts

During a July speech to police in Long Island, Donald Trump joked that when officers “put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head” that “you can …

H Street Festival is a perfect example of why cities should ease open-container laws

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. Every September, thousands make their way to the District’s H Street neighborhood for the H …

It’s time to reform workplace noncompete clauses

In recent years, a growing number of policymakers have looked to remove barriers to entry and competition in labor markets, such as onerous occupational-licensing laws. Now, conservatives and …

A hurricane tax? You cannot be serious

In the midst of the most active hurricane season in recent memory, Congress is contemplating tax reform measures that could lead to an additional $1.21 billion in property-casualty …

Will consumer privacy initiatives slow the internet economy?

As the legislative session ends, California political junkies will soon turn their attention to the slate of initiatives making their way to the November 2018 ballot. One of …

Want less crime? Put fewer people in jail

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Policy Associate Jon Haggerty.  The "tough on crime" politics of decades past is making a resurgence, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leading …

Unions threaten state’s one economic bright spot

In a Meet the Press interview in March, Gov. Jerry Brown blasted the Trump administration’s threat to cut off funds to California if it becomes a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants. …

Pennsylvania’s stealth tax on drinks

Oh, Pennsylvania. You are wonderful in so many ways. Philadelphia has architectural marvels. Pittsburgh has the endlessly victorious Steelers and Penguins. The Allegheny and Poconos offer gorgeous vistas, …

Will Congress finally update a data privacy law that’s 31 years old?

Cross-border data flows have left governments around the world struggling to catch up. But the trend toward tighter restrictions on such flows, in addition to the possibility they …

97-year-old law may be the cause of higher gas prices

It's become typical for gas prices to spike before and after major hurricane landfalls. The national average gasoline price jumped more than 30 cents per-gallon in the week …

Bill would make meal-delivery services ripe for union organizing

One of California’s burgeoning “new economy” business models is the meal-subscription plan, by which companies such as Blue Apron send recipes and prepackaged gourmet ingredients to subscriber’s homes – everything …

From staff cuts to lagging technology, Congress has a capacity problem

Congress has convened for one of the busier sessions it has faced in decades. But can it do its job? A recently published report from the Congressional Management Foundation provides yet more support …

For Congress, there’s a flood of work to do

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of the Texas coast, heartbreaking images flood our television screens of families struggling to stay safe amid rising waters. It’s too …

Don’t be alarmed if California’s housing package makes things worse

I’ve occasionally quoted journalist H.L. Mencken’s quip that the “whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) …

Ohio needs unimpeded energy markets

More and more, key players in the coal industry have had their hands outstretched in search of government support. At the federal level, they are asking for production …

Obama’s fuel-economy mandates are creating an octane shortage

Government energy policies are haunted by the ghosts of unintended consequences. Despite the fracking and alternative-energy revolutions of the past decade, legislation put in place during the 1970s …

Bill would revive California’s redevelopment agencies

California’s redevelopment agencies were a fixture on the local political landscape for six decades, as they guided development policies and grabbed “tax increment financing” that localities used to …

The key to safer, less costly jails? Reduce pretrial detention

A class-action lawsuit in the 1990s detailed harmful conditions in Maricopa County jails, including feeding inmates contaminated food and keeping mentally ill detainees in solitary confinement. Arpaio's actions ultimately …

Let’s open the market for contact lenses in the manner Congress intended

Contact lenses are a staple in the daily lives of more than 40 million Americans, which makes it crucial that consumers have easy access to them. That's what's at stake …

Make Congress great again

The following op-ed was co-authored by Kevin R. Kosar, vice president of policy at R Street Institute and co-director of the nonpartisan Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group. In …

Resolving to ignore Chinese abuses

The California Legislature isn’t shy about taking meaningless moral positions on national and international issues. It’s therefore no surprise that legislators returning from summer recess have been touting …

Trump is dangerously close to abdicating economic leadership on trade in the Pacific

President Donald Trump's complaints about China, Mexico, and other nations with whom the United States has a bilateral trade deficit date back decades before the 2016 presidential campaign. …

Free ways for Congress to address its staffing problem

Many longtime political observers agree Congress does not have enough staff to do its work. Those it does have are paid too little, work too many hours and turn over at such fast …

Do smokers quit after hospital cessation trials? Don’t count on it, or them

Do smokers lie about quitting?  A new study analyzes smokers’ self-reports of their smoking habits six months after their participation in quit-smoking clinical trials. Several years ago, researchers recruited sick …

‘Cherry picking’? Union-run schools dump struggling kids on charters

Teachers’ union leaders hoping to discount the runaway academic success of charter schools have claimed charters lure the best-performing kids, leaving traditional, union-run public schools to handle poor-performing …

Home brewing is legal, and home distilling should be too

In the aftermath of its failure to pass a health-care overhaul, Congress appears poised to turn to tax reform. While income and corporate tax rates will likely garner …

The course of the confirmation process isn’t supposed to run smooth

The debate in Washington over who’s to blame for the slow pace in filling judicial vacancies (or whether the pace is even slow to begin with) reflects an …

DOE grid study shows how regulatory state disadvantages hydro, nuclear

The U.S. Energy Department’s recently issued study of the electric grid quickly is gaining notice as perhaps the most well-reasoned domestic policy document to come out of the …

Joel Osteen’s luxury yacht, Poe’s law and the death of humor

When I saw The Babylon Bee headline, "Joel Osteen Sails Luxury Yacht through Flooded Houston to Pass out Copies of 'Your Best Life Now,'" I nearly died laughing. Then …

DOE study proves regulation puts hydro, nuclear power at a disadvantage

The U.S. Energy Department's recently issued study of the electric grid quickly is gaining notice as perhaps the most well-reasoned domestic policy document to come out of the …

The Fox Knows Many Tricks: A sampling of Greek lyric poetry

It is useful to think of the literature of Ancient Greece in three phases. It begins with Homer and Hesiod, masters of the “epic” poem, and ends with …

Competitive energy markets, not coal favoritism, are best for Ohio

Ohio's unprofitable coal plants are not facing premature retirement - they're facing superior competition. Competitive forces are driving down power prices while maintaining a reliable supply of electricity, much to …

After Hurricane Harvey, hope found at the San Antonio Food Bank

Like many Americans, what I've seen in the news has me concerned about our future. We seem to be a fractured nation moving further and further apart from …

Snitch scandal denies justice, but DA and sheriff blame others

The Orange County public has been sadly tolerant for years of disturbing scandals in its Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office. The reason for this, I believe, is …

Congress needs to protect the Secret Service from budgetary crisis

The U.S. Secret Service is facing a major budgetary issue. Running low on funds, the agency is about to hit congressionally mandated caps on salary and overtime allowances. Unless Congress …

CBO’s NFIP report makes clear how we encourage people to live at the coast

With recovery from Hurricane Harvey just begun, and with the powerful Hurricane Irma bearing down in the days to come, policymakers are being forced to think hard about …

President Trump’s police militarization again raises the question: do we want warriors or guardians?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jonathan Haggerty, a justice policy associate at the R Street Institute. That the Trump administration’s embrace of greater militarization of local police forces grabbed …

In Florida insurance market, all is not equal

According to a study conducted by the risk assessment group Karen Clark & Co., if Hurricane Andrew hit today, it would cause nearly $50 billion of insured losses, compared …

DOE grid study will shift and accelerate energy regulatory initiatives

The grid reliability study issued last week by the U.S. Energy Department is likely to shape the Trump administration's regulatory agenda in significant ways, offering some portent of things to …

It’s elementary, my dear Oedipus: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Only the insensate among us can dwell on the Book of Job without feeling horror at the suffering this man endured as the result of a divine wager. And so, …

Let’s build on NAFTA’s strengths

The following op-ed was co-authored by Clark Packard, outreach manager and trade analyst for the R Street Institute. Even as renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement just got underway, …

Sorry, Jeff Sessions, but we’re just not experiencing a violent crime wave

In Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ world, an explosion of violent crime is persistently bubbling just beneath the surface of American society, ready to spill forth onto the streets. …

Teen smoking unconnected to cinematic smoking

In a July report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health asserted the following about tobacco use in movies: The Surgeon General has …

Here come more tax increases!

The California Supreme Court this week issued a stunning blow to California’s taxpayers with a convoluted ruling that lets local governments collude with public-employee unions to raise certain taxes without …

Doomed plan to tax online retailers

Gov. Charlie Baker wants Massachusetts to join a handful of other states in a doomed effort to pass an extraterritorial taxing scheme that the U.S. Supreme Court has …

Flavored tobacco ordinance sure to backfire

If San Francisco ultimately implements its recently adopted ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, it will do more harm than good, serving to increase rates …

Trump can’t predict the future of the filibuster

Last week, President Donald Trump called on Senate Republicans to nuke the filibuster, predicting the chamber's Democrats would not hesitate to do so in the future if their roles were …

Deputies’ pension and pay deals driving Southern California ‘contract’ cities to brink

More than a decade ago, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department offered a good value to cities that wanted to provide police services without having to operate their own …

With Steve Bannon out, Trump’s White House still isn’t pro-free trade

President Donald Trump's recent decision to part ways with chief strategist Steve Bannon — until now, the White House's leading voice of so-called "economic nationalism" — has been …

Why we need to kick our foolish ethanol addiction

Bad news arrives slowly to some U.S. political circles. The failure of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to achieve its policy goals over the past decade is one …

Free-market reforms will be key to maintaining America’s economic growth

July’s economic data presented good news for the U.S. economy, with reported job growth coming in above economists' projections and a steady unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. However, it's …

We’ll need something other than big government to stop the ‘hoarding’ of economic opportunity

"First class,” Renée Zellweger sighs in Jerry Maguire. “It used to be a better meal. Now, it’s a better life.” Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institution worries that …

Santa Ana squanders its budget on pointless union giveaway

Talk to almost any city or school district official, and it won’t take long before the poor-mouthing begins. Budgets are stretched to the bone. There’s barely enough money …

A history lesson on why Trump shouldn’t burn down NAFTA

On Aug. 24, 1817, in retaliation for American troops burning Upper Canada’s Parliament Buildings in the Battle of York, British soldiers ransacked the original White House and set …

Legislature is back and focused on housing, recall and bail

California’s Legislature is back from its recess and legislators kicked off the session by focusing on two highly partisan matters. Assembly Republicans first voted to keep Chad Mayes as Republican …

Scott Pruitt hasn’t gone after the endangerment finding yet. Why?

No one can accuse Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt of being a fan of the Clean Power Plan. As attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt led the charge in …

What Trump’s FDA director gets wrong

Newly installed Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is proposing to shift his agency’s focus and strategy to reduce smoking and its consequences. Recognizing that not all forms of nicotine delivery …

Breaking up Is hard to do

I'm not sure how Californians managed during the Legislature’s recent recess, but now that lawmakers are back at the Capitol, they are busy “fixing” the state’s pressing problems. They will …

Negligible evidence of radical nicotine reduction benefit

An Aug. 17 commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitchell Zeller raises some concern …

AL SBOE member considers institutionalization for special ed students

Alabama State Board of Education (SBOE) member Ella Bell wants to know why we can't force special needs children into institutions in an effort to help improve test …

How Senate leaders can use existing rules to end Democrat stonewalling

Democrats have threatened to filibuster Republican efforts to debate important legislation on the Senate floor. But this is nothing new. The filibuster has been used in the past …

TAPped out: The method to CalPERS’ madness toward tiny Sierra County city

Observers have wondered in recent months why the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest state pension fund and one of Wall Street’s most muscular financial players, …

Alabama ABC’s Twitter looks like somebody’s been drinking

Alabama's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) is a bit of a contradiction in terms. By its own admission, the ABC exists to ensure "high revenue with low consumption." It's …

Ted Cruz should stop obstructing Trump’s nominee for telecom chief

David Redl is President Donald Trump’s eminently qualified nominee to become administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He has not yet been confirmed thanks to Senate …

Fresno County must face down its drug epidemic

The opioid epidemic that now disproportionately affects rural and suburban communitiesrequires decisive action by local government and public health officials. It’s laudable that Assemblymember Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, has initiated …

Treasury should not bail out Fannie and Freddie’s subordinated debt

When the U.S. Treasury bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, holders of $13.5 billion in Fannie's and Freddie's subordinated debt—debt paid off after senior debt …

It’s time for the feds to stop micromanaging birth control in the US

It might surprise American women to learn the process most of them have to undergo to access hormonal birth control — which requires an annual screening and a …

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 …

Louisiana schools face highest risk in nation from flooding

Louisiana schools face a variety of challenges, from maintaining discipline to improving test scores. Increasingly, they face another challenge: natural disasters, particularly flooding. According to new research by the …

Ferguson still struggling with racial bias

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniela Velázquez, a strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri. This month marks three years since an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown …

Coal Subsidies: America’s worst policy idea?

If someone produced “America’s Worst Policy Idea” as a weekly televised contest with Simon Cowell as a judge, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s most recent proposal on coal …

Another evil mustn’t be an excuse for white supremacy or Nazism

If your first reaction to white supremacy or Nazism is to point at what someone else did or said, you're heading in the wrong direction. This isn't a game …

A simple plan to liberate the market for corporate control

It's time to exempt a certain type of hostile bid—an all-cash, all-shares tender offer—from a poison-pill defense. In essence, I propose a statutory rule requiring a board to remain …

Government-funded researchers continue to misrepresent smokeless tobacco cancer risks

The American Journal of Epidemiology in October 2016 published a report by Annah Wyss of the National Institute of Environment Health Science and 20 government-funded co-authors. It revealed that American …

No, white supremacists at Charlottesville were not ‘good people’

There is much emotion on both sides of the current debate over race relations, even among people of good will. There are contentious questions to address, such as: …

The value of private ordering and the Snap IPO

The private ordering of corporate governance arrangements is a wonderful thing. It "allows the internal affairs of each corporation to be tailored to its own attributes and qualities, …

California can’t fix its housing problems

Even California’s liberal Democrats are starting to understand that the state’s housing crisis is fundamentally a supply-and-demand problem. Home prices have soared to astronomical levels, with a median price above …

San Diego mayor offers suggestions for future of state GOP

Even Republicans admit the state GOP is something of a rudderless ship these days. The party doesn’t control any constitutional offices. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of …

Sovereign debt has a pretty poor record

Sir, “Nations have historically been the world’s best credits,” says your report “Supranational debt issuance on a high” (Aug. 10). This sanguine view is contradicted by Lex in …

Alan Greenspan’s ‘irrational exuberance,’ then and now

"The concept of irrational exuberance came to me in the bathtub one morning," Alan Greenspan recalled. On Dec. 5, 1996, in what became a famous speech at the American …

Will Trump be a one-termer?

Not long ago, an outsider came to Washington to be president of the United States. He ran as an anti-politician, a man who was not going to play …

No, Tucker, Google shouldn’t be regulated as a public utility

Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson didn’t appreciate Google’s decision last week to fire engineer James Damore for circulating through company channels his critique of Google’s diversity efforts. Therefore, …

Reducing nicotine in cigarettes raises all sorts of problems

The following op-ed was co-authored by Clive Bates, editor of Counterfactual. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late last month it will start a dialogue about using its rulemaking powers to reduce nicotine …

From well-funded pensions to basket case, San Francisco’s voters are to blame

The following op-ed was co-authored by David Schwartzman, a policy research fellow at the California Policy Center and a senior at Hillsdale College. Pension reformers had for years pointed to …

Orange County residents learn the steep price of coddling bad cops

If the Orange County Board of Supervisors votes to appeal the $2.25 million jury verdict recently assessed against the county in the case of a deputy accused of …

Fannie and Freddie face the moment of truth on their taxpayer bailouts

Almost nine years ago, in September 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were broke and put into government conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Less than two months …

Canadian Google crackdown illustrates need to protect free speech online

In 1996, the internet activist and former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow famously declared to the governments of the world that they would have “no sovereignty” in cyberspace. Two …

A ray of hope for criminal justice reform?

The bipartisan movement toward criminal justice reform that seemed to be gaining ground in 2016 is, unfortunately, having a tougher time this congressional session. But there is one …

E-Cigarettes: The case for regulatory restraint

Debate over the Food and Drug Administration regulation of e-cigarettes often degenerates into bitter argument and ad hominem attack. In contrast, a recent point/counterpoint presentation in the Journal of …

CalPERS’ divestment goals in crosshairs as coal stocks soar

A newly released report from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System confirms that, fulfilling the Legislature’s directive to divest from coal-related investments, the pension fund has now largely exited from …

Fairy dust, Pandora’s Box … or a hammer

Cathy O’Neil wants to puncture a particular perception of algorithms that views artificial intelligence and other mathematical decisionmaking models as a type of “fairy dust” we can sprinkle over …

Same old story as Loyalton’s woes echo growing pension crisis

The tiny Sierra Nevada mountain town of Loyalton, Calif.—population: 862—has become the poster child for cities that want to check out of the California Public Employee’s Retirement System, …

End corporate welfare in the sky: Privatize air traffic control

Under the well-known practice that economists call "rent-seeking," those who enjoy government subsidies will fight tooth and nail to keep them in place. In the field of air …

Trump’s comments aren’t pro-police; they insult the profession

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street National Security and Justice Policy Director Arthur Rizer. A petty thief nabs a duffel bag full of sex toys and pornography from a …

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 …

If you hate lies in politics, stop lying about politicians

I must have missed the meeting where we all decided to swear blood oaths to politicians, political agendas and parties. Frankly, I'm glad, because what we are experiencing …

Congress should stop states from taxing and regulating beyond their own borders

The following op-ed was co-authored by Peter O'Rourke, a research assistant with the R Street Institute. Nearly 230 years after the Constitution's ratification, we are still debating the …

Anaheim’s ‘trigger’ win shines light on dysfunctional system

Years ago, during a debate with a public school superintendent over the issue of educational choice, I suggested that we shut down the public schools in their entirety. …

A bill intended to stop sex trafficking could significantly curtail internet freedom

No one can dispute that there is sex trafficking in the United States, or that criminals now use the internet to facilitate sex trafficking and other crimes, just …

To protect and serve or to search and destroy?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jonathan Haggerty, a criminal justice policy associate at R Street. More than 1,800 M16 and M4 assault rifles, six military-armored vehicles, three mine-resistant …

Moonshine is not just an American thing

Growing up in this great country of ours, I got the impression that moonshine was a peculiarly American phenomenon. The Dukes of Hazzard television show (1979-1985) and films like Gator served …

Are long weekends reducing Congress’ productivity?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Charles Hunt, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park. As members of Congress look forward to a potentially delayed start to …

The cure For Uber’s controversies

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has resigned as the ridesharing app’s CEO, after mounting pressure from shareholders following a series of public controversies and embarrassments. From allegations of workplace sexual harassment to …

Has bullet train been hoisted on its own petard?

California officials are notorious for ladling on one environmental regulation after another, forcing developers to spend years or even decades producing waist-deep environmental-impact reports and dealing with endless …

Senatorial scrums make members into rubber stamps

Look behind every major legislative success the U.S. Senate has had in recent years and you will find a small group of senators who negotiated quietly in private. …

San Francisco voters may have chance to overturn vaping ban

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in June to make the city the first in the country to impose a total sales ban on flavored tobacco products, as similar …

Massachusetts would be smart to streamline tobacco laws

As in most other states, Massachusetts lawmakers’ approach to tobacco products long has been to encourage an ever-growing proliferation of rules limiting what residents can buy and what …

How dual class shares in IPOs can create value

The shareholder empowerment movement—driven primarily by public pension funds and union-related funds with more than $3 billion in assets—has renewed its effort to eliminate, restrict or at least …

How to Philosophize Alone: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Reveries Of A Solitary Walker

Few philosophers in the Western Canon fell under as intense persecution during their lifetimes as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). After the publication and subsequent political and ecumenical condemnation of …

Trump and Sessions: Unstoppable force meets immovable object

President Donald Trump has been an unstoppable force in American politics since deciding to run for office. He's pushed little, lyin', low-energy candidates out of his way with …

Mayes’ cap-and-trade misstep reverberates in Orange County races

Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley is facing renewed pressure from party activists to resign his leadership post after he and six other Republican Assembly members …

A rare earth cooperative for critical minerals could be just what America needs

The following op-ed was co-authored by Brig. Gen. John Adams, a retired U.S. Army general and the president of Guardian Six Consulting. China is by far the world’s leading producer …

Be very afraid, as Democrats ‘fix’ the housing crisis

It’s common to hear complaints about a “do nothing” Congress, but California’s Legislature has the opposite problem. It wants to do just about everything. Whether it’s fighting global warming or creating …

Don’t Gut the CBO: Congress shouldn’t abandon its brain

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks from …

Schumpeter keeps the lights on

The debate over America’s electric power mix has exposed that some partisans have a near-theological devotion to particular fuels. Opinions on retiring coal and nuclear plants and prospects …

Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions in tweets and quotes

I have a man who is respected by everybody here, greatly respected....He's really the expert as far as I'm concerned on borders, on so many things. -Politico, February 28, …

Democrats and Republicans see different solutions to California housing crisis

Before the recent legislative recess, California Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced their intention to tackle one of the state’s biggest crises: housing affordability. It’s the rare instance where …

Government’s abstinence from smokeless truth detailed by Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reported July 21 what readers of this blog already know: Many scientists agree that…smokeless tobacco, including chewing and dipping tobacco, is significantly less harmful than …

Philosophy leads to father-Beating: Or, why all parents should read Aristophanes’ Clouds

Each year, schoolchildren across America are warned of the dangers of drug consumption, and for good reason. We see how it destroys the body and soul of both …

Why dogs are barking out against New York’s new ban on unlicensed dog-sitting

New York City is cracking down on rogue dog-sitters. The city is more strictly enforcing a law that requires pet sitters to have a kennel license if they are boarding …

Union bill will drive up counties’ costs of providing services

Municipal governments exist to provide essential services, such as law enforcement, firefighting, parks and recreation, street repairs and programs for the poor and homeless. But as pension, health-care and …

Mulvaney is right to call for more money for OMB

President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal includes significant cuts across numerous government agencies and programs, but it calls for an increase in funding for the White House Office of Management and …

Under reconciliation, it’ll be harder than you think to amend the Senate healthcare bill

Changing a reconciliation bill in the Senate is harder than you think. And the reason why has nothing to do with healthcare policy. While senators are correct to note they have …

The city’s silly crackdown on dog-sitters

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. New York is already the ninth-most expensive city in the world. Naturally, city bureaucrats would …

End protectionism in the shipping industry

In the annals of economic protectionism, few laws surpass the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. For almost 100 years, the act has created monopolies for …

Congress should beware of ‘unintended consequences’ of tax reform

The following op-ed was co-authored by Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute and managing editor for EconoSTATS. If the U.S. economy …

CFPB’s recent rule shows everything that’s wrong with Washington

The following op-ed was co-authored by Rafael A. Mangual, who manages legal policy projects at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this month finalized …

No surprise that unions are eager for new voting system

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and a host of union officials are savaging the Republican-controlled Orange County Board of Supervisors for its recent rejection of a plan …

Problems with the ‘committee tax’ in Congress

Chairmen of the U.S. House’s most-coveted committees—the so-called “A” committees that include Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Rules, and Ways and Means—are each expected to raise at …

Rebuked by Trump, Sessions offers a stark contrast in leadership

Donald Trump would not be president of the United States without Jeff Sessions' endorsement during the presidential campaign. How quickly the president seems to have soured on his …

United Kingdom doubles down on support for tobacco harm reduction

The United Kingdom Department of Health’s new position statement is, as Clive Bates wrote, “probably the first significant government policy paper anywhere that recognises and pursues the opportunities …

It’s time for our justice system to embrace artificial intelligence

Liberal democracies long have struggled to minimize or eliminate elements of bias in their systems of criminal justice. Maybe justice is just too difficult for humans to administer …

The strange war on alcohol advertising

Earlier this year, a drumbeat began to ban drinks advertising. There was the Washington Post, which ran an article titled: “For women, heavy drinking has been normalized. That’s dangerous.” To ensure …

Kinder, gentler GOP embraces ‘cap and trade’

California Republican Assembly Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley ought to be embarrassed today, and not just because of the front-page Sacramento Bee coverage about his alleged affair with former GOP …

GOP legislators unlikely to pay price for cap-and-trade vote

As the California Legislature approached a late-night Monday vote to extend the state’s climate-change-fighting cap-and-trade system, the Capitol buzz focused on Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks. The Democratic assemblywoman was …

Why is opioid addiction on the rise despite a decline in prescriptions?

Opioid prescription rates have fallen continuously since their peak in 2010. Prescriptions, which had more than quadrupled from 180 morphine milligram equivalents per-capita in 1999 to 782 in …

Cap-and-trade passage is about raising taxes, divvying up the spoils

What were Gov. Jerry Brown, legislative Democrats and eight Republicans thinking Monday, as they voted to extend the state’s cap-and-trade system for another decade, something that will impose higher gas …

What the ‘internet of things’ can learn from used cars

The following op-ed was co-authored by James Czerniawski, a research assistant with the R Street Institute. This past week's "Petya" ransomware attack on companies, airports and government departments across Europe—the …

E-cigarette regulation is hurting, not helping, society

Every so often, a burst of technology can change society’s trajectory in major ways. Airplanes have shrunk world travel to less than 24 hours. Cellphones have freed us …

CA Legislature seeks data on race, sexual orientation of lobbyists

A letter late last month from the state Legislature’s six special-interest caucuses asking California lobbying firms to provide legislators with detailed demographic data has sparked debate and controversy …

Is the US about to get more free trade with the EU?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Trade Policy Analyst Clark Packard. In a twist that surprised some, the Treasury Department is signaling its intent to sign a bilateral agreement …

The secret roadmap of government spending

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. The novelty song “Istanbul, not Constantinople"—written on the 500th anniversary of the fall of the eponymous …

Tom Cotton lone holdout on juvenile justice reform bill

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jonathan Matt, a technology policy research assistant at the R Street Institute.  Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has not been one to shy away from …

What’s stopping technological progress in Game of Thrones?

For as far back as we can trace the history of Westeros (estimates range from about 8,000 to 12,000 years), the technology and economy of the world has been more …

Why a border-adjustment tax would be a bad deal for states and localities

State and local governments are no strangers to dealing with the unintended side effects of federal policies. This year's congressional tax-reform efforts could leave them scrambling again. That's because …

How many Americans are swept up in the NSA’s snooping programs?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Arthur Rizer, R Street's national security and justice policy director. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper famously (or infamously) told Congress …

NCOIL, NAIC on collision course over delegation authority

A conflict is brewing between the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), even though neither side wants to admit it. …

Gutting of oversight bill puts kibosh on needed police reform

There are two rules of thumb to keep in mind when following the California Legislature. First, lawmakers love to prattle about pie-in-the-sky issues, such as halting global warming, but …

Robots don’t get drunk or drowsy, so why hold up driverless cars?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Adam Thierer, senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering important …

Alabama ABC reverses margarita pitcher ban but questions remain

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) didn't want you wasting away in Margaritaville, so they banned pitchers of the frozen concoction outright. Then I called them out …

Jail reform must address mental health, substance dependence

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Policy Associate Jon Haggerty. A hallucinating inmate caught spitting and urinating on the floor of his cell. A woman wildly smearing fecal …

Farm subsidies are stifling free trade

Every five years or so, Congress and well-connected agricultural lobbyists begin drafting a new Farm Bill. The inevitable spending bonanza they come up with is nearly always a …

Study shows many homeowners would do better with private flood insurance

It's no great revelation that when prices are centrally controlled, they tend not to reflect reality. In some cases, this means that consumers pay less than the true …

SF take note, e-cigs may be gateway away from smoking

Banning flavored e-cigarettes has been proposed in San Francisco and elsewhere as a way to make these smokeless and nicotine vapor products less attractive to children and teens. …

Losing their gun rights with barely a whimper

Gun-rights activists often express the view that Americans will not easily give up their rights to gun ownership even if the laws eventually outlaw — or at least …

The illogic of condoning vaping and condemning smokeless

While many American tobacco researchers and policy experts have, of late, moved to endorse reasonable regulation of e-cigarettes and vaping, most persist in condemning smokeless tobacco products, which …

Expect unions to use good returns to deflect attention from growing problem

California’s fiscal watchdogs are bracing for the forthcoming press statements from the nation’s largest state-run pension fund, and from the public-sector unions that depend on the system to …

The moral case for free trade

Make no mistake: The facts are on the side of free trade. There’s a reason it receives nearly universal support from professional economists — a notoriously disagreeable bunch …

Why is Chuck Schumer so afraid of consumers who want to snort chocolate?

It seems that you can snort just about anything these days. That has Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., worried. In 2015, he introduced a bill to prevent sales of …

McConnell and Grassley’s opportunity to lead the way on juvenile justice reform

The following op-ed was co-authored by Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice, a national advocacy organization, and co-chair of the Act-4-Juvenile Justice Coalition. Senate Majority Leader Mitch …

America’s untapped riches

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Catrina Rorke. The Trump administration is driving a massive pivot on public-lands policy. President Donald Trump has called …

A border tax is bad news for the insurance industry and consumers

As Congress ponders how best to implement tax reform, it should bear in mind that the border-adjustment tax, a key part of House Republicans’ expected proposal, would raise …

Granting NSA permanent bulk surveillance authority would be a mistake

The following op-ed was co-authored by Ashkhen Kazaryan, an affiliated fellow at TechFreedom. Early last month, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reneged on a promise that the National Security Agency …

Comments Re: ‘Association between initial use of e-cigarettes and subsequent cigarette smoking among adolescents and young adults’

This Soneji meta-analysis dealing with e-cigarettes and subsequent teen smoking,1 summarized data from nine studies, all of which share the same flaws, leading to an incorrect conclusion. These studies …

Kids are living with their parents longer. It’s a good thing.

A mom, a dad, 2.4 children, and an energetic but well-behaved dog compose what we long have recognized as the classic American household: a nuclear family nestled in …

How the feds could reform crazy state licensing laws

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. Many occupational-licensing laws are beyond absurd, acting as barriers to employment rather than ensuring the …

Unintended consequences of Military Lending Act hurt some families

Congress originally passed the Military Lending Act in response to scandalous stories of predatory payday lenders who would set up shop around military bases and charge our servicemen …

Teacher-tenure reform shaping up as big education fight this year

Despite the oft-discussed need for education reform in California, the state Legislature will only consider one major reform bill this year. Even that bill’s passage is uncertain, given …

Hard-pressed rural Californians try civil-rights approach

Do rural residents have a constitutional right to reasonable political representation, or is that reserved only for big-city residents? That question is at the heart of a recent …

Drinking, bingeing and toking more popular than smoking among teens in 2014

Teen smoking deservedly gets a great deal of attention from the media and public policymakers, but one government survey shows that teens consume alcohol and marijuana at far …

Legislature’s scary precedent: Giving unions private workers’ cell numbers, home addresses

Even those Capitol observers who are aware of the degree to which the Democratic-controlled Legislature is in the tank for public-sector unions might be shocked by the latest bill that's …

Corporations support a carbon tax? A paradox that will lower emissions

Why would some of the world’s largest oil companies support a carbon tax? The very question sounds odd, almost like a riddle, akin to “Why does the pope …

Flying Dog loves the ‘F’ word

“You can say f— in front of the CEO and it’s not a big deal,” says Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso. In fact, as unbelievable as it might …

Restore America’s virtue by helping the person nearest you

Help the person nearest you. If you want to honor our nation's birth this Independence Day, start there. In fact, write that person's name down, and then do it …

Mutual fund advisers’ ’empty voting’ raises new governance issues

The creation of the mutual fund will go down as one of the greatest innovations in financial history. It has provided tens, if not hundreds of millions of …

The Fed’s mistakes? Let’s just go back to 1966

Niels Erich doubts my characterization of the Federal Reserve as capable of disastrous mistakes, adding “not that it has necessarily made any." In fact, it has made a …

A call for greater regulatory harmonization with Canada

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Vice President of Policy Kevin Kosar. President Donald Trump’s principal policy accomplishments thus far have been in the area of …

State shouldn’t meddle in Fullerton development project

California’s latest budget has been the source of outrage for a lot of big reasons. The $125 billion general fund busts spending records. It’s built upon the backs …

Aging water infrastructure could represent a looming fiscal crisis for taxpayers

Water is the single-biggest infrastructure liability American cities face, as the Environmental Protection Agency estimates a need for $600 billion to be spent over the next 20 years to meet …

Looking forward to next 20 years of a post-Reno internet

The internet we have today could have been very different, more like the over-the-air broadcast networks that still labor under broad federal regulatory authority while facing declining relevance. But …

Trump’s ‘America first’ agenda requires reform at international trade agency

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Justice Policy Manager Christina Delgado. President Donald Trump’s campaign-trail rhetoric calling for an "America first" stance on trade helped propel him to …

California Democrats focus on virtue-signaling

Politicians in several states this week have had a great time laughing at the latest zaniness implemented in California, and who can blame them? “California may be able to …

U.S. can’t decide how many adults use smokeless

Federal officials routinely obfuscate on the subject of smokeless tobacco, and particularly on the number of smokeless users in the United States. The newest numbers are reported by Dr. …

Assembly speaker shelves single-payer health bill

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, an avowed supporter of single-payer health care, nevertheless announced last week that he was pulling the plug on a Senate-passed measure that would …

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 …

Union dues hike spotlights need for high-court intervention

A recent action by one of nation’s largest public-employee unions illustrates the importance of an Illinois case that might make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court sometime …

A three-step plan to promote consumer privacy

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Tech Policy Associate Joe Kane. Congress’ decision to use the little-utilized Congressional Review Act to repeal broadband privacy regulations the Federal …

Want to deploy more broadband? Get government out of the way

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Technology Policy Associate Joe Kane.  Despite living in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, millions of Americans lack access …

Gutting the state’s tax board is bad news for taxpayers

When I first learned about the existence of something called the California Board of Equalization, it sounded like something that might have existed in the novel, “Animal Farm.” …

Senate should seek to retain its ‘blue slip’ tradition for judicial nominees

The "blue slip" process for judicial nominations—one of the Senate’s most obscure customs in a body known for its arcane rules and esoteric parliamentary practices—soon may be destined …

There’s a reason Americans can’t all get along, and it isn’t Trump

As much as we need to tone down our rhetoric and behave like adults, Americans are not going to get along, sit around the campfire and sing "Kumbaya." …

Today’s whiskey is not yesterday’s — thank goodness

Some years ago, I attended a tasting where the representative of a well-known Scotch company claimed the whisky his firm makes today tastes the same as it did …

Distressed city exits bankruptcy, but more distress ahead

Officials for the decrepit city of San Bernardino are touting the great news that, after five long and tumultuous years, the city this week officially exited bankruptcy. Starting …

Self-driving cars are setting the stage for regulatory battle between feds and the states

The autonomous future is coming, provided regulators don't kill it first. Of particular concern on that front is a growing turf battle between the federal government and the …

Is California budget as ‘balanced and progressive’ as Gov. Brown suggests?

The California Assembly and Senate have until Thursday to approve the budget deal announced by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, but there’s little uncertainty about the outcome. The …

Youth smoking is down, but thanks to what?

We received some welcome news this week from the Food and Drug Administration: Cigarette smoking by high school students has been cut in half since 2011, from 15.8 …

Fed is far too dangerous to be unaccountable

I would replace the headline of your editorial "An independent Fed had never been more crucial" (June 16) with a different thought: "Making the Fed accountable has never been …

Governor, legislators spend more and ignore obstacles to reform

Legislators announced a budget deal last week that spends a record $125 billion in the general fund. But most interesting isn’t what’s in the deal, but what isn’t. There’s …

From toll roads to toll rivers

Much of the news coverage stemming from the White House’s recent “infrastructure week,” an effort to push for a $1 trillion infrastructure package, focused on hot-button topics like …

The Fed: Can the world’s biggest S&L get back to normal?

The balance sheet of today’s Federal Reserve makes it the largest 1980s-model savings and loan in the world, with a giant portfolio of long-term, fixed-rate mortgage securities combined …

Regulators should think twice before cracking down on ‘augmented reality’

A Milwaukee County regulation requiring special permits to use digital apps in county parks is facing a First Amendment challenge from the makers of augmented reality app Texas Rope ‘Em. In a …

EU snus ban costs more lives

A new report from the Swedish Snus Commission underscores the accelerating human toll of the European Union’s unconscionable ban on smokeless tobacco: “among men over the age of …

Legislature and Gov. Ivey pass bottle on tax hike to ABC Board

We don't need the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in Alabama. It's a bureaucratic dinosaur waiting for its extinction-level event. Now, the ABC has done the dirty work of …

FTC vs. Qualcomm: No license, no chips

It's not every day that the government and the tech industry agree on intellectual property policy, but both interests are united in their opposition to San Diego-based Qualcomm …

Kids shouldn’t be charged as sex offenders

Corey Walgren, a 16-year old honor roll student from Naperville, Illinois, recently stood accused by a school resource officer of some dishonorable behavior: allegedly showing friends a cellphone recording …

Indiana doubles down on warm beer

Indiana lawmakers recently announced that they plan to study the state’s outdated alcohol laws this summer with an eye toward reforming them for the 21st century. While this …

Four takeaways from Sessions’ Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions competently defended himself before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, as he answered a range of questions about the Trump campaign and his actions during …

Prison unions are punishing California taxpayers … here’s how

If you ever wondered what’s wrong with California’s state government, then mull over this simple example: While California cuts its prison population and staff, it’s increasing the amount of money …

Housing risk

In the May 27 Up & Down Wall Street column (“Bitcoin and Tech Stocks: A 21st Century Tulipmania?”), Randall W. Forsyth sharply criticized the mortgage-interest deduction, but passed …

N.C. lawmakers again scuttle bill to reform rate bureau

Most of the auto insurance industry has for several years been trying to convince North Carolina's lawmakers to eliminate the last vestiges of the once-common "rate bureau" system, …

Glass-Steagall never saved our financial system, so why revive it?

The Banking Act of 1933 was passed in an environment of crisis. In March of that year, all of the nation’s financial institutions were closed in the so-called …

Are we just fascists waiting for our turn with the hammer?

We all know control freaks. You may be one. It's not uncommon. A fascist is basically a control freak with a government hammer. The hammer makes all the …

The Swedish miracle continues

A special report on tobacco and e-cigarettes published by Eurobarometer—the official polling organization of the 28-nation European Union—underscores the remarkable success of what researchers call "The Swedish Experience." According …

Does the Paris agreement matter?

In the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to exit the Paris climate accord, many on the left seem to be writing an obituary for the planet. “Trump …

Homeowner insurance abuse needs to be addressed

As Gov. Rick Scott acts on legislation that was passed during the final weeks of this year's regular legislative session, there is one bill noticeably absent from his …

Who is to blame for the Seven and Seven?

R Street Vice President of Policy Kevin Kosar badgers the Toronto writer Adam McDowell. Kevin Kosar: Congrats on the publication of Drinks: A User’s Guide (Tarcher, 2016). It’s a smart-looking book, and I …

A ‘third status’ for the gig economy

The rise of the so-called “gig economy” — loosely defined as a market of freelance, self-employed and contract workers, often with low-to-median skill levels, who make a living …

Forget Paris. Clean energy could be our next moonshot.

When President Donald Trump announced his plan to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, the sanctimonious outrage from liberal environmental activists began to froth and boil. Tom Steyer …

The next security risk may be your vibrator

The following op-ed was co-authored by Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy manager and global policy counsel for Access Now.  Until hackers discovered the internet of things, a maker of kitchen appliances didn't …

Don’t include vaping in bans on flavored-tobacco sales

San Francisco Bay Area residents often are proud of the region’s progressive approach to social issues to a degree that approaches smugness. Unlike those rubes in the nation’s …

The lost genius of the Post Office

In 1897, a year when mail was still largely delivered by horse and wagon, construction began on an innovative scheme beneath the streets of Philadelphia. Using an intricate …

Theresa May’s plan to regulate the internet won’t stop terrorism; It might make things worse

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street National Security and Justice Policy Director Arthur Rizer.  In the wake of Saturday's horrific attack on London—the third high-profile terrorist incident …

Assembly speaker gives public the finger

For a stellar example of the disdain with which some California legislators treat the public, consider a series of votes that Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, scheduled right before …

Vape flavor ban threatens San Francisco’s legacy of harm reduction

The following op-ed was co-authored by Brian Fojtik, a senior fellow with the Reason Foundation. San Francisco has proudly led the nation in successfully implementing harm-reduction tools for at-risk communities. …

Is Assembly speaker playing game of chicken over 72-hour rule?

California voters in November overwhelmingly passed Proposition 54, a constitutional amendment to promote transparency by requiring all bills in their “final form” to be published online for 72 hours …

Prison unions punish California taxpayers

If you ever wondered what’s wrong with California’s state government, then mull over this simple example: While California cuts its prison population and staff, it’s increasing the amount of money …

Everyone should be getting Wikipedia for free

Internet providers should be able to experiment with giving subscribers free stuff, such as access to Wikipedia and other public information and services on their smartphones. Unfortunately, confusion …

Border-adjustment tax would cost North Carolinians dearly

The following op-ed was co-authored by Kory Swanson, president and CEO of the John Locke Foundation. A controversial proposal Congress is considering as part of comprehensive tax reform could lead …

Huntington Beach tries to squelch democratic reform

After giving a speech a few years ago, I was approached by an activist who wanted to tell me about what he believes is California’s most significant political …

Centralized climate planning like Paris wasn’t going to work anyway

Beware of hyperbole: President Donald Trump “canceling” Paris doesn’t mean much. All the hand wringing about the wavering U.S. commitment to climate diplomacy misses the larger message. International …

California needs to think twice about banning flavored e-cigarettes

Drug use can kill people. Smoking can kill people. But these behaviors don’t have to, and Californians know it. California—especially the Bay Area—has been a leader in promoting proven …

A solar energy trade war may be looming

A petition recently filed with the International Trade Commission by an Atlanta-based solar manufacturer could cause solar prices in the United States to skyrocket, raising thorny questions for …

Sacramento discovers a housing ‘crisis’

Nineteen years ago, I made the trek from a small, industrial city in Ohio to Orange County, California, to take a job at a large daily newspaper. Oddly …

New internet privacy bill would bring European-style regulations

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Research Assistant Joe Kane. As debate over the future of internet regulation drags on, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., chairwoman of …

Eight good pieces of news about Congress

It is not breaking news that most Americans are pessimistic about Congress. This negativity is reflected in Congress’ dismal 20 percent approval rating and another equally telling statistic that 79 percent of …

Gov. Brown’s pension plan gets mixed reviews from reformers

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature mostly have avoided tackling the state’s unfunded pension liabilities, even though these taxpayer-backed debts to pay for pension promises to state and …

Police misconduct undermines justice and costs taxpayers plenty

News reports last week suggest the city of Oakland may be ready to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the teenage woman at the heart of a sex-abuse …

Voters hold officials accountable for deficits in many countries. Just not here.

Wouldn't it be nice if voters punished politicians who increase budget deficits? Well, according to one research paper, they do. Adi Brender (Bank of Israel) and Allan Drazen (University of Maryland) crunched data from …

On Memorial Day, remember them, but also remember why

For Memorial Day, I'd planned to write about remembering our men and women in uniform. It's a respectful sentiment but, the more I thought about it, I realized it's …

Nevada and other Western states should make the most out of their vast mineral resources

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Catrina Rorke. For Nevada, President Donald Trump’s ongoing review of national monuments signals an economic opportunity that won’t just …

Tough questions for Alabama’s crowded Republican Senate primary

We're already seeing Senate Republican primary campaign ads hit the airways as candidates vie to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We all know where this is going. Every …

The Bloody Mary: An unlikely breakfast of champions

Mmmm, breakfast. What appeals to the mouth and stomach at the early hour when the birds are singing and the sun’s rays are spraying over the horizon? Something …

Ending Obama EPA’s ban on Alaska’s Pebble Mine is right for American energy

The Environmental Protection Agency is again drawing the ire of environmentalists, this time by lifting an Obama-era ban on development of Alaska’s Pebble Mine. It's part of a dramatic …

Loophole lets law enforcement bypass state laws on civil asset forfeiture

Advocates of civil asset forfeiture reform, stymied in recent years at the federal level, continue to make steady progress in the states. Alas, a loophole in current law …

Report: Single-payer health care in California would cost double state budget

During the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento last weekend, the spiciest news was outgoing chairman John Burton dropping an f-bomb on a group of activists demanding that …

California wants to make healthcare a ‘right’

A Bay Area Assemblyman got an earful last week as he pushed a largely symbolic bill that would have made it legal for California public employees to be members …

Sessions opts to enforce drug laws Congress fails to address

Critics bemoaning Session's recent guidance to prosecutors are missing the point: It's time for Congress to do its job and overhaul our approach to federal drug policy. Many states …

Senate should either fix or get off the pot on Copyright Office bill

The U.S. Senate is about to consider mostly pointless legislation that would make the nation's register of copyrights—the individual who heads the U.S. Copyright Office, officially a part …

Detroit and Puerto Rico: Which is the worse insolvency?

Over four decades beginning in the 1970s, the U.S. financial system had one big municipal debt crisis per decade.  These were New York City in the 1970s, the …

Don’t freak out about the FCC’s new approach to net neutrality

This op-ed was coauthored by Mike Godwin and Tom Struble. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission took a major, controversial step: In a  2–1 vote, the FCC—under the leadership …

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 …

The FCC’s computer inquiries: The origin story behind net neutrality

The battle over whether and how government should regulate the internet is once again coming to the fore. The Federal Communications Commission currently is weighing proposed rules designed …

Teachers’ unions losing the long war over parental choice

Supporters of charter schools, homeschooling and other forms of school “choice” are so used to fighting in the trenches against the state’s muscular teachers’ unions that they often …

Congress should act to stop states from battling over online sales taxes

In recent years, a multitude of states have attempted to impose sales taxes on purchases made over the internet and to set regulatory standards that would apply to …

Bail-reform needed given justice system’s realities

Virtually every American has watched enough TV cop dramas to know about the Miranda warning (“You have the right to remain silent …”) to understand that defendants are …

A conversation on ‘Democracy’ with Condoleezza Rice

So many intellectually gifted political figures are about as warm as a slab of granite in a blizzard. As we sat down to discuss her book, Democracy: Stories from …

What would Jesus do about criminal justice reform?

One of the more noteworthy political shifts of recent years is the degree to which prison reform has become a cause for conservatives. After decades of bellicose rhetoric …

Wanted: A few good free-traders

On almost no other issue has President Trump's public position been more consistent than the subject of trade. The president has been making claims about the failure of …

Licensed out of a job

This month and next, millions of graduating high school and college seniors will head out into the world to make their marks. As “Pomp and Circumstance” plays at …

San Francisco sues Uber in battle over driver privacy

The City of San Francisco filed suit last week against the ridesharing service Uber after the company filed a motion in court to block the release of a …

Forget fiscal responsibility: Jerry Brown embraces pension shell game

The Jerry Brown administration last week released its revised May budget and, lo and behold, it has finally decided to (kind of, sort of) tackle the state’s massive and growing …

California crackdown on brand advertising hurts state’s newcomers

California is an ethnically and culturally diverse state, and it is becoming more so with each day. That diversity brings with it economic strength, but also a need …

Florida’s insurance market is a template for the country

The National Flood Insurance Program is in deep debt. A handful of big storm years, particularly in 2005 and 2012, along with the artificially low rates charged to …

Idaho vacation-rental law is a model for the nation

Most neighborhoods will experience the occasional problem resident. There’s the person who throws a loud party late into the night, leaves junk in the front yard, lines the …

How a border-adjustment tax would hurt Louisiana’s insurance market

Louisiana already has some of the highest property insurance rates in the nation. But they could creep higher still—an estimated $1.11 billion higher over the next decade—should congressional …

U.S. needs to recognize serious flaws in Paris climate pact

Will they or won’t they? The past few weeks have seen a flurry of reporting on the internal White House struggles over whether to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The …

Fight over ‘commies’ shows ongoing Capitol silliness

When I was a precocious teenager, I worked at a book store in a shopping mall and was responsible for stocking the politics section with books. For sheer …

The effort to undo Obama regulations is ending with a whimper

Wednesday seemed to offer a somewhat dispiriting conclusion to what had been a hopeful period for regulatory-reform advocates. Senate Republicans were unable to muster the 51 votes needed …

Make the CFPB accountable by increasing presidential power

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—the brainchild of then-Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren  created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as part of the Dodd-Frank Act—may finally …

UC’s Napolitano digs a deeper hole

University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former Arizona governor and secretary of Homeland Security under Barack Obama, showed off her political skill at a joint legislative oversight hearing last …

Vaping in the UK

Comedian-cum-philosopher Stephen Colbert has opined: "Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything." Actual British researchers have gone a step further, finding that, with e-cigarettes and vaping, perception …

Do criminal courts threaten privacy more than FISA courts?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Oglesby, a technology research assistant with the R Street Institute. Privacy advocates long have accused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) of being …

Why the carbon tax is an idea that won’t go away

Using a carbon tax to fight climate change has long been a popular idea among economists, but November's election results seemed to render carbon-tax advocacy something of a …

Auditor spurs calls to combat disabled-parking spot abuse

California has nearly 25 million passenger vehicles, yet hands out a whopping 2.9 million disabled-person parking plates and placards. Anecdotal evidence—i.e., watching those healthy-seeming drivers parking in the disabled …

Trump’s FDA nominee faces steep climb to reform tobacco regulation

As the U.S. Senate weighs whether to confirm Dr. Scott Gottlieb—President Trump's pick to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration—there is an important question that he …

Cheers to promoting free-market principles in liquor sales

The Florida Legislature last week acted to join the majority of states in modernizing its alcohol sales laws. Senate Bill 106, which currently awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature, …

Credit Where It’s Due: D.C.’s forward-looking liquor laws

For those outside the Beltway, Washington is often a punchline for bloated and dysfunctional government. In fact, cynicism toward the nation’s capital often feels like one of the …

Democrats snub working poor, killing licensing reform

California Democrats prattle endlessly about helping the working poor, but their latest vote against a bill that would tangibly help financially struggling people shows that Democratic leaders are more …

Congress should prioritize small farmers and taxpayers over ‘big ag’

While the chattering classes debate whether the White House or congressional Democrats earned more "wins" in the omnibus spending package released Monday, taxpayer advocates can take comfort that lawmakers …

Trump is quietly waging a nontariff trade war

Trade policy emanating from the Trump administration over the past month has been dizzying. From the fairly standard, if regrettable, enforcement actions taken by the United States Commerce …

The Fed must be held accountable and the CHOICE Act will make it so

This week, the House Financial Services Committee passed Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act. Most of the public discussion of this bill is about its changes in banking regulations, …

Will Gov. Kay Ivey un-Bentley the ABC’s liquor tax hike?

The bureaucrats of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) are poised to pass a legally suspect tax hike and the Alabama Legislature is complicit. The only question left …

How Trump’s border tax could boost your property insurance rate

As Congress and the White House begin talks to reform the U.S. tax code, Texans should be particularly concerned. The taxes on imports that federal lawmakers are considering …

The Grass Gets Greener: New data tells old story of public-employee greed

Yet another prominent study highlights the depth of California's and the nation's pension crisis. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a report on the "state pension funding gap" — i.e., …

Sticking to the facts on e-cigarettes and nicotine medicines

A dentist colleague notes that the American Dental Association was one of 28 medical societies that signed a letter to the Food and Drug Administration in opposition to …

Cuomo should reconsider crusade against e-cigarettes

The New York State Senate is owed a debt of gratitude from all New Yorkers who care about public health. It managed to remove Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed …

Lawmakers must recognize that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit

As the electronic cigarette industry prepares for the devastating impact of Food and Drug Administration rules that would force nearly all products off the market 15 months from now, …

Do new Bay Area tobacco bans promote health or erode harm reduction?

Restrictive new anti-tobacco ordinances are spreading across the San Francisco Bay Area like a cigarette-sparked wildfire. Northern California cities already have some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in …

Mistakes cloud self-driving vehicle regulations

Now that the California Legislature, the autonomous vehicle industry and the general public all have had their say, California’s self-driving future is in the hands of bureaucrats at …

Bullet train myopia driving local transit boondoggles

Over the past six years, California legislators and the governor have increased overall general-fund spending by $36 billion but couldn't find extra money to spend on road, freeway and other …

AB 1679: Reining in insurance department’s regulatory authority

After years of falling rates, the cost of auto insurance is now once again increasing across the nation. The problems of distracted driving and rising repair expenses are acting together …

Applying heightened scrutiny to protectionist alcohol laws

While protectionist alcohol laws might appear to be nothing more than garden variety restrictions on economic liberty, the role of Prohibition and its subsequent repeal add an additional …

Feds taking social media passwords at the border sets a bad precedent

The following op-ed was co-authored R Street Research Associate Daniel Semelsberger. The Trump administration's plan to require visitors to the United States to hand over their social-media passwords is, when all …

‘Damning’ audit showcases out-of-touch UC leaders

University of California students have to dig deeper to pay for tuition, thanks to a large increase approved by the Board of Regents this year. Taxpayers also are …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Five

Don't get me wrong — Jack Daniel's is a very impressive company. Its sales growth over the past 40 years is mind-boggling. During the 1970 and 1980s, most …

Nixing e-cigarettes because of flavor is nonsensical

I like Jolly Ranchers, especially cherry-flavored ones. The flavor doesn't dull as they dissolve, they last a few minutes, they are relatively low in calories, and they disrupt …

Regulatory barriers are stifling the contact lens industry

In the science fiction novel Rainbow’s End, contact lenses equipped with what we would now call "augmented reality" allow wearers to overlay different images, filters or virtual scenes on top …

Napolitano deserves boot over latest UC scandal

The University of California warned Californians early this year that if tuition weren't significantly raised or public funding increased, education at the 10-campus system — with its staff …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Four

Thirty years ago, most whiskey distilleries were lonely places — industrial factories in remote rural areas. For the most part, the proprietors of these places saw themselves as …

North Carolina’s beer pong battle

A legislative battle currently is brewing that could determine whether North Carolina beer-makers will still be able to sell and market their own beer. The result could have …

An uncomfortable reality… Congress needs more staff

Mark Twain famously remarked: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Although famously crotchety, he did touch upon a …

‘Anything goes’ rational basis versus rational basis ‘with bite’

The fight over how to treat economic liberty under the Constitution has been as lengthy as it has been acrimonious. Under current constitutional jurisprudence, certain types of recognized …

Here comes the attempt to reframe Silicon Valley as modern robber barons

It's difficult for me to read Jonathan Taplin's cri de coeur about Google and other technology companies that have come to dominate the top tier of successful American …

Conservatives need an energy vision

For conservatives seeking a major victory, a great place to start would be to fix the mess of energy subsidies and regulations that have accumulated over the past …

Emergency water restrictions will extend beyond end of California drought

Former White House chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most quotable words are frequently cited as the apogee of cynicism, but they simply point to reality in …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Three

It was difficult to feel anything but awe standing in front of the still at Jim Beam's main distillery. It is six-stories tall and 200 gallons of beer pour into …

Yes, science, but how about a March for Math?

Tens of thousands of people marched in hundreds of cities last weekend as part of something billed as the March for Science. The event, which coincided with Earth Day, …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Two

We all have heard the story: manufacturing is dying in America. All the good blue-collar jobs are moving to Mexico and China. America's middle-class employment has been hollowed …

Oregon might join the 21st century on ridesharing

Oregon has a reputation as young and hip, given the vibrant tech economy in cities like Portland, Eugene and Salem. But the Beaver State sometimes also shows a …

Could economic liberty litigation free the booze?

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently struck down a state law limiting how many liquor retail outlets an individual or business could own within the Palmetto State. According to …

ARTIC’s fiscal tundra is preview of other boondoggles

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin once allegedly remarked in private that: "The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic," which is something …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day One

Where better to start a tour of the American Whiskey Trail than at Mount Vernon? George Washington often has been called the father of our grand nation — the prototype …

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 …

Troops shouldn’t have to wait until they’re 21 to drink

The following op-ed was co-authored by C. Jarrett Dieterle, governance project fellow with the R Street Institute. When 19-year-old Purple Heart recipient Marine Cpl. Samuel “Lee”  Anderson was injured by a …

Let all S.C. liquor stores compete on the same level

Until very recently, South Carolina liquor store owners were only allowed to operate up to three retail outlets in the Palmetto State. The decades-old cap was struck down …

Data transparency and multiple perspectives

One question underlying the very interesting data project and proposed legislation we are considering today is the relationship of data transparency to multiple perspectives on financial reality. In …

Beer industry on the brink

“You’re probably going to get fat.” These were some of the many words of warning handed out by Liquid Mechanics CEO Davin Helden during his talk on what it …

The ‘Teddy Bear and Toaster Act’ is device regulation done wrong

Should government to protect us from snooping teddy bears and untrustworthy toasters? The California State Senate seems to think so. With traditional devices on the decline, laptop and desktop …

Rewarding public employees with new tax hikes on the private sector

Under the “leadership” of Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats, the state government has increased its spending a dramatic $36 billion over the last six years, but never managed …

California high court sets stage for major pension ruling

The battle over reforming California's underfunded system of pension benefits does not involve any particular legislative proposal or initiative idea at this time, but is centered on a coming state …

CDC: E-cigarettes more popular than FDA-approved quitting aids

Cigarette smokers prefer e-cigarettes to the Food and Drug Administration's approved quit methods, according to a research brief authored by RTI International, the University of North Carolina and …

State court punches union-backed ‘judge’ in the head

If you're wondering how far unions and California officials will go to kill any reform of the state's overburdened public-pension system, wonder no more: consider instead the final chapter in …

Ex-offenders need jobs, not handouts. But there are too many regulatory barriers.

There's a tragic irony at the heart of American criminal-justice policy. While we invest billions of dollars each year to house inmates in state and federal correctional facilities, …

Short-term rentals and property rights

I was surprised to read the claim in Sabrina Shaeffer’s Wednesday commentary, “Short-term rentals could turn our communities into commercial zones,” that prohibitions on short-term rentals are needed …

Stop mandating burdensome background check for Uber, Lyft drivers

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jon Haggerty, a research assistant at the R Street Institute. The Bay State has been abuzz this month at news that more than 8,000 Uber and …

San Clemente’s antics could make for a dark comedy

Between binge-watching some Coen Brothers’ dark comedies, I’ve been perusing videos of state legislative hearings and city council meetings. The acting’s not as good in the political proceedings, …

Executive orders alone can’t create sustainable deregulatory change

Both during the election campaign and over the first 100 days of his administration, President Trump has declared his commitment to deregulation. Dubbed the “most aggressive campaign against government regulation …

This is why rest areas on federal highways are so boring

If you've ever taken a long road trip on a federal interstate, you might have had reason to stop at one of the nation's nearly 3,000 rest areas. …

Age restrictions on smoking, drinking and driving

State legislatures have been lobbied in a coordinated effort, called Tobacco 21, to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21 years. Hawaii, California and …

Franz Kafka, anti-bureaucrat

To understand the bureaucratic state, read Franz Kafka. Few writers have his knack to convey the peculiar, perverse effects the modern leviathan exerts on the soul as forcefully …

A last nail in the GOP’s California coffin

The California Republican Party has been vanquished at the state level, with Democrats having control of every constitutional office (governor, treasurer, secretary of state, etc.) and supermajorities in both houses …

America’s gonzo drinks history

Steven Grasse’s Colonial Spirits is the wackiest drinks book I have ever read. (I state this with admiration, and a bit of jealousy.) And I’ve read more than my share, …

Colleges are acting like subprime loan brokers

Rana Foroohar, in “Dangers of the college debt bubble," points out a lot of problems with the U.S. student loan program, but misses the main point: the corruption …

Transparency initiative shaped nature of road-tax debate

It’s no secret that the state’s legislative leadership is less than thrilled about an open-government initiative that California voters passed in the November election, and are doing what …

Hiking the minimum wage will hurt those that it intends to help

The following op-ed was co-authored by Vance Ginn, an economist with the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Texas House of Representatives recently heard nine …

Bill handicaps the self-driving car industry

Regulating something before it even is exists is as tricky as it is ill-advised. But that's exactly what California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, wants to do with …

Is reform on the horizon for Section 702 surveillance?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Semelsberger, a research assistant with the R Street Institute. An unappreciated subplot of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s departure as national security advisor …

Democratic attorneys general are the true masters of vote suppression

California Democrats have in recent years complained bitterly about alleged voter intimidation by Republicans and have even gone so far as to open a “voter intimidation hotline” before the Nov. …

California break-up idea won’t go away — for good reason

Years ago, I was riding an Amtrak train from Virginia to New Jersey and was chatting with a couple from California, who were stunned at how rapidly the …

Carbon tax could provide White House with missing link on tax reform

You've heard it all before: the U.S. tax code hasn't been updated since 1986; it's riddled with loopholes, giveaways and inefficiencies; our corporate tax rate is the highest …

On criminal-justice reform, Alabama should look to Texas

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley recently announced a new initiative aimed at addressing the state's overcrowding problem, with 23,000 prisoners in facilities designed for about 13,000. The “Alabama Prison Transformation …

California split back in the news again

The latest news about California—a breakup plan touted by the leaders of Brexit—could serve as a case study of how mischaracterizations spread across the internet, and how many …

The human toll of anti-tobacco extremism

This is a tale of two tobacco users and the very different medical advice they received. In 2005, two physicians and a dentist published a report in the American Journal …

How to fund infrastructure fixes: Tax hikes or rearranging spending priorities?

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators are pitching a transportation-tax proposal they depict as the only means to fix California’s crumbling roads, freeways and bridges. One would be …

Citation nation

In April 2013, when California resident Derick Neal rolled through a red light, it was no surprise that he received a ticket. What did surprise Neal was how …

It’s OK, California. Breaking up isn’t hard to do.

Two leaders of the successful referendum to remove Britain from the European Union were recently in California, where they said favorable things about the newest version of a …

Judge rail industry by performance, not processes

As Congress prepares to consider as much as $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending, it bears remembering that among the nation's most essential infrastructure industries is one of …

Even if they confess ‘hypermasculinity’ or offer women respect, men can never win

The internet is abuzz this week after this Washington Post profile of the second lady, Karen Pence, revealed that Vice President Mike Pence maintains a policy of never dining alone with …

Housing crisis is latest excuse to take aim at Prop. 13

There’s little question that California’s rapidly rising home prices have become something of a crisis for low- and middle-income people. “California is rapidly becoming a renter majority state,” …

Robots are in our future. Will policymakers keep denying that?

You’d be forgiven for getting worried about how many smart folks seem to be warning lately that robots are taking all our jobs. Bill Gates calls for the …

Raising alcohol taxes is a bad bet for West Virginia

In the budget proposal, Gov. Jim Justice proposes expanding revenues for the state’s coffers by raising both beer taxes and the markup on distilled spirits. The same markup …

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 …

H.B. 80 is short-sighted and would levy a tax on safe drivers

Delaware is poised to go back to the future with its approach to auto insurance. Inspired by California’s 1988 ballot initiative, Proposition 103, new Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro …

Public employees — ever more untouchable

One of the most obnoxious trends in the nation, and one that is particularly acute in California, is the continued push to enshrine public employees as a special, …

Tear down the wall and let the free market in

ABC Fine Wine & Liquors, Florida’s largest alcohol retail chain, struck a deal last year with a mobile app service to start offering one-hour alcohol delivery with the …

Moving Copyright Office authorities to executive branch could improve accountability

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow Jarrett Dieterle. An obscure debate about whether the U.S. Copyright Office should be part of the executive branch …

The next repeal and replace

With Obamacare left in place for the time being, President Donald Trump is setting his sights on a different aspect of his predecessor’s legacy. A wide-ranging executive order on …

Cuomo’s proposed ‘Amazon tax’ would hit NYers in the wallet

It's hard enough to afford living in New York state with residents already paying the highest combined tax burden in the nation. Even in a region surrounded by high-tax …

Budgetary ‘kill lists’ are a good way to kill wasteful spending

Groups across the ideological spectrum have raised alarm about President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled budget blueprint that, as detailed last week by The Washington Post, targets numerous federal programs for elimination. While …

Costly veterans’ homes not serving broad population

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been a font of scandal in recent years, with various reports showcasing the way the agency charged with caring for our nation's veterans …

Low-rate blues

In asking “Is the Federal Reserve Using Overheated Data?” (Up & Down Wall Street, March 11), Randall W. Forsyth did the math: “If the Fed fulfills its own …

Estate-tax plan is another example of Trump-spite

Economists sometimes talk about a fictional $1 million tax on, say, beagles to illustrate the perverse effects of a poorly designed tax code. In theory, the tax could …

Local laws threaten the global future of augmented reality

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Oglesby, research assistant with the R Street Institute. The intense, if fleeting, popularity of Pokemon Go helped demonstrate the market potential of …

The ever-expanding reach of anti-tobacco zealots

San Francisco’s rent-control and tenant ordinances are so oppressive that thousands of apartment units sit vacant in a city where fierce housing demand has pushed rents for tiny apartments to …

Educating Air Force generals about tobacco use and risks

The Military Health System and the Defense Health Agency published a grossly misleading article on their website in November 2016 titled, "Quit the spit: Smokeless tobacco no better …

The government has to change its tune on how to reduce harm from tobacco

A recent report from the Core Team on Tobacco Control drew 120 eminent signatories from the tobacco control community to endorse the proposition that it is possible to …

Take two devekut and call me in the morning

Since the original Moses, the world has been blessed with Mosii of many varieties. (One of my favorites, Moses Malone, actually took the Philadelphia 76ers to the Promised …

Texas workers shouldn’t need a license for everything

Should you need a license to work? For a few key fields such as, say, brain surgery, most people would say “yes.” Yet in recent decades, the number …

Shots fired between Sheriffs Association and NRA in Alabama Legislature

"S.B. 24 is not a Second Amendment bill and NRA should have kept their nose out of it," wrote Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Bobby Timmons in an …

Is California estate-tax proposal real or latest anti-Trump response?

This year’s California legislative session has been thus far dominated by two persistent themes: the desire to stand up to the Trump administration and the pursuit of new tax dollars …

State lawmakers increasingly work to accommodate the ‘gig economy’

Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow companies to extend to workers some of the benefits commonly associated with full-time employment, but without triggering a presumption of …

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 …

The ‘Dig Once’ bill could bring better broadband to rural areas

Telephone and cable companies are routinely slammed for being slow to build infrastructure in rural areas. Critics wrongly attribute delays to "market failure," claiming that because rural service …

Appalachia ain’t just moonshine anymore

It’s not often one can take several weeks off, pile into a car, and hit the open road without any significant responsibilities piling up (or email inboxes overflowing). …

Thank you for killing PBS funding, President Trump

The hue and cry from critics protesting the proposed cuts to the Public Broadcasting System made in President Trump’s budget makes clear those same critics haven’t looked at …

ACLU gives needed rebuke to OC’s meetings policy

City governments, police departments and county boards of supervisors have an enduringly difficult time understanding the proper order of things. It’s clichéd, but true. We don’t work for …

U.S. banks’ real estate boom could be signaling next crisis

Excessive real estate credit is the most common cause of banking booms, busts and collapses, throughout history, right up through the most recent financial crisis and around the …

The New Gender Battle: Tampons versus whiskey

It’s getting increasingly difficult to mock the California Legislature given the fusillade of nearly unbelievable legislation that makes its way through the Capitol’s hallowed halls. In the old days, when …

We need better solutions than ‘big government’ incarceration

Many Alabama politicians pride themselves on being "tough on crime." If we don't get a lot smarter about criminal justice, the "tough" stance is going to be a …

What is the actual collateral for a mortgage loan?

“Economics and finance are like going to the dog races,” my friend Desmond Lachman of the American Enterprise Institute is fond of saying. “Stand in the same place and …

Department of Defense anti-smokeless campaign is ’50’ shades darker

February is a popular month for tobacco prohibitionists to attack smokeless tobacco, or "ST." A year ago, I refuted seven false claims on the topic from county health …

How to reduce juvenile crime: Use separate courts

The following op-ed was co-authored by Marc Schindler, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute. As budget-strapped state legislatures seek ways to spend taxpayer dollars more effectively and efficiently, …

‘Conservative’ environmental protection shouldn’t mean ‘less’

"Conservative" environmental protection shouldn't mean "less." We're great at rejecting imbalanced, heavy-handed environmentalism, but we often come up short putting forth policies that demonstrate genuine concern for our …

‘Gender injustice’ behind call to reduce taxes on tampons

In his veto message of a series of tax-reduction bills last September, Gov. Jerry Brown explained that “tax breaks are the same as new spending – they both cost the …

Why Trump’s government overhaul won’t work

The executive order issued by President Donald Trump yesterday has a goal nearly every citizen and legislator would cheer: to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch.” What's …

Insurance debate could doom border adjustment tax

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams. President Donald Trump signaled during last week's address to a joint session of Congress that he is, in fact, …

Sheriffs shouldn’t profit off our Second Amendment exercise

Imagine if an Alabama politician introduced legislation that required citizens to pay a fee in order to attend church. He or she wouldn't be a politician for very …

‘Pink slips’ evidence of a dysfunctional system

The news from the Santa Ana Unified School District board meeting should raise red flags for anyone with children in the district’s struggling school system. The board voted, …

Legislators should stop mandating how Uber conducts background checks

After several years of tumultuous debate, the big questions surrounding the basic legality of ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber have essentially been resolved. In most major American cities, we …

Unsafe spaces

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Policy Analyst David Bahr. Three months after the 2016 election, many Americans are still reeling. Anti-Trump protests clog the streets, shrill …

E-cigarette toxic chemical exposure is same as for nonsmokers

The new finding from British and U.S. e-cigarette researchers understated the good news for vapers. "Long-term NRT-only and e-cigarette-only use…is associated with substantially reduced levels of measured carcinogens and …

Technology has already created innovative solutions for our bloated jail populations, we just have to implement them

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Research Associate Jon Haggerty.  On any given day, roughly 750,000 people are locked up in American jails. Indeed, one-in-three incarcerated persons …

American Health Care Act isn’t the replacement we had in mind

For years, Republicans have opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). They've campaigned on it. They've had town halls about it. Some dreamed of the day the …

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. …

Westworld shouldn’t frame debate over artificial intelligence

In the HBO show Westworld, guests are immersed in a Western experiential theme park populated by human-like robots bordering on self-awareness. The show exploits and exacerbates natural anxieties about …

California high court says public records are public, even on a private email

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court unanimously overturned an appeals court decision that had provided a large loophole in the state’s public-records act. The case, City of San Jose …

Machiavelli’s Clizia: Or, how to win dowries and dominate husbands

Machiavelli gets a bad rap, and not without some justification. As nearly all MBA students, dime-store dictators and White House counselors can agree, The Prince offers things How to Win Friends …

How to put the ‘most complete and effectual weapon’ back in their hands

Indubitably, our nation's finances are a mess. America has run deficits 36 of the past 40 years. The national debt is $18 trillion, and it has tripled as a percentage …

Setting the right course for self-driving cars

We’re still just weeks into the Trump administration, but Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has already signaled she will review a number of Obama administration policies related to developing, …

Is Anaheim police fracas the result of ‘blue privilege’?

Everyone who watched the video of the recent fracas between an off-duty Los Angeles police officer and a group of teens in front of his Anaheim home should …

FDA should get out of the smokeless tobacco industry

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Associate Fellow Brad Rodu. Just days after President Donald Trump's inauguration, the Food and Drug Administration proposed new rule mandating major reductions in the …

‘Fake News’ is repackaging an old debate

Fake news isn’t new. As far back as 1927, The American Mercury’s H.L. Mencken remarked on “the problem of false news” and the decay of American journalism in …

Congress, please make smoking less harmful

Legislation introduced recently by Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., would make significant changes to the way the Food and Drug Administration regulates tobacco and nicotine …

Heavy snus use: Possible link to Type 2 diabetes

A Swedish research study finds that heavy consumption of snus is associated with type 2 diabetes. Analyzing data from six groups of Swedish men, researchers found no risk of …

DMV truck-test backlog sparks bipartisan privatization bill

California state officials are worried about a shortage of certified truck drivers to meet the state’s growing transportation needs, yet a reported testing backlog at the California Department …

For regulatory reform, look to Congress

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar. It is rare that we get a glimpse at the guiding principles that motivate a president …

OC flap sheds light on academic bullying

The board of trustees at an Orange County, Calif., community college district put an end to a long-simmering local dispute by ending the suspension of a student who …

So-called ‘consumer protection’ bill is actually protecting the utilities

Think you are capable of managing your own affairs? The government might not see it that way. Over the past few decades, a growing field of scholarly thought …

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 …

So many drinks laws: An interview with food policy expert Baylen Linnekin

In his recent book, Biting the Hands That Feed Us (Island Press, 2016), food-policy scholar Baylen Linnekin exposes many of America’s nightmare food laws. From the so-called “cheese …

Feds have an abysmal track record when it comes to cybersecurity

The following op-ed was co-authored by Daniel Oglesby, a research associate with the R Street Institute. Despite work by Congress to pass more than 50 laws to address cybersecurity, the …

Vapor devices are not cigarettes

There is a movement afoot in New Mexico to treat e-cigarettes and related nicotine-vapor products as if they pose the same risks for addiction and potentially fatal tobacco-attributable …

New York’s nuclear subsidies contradict economic principles

When New York State's massive zero-emission credits (ZECs) program kicks off in April, it will begin a 12-year process of unloading $7 billion in subsidies on unprofitable nuclear …

My boys and I attended a GOP town hall to see what democracy looks like

Contrary to popular belief, it isn't easy to convince a 7-year-old and 5-year old to make contributions to America's civil discourse on a Saturday morning. That said, my …

College officials need swift lesson in academic freedom

There’s something creepily totalitarian about Orange Coast College’s handling of the now nationally known incident involving 19-year-old Caleb O’Neil, who was suspended from the college for two semesters …

Fighting for booze equality on ‘Alcohol Alley’

On paper, Silverback Distillery in rural Afton, Virginia, should be considered an All-American success story. The husband-and-wife team of Denver and Christine Riggleman opened Silverback in 2014. Denver …

Border adjustment would sock Florida with hugely higher insurance rates

In recent years, Congress repeatedly has considered legislation that would have adversely and profoundly impacted disaster-prone states like Florida. Luckily, we were spared passage, over and over again. …

‘Free speech’ isn’t a justification for being terrible

Given what I've seen lately, I'm not sure most of us really understand the concept of free speech enshrined in our Constitution. The First Amendment is essential to …

Lessons from the godfather of regulatory budgeting

Most of the attention around President Donald Trump's recent deregulation executive order focused on its “one in, two out” requirement mandating that agencies repeal two regulations for every …

New identity for a master of identity politics

The most entertaining local news story this week was a puff piece in the Sacramento Bee about one of California’s most-powerful politicians, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de …

Nicotine, smokeless tobacco and Tourette’s Syndrome

A man with Tourette's Syndrome, a nerve disorder developing in childhood and involving muscle tics (repetitive involuntary movement) and voice problems, recently posted online his experience with smokeless …

State watchdog agency points to flaws in bond oversight

The Oroville Dam’s near disaster has ignited a long-overdue debate about the condition of California’s infrastructure, and the need for additional investments in its creaky system of dams, levees, …

The Senate should pass the Email Privacy Act without delay

With Congress consumed by political battles, there's still a glimmer of hope for bipartisanship on privacy issues: The House last week passed the Email Privacy Act by unanimous …

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 …

Utah roomshare bill stops local overreach

Local government officials like to argue that “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” The general concept is a good one, in that far-off officials in …

Where’s Minnesota’s electricity choice?

Minnesota Republicans are missing a critical opportunity to practice what they preach. Competition and consumer choice are good for the Gopher State. The phone you use, car you drive, …

It’s time to reel in and replace fuel economy standards

More than four decades after they first were introduced, federal fuel-economy standards just aren't working. They force Americans to pay more for cars and light trucks while providing …

Pot shop reinstatement is a black eye for police

If you’re wondering why police officers sometimes lose the trust of the communities they serve, forget about the overheated rhetoric from Black Lives Matter and focus instead on …

Franchise tax reform still a priority for Texas

Nobody likes paying taxes. But unlike the rest of us, once every two years, the Texas Legislature gets the chance to do something about it. In 2015, with the …

Will Trump sign postal reform legislation?

The House of Representatives took up postal reform legislation this week, a decade after Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was supposed to shore up …

America’s self-driving anxiety

  The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams. Autonomous vehicles hold great promise to remake our society and economy, but not everyone is along for …

At UC Berkeley, it pays well to worry about inequality

Former Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now a public-policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has warned that “we are heading back to levels of inequality …

Congress should take hands off the wheel of self-driving cars

Manufacturers developing the self-driving cars of the future haven't had the straightest regulatory road. States across the country each have pursued unique legislative and regulatory paths—to date, at …

A conservative’s tips for liberals facing a Republican trifecta

I've been there—when your political party has told you that America will be lost if a certain presidential candidate doesn't win the election. Not only does that candidate …

When it comes to Louisiana floods, how much does a foot really matter?

The following op-ed was co-authored by William Booher, interim executive director of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in New Orleans. One foot can make a lot of difference …

Trump should force California to pay for its own earthquake risk

The brewing conflict between President Trump and the state of California has captured headlines. The nation’s chief executive threatened to “defund”  the Golden State, while California politicos promise …

With old warnings unheeded, Oroville Dam problems threaten valley

  A Sacramento Bee story published Monday succinctly described the disaster unfolding at the nation’s tallest dam, where flaws in the Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway are forcing water onto …

Good Alco-News: America’s spirits business is booming

The U.S. drinks business is booming, despite the finger-wagging by neo-prohibitionists. Last year’s liquor volume sales climbed 2.4 percent to 220 million cases, and revenues were up 4.5 …

Time for a ceiling on hail damage claims in Texas

When you ignore a problem long enough, sometimes it just goes away. And sometimes, it gets even worse. Two years ago, the Texas Legislature heard testimony about a simmering …

Dues case spotlights unfairness of funding one’s foes

In an oft-quoted scene from “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone and family consigliere Tom Hagen discuss a planned hit on a competing mobster and dirty cop. Michael assures Tom, …

Trump spite leads to defense of idiocy

The leader of the California Senate recently used his closing remarks in a Senate hearing to downplay how concerning it is if illegal immigrants engage in identity theft, …

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 …

Needless obstacles in securing hail damage claims

When you ignore a problem long enough, sometimes it just goes away. And sometimes, it gets even worse. Two years ago, the Texas Legislature heard testimony about a simmering …

Make Congress work (Saturdays) again

Amid partisan battles over President Donald Trump's cabinet nominees, Republican congressional leaders are threatening to make members work weekends to get the president's confirmations finalized. While these threats …

Fixing the federal policy on e-cigs will save lives

Unless something changes soon, the doomsday clock will strike midnight on the e-cigarette industry. Thanks to regulations finalized in August 2016 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), …

Republicans could have a regulatory ‘game changer’ on their hands

Last week, the House and Senate voted to repeal one of the last regulations the Obama administration enacted on its way out the door. The regulation, known as …

If Democrats want a less-powerful Trump, there’s a REINS Act for that

Congressional Democrats may not like President Donald Trump, but they’re not even remotely serious about limiting his policymaking power. They’d rather bring pictures of Trump’s tweets to the …

Self-driving cars should disengage from public reporting

New data released last week by the California Department of Motor Vehicles offered bright news for fans of autonomous vehicles. Based on so-called “disengagement reports” submitted by developers …

Is lack of competition leading to costly electricity glut?

A top California utility official once quipped that he was one of the few executives in the country who earned a profit merely by remodeling his office. He …

Increasing reinsurance taxes would be a manmade disaster

With the new Congress underway, tax reform is at the top of the agenda. Many of the ideas now being proposed, such as proposals to fix our punitive …

Latest DA scandal cries out for far-reaching reform

The government’s foremost responsibility is to administer a system of justice. Without a just system — due process for the accused, trustworthy trials, fair-minded judges, police and prosecutors …

Reagan’s ‘city on a hill’ meets Trump’s immigration order

We have indeed arrived at another time for choosing. We must answer one question: Will we advance liberty or sound its retreat? The emotional response to President Donald Trump's executive …

Trump should eliminate state lines for professional licensing

Perhaps not surprisingly, President Trump hasn't spent much time letting us know his thoughts on the ins and outs of insurance regulation. But to the extent he has …

Some women simply don’t like Hillary Clinton’s politics

We've all heard the claim that sexism holds women back. But what if there is a deeper, more insidious force preventing women from reaching high levels of office? …

How onerous federal tobacco policy is endangering health

The anti-tobacco crusade—one of the left’s favorite holy wars—has hit a wall. Though great strides have been made in reducing the rate of cigarette smoking, about 15 percent …

Should Congress have to approve every federal regulation? A debate.

The following written debate between R Street Senior Fellow Kevin Kosar and Andrew Rudalevige, Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government at Bowdoin College, was published in the Washington Post's …

Wackiness aside, unions still our biggest problem

When non-Californians think about what’s wrong with our lovely but dysfunctional state, they tend to think of some of the wackier stuff that routinely makes headlines here. The …

Experts to FDA: End the smokeless tobacco misinformation campaign

Two internationally renowned tobacco policy experts are urging the Food and Drug Administration and "like campaigns and health information websites” to “follow established ethical principles and accepted communication …

Whether the easy way or the hard way, GOP will confirm Gorsuch

Tell me about the Democrats' right to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and I'll point to roughly 60 million Americans who voted for President Donald Trump. They …

Trump’s patent policy should put America first, not the patent lobby

The following op-ed was co-authored by Charles Duan, director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge. President Donald Trump campaigned on a platform to put America first and protect American …

California high court gives insurance commissioner vast new powers

President Donald Trump’s spate of executive orders has jump-started a national debate about the wisdom of executive edicts, especially those that stray into the area of lawmaking. While …

Politicians should stay out of cybersecurity market

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Tech Policy Fellow Anne Hobson. As online crime has come into its own, ransomware—a particularly insidious type of cyber attack—has emerged …

Five big questions about Trump’s executive order on regulation

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar. On Monday, the Trump administration made its first big move against overregulation, issuing an executive order requiring agencies …

Beer can battles in Texas

What’s the difference between a beer can and a mayonnaise jar? It sounds like the opening to a bad joke, but it’s also the basis for a legal …

Newport deal shows how pensions are rigged against taxpayers

  A former Newport Beach deputy police chief’s parting pension deal may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of his lifetime — and serves as …

Almost 50 years later, Allan Bloom’s Republic remains as vital as ever

Next year, Allan Bloom’s translation of Plato’s Republic turns 50. Its mastery is such that, with the exception of Joe Sachs, no one else has even come close …

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 …

Jerry Brown’s alternative state of the universe

By California’s low standards, Gov. Jerry Brown generally has been a voice of reason in the state Capitol, despite his occasionally unhinged rhetoric about the existential threat posed …

Partisan echo chambers erode our check on political power

According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the Trump administration is "going to hold the press accountable" because "the American people deserve better." Some media outlets could …

Short-term rentals: Are they compatible with residential communities?

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 …

Strengthening Congress by shrinking the administrative state

Regulatory reform appears to be gaining traction in Washington, D.C. The White House directed agencies to halt the issuance of new regulations. Congress also got in the act. …

GOP tax plan could boost prices for Californians’ insurance

Donald Trump has only been president since Friday, so it’s too early to know what his “America first” policies will mean economically. But an ongoing debate from the …

Regulating ‘internet of things’ requires a better definition from lawmakers

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration—the U.S. Department of Commerce agency that advises the White House on telecom policy—published a green paper outlining what it saw as the department’s role …

Federal studies: ZERO mouth cancer deaths among men who dip or chew tobacco

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 23, 2017, published a proposed smokeless tobacco regulation that was based on erroneous calculations of smokeless tobacco risks. The agency's rules …

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 …

Six ways Congress can curb a runaway president

No bones about it, Donald Trump is a steamroller. He defeated 16 Republican candidates, despite being a political novice. Jeb Bush’s $150 million war chest couldn’t insulate him from Trump’s insults; …

GOP tax plan would burden Wyoming’s businesses

The following was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Steven Greenhut. No state voted more lopsidedly for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate than Wyoming, where voters gave President …

The importance of the business judgment rule

The business judgment rule, the most prominent and important standard of judicial review under corporate law, protects a decision of a corporate board of directors from a fairness …

What a relief: Rohrabacher can retreat to his ‘safe space’

Conservatives love to mock liberal college students who clamor for “safe spaces,” where they can hide from ideas that run contrary to their politically correct sensibilities. Yes, these …

Cybersecurity in the internet of things is a game of incentives

Cybersecurity was the virtual elephant in the showroom at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Attendees of the annual tech trade show, organized by the Consumer …

Trump was right: There is no drought

Donald Trump might not have gotten all the details right when he declared in Fresno in May that California isn’t really suffering from drought, but his basic point …

A new conservative approach to jail reform: police diversion

There's no shortage of innovative methods states have explored to divert offenders away from jail and toward treatment-based solutions, whether it be through deferred prosecution, veterans' courts or, …

The Twitter presidency

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Technology Policy Fellow Sasha Moss. Franklin D. Roosevelt was famous for his “fireside chats” — evening radio addresses that helped …

Capitalism and Climate: Environmental success needn’t come from government

With President Donald Trump in the White House, healthy Republican majorities in Congress, and a likely conservative majority on the Supreme Court, we are likely to see dramatic …

New report: Cal high-speed rail faces 50 percent cost overruns

California’s ongoing “high-speed rail” project connecting Los Angeles with San Francisco continues to run up against the same, recurring problem since voters gave the plan initial bond funding …

Letter to New York Times on opioid treatment

The treatment proposed by Tim Lahey is part of a larger family of clinical approaches that could help reshape the landscape for many of our health care challenges. Harm …

Moorlach wants to take pension reform back to the future

There isn’t anything fundamentally significant about 1990, from an ecological standpoint. Nonetheless, California officials long ago set that year as the benchmark against which greenhouse-gas-emissions reductions are judged …

State, city should be friendlier for e-cigarettes

Even though a half-million Americans die every year from smoking-related illness, roughly 17 percent of U.S. adults continue to smoke. It’s encouraging that new options have come to the …

Does Congress want to govern?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the political reform program at New America. Over the past year, leading members of Congress have delivered …

Stormy Weather: Brown’s budget holds infrastructure hostage

My neighbors and I just survived a week of flood dangers, as something called an “atmospheric river” led to massive rains throughout northern California. The warmth of the …

Meet the UA law professor who joined 1,423 colleagues opposing Jeff Sessions

Nobody is surprised that more than 1,400 law professors from across the nation signed a letter opposing Sen. Jeff Sessions's nomination for attorney general. I'd frankly be more …

Artificial intelligence is set to remake event experiences

2016 was a big year for droids, as two different installments of the Star Wars series finished among the year's 10 highest-grossing films. But elsewhere in the universe, …

Scientists rebuke Coastal Commission over desalination

The Coastal Commission’s stated concern that a proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant’s intake pipes pose a threat to small and microscopic plankton has been rebutted in a letter …

Can e-cigarettes be a harm reduction approach for HIV-positive smokers?

John is a 43-year-old gay-identified man who arrives coughing at my office for his weekly therapy appointment. "I've now been living with HIV for 15 years and undetectable …

Warming winter whiskeys

I am a seasonal drinker. What tastes best to me in the summer swelter is not what I hoist in the chillier months. Since the cold began its …

O.C. legislator overstates law, but his column goes viral

California Republicans face a discouraging dilemma, as GOP numbers wither in the state Capitol. Democrats gained supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, which leaves the remaining Republicans …

Criminals in 2017 may have to commit crime like it’s 1999

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Criminal Justice Director Arthur Rizer.  Las Vegas will be inundated with 150,000 tech geeks this weekend flocking to the Consumer Electronics Expo, …

Confirmed: Snus use protective for Parkinson’s disease

Investigators in Sweden, Italy and the United States report that "non-smoking men who used snus had a substantially reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease." The research, published in the International Journal …

Under President Trump, will Congress REIN in executive branch?

When I was counsel to former Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., in the 112th Congress, a constituent named Lloyd Rogers asked why Congress wasn’t accountable for the cost of federal …

It’s time for SCOTUS to weigh in on digital fair use

The following op-ed was co-authored by Charles Duan, director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge. It's been almost 10 years since Stephanie Lenz was informed by Universal …

Big news from 2016 highlights rapidly changing county

My first encounter with an Orange County politician came in the mid-1990s, when I met then-U.S. Rep. Bob Dornan during his ill-fated 1996 presidential run. Dornan was speaking …

Seven bold, probably unpopular, political predictions for 2017

At the end of 2016, social media buzzed with Americans intentionally sharing their unpopular opinions. While I wasn't aware that anyone on Twitter or Facebook ever held back …

Self-driving cars will make organ shortages even worse

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams. Much has been said about the ways we expect our oncoming fleet of driverless cars to change …

Will Trump call California’s bluff?

Believe it or not, but the incoming Trump administration is a godsend for California’s increasingly left-wing political leadership. Note how Democratic elected officials are tripping all over themselves, …

Sacramento Bee errs twice with fake news on e-cigarettes

The Sacramento Bee on Jan. 21 published a column written by a hearing aids company executive.  Titled “E-cigarettes may also cause hearing loss," the piece asserted that “damage to inner …

Kraft case a reminder that Congress should enact patent system reform

The U.S. Supreme Court announced earlier this month it will hear the appeal of a patent infringement case brought by Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC against zero-calorie sweetener …

Trump’s Great Negation of 2017

The Obama administration began amid the Great Recession. Donald Trump will take office in January 2017 and usher in the Great Negation. How long it will last depends …

Why policy should recognize help of e-cigarettes

In the late 1960s, I worked at Grant Hospital as an inhalation therapist, fascinated that some of those I treated for breathing ailments would stub out a cigarette …

Raft of new state laws are going–or have gone–into effect

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed 898 bills into law last year. Most take effect Jan. 1, but others go into effect in coming years. The majority of new laws deal …

Desalination foes putting tiny critters above people

It’s getting increasingly difficult to exaggerate the degree to which some environmental activists and bureaucrats have placed the needs of California’s critters above the needs of its growing …

Autonomous vehicles could change everything you know about traffic stops

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams. A driver’s license is a rite of passage. Unfortunately for many drivers, so too is one’s first …

State Farm and the commissar

Critics of California’s business climate routinely complain about the state’s high tax rates, its large and costly government, its coddled and overpaid class of government workers and its …

For-profit policing undermines confidence in justice system

The following op-ed was co-authored by Alyse Ullery, a criminal justice policy advisor based in Austin, Texas. Card-reading devices that allow law enforcement to both check and seize the balance …

FDA rejects plea to correct smokeless tobacco warnings; a closer look at flawed interpretations

After a two-and-a-half-year review, the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products rejected Swedish Match's request to eliminate or revise the 30-year-old, egregiously inaccurate warnings that are …

In internet of things era, cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles will require restraint

The following op-ed was co-authored by Darren Teshima, a litigation partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in San Francisco. Concerns about the vulnerability of America's physical infrastructure have long …

CalPERS considers – then rejects – efforts to end tobacco divestment

As the nation's largest state-based pension fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System is known for using its massive investment muscle to promote various social-investment causes. So-called ESGs …

A national law needed to protect online freedom of speech

The following op-ed was co-authored by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, who represents Texas' 27th congressional district. Christmas is almost here. While Santa Claus knows who’s been naughty or nice, …

The Federal Reserve is the bank most in need of a stress test

Do you know a bank that is leveraged at more than 100:1-to be exact, with assets of 111 times its equity? You do: it's the Federal Reserve. The consolidated …

Anaheim’s election means victory over crony capitalism

While political observers wait to see whether President-elect Donald Trump will fulfill his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Anaheim’s new council majority is ready to do …

Uber and California DMV fight over definition of self-driving cars

In highly regulated private industries, the law means what it says – right up until a regulator decides that it doesn't. For that reason, Uber, a company with …

Information overload, fake news and infinite opinions

I remember when I didn't have opinions about everything. There were many, many events that happened in the world, and I was either blissfully unaware or simply an …

In California, an about-face on tobacco

The nation’s largest state-based pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), has long been known for using its investment muscle to push for “socially responsible” investments …

How an idyllic Italian village was crippled by family-centrism

More than 60 years ago, an American family arrived in a seemingly idyllic town in Southern Italy. Stone buildings resembled “a white beehive against the top of a …

FBI fingerprinting for Uber and Lyft in Maryland would do more harm than good

Maryland is precariously close to being Uber-less, thanks to a requirement that, as of Dec. 15, all drivers must submit to background checks that include FBI fingerprinting [“Uber …

Snapchat spectacles and the creep factor

We're all amateur documentarians now, which is why sunglasses equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled cameras are a natural next step in the world of wearables. Snap Inc.’s Spectacles allow users …

Court OKs constitutional challenge to new state law affecting farm industry

A federal appeals court last week took the highly unusual step of finding a U.S. constitutional cause of action in a challenge to a California state law – …

All the president’s propaganda

The following op-ed was co-authored by John Maxwell Hamilton, a professor in Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International …

Santa Ana’s sanctuary policies are just symbolism

I took a photograph years ago of downtown Santa Ana for a magazine article I had written about the city. When I raised the camera to my eye, …

Lots of smoke, no fire

Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy got it wrong. Contrary to the claims in this week’s highly publicized report, e-cigarettes and other vapor devices are not a threat to …

Whether thriving or failing, cities need investment

Seven years into the recovery from the Great Recession, unemployment is down, gross domestic product is up, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed recently at an all-time …

E-cigarettes help smokers quit, so why crack down on them?

When it comes to battling teen pregnancy, our nation’s health officials have for two decades put aside moralism and focused on “harm reduction.” For example, instead of continuing …

California Legislature’s gaseous impulses

The California Legislature last week received a load of bad publicity because of a new law that attempts to reduce the methane output of dairy cows dramatically — …

Republicans should snuff out deadly tobacco rules

Last month, Republican U.S. House leaders sent a pointed letter to federal agency heads warning them against finalizing “midnight regulations” — last-minute rules approved during a lame-duck session, …

New legislative session puts bail-bonds industry under microscope

At a press conference in the Capitol Monday morning, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom explained that, although he has long championed various reforms to the state’s criminal-justice system, …

Vaping can help smokers

When it comes to smoking, there are two universal truths. First, smoking is really bad for you. And, second, it’s really hard to quit. America has been making progress. …

Ruling casts doubt on fairness of OC ‘justice’ system

The California Court of Appeal’s 53-page ruling late last month in the ongoing jailhouse “snitch” scandal was the latest court rebuke of the local “justice” system. The blowback …

Will the public housing smoking ban include electronic cigarettes?

On Wednesday, a different Castro was in the news: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro decreed that all 3,100 local Public Housing Agencies must …

California GOP’s final death throes

The final vote tallies are in for a handful of tight legislative races. It’s now clear that California Democrats have gained supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, …

Can the FTC write an Rx for the contact lens market, or is legislation an aye for an eye?

A patient walks into an optometrist’s office for an eye exam. He walks out an hour later with a box of contact lenses, conveniently purchased in-office with the …

Texas can’t afford a minimum wage hike

After years on the back burner, the minimum wage is hot again. A national campaign to institute a $15 an hour minimum wage has picked up steam in …

Reinsurance saved Florida from catastrophic losses

While this year’s storms Hermine and Matthew brought an end to the state’s decade-long hurricane drought, they easily could have been stronger or cut a more destructive path. Indeed, …

Police-reform spotlight shines on the local level

The presidential campaign focused some attention on the long-simmering debate over policing and the appropriate uses of force, but as is typical with national campaigns, the nuances got …

The Fed should be accountable for its results

“Vote Brings Uncertainty for Fed” (U.S. News, Nov. 10) says that President-elect Donald Trump might work with Congress to rewrite the laws governing the Fed’s structure. Good idea. …

Lou Correa’s opportunity in Washington

In the 1939 movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jimmy Stewart portrays an idealistic man from a Western state who is appointed to fill a U.S. Senate seat. …

When lunatics run the asylum, you get Monty Python

California’s pension funds continue to face a fusillade of bad news, including new reports showing that retirement benefits consume 20 percent of Los Angeles’ general-fund budget. Put another …

Will the Trump administration revisit net neutrality and zero rating?

Network neutrality, the most significant piece of internet regulation championed by the Obama administration, might be yet another casualty of the coming Donald Trump presidency. That wouldn’t be …

Regulators chase cat from bar and are shocked when mice appear

One of New York City’s oldest bars recently was shut down for a few days. McSorley’s Old Ale House has operated in the East Village for 162 years and …

Motorcycles aren’t cars and cigarettes aren’t smoke-free tobacco

Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. We know this because a government agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, routinely provides data that confirms it. For example, NHTSA reports …

Dialing for dollars

I agree with the conventional wisdom that congressmen spend entirely too much of their time raising money. Like many viewers, I cringed at John Oliver’s dialing-for-dollars exposé featuring former Democratic …

The case for criminal justice reform in lame duck

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. With just a few weeks remaining in the 114th Congress, members are returning to Capitol Hill to take …

Charter ‘witch hunt’ does disservice to vulnerable kids

Most of us know the legend: German-born physicist Albert Einstein struggled with the regimented curriculum in his elementary school, yet later proved to be one of the world’s …

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 …

California the new redoubt of secessionism?

The most enjoyable part of the Trump victory has been watching people here in liberal northern California suddenly discover that some of the ideas libertarians and conservatives have …

Stopping Big Government: Why we need a Congressional Regulation Office

The following op-ed was co-authored by Philip A. Wallach, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. This year, nearly 3,300 new federal regulations have been issued, and we still …

Cybercrime and the war on digital free speech

The internet is increasingly a target for those who want to silence speech. An Oct. 21 cyberattack rendered social media sites like Twitter and Reddit and news sites like …

Bail reform tops criminal-justice efforts in next legislative session

California has long been known as a law-and-order state, particularly following the crime spikes of the 1980s. The state passed the toughest “three strikes” law in the nation …

Letter: No ‘copyright coup’ at all in Washington

Casting Dr. Carla Hayden as a puppet of the tech industry or the library-industrial complex diminishes the obvious accomplishments that led her to become the first African-American and …

Barron’s Mailbag: Chapter 11 for Social Security?

In their Other Voices essay, Dudley Kimball and Robert Morgan said that Social Security will be insolvent in 2034. In the sense of having liabilities vastly greater than assets, …

Corporate governance by the board, not the government

The following op-ed was co-authored by Michael Wilt, a senior policy writer and editor with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Starbucks recently made a big change to its …

Make Congress great (or at least relevant) again with criminal justice reform

With a disapproval rating hovering around 80 percent, the 114th Congress is on track to be among the least productive in history. But with the end of a …

California voters defy trend – by voting as expected

Whereas the national election results shocked and surprised pollsters and many media observers, California’s results from Election Day conformed almost exactly to pre-election polls and predictions. Some of …

California misses another electoral wave

It’s hard to overstate the significance of Donald Trump’s improbable presidential victory Tuesday, yet the GOP tide barely fazed the nation’s most populous state. Democrat Hillary Clinton won …

Angling for bass, salmon and drinks in Traverse City, Michigan

Let me state upfront: I caught no fish. This was not surprising, seeing as the weather was lousy for bass—cold (40s) and blustery—and I had no salmon lures. I …

Are robot scalpers ripping you off? Do we need government to stop it?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Christopher Koopman, a senior research fellow with the Project for the Study of American Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason …

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 …

Volkswagen’s Clean Air Act violations need a RESTORE Act solution

Volkswagen Automotive Group has admitted to installing software on several of its diesel vehicles effectively to defeat exhaust-emission testing and deceive customers who thought they were purchasing “clean …

Miscounting teen perceptions of e-cigarettes

journal Pediatrics recently published a report based on the 2012 and 2014 National Youth Tobacco Surveys. Stephen Amrock and coauthors from the Oregon Health Sciences University found that …

‘Two Californias’ ruled by one distorted vision

Some pundits were aghast after a federal jury acquitted Ammon Bundy and several others for their roles in an armed standoff at a wildlife refuge in desolate eastern …

Ballot measures would legalize pot, end death penalty, create single-payer health care

While this year’s explosive presidential politics have drowned out battles at the state level, voters across the country nevertheless face a daunting number of weighty ballot questions on Nov. …

San Diego council chief trying to quickly push through Airbnb ‘ban’

A common spectacle takes place at the state Capitol at the end of every session. Legislative leaders who have been unsuccessful advancing their bills through the usual system …

Why current asset prices are dangerously exaggerated

Over the long term, real per-capita household net worth in the United States has grown at about 2 percent a year. This is a wonderful achievement of the …

What’s holding back solar in the Lone Star State?

Texas is known for being a sunny place - literally. El Paso County is in the top 1 percent of U.S. counties for the amount of sunshine received …

It’s rational to be ignorant about plethora of initiatives

You’ve got to wonder whether voters, many of whom don’t know the names of their own legislators, should determine whether revenue bonds for major infrastructure projects should be …

FDA tobacco director ignores 2.5 million ‘anecdotal reports’ about e-cigarettes

A feature of this month’s annual meeting of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) was a videotaped interview with Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration's …

War over contact lenses tricks consumers, treats optometrists

It's Halloween season, which means it’s that time every year when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tries to spook consumers out of wearing costume or decorative contact lenses. …

Bureaucracy, funding no cure for homeless problem

My office is located in a part of downtown Sacramento that the Sacramento Bee recently referred to as a “blighted and foreboding stretch of K Street.” It’s not that the …

Chasing away scalpers only hurts consumers

The following op-ed was co-authored by Christopher Koopman, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Earlier this year, the Kennedy Center announced that the award-winning musical "Hamilton" …

A jack of all trades

The following op-ed was co-authored by Aaron Perzanowski,  professor of law at Case Western Reserve University. When Google announced its new line of Pixel smartphones, it directed some not-so-subtle …

Buying a car in Texas shouldn’t require a middleman

Buying a car isn't easy, and the law in Texas doesn't make it any easier. Since time immemorial, new cars in the United States have been sold via franchised …

How Texas can protect the electric grid from attack

A single nuclear device set off at a high altitude creates an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out electricity in a third of the United States. Key electrical infrastructure …

Competing death-penalty measures revive old feud

Thirty years ago, California voters did something unprecedented (and not seen since): They bounced Chief Justice Rose Bird from the state Supreme Court. Two other state high-court justices …

A chance to fix civil asset forfeiture

Law enforcement’s ability to seize money and property without evidence of a criminal act is known as civil asset forfeiture. This favored method of police across the nation …

The strongest branch of liberty

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Research Assistant Adam Chan. Which branch of government comes to mind when you think of your rights? Many, if not most, …

Cuba: Mi casa es su casa

There is a truism, fashionable in American foreign policy circles, that the liberalization of trade will, over time, soften the contours of authoritarian regimes, as the oppressed become …

Bringing Government Secrets to Light

It was late February 1970, and the federal government was concerned that bad things were afoot in New York City. The past decade had been a series of …

The Postal Regulatory Commission’s $50 billion decision

The Postal Regulatory Commission is a small agency, little known in Washington, DC, let alone the rest of America. Its 70 employees toil in rented office space on …

The Puerto Rico Drama Has a Long Way to Run

On October 14, the outgoing Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who is not running for re-election next month, addressed the Oversight Board which is charged by …

We Can Build Our Way Out of the Housing Crisis

In 1998, I left a small city in Ohio for Southern California, trading one of the nation's lowest-priced housing markets for one of its highest. The trade-off was …

California Moves Against ‘Public Threat’ Of E-Cigarettes With A Tax

Voters in California will decide on a contentious ballot initiative aimed at regulating the electronic cigarette industry and hiking tobacco taxes. Proposition 56 would raise the tax on tobacco …

California Aborting Free Speech Rights

In signing a bill that criminalizes the distribution of a “confidential” video of a “health-care provider,” Gov. Jerry Brown has at least dispensed with the notion that California’s …

Conservatives should seek to enable and fairly value solar power

Competitive markets are at the heart of American economic prosperity and stability. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been true of the monopoly-led, scandal-prone Arizona electricity industry. Conservatives should welcome new technologies …

It’s Time To Make Taxpayer-Funded Congressional Reports Available To The Public

This piece was co-authored by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist. American taxpayers support the $140 million a year expenditures of the Congressional Research Service, an independent and highly influential …

WikiLeaks affirms Alabama Democrats have a Joe Reed problem

WikiLeaks continues to release hacked emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, and Alabama Democrats aren't exempt from the damage. "I will NEVER support any candidate that supports …

Memo to Feds: Tobacco ≠ Smoking

Government officials almost always use the word “tobacco” when they are actually discussing “cigarettes” or “smoking.” This practice is apparent in a 2015 progress report from the Centers for …

Don’t over-regulate driverless technology

Self-driving vehicles promise an exciting future, but whether the technology will see widespread adoption in the near term is anything but certain. Among the first hurdles to clear …

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, …

State watchdog agency pushes for occupational licensing reform

One of the rare issues where politicians on the left and right increasingly agree involves occupational-licensing requirements – the oftentimes cumbersome government-approval processes that many workers must go …

Congress should unveil American surveillance

Revelations that Yahoo allegedly scanned hundreds of millions of user emails for the National Security Agency and the FBI underscores the pressing need for Congress to reevaluate federal …

We can build our way out of housing crisis

In 1998, I left a small city in Ohio for Southern California, trading one of the nation’s lowest-priced housing markets for one of its highest. The trade-off was …

The new federal safety guidelines for self-driving cars are too vague… and states are already making them mandatory

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earned plaudits from across the tech sphere for its recently released safety guidelines for self-driving cars. With the NHTSA looking to offer guidance …

‘Demilitarize’ the police?

Policing has always been a difficult job. It has recently become more so. On a daily basis, officers around the country find themselves yelled at, protested against, and …

Don’t over-regulate driverless technology

Self-driving vehicles promise an exciting future, but whether the technology will see widespread adoption in the near term is anything but certain. Among the first hurdles to clear …

Teams kneel at the altar of tax subsidies

The debate over standing for the national anthem is back on center stage this week, now that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been given the greenlight …

Union appeal focuses attention on pension precedent

A decision by four Marin County public-employee associations to appeal a pension-related case to the California Supreme Court could ultimately determine whether localities have the tools needed to rein …

It’s not about Tesla, it’s about Michigan’s future

Michigan has made great strides in its dramatic rebound from the economic doldrums of the Great Recession, helped by efforts to reduce unnecessary red tape and to create …

Private eye’s guilty plea offers hope for accountability

At first glance, high-profile police controversies each generally present themselves as isolated events. Various police shootings have been in the news, and have sparked angry protests. The Associated …

Utility regulators must protect average electricity customers and competition

The following op-ed was co-authored by Dick Munson, director of Midwest clean energy for the Environmental Defense Fund. Ohio's utility regulators may have been appointed by a conservative governor, who …

Harm-reduction initiatives violate Hippocratic Oath

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Steven Greenhut. Most of us have heard the dictum, "First, do no harm." It's often thought of as …

Alabama’s ABC is little more than a Prohibition hangover

With all the focus on Alabama's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) cracking down on sidewalk alcohol sales, it might have been easy to miss its stern warning about following alcohol …

Fed’s mandate is to ensure stable prices

Sir, Michael Brownrigg (Letters, Oct. 4) makes a common, but fundamental, mistake in claiming that the Federal Reserve’s mandate includes “low inflation”. To the contrary, in the governing …

Getting juiced by the roadside

Greenville, Alabama, is a small city of about 8,000 right off I-65, south of Montgomery. It’s best known for Bates House of Turkey, a popular lunch stop on …

The Truth about Traffic: Putting fatalities in context

In my lectures, I often provide context about the risks associated with the use of tobacco products by comparing those behaviors with the use of automobiles.  Putting risk in …

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 …

At what point is California a lost cause?

A pseudonymous writer named Decius sparked a debate throughout the conservative media with his argument that this presidential election echoes “Flight 93” — the aircraft that crashed in …

Unusual drinks (part 1)

There is something very satisfying about having a go-to drink. After a long day of work and kid care, a glass of whiskey is very welcome. The Kosar …

Congress may lower taxes on drinks

The Beer Institute recently reported some happy news: 51 U.S. senators support a bill to lower federal drink taxes. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of …

Increasing tax on wind is a bad idea

Addressing the nation’s entrepreneurs and small business owners from the Old Executive Office Building in August 1986, President Ronald Reagan lightheartedly observed that, under his predecessor Jimmy Carter, …

These unneeded rules for freight railroads would cost consumers

By virtually any measure, America’s freight-rail system is one of the best in the world. In fact, rail transports a full 40 percent of freight moved in the …

The Birth of a Nation: A qualified success from a problematic auteur

The Birth of a Nation has been one of the most buzzed-about films of 2016, for reasons both positive and negative. Written, produced and directed by star Nate …

Lawsuit against Palantir shows the absurdity of discrimination law

There’s a scene near the beginning of The Usual Suspects in which the police are interrogating a series of ne’er-do-wells about a recent robbery in Queens. To induce …

House launches a public-facing phone directory for all staff

As promised at the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference, the House of Representatives has launched a public-facing phone directory for all its staff. This is a tremendously useful tool. It …

Don’t adopt ‘overregulate ’em all’ strategy on game apps

After 74 days on the market, Pokemon Go last week lost the top revenue spot in Apple's U.S. app store to Clash Royale, although it remains the highest-grossing …

New rules for driverless cars aim to fix what ain’t broke

The folks at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) are a lot like other regulators: When they see that a given power exists, they covet it. Charged with …

Gov. Jerry Brown signs host of significant legislation

The 2016 legislative season is officially over, with Gov. Jerry Brown having signed 900 bills while vetoing 159 byFriday’s deadline. Some of the recently signed bills are far-reaching and will …

Crime is still at historic lows

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jason Pye, director of communications for FreedomWorks. Some are playing up news stories or writing editorials with clickbait headlines featuring violent crime as …

To end the affordable housing crisis, Washington needs to legalize Main Street

In a sign that market solutions for the United States’ growing housing affordability crisis are beginning to earn bipartisan support, the White House this week unveiled its “Housing …

Ignoring pension past, state risks future problems

It’s one of the oldest ploys. After officials at a government agency or business are caught in an embarrassing situation, it’s typical for them to deny there’s anything …

Policing is a profession: You don’t get to pick and choose whom you serve and protect

Since the National Football League's kneeling controversy started, several police organizations around the country have stated they would not protect individual players or whole teams until all the …

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 …

Truth Initiative belies its name in new smokeless tobacco screed

The Truth Initiative is a $1 billion foundation devoted to tobacco prohibition. Launched as the American Legacy Foundation with cash from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, the group …

Where is Pokemon Go-ing?

After 74 days on the market, Pokemon Go this week lost the top revenue spot in Apple’s U.S. app store to Clash Royale, although it remains the highest-grossing …

California’s moral superiority complex

I was drinking a beer recently in a bar in a small northern California town when a woman came in and demanded to know if any of the …

You wouldn’t pay taxes you don’t owe. Why should Lowe’s?

Taxes aren't a form of charity. Both businesses and individuals should pay the taxes they owe and not a penny more. They may be our obligation as part of …

Deepwater Horizon should make a deep impact

"Something that big should have been made by God." The new film Deepwater Horizon has a character deliver that dialogue from the cockpit of a helicopter en route to …

Negative rates aren’t working. Why do central banks persist?

The following op-ed was co-authored by Paul Kupiec, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Monetary policies in Europe and Japan have produced trillions of dollars of bonds …

Pension mess can’t go on; that’s no reason to ignore it

President Richard Nixon’s economic adviser, the late Herbert Stein, still is known for his dictum: “If something cannot go on forever, it won’t.” It should be the rallying …

‘ENDS’ don’t justify the means with e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes and vaping are transforming tobacco use in the United States and worldwide. These innovative products are being used almost exclusively by smokers looking for substitutes for more …

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 …

The Credit Crunch of 1966: An instructive 50th anniversary

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Credit Crunch of 1966, which roiled financial markets in August and September of that year. Group financial memory fades, so if you …

Suddenly, a shifting pension paradigm?

Last month, I wrote a dour column for the Spectator doubting that a significant new appeals court decision in a major pension case would ultimately change the financial …

Stanford’s batty booze ban

The mercury is trending downward, the leaves are turning red and orange and fresh faces flood campuses across our nation. Autumn is back. It’s a lovely annual recurrence. At …

Yet one more unimportant article about Colin Kaepernick

How many “real” news stories are transpiring as I write this, the umpteenth unnecessary opinion piece about Colin Kaepernick and his protest to kneel during the national anthem? …

Anaheim’s parks program raises surveillance debate

On Tuesday, Anaheim became the latest in a growing list of California cities to install police-monitored cameras in public places — in this case, three public parks. The …

Inventing America: The business of drafting a national blueprint

The men who drafted the U.S. Constitution rightly earned our eternal praise. In 1787, they met in Philadelphia, where they pondered, debated and haggled for four months. James …

Criminal justice reform doesn’t have to mean ‘soft on crime’

The phrase "criminal justice reform" is loaded with emotional impact. To some, the words translate to "soft on crime," which has been a political mantra and damning epithet …

Selling tobacco to kids: FDA inspection data from 2015 and 2016

A Sept. 15 Food & Drug Administration press release notes the agency “has taken action against 55 tobacco retailers by issuing the first warning letters for selling newly …

They’ll never learn: Liberal policies boost poverty

I was perusing the real-estate listings for Palo Alto, California, and spotted a stylish, remodeled midcentury ranch house with a whopping 1,700 square feet on a postage-stamp lot …

Americans don’t benefit from ‘safety nets’ for farmers

Libertarians and small-government conservatives have myriad gripes with U.S. agricultural policy, but many would agree that it’s appropriate to provide a “safety net” for farmers. Arguments for government …

Prop. 53 could have far-reaching consequences for state project financing – or not

Most California voters are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the municipal-bond process. Many are likewise unfamiliar with the differences between, say, “general obligation” bonds and “revenue” bonds. …

Congress’ new opportunity to protect free speech: Voting to pass SPEAK FREE

As a computer hobbyist 30 years ago, I already could see where this online chat thing was going. Long before the word "internet" became part of the universal …

Vote YES on H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act

The R Street Institute encourages all members to support passage of H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act. This bill is expected to be considered under suspension of …

Coastal Commission abuse smacked down by OC court

During a 1997 speech to the American Planning Association in Monterey, Peter Douglas, the longtime executive director of the California Coastal Commission and main author of the 1972 …

Never forget 9/11, but start remembering our response

We'll never forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but we've clearly forgotten our response. I was sitting in the living room of the Phi Gamma Delta House at …

American Cancer Society and CDC withheld evidence on safer smokeless products

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society have a long history of suppressing information about the relative risks of smokeless tobacco (ST) products. CDC …

House Freedom Caucus should support justice reform this fall

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jason Pye, director of communications for FreedomWorks. Recently, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gave a much-needed boost to efforts in the U.S. House to pass …

The new century brings remarkable downshift in per-capita GDP growth

For the half-century from 1950 to 2000, U.S. real gross domestic product per capita grew at an average rate of 2.22 percent per year. For the first 15 …

PC segregation still on the rise

It's the start of a new school year, so it’s time to hear bizarre stories from the nation’s universities — those politically correct hothouses where seemingly intelligent people …

Tobacco tax one of the most heated for November ballot

There’s broad agreement that the 17 initiatives on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot cover some of the most significant public-policy issues to come before voters in more than a decade. …

What if you were mistakenly placed on a ‘watch’ list?

In the 1985 dystopian science fiction movie, “Brazil,” the plot centers on the authorities’ apprehension of an innocent man named Archibald Buttle. He was mistaken for the outlaw, …

Carrie Nation, M.D.: The neo-prohibitionists are on the march

To a degree, the British government’s recent freak-out over alcohol is understandable. The nation's tabloids regularly carry stories featuring individuals getting falling-down drunk and doing stupid things. "Drunk …

Musicians can’t always get what they want when politicians use their songs

It’s campaign season, which means politicians are stumping all around the country trying to win your vote. Candidates do this through a number of methods – television commercials, …

If you want to stop Zika, start promoting GMOs

The Zika virus is scary. Zika infections during pregnancy have been linked to birth defects, including microcephaly. Because it is spread via mosquitoes, it can be difficult to …

Jerry Brown dirties the climate

Gov. Jerry Brown received some media attention last week after he left an angry message on Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims’ voicemail. Angry that Mims had signed a …

Court ruling opens avenue for pension reform

An Aug. 17 California appeals court ruling rejected a public employee union’s claim that its members had a right to “pension spiking,” which the court described as “various …

Great Park travails show the travesty of politics

One of the great fallacies of our modern world is the idea that development decisions should largely be made through politics and public input. That way all the …

Police Violence: The symptoms of deeper societal issues?

The rash of police-on-civilian and civilian-on-police violence has once again brought to a boil the question of why a nation founded on the very idea of limited government …

Self-driving cars could cut parking revenues

There were groans all across Sacramento when the City Council approved yet another expansion of parking zones around Golden 1 Center, the city’s new $507 million arena. The …

Will appeals ruling sober up state’s pension abusers?

California’s hardy band of pension reformers show many of the symptoms of “battered spouse syndrome.” No matter how often they are beaten and ridiculed, they cling to hope. …

FDA Study: Cancer risks nearly nil for 1-2 cigars per day

The Food and Drug Administration, which now regulates cigars, has taken the position that "cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking."  The agency is …

Insurance rate rollback sets regulatory precedent

A spat between the California Department of Insurance and the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog over a recent news release left Sacramento insiders scrambling to understand the policy implications …

Ed drama; the Ocean’s Hot Dog and Brookings teacher diversity study; fish porn; Kosar signs off

I am running low on laptop battery and conveniently left my charger in Washington, D.C. So I will keep this quick. Robert J. Bellafiore takes New York City Mayor Bill …

OC legislators help secure crucial ‘liberty’ reform

Last September, the state’s most powerful law-enforcement unions and lobbyists descended on the Capitol and derailed a sensible reform measure that had been sailing through the Legislature with …

Creating a foundation for a substantive debate on proxy-access proposals

If shareholder proposals on proxy access—that is, the ability of certain large shareholders to have their own slates of nominees to corporate boards included in the proxy materials …

The White House is using the SEC to crack down on fossil fuels

With just months left in office, the Obama administration appear set to get done by executive action everything it couldn’t get Congress to do over the past eight …

More on school lunches; #PorgyPorn; DC teacher union heads denounce Wal-Mart for helping teachers; Feds expand educational quality through innovation partnerships

On Tuesday, I wrote about the federal school lunch program. What I did not mention was the status of the program’s reform. Legislation has moved this year to amend the program. …

Pueblo should consider nuclear power plant

Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission received an earful from Pueblo residents at this week’s public hearing over a proposed 4.8 percent rate hike by Black Hills Energy. While Pueblo’s local …

Shock: Legislature does right thing on a liberty issue!

Our left-leaning Legislature isn’t exactly known for its commitment to protecting the constitutional liberties of the citizenry, which is an understatement of great magnitude. When I speak to …

Iron Chancellor was a good actuary too

Sir, “Retirement age for young Germans will have to rise to 69, central bank warns” (Aug. 16). That is a quite reasonable, even generous, retirement age if you …

Low-tar cigarettes had merit, said American Cancer Society; So do e-cigarettes

E-cigarette opponents routinely claim that e-cigarettes benefit from industry-promoted consumer health misconceptions, in the same manner that so-called "light" cigarettes soared in popularity years ago, when, it is …

The impact of silence: The incarceration of children who have committed no crime

The following op-ed was co-authored by Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. Congress has recessed for the summer without passing any justice reform—not in the criminal nor juvenile-justice …

Holt trolls Johnson on student loans; The Daily Caller trolls Michelle Obama and school lunches; Turtle porn

Maybe it's a sign the Gary Johnson-Bill Weld ticket is serious, or possibly a writer was looking for something to troll. Either way, Johnson gets assailed by Alexander …

Civil libertarians and police embrace asset-forfeiture compromise

The California Assembly on Monday approved one of the most significant civil-liberties reforms of the legislative session. Remarkably, the bill – to put limits on the controversial practice …

Three cheers for school advertising

The recent State Impact piece on advertising by public schools was interesting on a couple of counts, but missed an opportunity: Schools will start soon, but where you live doesn’t necessarily …

Federal oversight of snitch scandal is long overdue

The latest twist in the ongoing “snitch” scandal involving Orange County’s district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department further reinforces critics’ fears about problems in the nation’s criminal justice …

FDA’s e-cigarette rules are a public-health hazard

Since they first were introduced in the United States in 2006, electronic cigarettes have helped millions of U.S. smokers to cut down or quit and diverted teens from …

A smokeless history lesson for vaping advocates

E-cigarettes are under siege by federal health authorities and NGOs, aided and abetted by countless university researchers funded generously by the National Institutes of Health. Many of their …

New FDA vaping regulations will harm public health

Going back to the nation's founding, cigarette smoking has wreaked havoc on U.S. public health and contributed to an astronomical death toll. According to the Centers for Disease …

No, a new study does not say Uber has no effect on drunk driving

The first rule of science journalism is to read the study before you write about it. Alas, that hasn't stopped media outlets from routinely misreporting, exaggerating or exercising …

Bay Area making life difficult for tech firms

In most of the country, a region’s “big” industry – think automotive companies in Michigan’s heyday, the oil business in Houston and entertainment in Los Angeles – is …

Porn isn’t for kids, but we don’t seem to care

America isn't doing enough to protect our children from the impacts of pornography. As the father of three young boys, I know my sons are going to encounter …

‘Commercial’ bank is misnomer. ‘Real estate’ bank is more apt

Comparing banking in the 1950s to today, we find giant changes that surely would have astonished the bankers of that earlier time. What's the biggest and most important …

Florida has been hurricane free, but still the insurance rates go up

Florida's property insurance market — long among the nation's biggest basket cases — has enjoyed an unprecedented streak of good fortune on two different fronts. The better known …

The federal government’s $500 million subsidy to magazine publishers

Few people love magazines more than I do. At last count, I have a half-dozen subscriptions, down from the baker’s dozen of a few years ago (with four …

How far a ‘freedom’ city has strayed

The presidential race has become an all-consuming affair on social media, as Americans debate which candidate will do less harm to the republic and our freedoms. I remain …

Marketplace for energy drives lower costs

The following op-ed was co-authored by Rev. Mitch Hescox, the president and CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network. When it comes to energy generation, business as usual is hurting Missouri. …

Direct Democracy: California’s last hope?

One of the most far-reaching ideas advanced by 20th century progressives was the reemergence of direct democracy. And no state has taken the idea further than California. In 1911, …

Unnatural Monopolies: Do power companies have to be crony capitalists?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Electricity Policy Manager Devin Hartman. When Lord Acton warned about the corrupting tendency of power, he wasn’t thinking of electricity. The …

California push for coal divestment raises concerns

Unlike the sellers of most other products or services, insurance companies receive payments from their customers in exchange for future promises. If you wreck your car, they will pay …

The DOJ and the future of music

Music fans might be understandably puzzled by how it is that new revenues from the online streaming services like Pandora and Spotify could top $2.4 billion last year, yet …

Use e-cigarettes? Moffitt Cancer Center wants you to be ‘Forever Free’

The Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, is recruiting smokers who vape (i.e., dual users) for a clinical trial that, according to spokesman Vani Nath Simmons, aims to answer …

Parks in Disarray: An allegory for California

Many of us who stay in California do so, in part, because of its beauty. As friends and neighbors plot moves to lower-tax, lower-regulation and higher-sanity places, such as …

Who will pay for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s huge losses?

The government's pension insurance company, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is broke. Because its creditors can't demand their money immediately, it won't have spent its last dollar 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 …

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 …

Despite lack of hurricanes, claims abuse driving up Citizens insurance premiums in Florida

Last year, Florida marked 10 years since it was last hit by a hurricane. This “drought,” coupled with responsible reforms enacted by lawmakers in recent years, has allowed …

CalPERS’ earnings flop means belt tightening

Earlier this year, I watched in horror as my 401(k) earnings started a freefall right before I planned on shifting some assets into a lower-risk fund. Things corrected, …

Generation Gap: The age of nuclear retirement

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Energy Policy Director Catrina Rorke.  At a meeting of the National Association of Science Writers in New York in 1954, the …

Food insecurity and national security

No one would deny that a vibrant and stable agriculture economy is important for national security. Across the globe, unstable food supplies are associated with turmoil, crime and …

Unions are root cause of policing problems

Even before the chilling murders of police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Kansas City, most conservatives had been rallying around the “boys in blue,” defending law enforcement …

Democrats’ climate agenda deserves a conservative response

As the Democratic Party looks to advance what has been characterized as the “most progressive platform in the party's history,” there's never been a more urgent time for …

Police debates need more focus on policy, not emotion

The latest debate over policing understandably has become an emotional one, following the horrific murder of five police officers in Dallas and the deeply disturbing videos of police …

A guide to a fishing boat of one’s wishes

Recently, I have been stricken with a terrible affliction. I want a fishing boat. The sickness took hold of me a few months ago, and the longing hounds me …

Will Congress claw back power from the regulatory state?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Associate Fellow Sean Speer, who also serves as a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a Canadian think tank. One upside …

Housing Finance: Two strikes, and now?

Memories fade. So while trying to draw conclusions about going forward, we should also do our best to remember our past expensive lessons in politicized housing finance. It should …

Why does nuclear energy account for less than a fifth of our national energy mix?

Even though the United States has more nuclear-electricity generating units than any country in the world, nuclear power makes up less than 20 percent of our nation’s energy …

As my sons slept, was their country tearing itself apart?

That night, my three boys slept peacefully down the hall. I couldn’t. Sitting in a dark room, the television casting an eerie electric glow, I watched news coverage …

In tracking homeownership, marriage matters

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jay Brinkmann, retired chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Homeownership long has been considered a key metric for economic well-being in the United …

Mismatch has led us into trouble many times before

Financial events cycle and financial ideas cycle. Here the United Kingdom is again, with real estate generating financial stress. As Patrick Jenkins rightly points out (“Open-ended property funds …

What drives tobacco-control policy?

This is a follow-up to the presentation by Dr. David Ashley of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) at the March 2016 meeting of …

San Fran threatens Airbnb

It's ironic that San Francisco, the city so closely identified with the burgeoning sharing economy, would be defending an onerous law that undermines one of the tenets that …

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 …

CDC data show fewer vapers and smokers in 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 National Health Interview Survey – the source for national smoking estimates – reveals some surprising e-cigarette facts, summarized in this …

Eliminating federal waste means swimming upstream

Advocates for fiscal responsibility often find, when it comes to killing even the most wasteful and unnecessary programs, they must swim upstream. As a case in point, consider …

Another revolting attack on our liberties

During a recent stroll around the west steps of the state Capitol, I eyed a group of “Yes California Independence Campaign” handing out the state flag. The flag …

The perfect antidote to Dodd-Frank

To overhaul the Dodd-Frank Act, here is a radical and really good idea from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. The Financial CHOICE Act, Hensarling's bill, says to …

Droning on about issues they don’t understand

One of the most frustrating things about America circa 2016 is there is virtually nothing any of us can do - start a business, invent a technology, remodel …

Should we build a wall or choose life along our Gulf Coast?

The waves just keep coming. As I learned about "living shorelines" at an educational event in Fairhope, Alabama, I couldn't get past the fact that the waves never …

Crumbling roads? Let’s build bike lanes!

In his State of the State address earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to California’s deferred infrastructure maintenance as “staggering” and put the price tag for repairs at …

State subsidies and competitive wholesale electricity markets

On June 10, 2016, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman, sent a …

Lessons from the downfall of a $150M crowdfunded experiment in decentralized governance

Hype around blockchain has risen to an all-time high. A technology once perceived to be the realm of crypto-anarchists and drug dealers has gained increasing popular recognition for …

The ‘no fly, no buy’ gun control policy is actually modern day McCarthyism

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jason Pye, director of communications and the director of justice reform for FreedomWorks. Having watched their Senate counterparts try and fail to get …

State officials addicted to nicotine taxes

The last time I wrote about tobacco-related measures, I concluded that California legislators and health advocates have let a bit of Puritanism get the better of them. Why …

Federal law hurting growth of electric vehicle market

It’s summer and you’re on a family vacation cruising down the interstate listening to the Eagles. Your child interrupts that peaceful easy feeling by declaring an immediate and …

Be careful what you vote for

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley.  Rarely has a vote had such an immediate effect. On May 7, Austin residents elected not to …

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 …

First among equals

To see it, you need to ascend to the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wend your way to the northernmost corner. Here is the …

Key lessons from Austin’s ridesharing debacle

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley. Rarely has the effect of a vote been felt so quickly. Austin citizens voted May 7 not …

Even booming Bay Area sees an exodus

When asked whether he wanted to have dinner at a particular restaurant, Yogi Berra famously quipped, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” It’s easy to apply that …

Democrat sit-in protests Constitution’s due process on gun rights

Congressional Republicans are arguing the merits of constitutional Due Process while Democrats are staging a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to champion a Bush-era …

Lavish pension hikes cause of O.C.’s exploding debt

The Orange County Grand Jury’s report on the state of the county’s pension plans painted a bleak but not unexpected snapshot of a challenging long-term fiscal situation. The …

My Father’s Day drinks wish list

Man does not live by bread alone. And a father, well, he needs even more, what with the middle-of-the-night wake-ups, the tantrums and the exploded filthy diapers. I …

The American Civil Liberties Union rightly rejects the No Fly List for gun control

Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) thinks there's a problem using the No Fly List to prohibit gun purchases. According to ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi, "The …

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 …

Secrecy lobby runs amok at State Capitol

Last week, I reported on an ominous development in the California Capitol — an effort to criminalize a political point of view. Democratic leaders authored a bill that …

Weiner: What makes Tony run?

Long before the name "Anthony Weiner" became synonymous with the seven-term congressman who accidentally tweeted a picture of his junk, it already was a punchline. Watching Weiner, the …

Lawmakers mobilize to thwart transparency initiative

Almost everyone has some idea for fixing whatever is wrong in Sacramento, ranging from new campaign spending limits to a requirement that legislators wear NASCAR-style sponsor logos. Such …

How do you explain the Orlando massacre to your kids?

"Daddy, why are all those police lights on TV?" My family and I were eating lunch in Birmingham, and my oldest noticed the CNN broadcast on one of the …

How Congress should proceed on the Kelsey Smith Act

In June 2007, 18-year-old Kelsey Smith was tragically abducted and murdered in Kansas. For various reasons, it took four days for law enforcement to access the location coordinates …

Why Republicans should reconsider their blanket opposition to a carbon tax

As House Republicans take up a resolution declaring they are against ever considering the possibility of a carbon tax, it bears noting that there are good reasons for …

Power, independence and guessing

The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve is an informative and provocative history of the Fed and its remarkable evolution over a hundred years’ time: a complex …

The end of the free speech consensus

What happens when the consensus for free speech evaporates and those with political power become willing to use any means necessary to silence people who hold unpopular views? …

The PBGC: A broke insurance company sponsored by your government

Imagine an insurance company with assets of $88 billion, but liabilities of $164 billion. It has a huge deficit: a net worth of a negative $76 billion, and …

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 …

Secretary King is wrong: ESEA was not a civil-rights law

As Flypaper readers know all too well, newly arrived Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., is in hot water with Congress, state governors, and various school reformers. The …

Bourbon can be made anywhere — even Ohio

Sitting on my desk is a tumbler of bourbon. Its deep amber color shines out through the dewy glass. Tom’s Foolery is its whimsical name. It is 90 proof (45 …

Ohio’s attempt at power-plant bailouts should alarm conservatives

This piece was co-authored by Dick Munson, Midwest clean energy director for the Environmental Defense Fund. In a recent victory for consumers, federal regulators blocked bailout plans by two of …

How high are real house prices?

“Home prices are back to near-record highs across the U.S.” declared the Wall Street Journal in a June 1 front-page story. They are, indeed, when measured in nominal …

Why deleting the FDA’s ban of e-cigarette flavors is good for public health

In what should be taken as a note of common sense amid the highly contentious debate surrounding the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of tobacco products, reports have …

Top-two primary limits voters’ choices

If a California-style "top two" primary were in place for presidential races in 2008, the nation’s voters would have had to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton …

More harassment of gun owners by Sacramento

The latest round of gun-control bills speeding through the Legislature should offer a reality check to those of us who own firearms: Democratic leaders will never be satisfied …

I created Godwin’s Law in 1990, but it wasn’t a prediction – it was a warning

Earlier this month, my email and social media alerts starting going off when friends let me know a pseudonymous number-cruncher had "proved" Godwin's Law. This struck me as odd, …

Dorie Miller: The mess hall machine gunner of Pearl Harbor

When Lt. Cmdr. Shigeharu Murata launched the first of nine Japanese torpedoes to hit the U.S.S. West Virginia, Doris "Dorie" Miller had just finished breakfast mess duty and …

‘Ethics’ commissions about politics more than oversight

One of my proudest moments as a columnist came in 2008 when the Orange County Board of Supervisors launched the Office of Independent Review to monitor the Sheriff's …

U.S. Senate fumbles with Facebook, fairness and free speech

Let's just assume that the rumors are true. Imagine a world in which Facebook actively promoted liberal stories and suppressed conservative ones. Let's go a step further and …

One senator’s war on innovation

The California Legislature is well-known for its heavy-handed approach to business. The state recently scored dead last in Chief Executive magazine’s survey of CEOs, which isn’t even newsworthy, …

As rocket wars wage in DC, a cautious move towards competition makes sense

On the morning of Aug. 12, 1998, a Titan IV-A rocket exploded about 40 seconds after launch. The explosion – caused by a short circuit in the guidance …

This crowd believes it can run your life

There’s only one time I recall California officials significantly reducing regulations on anything. That was in 2012, when legislators voted to let physician assistants, midwives, nurses and plumbers …

The robust public-health case for tobacco harm reduction

Last year, Margarete Kulik and Stanton Glantz proclaimed in Tobacco Control that there is no public-health basis for telling smokers about smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes as safer cigarette …

Growth is green

Global 2000, a report published by the Carter administration in 1980, offered a bleak forecast for the human race. It predicted “the world in 2000 will be more …

California’s vaping law puts puritanism above health

I like to quote H.L. Mencken’s definition of Puritanism: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” It often applies in the Capitol, with one of the …

Puerto Rico: A big default—what next?

Rexford Tugwell, sometimes known as “Rex the Red” for his admiration of the 1930s Soviet Union and his fervent belief in central planning, was made governor of Puerto …

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 …

Texas should step in to resolve cities’ ride-hailing disputes

Austin voters this past weekend forced out two of the city’s most innovative and popular companies. On Saturday,Austinites rejected Proposition 1, a citizen-led ballot initiative that would’ve continued …

A bill Trump the developer would love

I love when the powerless get fed up with a corrupt establishment, defy political correctness and fight back. It’s why I’ve admired Vera Coking, the feisty widow from …

Texas cities shouldn’t block short-term rentals

The past few years have seen the rise of the “sharing” economy. First, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft allowed thousands of drivers to earn extra cash (and …

Captain America: Civil War – Bring the popcorn

At points over the past year, it looked like the worm was beginning to turn on the dominance of comic-book movies. Sure, Avengers: Age of Ultron finished as the …

Cal Fire’s corruption of public service

When it comes to firefighters, most Americans are satisfied thinking of them as “heroes” who run into burning buildings and battle forest fires — and leaving it at …

FDA wants more people to die of lung cancer, moves to stamp out vaping market

If the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) statutory purpose is to protect public health, why is the agency using its regulatory power in a way that stands to …

Funding ideology, not research, at university labor institutes

One of the ongoing stains on the integrity of the University of California system is its publicly funded labor institutes. They are union-controlled “think tanks” that are about …

Floridians cannot afford to see their flood insurance wash away

Nearly 2 million Floridians depend on the National Flood Insurance Program for their flood insurance coverage, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all policies issued by the federal …

Risk doesn’t stand still

Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe explores the movement and transformation of risks in adapting, self-referencing systems, of which financial systems are …

Historic tax credits: A 45% government subsidy wearing a mask

My apologies for interrupting the glowing love fest for Alabama's historic preservation tax credit that's set to expire next month, but there are a few things you should …

Lessons from Prince’s legacy and struggle with digital music markets

Undeniably, Prince’s death last week marked the loss of a true musical genius and maverick. In his life, he was known for being a talented musical innovator with …

Is Jerry Brown California’s savior?

It may be news to many of us living here, but California — according to a recent Newsweek issue — apparently no longer faces intractable budgetary, debt, infrastructure, business, …

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 …

Where is OCC in court battle over state usury limits?

The following op-ed was co-authored by William M. Isaac, senior managing director and global head of financial institutions at FTI Consulting. A surprising decision of the Second Circuit Court of …

The idea of a public good

One of the key concepts needed to better understand the economic argument for environmental protection is the idea of a public good. When economists talk about public goods, they …

Build a way out of high housing prices

If there were 30 loaves of bread and 50 people who wanted them, you can guess what would happen. Prices for those loaves would rise, from, maybe, $2, …

Nina: Not racist, just terrible

Among all the many problems that bedevil Nina, the Nina Simone biopic that finally comes to theatres this Friday nearly two years after making its debut at the …

Five climate lies the attorneys general aren’t investigating

The attorneys general of 20 states have launched an investigation into groups they suggest have misled the public on the dangerous reality of climate change. Caught up in …

California’s Soviet-like kangaroo ‘courtroom’

It’s hard to spend time on Facebook without finding examples of “Godwin’s Law”: The longer an online discussion goes on, the higher the likelihood someone will use a …

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, …

A deeply flawed CFA Institute report on shareholder empowerment

The following oped was coauthored by R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. Over the past year and a half, the shareholder-empowerment movement has been deeply enamored with an August …

Alabama Legislature could turn BP settlement into roadkill

Rather than paying off money they've already spent, our politicians always seem to find one reason or another to spend on something else. Six years after the Deepwater …

Optometrists push for state laws blocking online eye exams

Billing itself as a sort of Uber-for-eye-exams, telemedicine startup Opternative recently came on the scene offering a quick, inexpensive alternative to traditional optical exams that uses your computer …

Punitive tobacco law

Sonoma County supervisors still can step back from their overly punitive anti-tobacco ordinance as it comes before the board for a second reading today. This ordinance is designed primarily …

California’s pension hubris

Instead of addressing the estimated $600 billion in unfunded liabilities in California’s beleaguered public-employee pension system, Democrats in Sacramento have instead decided to “solve” a growing pension crisis …

Some in GOP yield to Sacramento’s secrecy lobby

In one of my favorite “Far Side” comic strips, the first panel offers what people typically say to dogs: “OK Ginger I’ve had it. You stay out of …

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 …

Stop trying Michigan 17-year-olds as adults

In states across the nation, some bold Republican lawmakers are putting aside party affiliations and joining with Democratic colleagues in a bipartisan effort to reconsider previously accepted “tough …

Dumping water in the middle of a drought recovery

What would happen if the communists took over the Sahara Desert?” William F. Buckley asked during a discussion in 1972. “Nothing for 50 years. Then there will be a shortage …

Searching for loyalty and prudence

In his provocative and knowledgeable new book, Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance, John Kay considers the complex ways that financial systems operate in between the …

Suggested guidelines for state and local regulation of e-cigarettes

Tobacco cigarettes are by far the most addictive and hazardous nicotine-delivery products. The tar in cigarette smoke, not the nicotine, causes cancer and heart and lung disease. E-cigarettes …

Al Gore’s climate gestapo seeks to punish political dissent

AG's United for Clean Power should embrace the more appropriate moniker, "Climate Gestapo." The coalition assembled by former Vice President Al Gore and 17 state attorneys general appears set to …

Better ways to handle unwanted animals

The last time I was in an animal shelter, I adopted a furry 8-year-old puss named Gus. The shelter was clean but depressing: It was filled with whelping …

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 …

Court’s rebuke to FSOC was well-deserved

Patrick Jenkins, in “MetLife ruling poses threat to drive towards global financial stability” (Inside Business, April 5), says that the court’s decision in the MetLife case is “a …

No adults left in the State Capitol

After his first incarnation as California governor in the 1970s and ’80s, Jerry Brown spent a few years in the 1990s as a radio talk-show host. His Oakland-based …

Seven steps to housing finance reform

The giant American housing finance sector is as important politically as it is financially, which makes it hard to reform. From the 1980s on, it was unique in …

Why Congress mustn’t postpone vital flood insurance reforms

A new measure introduced by U.S. Reps. David Jolly and Gus Bilirakis, both R-Fla., that would postpone vital reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program, while well-intentioned, also would …

Your retirement dream may require working much longer

A recent Citigroup monograph, "The Coming Pensions Crisis," begins with some questions very much in the spirit of our time:  “What’s your dream for retirement?  Is it living …

Free trade makes dollars and sense

Trade has become a huge issue on the campaign trail this year. The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald J. Trump, has made trade one of his …

A defender of property rights now a foe of short-term rentals

I first got to know Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait in the early 2000s, when we were battling a perverse city ordinance that forced low-income people – typically, folks …

Lawsuits, legislation threaten the ‘sharing’ economy

As an occasional cab rider in Sacramento, I've noticed something that isn't always a given: fleets of newer cabs, polite drivers and the use of modern credit card …

New bill designed to stop egregious venue shopping by patent trolls

This piece was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. Abusive patent litigation siphons tens of billions of dollars from the economy every year. In addition to burdening …

A few crumbs for private workers

California’s Democratic leaders announced a “landmark deal” Monday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Yet it may be overshadowed by another milestone from …

A maddening whiskey shortage

Tennessee is known for many things: country music, Elvis’s Graceland estate, beautiful mountains, and fine liquor. The state produces both moonshine (some of which is now being made …

Lawsuits, legislation threaten ‘sharing’ economy

As an occasional cab rider in Sacramento, I’ve noticed something that isn’t always a given: fleets of newer cabs, polite drivers and the use of modern credit card …

Adjust the EITC for cost of living

This oped was co-authored by Zackary Hawley. With the presidential election season in full swing, lots of candidates are making lots of promises, many of them short on details …

Legislators belatedly discover supply and demand

A former colleague who recently moved from California to Texas regularly posts photographs on Facebook showing what $300,000 buys over there, compared to here. One could buy a …

Look to Canada for lessons on cutting red tape

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is a border-state representative who has about an eight-hour drive to Canada. He has good personal relationships with Canadian conservatives and has spoken …

Beyond the box

If you subscribe to pay TV, the odds are 99–1 you have what the TV industry calls a “set-top box.” Even greater are the odds that, if you …

Deepwater Horizon settlement money will go far in Texas

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig set off one of the largest oil spills in human history. For 78 days, an uncontrolled …

Anti-party law turns innocent kids into criminals

Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker got into GOP politics because of his “belief in individual liberty, limited government and a free market,” according to the party’s …

How regulators quietly drive up costs

California political observers are understandably fixated on the goings-on in the state legislature, which is the living embodiment of what New York Judge Gideon Tucker wrote in an 1866 …

A column for the politically stranded conservative

These days, I feel like a politically stranded conservative, and I know I'm not alone. I could blame it on one presidential candidate or another, but it's more …

Fannie and Freddie and the 10% moment

The U.S. Treasury began rescuing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008, ultimately pumping $187.5 billion into the two mortgage giants. In return, it received new issues …

California already is building a wall — of debt

During a speech Monday to union organizers at a Sacramento dinner, California Gov. Jerry Brown made one of his characteristic off-the-cuff jokes. “If (Donald) Trump were ever elected, …

Saloon Series: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day right with Irish drinks old and new

Some years ago, I lived in New York and had two friends recently arrived from Ireland. Neither of them thought well of America’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Considering …

State quietly pushes cost-raising insurance regulations

California political observers are understandably fixated on the goings-on in the state Legislature, which is the living embodiment of what New York Judge Gideon Tucker wrote in an …

EU platform regulations may hurt consumers and European startups and lock in dominance of U.S. companies

In the response we at the R Street Institute provided to the European Commission’s survey on “Digital Single Market” regulation of what the commission calls “online platforms,” we …

Former Speaker John Boehner mows his lawn, people lose their minds

// My first cut of the year. My grass is perfect!!! Posted by John Boehner on Saturday, March 12, 2016   John Boehner might be done as speaker, but seasonal work on …

Raise the smoking age to 21?

To the Editor: The scientific evidence for the bill raising the legal smoking age to 21 in California is strong and is based on an Institute of Medicine …

Barron’s Mailbag

The Feb. 27 Editorial Commentary (“Money Yields to Progress: Cash Is Obsolete”) mentioned that in 1950 a penny still had value—at least that of a penny candy. But …

Desperate rail gambit

San Francisco’s colorful former mayor Willie Brown caused a stir three years ago by writing some disturbing truths about major government infrastructure projects. The city’s Transbay Terminal project—billed …

California proposal to let Uber drivers, other sharing economy workers, unionize

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez's latest high-profile legislative effort has been billed as a fairly modest measure to provide a "safety net" for workers in the growing sharing economy. "All …

Saloon Series: Exploring the whiskey world at Whisky Live USA

Whisky Live USA, the fabulous salute to a marvelous drink, rolled into Washington this past week. A month previous, Whisky Live USA was in New York and come …

As another company moves away

After the 2013 death of the founder of Carl’s Jr. — the ubiquitous California fast-food restaurant chain — the Orange County Register published an obituary that captured the …

How to block a SLAPP

"We're going to open up those libel laws so when The New York Times writes a hit piece we can sue them and win money," Donald Trump said …

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, …

Thoughtless bureaucrats and driverless cars

California’s Legislature set out in 2012 “to encourage the current and future development, testing, and operation of autonomous vehicles on the public roads of the state”—but now, the …

Zootopia: Adults will love it, but will kids?

"This isn't some insipid cartoon musical where you sing some stupid song and everything's going to be OK." That line is delivered in Zootopia, the 55th feature film from …

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 …

Democrats under the influence

In late August 2014, five California legislators were photographed having a fun-seeming time on the balcony outside of the legislative chambers. At the center of the scene was …

The Oscars are a lesson in liberal compassion — or lack thereof

Sunday night, as per usual, I watched the Academy Awards so that you don’t have to — and I have to admit, as far as Oscar nights go, …

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, …

Inappropriate Appropriations: How Congress spends without authorization

Congress spent $310 billion last year on some 250 agencies and programs that were no longer — as required under the law and Congress's own rules — authorized …

The next crisis will come; Is your bank ready?

Banks, and credit unions, too, are loudly objecting to the Financial Accounting Standards Board's attempts to increase loan loss reserves. They have "slammed the FASB," in The Wall …

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 …

Saloon Series: The government is crushing the wine industry, literally

On Dec. 10, 2015 in Creedmoor, Texas, the U.S. government destroyed more than 500 bottles of wine. The image of a massive sledge falling upon bottles of wine, …

President Obama reportedly vetting Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for SCOTUS

Brian Sandoval's office says it's the first he's heard of it, but sources "close to the Nevada governor's office" are saying that the Obama administration has begun the Supreme Court …

The courage to gamble

Ben Bernanke’s new book, The Courage to Act, demonstrates throughout its 579 pages the fundamental uncertainty faced by central bankers, Treasury officers, and everybody else when dealing with …

Countries don’t go bankrupt? The 20th century proves otherwise

How risky is sovereign debt? One memorable answer, "Countries don't go bankrupt," is attributed to Walter Wriston, the most prominent banker of his day and the chairman of Citibank …

A reversal of belief in central banks is healthy

Sir, John Plender bemoans central banks’ waning credibility (Insight, Feb. 17). In fact, belief in central banks was foolish in the first place and its reversal is healthy. …

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 …

Saloon Series: The resurgence of Irish whiskey

Midway through 2015, something remarkable happened in Dublin—a whiskey distillery opened. The city, which is world renowned for its bibacity, had been without an operating distillery since the …

With CPP on hold, what’s next?

A fortuitous 5-4 judgment by the Supreme Court puts on hold the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s greenhouse-gas-reduction program until the court has a chance to review the …

SCOTUS relieves nation from an EPA power grab

Last week, while all attention was focused on the New Hampshire primary, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that could have far-reaching consequences for the destiny of …

A revived Congress?

Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 2011, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has made many of his colleagues crazy. Unwilling to go along to get along, Lee has …

Replacing Scalia: What part of ‘advice and consent’ is confusing?

With the passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the political universe—which was already a dumpster fire—is ablaze with talk of the president's prospective nominee, who will almost certainly …

Cloudy crystal ball

The Federal Reserve, that alleged master of financial “systemic risk,” completely failed to forecast the biggest credit event of current times: the collapse in oil prices. Of course, …

Obama says no to recess appointment to SCOTUS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already said he is unlikely to approve any Supreme Court nominee before November, and it seems the White House would rather …

The e-cigarette barn door is open

The health of America's 42 million smokers, whose lives will be cut short an average of ten years by their continued use of combusted cigarettes, is being held …

A tale of two Internet tax bills

Poll after poll demonstrates clearly that Americans oppose Internet taxes. Yet even as Congress is poised to act on a wildly popular bill to bar states from imposing …

Alabama pays 14 workers more for mileage than cost of a car

In Fiscal Year 2015, Alabama paid 14 individuals enough in-state mileage reimbursement to literally buy each of them a new car. Nobody pays much attention to the details of …

U.S. Supreme Court blocks implementation of Obama’s carbon rule

In a 5-4 order, the conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of President Barack Obama's carbon rule while litigation is ongoing. The court issued the order …

EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard deceit

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants Americans to pay more for their groceries. That's the only way to explain the agency's decision to mandate the use of corn-based …

David Bowie’s legacy on copyright and the future of music

The following was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. Amid the steady stream of "hot takes" the past few weeks on the legacy of the late …

How Manhattan made a mockery of Prohibition

"It should not be forgotten," writes historian Ellen NicKenzie Lawson, "that one possible derivation of the word Manhattan is the Native-American word manahachtanienk, which translates as 'place of …

Fueling the e-cigarette ‘gateway’ crusade with tax dollars

In an extraordinary leap of logic, a report in Tobacco Control links "ever" use of e-cigarettes – even a single experimental puff – to subsequent "ever" use of …

Don’t blame business for government mandates

People rightly rail against the evils of big government. But just as serious a problem is what might be called "hidden government," when regulation becomes so pervasive that …

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 …

Who’s responsible for the rise of the Trumpire?

I get it. You're a principled conservative, anti-abortion advocate, or evangelical Christian against Trump for any number of good reasons. Maybe you're a policy expert who cares deeply …

Randomized trial of reduced-nicotine standards for cigarettes

The article by Donny et al.[1] and the accompanying Perspective article by Fiore and Baker[2] have prompted considerable discussion. Until the results of this study are replicated in a …

Uber for welfare

This oped was co-authored by Cesar Conda, founding principal and policy adviser of Navigators Global. In this presidential cycle, the “gig economy” has been under attack, notably from Democrats like …

Understanding the GOP’s civil war over off-the-grid energy

If politics makes for strange bedfellows, few issues make for more peculiar sleeping arrangements than that of distributed energy. There aren’t many others that put former Republican congressman …

Puerto Rico needs a financial control board

The government of Puerto Rico is broke. Having run a long series of constant budget deficits, financed by escalating borrowing, it has accumulated about $71 billion in debt …

No, you decide

It's been half a decade since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which had been drilling the BP-owned Macondo Prospect, suffered a catastrophic blowout. Over 87 days between April …

Clean Power Plan ruling puts states in a bind

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit yesterday denied requests to delay implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. At least 27 states have challenged …

DC Circuit Court refuses to halt EPA’s carbon rule

If you thought the courts were coming to the rescue to stop President Barack Obama's greenhouse gas restrictions, think again. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. …

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 …

Oh, Sarah

It’s hard to believe the 2008 campaign was so long ago. But it’s easy to remember the unbridled excitement we all felt when that plane from Anchorage landed …

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 …

How to fix Fannie and Freddie

This op-ed was co-authored by James K. Glassman, a former under secretary of State and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In the midst of the financial panic …

Obama’s disappointing regulatory reform record

In his final State of the Union, President Obama declared his belief that "a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy," which he paired with the …

Bootleggers, Baptists and e-cigarettes

E-cigarette users should be concerned about proposed Food and Drug Administration regulations that may eliminate most brands of these potentially life-saving cigarette alternatives, leaving only those products marketed …

Five things you might have missed in President Obama’s State of the Union address

I have to be honest: I watched the State of Union on digital video recorder so that I could fast-forward through the clapping, and get straight to the …

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 …

The awkward truth about President Obama’s ‘tough’ actions on guns

When President Barack Obama announced his intent to impose unilateral gun control measures through executive fiat, Republicans loaded for bear—or at least, aggressive overreach from a lame duck president. The …

Congress could run out the clock on Obama’s regulatory reign

Welcome to 2016. By now, you should have noticed that it's a presidential election year. (Either that, or political punditry from average citizens of Iowa is at an all-time …

Texas’ insurance rankings are cause for concern

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Unfortunately, this is true of the monthly insurance bill. Premiums for homeowners’ insurance are the third highest in the nation, with premiums …

Attack on e-cigarettes as gateway products draws from same old playbook

False claims that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking dissuade smokers from switching to safer smokeless products, leaving them at greater risk of fatal disease. The prohibitionists' playbook …

Reflections on a year gone by

It's dark and quiet at my house right now. Alabama just won the Cotton Bowl with a shutout. My wife and I watched the ball drop in New …

Gov. Bentley’s beach house blunders

The 2010 BP oil spill damaged plenty of things along Alabama's Gulf Coast. The governor's beach house wasn't one of them. But here we are, spending BP money to …

DMV is off track on proposed rules for self-driving cars

The rise of self-driving vehicles is not the much-feared rise of the machines that some make it out to be. But try explaining that to the California Department …

Last GOP Debate of 2015 marks divide on civil liberties

If Republicans had any questions about which presidential candidates are willing to sacrifice individual liberty for a perceived increase in national security, the last Republican debate of 2015 …

Effect of further cigarette tax increases on youth smoking appears minimal or nil

Most states and many cities have in the last 20 years initiated or raised tobacco excise taxes.  The fact that both the amount and rate of tax increases differ widely across …

The EPA’s illegal propaganda

The Environmental Protection Agency misused tax dollars in the service of public propaganda, according to a legal opinion just handed down by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The …

Seattle picks a fight with Uber

Under federal labor law, drivers for transportation-network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft are currently considered contractors, not employees — and thus they don't have a right to …

Sure, call Trump a Nazi. Just make sure you know what you’re talking about.

First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer …

Liberated women and contraband cocktails: Thanks, Prohibition!

In case you missed it, the 82nd anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal (1920-1933) was Dec. 5. I myself celebrated with a glass of bourbon and a few microbrews at …

Privacy is not the problem

In the wake of last month’s monstrous terrorist attacks in Paris and the recent massacre in San Bernardino, national security hawks wasted no time in declaring their verdict …

A conservative answer to climate change

The Paris climate change negotiations won’t end until later this week, but we already know what will happen. The parties will reach a toothless agreement pledging to reduce emissions …

The pitfalls of just saying ‘no’ to EPA’s carbon rule

If states like Alabama don't submit a carbon-reduction plan or request an extension by Sept. 6, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will impose what amounts to a …

Gun violence, control and the left’s true intentions

For America's political left, the problem in San Bernardino, Calif., wasn't terrorism. It wasn't pure evil perpetrated by extremists. Many liberals see the fundamental cause of the murders …

Onerous new FDA rules will increase smoking

This piece was co-authored by R Street State Programs Director Cameron Smith.   New rules from the Food and Drug Administration could wreck the consumer-driven market for a broad range …

How states can use the Clean Power Plan to cut taxes

With the latest round of climate talking getting underway, all eyes are on Paris. Yet back in the United States, states are already considering how to reduce greenhouse …

The real history and meaning behind ‘the State of Jefferson’

Green flags emblazoned with a yellow circle encompassing twin Xs are an increasingly common sight in the Gold Country. That standard belongs not to a county or a …

Why wait until tomorrow? How to speed innovation

There was no such thing as a self-driving car in 2003. That's when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced its first Grand Challenge, with a $1 million …

Facing up to government sprawl

Reducing the size of the federal workforce has become a hot political issue this year. When the House and Senate drew up their budget plans this spring, both chambers …

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 …

Will we carve ‘safe spaces’ out of free speech?

Public college campuses strive to have plenty of safe spaces for students. That's just a fact. If students aren't safe, schools won't be successful for very long. But recent …

Should oil firms be held liable in earthquake lawsuits?

Holding companies liable for damages caused by fracking-induced earthquakes is an unreliable way to manage this new risk. The courts simply aren’t equipped to handle this issue in …

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 …

Paris Attacks: Do the bad guys win in the real world?

It was a long night in Paris, and they'll have many more. My wife and I stayed up watching the horrible events unfold. The chaos, confusion and pain were …

Adventures in opaque polling

Poll after poll show that ordinary Americans simply don’t cotton to the idea of an Internet sales tax, such as those proposed by the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” …

Embattled #Mizzou prof Melissa Click got grant to attend Twilight convention

You are, no doubt, familiar with Melissa Click, the embattled University of Missouri professor who kind of resigned this week (from the journalism school, where she had a …

A new gin for a new century

Gin has had a weird and wild ride over the past 500 years. The Dutch were producing the piney drink in the 1500s, but adding herbs to liquor …

How Texas can get more time on EPA rules

Last Friday, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency formally published its Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations requiring a 32 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from American …

Houston’s public potty problems flush out a lack of pragmatism

The smell is dissipating from what ultimately became a referendum on public potty policy in Houston, Texas, but this isn't the last we'll see of this type of issue. The ordinance …

The college Frankenstein

Monday morning, embattled University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned, after pressure from student groups over a series of "racial incidents" that apparently marred the campus experience to …

Red flag for vapers: avoid some flavoring agents

As a health professional, I started telling smokers to switch to smokeless tobacco in 1994, based on decades of definitive epidemiological evidence for the relative safety of smokeless …

Where taxpayers pay ($100 million a year) but interest groups benefit

It seemed like a silly question, but as the new guy, I was obliged to ask: “Can I e-mail a copy of my report to my mother?” Mom had …

Companies are best equipped to regulate themselves

The last thing that this nation needs is a more active regulatory state, but once again, an incalculably stupid firm – in this case, Volkswagen – has given …

Chicago still isn’t giving Uber a fair shake

Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services will be permitted to pick up passengers at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports under a plan approved by the City Council in …

Nevada power markets need more competition

Nevada’s power markets need more competition. Plagued by continued reliance on the outdated regulated utility model, Nevadans pay more for electricity than all but four states west of the …

Speak now or forever hold your peace on Deepwater Horizon oil spill

By now, it's no secret that many coastal residents aren't happy with the proposed settlement between BP, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states. They have …

Obama’s disappointing keystone rejection

President Barack Obama's rejection of Keystone XL is far from surprising. That doesn't stop it from being extremely disappointing. Debate over the pipeline morphed over time into a completely …

DOD spent millions so sports teams would ‘support the troops’

I have, at least as far as I can tell, never been paid to be patriotic. I mean, it's not as though I've wanted to be paid to hang …

Youth e-cigarette bans increase youth cigarette smoking

Smoking increased significantly among teens aged 12 to 17 in states that banned e-cigarette sales to minors compared with states that didn’t impose bans, according to a study …

The House Freedom Caucus wants looser party control on the floor. This is what would happen if they did.

The following piece was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar. Former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was often attacked by fellow Republicans for influencing House processes …

Bernie Sanders doesn’t like Uber; uses it literally all the time

Bernie Sanders is the champion of the little guy, the downtrodden and the oppressed victims of (big "C") Capitalism who have found themselves trapped in the lower-middle class …

Federal government should follow Florida’s lead on flood insurance crisis

Hurricane Wilma’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 24 came and went without much fanfare. But for Floridians, it’s a marker that divides two very different chapters in our state’s …

Gin and regulation: a lesson in a bottle

There is a bottle that sits on my desk which serves as irrefutable proof that less regulation is better than more. Pull the stopper top and a remarkable aroma …

How many Americans smoke?

In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, an annual report the CDC has used for half a …

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, …

The many, many, many flaws of CISA

There are two basic problems with the so-called Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which is scheduled for possible amendment in the Senate on Tuesday. The first is everything the …

The federal government’s information machine

The following piece was co-authored by John Maxwell Hamilton is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and on the faculty of the Manship School …

An open debate about compulsory voter registration is critical

Assembly Bill 1462, signed earlier this month by Gov. Jerry Brown, will utterly transform California's electorate, adding 6 million new voters overnight. Whether this transformation will be for the …

On Back to the Future Day, eight bold predictions for 2045

Oct. 21, 2015 at 4:29 p.m. marks the date and time 30 years in the future that Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in Stephen Spielberg's "Back To …

So… this is Nixon’s fault?

Anyone watching Congress trying to negotiate the U.S. budget might wonder who could possibly have designed such a process. Thanks to an endlessly complicated scheme of resolutions and …

The estranged legislative and executive branches

Hugh Heclo’s A Government of Strangers, published 40 years ago, described the very different worlds of high-level federal appointees and the civil-servant worker bees they purportedly manage. Today …

Google Books is good for everybody

In 1990, Pierre N. Leval, then serving as a federal judge, ran across an unexpected stumbling block while crafting a Harvard Law Review article about the “fair use” doctrine …

Gridlock governing

The following piece was co-authored by R Street Governance Director Kevin Kosar. Autumn is shaping up to be a very trying time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Highway …

Surprising themes in my first grader’s public school reading

"They're using the standards to raise good little Soviets." It might be hyperbole, but that's the kind of thing that makes your ears perk up as a parent. Over …

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 …

Up in Vapor: The real story behind the formaldehyde-cancer link

Vapers, rest easy about e-cigarettes and formaldehyde. As a pathologist with 28 years' formaldehyde exposure via workplace inhalation, I have both a professional and a personal interest in whether …

Twitter lights up over mag declaring Kardashians the ‘first family’

Cosmopolitan is not the world's foremost political magazine. Not by a long shot. Occasionally, yes, it tries to take itself more seriously than it has any right to do, …

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 …

Facebook’s basic instincts

Facebook’s announcement last week that it is rebranding its Internet.org initiative—a bundle of free Internet services that has been rolled out, step by step, in developing countries over …

Emissions bill failed at capitol for a reason

For a Sacramento administration unaccustomed to failure, the end of the state’s legislative session had an air of unique disappointment. An effort backed by Governor Jerry Brown and …

How the American government is trying to control what you think

NASA tweeting that Congress should give it more money so our astronauts won’t have to ride on Russian rockets. Recovery.gov reporting overly optimistic statistics on jobs saved and …

You can take America back, but I don’t want to go

In 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama expressed his desire to "reclaim the American dream." Right now, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump plans to "make America great again." For most of my …

Kill the Department of Ed? It’s been done

When Washington’s education bureaucracy comes under political attack, it’s common to pin responsibility for its existence on Jimmy Carter. He signed legislation to establish the Department of Education …

France’s privacy regulators want to dictate what you (Yes, you!) can find online

Whether you're an American sitting at laptop in Hawaii or a Japanese citizen using your smartphone in Kyoto, French privacy regulators believe they have the authority to block …

Letter to National Park Service on e-cigarette policy

This note is in response to the National Park Service news release dated Sept. 14, 2015, about subjecting electronic cigarettes to the same rules imposed on combustible tobacco …

The legislative branch’s big oversight problem

The federal government has seen a century of growth. In 1915, the government had only a handful of departments, 400,000 employees (half of whom worked for the U.S. …

Texans shouldn’t need a license to earn a living

Earlier this summer, the Texas Supreme Court overturned state licensing requirements for threading, the hair removal process most commonly used on eyebrows. The court found that the requirements, …

Shareholder democracy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

A decade ago, when then-President George W. Bush proposed a partial privatization of Americans' Social Security accounts, public debate largely centered on whether the change actually would mitigate …

Our inboxes, ourselves

An ancient email privacy law might finally be updated. Congress needs to get it right. A federal law protects some of your email from government snooping without a warrant. …

Kim Davis highlights the left’s ‘rule of law’ hypocrisy

It's nice to see so many Democrats and liberals produce eloquent remarks and social-media posts about America being a nation of laws. I knew it was a matter of …

Discouraging Marriage: The hidden cost of means-tested government ­benefits

The following piece was co-authored by R Street Associate Fellow Neil Gilbert.   Traditional marriage is in big trouble in the United States. Between 1960 and 2011, the share of …

Let’s reclaim the glory of being a ‘maker’

The following piece was co-authored by R Street State Projects Director Cameron Smith.   As summer draws to a close, millions of parents will drop their children off at schools …

Breaking news from the CDC: smoking plummets in Q1 2015

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 15.2 percent of American adults smoked during January to March of this year. This is not only the …

GOP lawmakers and the ‘gig economy’

The partisan battle over the "gig economy" — epitomized by ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and space-sharing services like Airbnb — has crept into the early stages …

The EPA’s propaganda machine

A little over a century ago, U.S. Rep. Frederick Gillett, R-Mass., read something in The New York Times that vexed him. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bureau of …

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 …

Need for dialogue on tobacco harm reduction

What is now needed, if we are to ever secure the personal and public health benefits that e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction can offer, is honest and sincere …

Carly Fiorina celebrates ‘Women’s Equality Day’ by paying women as much as men

Feminists long have struggled with the concept of "equal pay." Although most social justice-y gender studies majors demand that "equal pay" mean "totally, statistically equal," that standard is …

British government backs e-cigarettes for smokers

Public Health England last week became the first national government agency to endorse e-cigarettes as safer options for current smokers. Its report also dispelled several bogus anti-tobacco claims. PHE …

The elephant in the room: The GOP’s tech dilemma

Fifteen months ahead of the presidential election, a number of the 17 Republicans vying for their party’s nomination have invested considerable energy courting Silicon Valley. These candidates are …

Higher ed/industry disconnect a workforce wakeup call for Alabama

"Workforce development" is such a widely used term that it's easy for most of us to ignore. Unfortunately, it might be one of the most critical challenges facing Alabama. …

John Kasich wants to abolish teachers’ lounges instead of the DOE

John Kasich has had a difficult time differentiating himself from the Republican field. Not only are there other, more recognizable moderates, but John Kasich is basically the kind …

Bridging the separation of powers

The separation of powers is a hallmark of democratic systems. Power is divided among different branches or units of government. The legislature legislates, the executive executes and the …

Split works debate raises thorny issues for music companies (and for the rest of us)

The following piece was co-authored by Google Policy Fellow Sasha Moss. Michael Corleone would understand. Just when music companies and their performance-rights organization (PROs) thought they were getting out …

EPA causes environmental disaster in Colorado

The Environmental Protection Agency often justifies its own existence by noting that corporations – who see profit as their goal, rather than environmental protection – are ill-equipped (or …

Hillary wants debt-free college (just like Bernie!)

Bernie Sanders is racking up rallies on the West Coast this week, kicking off his Pacific jaunt with a rally for 20,000 Bernie-maniacs in Portland. Even though Bernie's …

Drought or no drought, Texas must prepare for water future

After years of enduring one of the fiercest droughts on record, Texas officially became completely drought free in July. Texas’ no drought status didn’t last long; on Aug. 3 …

Has the Clean Power Plan abandoned energy efficiency?

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which mandates a 32 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions from the U.S. …

Republican presidential candidates: Show us you can #FixGov

Presidential debates inevitably send the Beltway a-dither. Who will win? Which aspirant will deliver the best zinger? Who will look like a lost puppy or have an ugly …

Clean Power Plan begs for a better conservative response to pollution control

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Designed to curb U.S. carbon emissions, conservatives predictably don’t like the …

Federal agencies missed 1,400 regulatory deadlines

In the waning days of 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The statute made myriad changes to postal law and tasked the Postal Regulatory Commission …

How the Clean Power Plan is like the Death Star

Trigger warning: Nerdy analogies; some discussion of taxes. On Monday, the Obama administration released the final version of its “Clean Power Plan,” which mandates a 32 percent reduction in …

There’s a government form for your moon expenses

As far as government paperwork goes, this might just be the best ever filed. According to the federal government, employees embarking on government-sponsored missions for which there are billable …

The REINS Act: A constituent’s question receives a vote in Congress

In Washington, it's not every day legislation actually begins with a constituent's idea. The REINS Act is one of those ideas. The House last week passed H.R. 427, also …

Alabama facing political gut check, not a budget shortfall

Listen to any Alabama politician discussing the General Fund budget. You'll undoubtedly hear the phrase, "budget shortfall." The use of those specific words is intentional. It creates the impression …

Clinton emails missing two months, but have plenty of classified information otherwise

The U.S. State Department has been busy releasing Hillary's emails, and while they contain a lot of notable insights into her personal development — including, but not limited …

Proposed changes to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Hard as it may be to believe, we’re beginning to hear rumblings of sensibility from California’s electricity markets. Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison both have …

Cities, states keep piling on the Internet taxes

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

McConnell’s highway bill robbery

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

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

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

Solar bailout? Don’t bet on it

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

The dysfunctional federal workforce

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

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

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

Making oversight win-win

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

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

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

There’s no good reason to delay conservation compliance

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

Tallahassee City Commission right on Uber vote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Supreme Court strikes stupid licensing law

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

Alabama Legislature to put Bentley’s special session on ice

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

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

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

Health-care premiums about to spike again

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

Conservatives refusing to celebrate America should be ashamed

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

Why did the pope condemn carbon credits?

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

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

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

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

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

Honor our Southern heritage by leaving the Confederate flag behind

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

The moral case for fossil fuel taxes

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

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. …

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

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

Let’s listen to the pope on climate

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

Chaffetz swings and misses with Internet sales tax bill

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

Donald Trump, stupid leaders and the Great Wall of Mexico

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

Obama administration ‘bans’ trans-fats

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

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

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

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

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

USPS should sell its real estate

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

Obama admin wants ‘economic diversity’ for wealthy neighborhoods

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

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

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

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

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

Trade authority is good for Texas

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

How EPA’s ethanol cut could hurt taxpayers

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

Metric, schmetric

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

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

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

It’s time to raise the oil spill liability cap

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

New Eurobarometer report supports the ‘Swedish Miracle’

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

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

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

A gambling ban’s federalism problem

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

More laws should have sunsets

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

E-cigarettes ‘far, far safer’ than tobacco

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

DOJ collecting your ‘right-wing’ social media posts

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

Alabama’s budget breakdown

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

DOD spent millions on strippers and booze

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

Why AB 24 is a bad idea

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

Is regulatory reform a hopeless cause?

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

The federal government is looking to control your puddles

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

Congress looks to reduce the regulatory behemoth

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

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

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

The road less traveled: surveillance reform

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

Remembering a victim of the War on Drugs

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

Federal storm policies put Florida in danger

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

Copyright lobby seeks new hammer to pound free speech in Florida

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

Tom Cotton blocks NSA reform measure

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

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

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

Insurance bills could have a big impact on Texas

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

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

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

It really is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee

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

‘Beach Plan’ insurance needs to do no further harm

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

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

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

Hollywood celebrities aren’t abiding California drought rules

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

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

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

Should Alabama have a flat tax?

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

Smoke-free tobacco can save lives

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

E-cigarettes are a friend to public health

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

House appropriators look at legislative branch transparency

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

Kamala Harris aide was running a secret police force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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

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

Pointier Heads: Efficiency shrinks while government grows

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

Legislative project ideas for coders and noncoders

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

Disruption can be a good thing

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

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

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

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

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

Is Alabama broke or just stupid?

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

The question of raising taxes

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

Reality bites the dust in new smokeless tobacco study

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

Man lands gyrocopter on Capitol lawn, wants campaign finance reform

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

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

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

More on hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosols

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

The IRS spent lots of cash on office furniture and toys

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

Is it time to rethink the congressional budget resolution?

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

The Kafkaesque horror Of Tax Day

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

Gwyneth Paltrow takes SNAP challenge, fails miserably

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

Congress should vote to override Obama’s latest veto

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

Fracking and quakes

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

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

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

Moving toward real water prices

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

What the ‘zero rating’ debate reveals about net neutrality

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

FDA must correct snus warnings

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

Do we still need the Post Office?

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

Don’t let local control undermine the Texas model

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

End life tenure for federal employees

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

British Medical Association misleads on e-cigarettes

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

What if Congress won’t do its job?

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

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

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

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

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

How Gov. Bentley stopped being a conservative on taxes

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

The U.S. Postal Service’s existential problem

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

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

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

Resisting bureaucracy

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

For Uber drivers, one license is good enough

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

Transferring risk is good for Citizens

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

Head of womens health conglomerate unsure how insurance works

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

BBC drops the ball on baseball and smokeless tobacco

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

Hillary now thinks this email thing is hilarious

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

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

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

Why the ethanol mandate is terrible policy

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

Lofgren and Issa take on patent law that inflates repair costs

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

Do e-cigarette ads promote vaping?

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

Obama champions mandatory voting

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

The EPA wants to watch you shower

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

Repeal law that forces expensive burdens on retailers selling adult beverages

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

I love the 90s!

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

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

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

Sloan Kettering corrects e-cigarette study

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

AP sues State for Hillary’s emails

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

Bring Texas liquor laws into the 21st century

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

Rahm Emanuel and the trials of progressive payback

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

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

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

House of Representatives places an order for legislative data transparency

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

Conflicts of interest exposed, FDA reorganizes tobacco advisory panel

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

Rand Paul on why Republicans should care about Selma

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

Cheap oil gets rid of subsidized oil in developing nations

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

Time for full investigations of Hillary Clinton

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

Smoking cessation: minimal impact on weight

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

The civil rights history I missed growing up in the South

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

DEA warns Utah of stoned rabbits

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

Some DOE staff found new way to take advantage of students

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

Building houses on sandy ground

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

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

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

Geoengineering: The cold war on global warming

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

The TSA is very sad about this DHS thing

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

Fargo forgoes facts

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

The IRS was good to Lois Lerner

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

Trains are no substitute for Keystone

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

The worst sort of crony capitalism

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

DHS spent a lot of money on office furniture

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

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

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

RESTORE Act gives Alabama opportunity to lead on economy and environment

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

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

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

Federal court blocks executive amnesty, for now

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

NIH funding stifles tobacco harm reduction research and support in academia

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

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

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

Move to ban e-cigs stifles innovation

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

Restoring the Gulf Coast through local control

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

Should we regulate leggings worn as pants?

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

Rocking homeowners

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

Don’t ignore RESTORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ‘sharing economy’ is under threat

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

Obama will veto Keystone XL behind closed doors

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

A guide to religious tolerance in the 21st century

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

Debbie and Sheila’s night out at the Grammys

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

Utah struggles to stay in tune

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

The FAA will not regulate your moon base…yet

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

Congress should pass the president’s ‘kill list’

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

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

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

Obama takes on oil drilling from giant jet

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

President Obama is more King John than Robin Hood

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

Lost a drone? The Secret Service might have it

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

Tools for transparency in copyright law

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

Six reasons Texas should kill the margin tax

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

Bogus research on formaldehyde in e-cig vapor

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

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

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

US returns Magna Carta to England

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

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

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

Do USB cables need regulation?

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

Don’t forget Ex-Im

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

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

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

Politics, regulations are ruining state insurance market

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

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

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

Crafting a carbon tax Oregon conservatives can support

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

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

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

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

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

Harvard professors shocked at Obamacare rate hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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

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

The worst Christmas song ever

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

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

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

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

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

The Internet is out in North Korea

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

Texas craft brewers sue for freedom from distributors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fed district court declares Obama’s executive amnesty unconstitutional

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

Big CRomnibus winners: NSA, hungry kids, farting cows

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

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 …

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

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

Taxi trouble in Texas

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

All hail the CRomnibus

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

Congressional Data Coalition joins ‘Free Law Founders’

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

More folly from the NY Times on snus

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

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

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

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

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

Utah takes a rare insurance misstep

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

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

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

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. …

Six ways to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner…and conversation

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

Time to shuck the big corn giveaway

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

Responding to Ferguson by building bridges across the racial divide

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

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

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

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

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

The Uber fight comes to the South

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

Don’t overregulate taxis, ride-sharing

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

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

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

Texas cities are losing control of fracking

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

Fresno hits right note on for-hire ride services

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

Surgeons general say the darndest things about tobacco

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

Mail surveillance: The time for secrecy has passed

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

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

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

Fix surveillance reform

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

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

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

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

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

Dependence level higher with cigarettes than with smokeless tobacco

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

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

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

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

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

Colorado smoking ban: no impact on heart attacks

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

Postal Service mail-tracking: three big questions

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

A big conservative city is about to strangle its sharing economy

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

Redefining ‘public interest’

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

Transparency crucial with RESTORE money

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

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 …

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

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

ITC: The new digital cop?

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

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

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

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

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

Steer clear of pricing for private business

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

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 …

Bureaucracy’s latest challenge: listening to the public

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

Snus users’ hearts keep on ticking, not fluttering

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

Deconstructing the liberal myth of government management as a better solution

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

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

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

Network neutrality and a dubious leap of faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. government celebrates half-trillion dollar deficit

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

Labor force participation rates paint a bleak economic picture

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

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

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

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 …

More third-hand nicotine nonsense: From vapor?

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

Law against porn-watching by fed workers?

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

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

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

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

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

Why conservatives should support carbon taxation

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

What’s the matter with Paul Krugman?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESTORE Act committee should get back to work

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

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

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

The Swedish snus experience isn’t Finnished

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

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

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

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

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

YODA takes on the dark side of copyright enforcement

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

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

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

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 — …

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

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

Up in smoke

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

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

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

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

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

Oral cancer scaremongering by public health officials

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

Publish the Constitution Annotated as data

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

Think back to 2004

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

Airbnb helps, not hurts, SF housing shortage

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

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

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

Does America need Thomas Jefferson’s limited government progressivism?

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

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 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reform and renew terrorism risk insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Losing better solutions in the cloud of media bias

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

Slowing the rise of the oceans

From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about …

In the CDC-FDA e-cigarette study, ‘probably not’ is the new ‘yes’

Assume that you conducted a survey in which you posed two multiple-choice questions: "Do you think you will smoke a cigarette in the next year?" "If one of your best …

The Islamic State and the rebirth of a familiar fascist evil

"Bizarre," "hard-line" and even "barbaric" are words that often describe terrorists and their activities, but "evil" carries a stronger moral quality. "Evil" is a strong word, but in …

Justice Department confirms Lois Lerner emails still exist, proving that IRS officials are a pack of liars

Well, look at that. The Justice Department has confirmed to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch that the emails of several IRS officials, including those of Lois Lerner, …

Mouth cancer facts

Baseball star Curt Schilling says he has mouth cancer that was caused by chewing tobacco. His announcement has generated considerable interest in mouth cancer, its frequency and causes. What …

On politics, prosecutions and public perspective

On Aug. 15, 2014, a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, indicted Governor Rick Perry for abusing his official capacity and for coercion of a public servant. The criminal …

As competition between Lyft and Uber grows, questions linger about disruption

As Americans become more familiar with the concept of “ridesharing,” things are heating up in what the Wall Street Journal last week dubbed the “fiercest battle in the …

North Carolina physicians endorse e-cigarettes

A survey of North Carolina physicians documents that many understand the benefit of e-cigarettes and some actively recommend that their smoking patients switch. The results were published in …

How ‘Dead Poets Society’ changed my life

The passing of a Hollywood star makes headlines one day, and most of us move along the next. After all, fame and life are equally fleeting. When I heard …

How many Americans use smokeless tobacco?

I recently described how the federal government is all thumbs when it tries to count how many Americans smoke. Further evidence of the government's ineptitude is seen in …

Congress must stop allowing the president to unilaterally create laws

Over the last several months, President Obama's administration has seemingly created laws for the America people without any relevant input from the legislative branch. While many liberal legislators …

Paying for permissionless innovation

We're big fans of permissionless innovation—the concept and Adam Thierer's excellent book. The biggest, most consequential enemy of permissionless innovation in the United States is undoubtedly the Food …

The sharing economy will thrive only if government doesn’t strangle it

The so-called sharing economy is many things to many people. To Wall Street and Silicon Valley, firms like Uber and Airbnb offer tantalizing market capitalizations, the …

What Mississippi can learn from Louisiana

Good planning efforts can ensure that the coming financial windfall is not wasted. One month into the 2014 hurricane season, Gulf Coast residents, businesses and governments once again have …

Uber, Lyft and Houston’s policy leadership

Under the guise of needing to review a list of new amendments, the Houston City Council this week once again delayed a vote on granting legal status to …

The tide is turning: More scientific support for e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes get a positive health review in the new issue of the journal Addiction. Quoting from the abstract: [Electronic cigarettes, EC] aerosol can contain some of the toxicants present …

New York Times’ call for marijuana legalization advances harm reduction

A milestone in the fight for harm reduction was reached on July 28, when the New York Times formally endorsed the legalization of marijuana. A Times editorial, "Repeal …

The peculiar benefit calculation of EPA’s carbon rule

This week, the EPA held a field hearing in Atlanta regarding the Clean Power Plan proposed rule. Once final, the rule, by 2030, "would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the …

Ryan’s opening bid

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled his draft "opportunity agenda" in a speech this morning at the American Enterprise Institute, offering a plan broad and bold enough to give …

Address flood insurance and the environment with RESTORE Act funding

Many Alabamians may find it hard to believe that July 15 of this year marked four years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was capped in the Gulf …

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 …

Federal judge to FDA: Tobacco advisory panel tainted by conflicts of interest

"The presence of conflicted members on [the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, TPSAC] irrevocably tainted its very composition and its work product" and "the committee's findings and …

How many Americans smoke?

I answered that question on my blog a few years ago, saying it was: Either 45.3 million or 52.7 million in 2010, depending on which federal agency does the …

Keeping the American Dream alive is your responsibility and mine

In our country, we have all heard about one particular dream. Our parents likely mentioned it. We might have heard about it from a teacher or pastor or …

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 …

Dishonoring Tony Gwynn

The loss of American sports heroes is often accompanied by an outpouring of grief. But the death of San Diego Padre star Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer …

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 …

Swedish study: After a heart attack, quitting tobacco better than no tobacco

A recent study by Gabriel Arefalk and colleagues at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, published in the American Heart Association flagship journal Circulation, was purported by the …

The case for e-cigarettes

There are about 46 million smokers in the United States, and an estimated 480,000 deaths per year are attributed to cigarette smoking. Despite our best efforts, these numbers …

Snus nicotine lowers risk for multiple sclerosis, may be therapeutic for other nerve disorders

New research published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal and authored by Anna Hedström of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine confirms that snus users have a significantly lower risk …

Despite setback in Senate, there’s no reason to give up on patent reform

The last few weeks have brought both good and bad news to supporters of patent reform looking to reduce system abuse. Hopes for legislative action were dashed when a …

Stroke risk same for menthol and nonmenthol smokers

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris in 2012 reported that "smokers of mentholated cigarettes, and in particular women and non–African Americans, have significantly increased odds of stroke compared with nonmentholated cigarette …

The dangerous proliferation of the ‘right to be forgotten’

Following on last month's ruling by the European Court of Justice that search engines could be forced to take down links that individuals believe infringe their privacy rights, …

Service, restrictions force CU fans to abandon CU

This piece was co-written by R Street President Eli Lehrer. We both love credit unions. The free-market think tank we lead considers them a vital part of America's financial …

What Eric Cantor’s loss — and a quirky economist’s win — means for Republicans

On Tuesday, Republican primary voters asserted themselves in spectacular fashion by wresting the GOP nomination from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and giving it to quirky economist Dave …

Student debt isn’t the problem. Colleges are.

If you borrowed money from the federal government to finance your education and you're having an extremely hard time paying it back, I have good news for you. …

Swedish Match files to change smokeless tobacco warnings

Swedish Match has filed a modified risk tobacco product application with the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. The landmark event was announced in an Associated Press story. The company …

Virginia’s war on Uber and Lyft

The hidebound arm of an administrative state once again has descended upon one of the nation's most visible, exciting and novel industries. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles …

De Blasio’s welfare mistake

If you care about fighting poverty, the best thing you can do is to simply give poor people money. That is the view of some of the smartest, …

E-cigarette TV ads: adults’ exposure much higher than kids

The June 2 edition of the journal Pediatrics features a study of e-cigarette advertising on television from 2011 to 2013. The research, led by Jennifer Duke of RTI …

Nicotine/tobacco research and policy experts endorse THR in letter to World Health Organization

Fifty-three tobacco research and policy experts from 15 countries today endorsed many of the tobacco harm reduction principles that I have advocated for 20 years. In a widely …

N.C. auto insurance price controls stifle innovation

There has been a great deal of heated discussion in North Carolina regarding auto insurance reform during the past several years. The insurance industry is divided and parties …

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 …

Rate Bureau protects vested interests, not consumers

A recent Star News editorial on auto insurance reform in North Carolina ("Don't let companies wreck state's auto insurance system," May 24) argues that allowing companies to opt …

School reformers should try to make public schools cheaper, not just better

Say you were given $26,000 to educate a young kid for a year. Do you think you could put that money to good use? I do. In most of …

Privacy shouldn’t trump free speech

In a decision surprising to many close observers, Europe’s highest court ruled last week that Google must establish a process to receive and vet requests to take down embarrassing search results that …

Patent reform will benefit Utah business

Utah's technology-dependent economy makes current efforts in Washington to reform patent policies all the more important to the state's future, and our elected leaders are among the most …

Listen to Madison on copyright

More than 200 years ago, James Madison warned us that copyright and patents, being "monopolies," "must be guarded with strictness aga[inst] abuse." Today that abuse is manifest: copyright …

Mouse, rat & cell studies don’t make e-cigarettes carcinogenic

In determining what causes cancer in humans, epidemiologic and public health research is far superior to lab studies based on cells, mice or rats. While the latter can …

Short men, unite

There are very few things that fill me with blind, foaming-at-the-mouth, let's-burn-some-cars, hey-did-you-bring-the-kerosene, no-I-left-it-in-my-other-pants rage. At the very top of this short list is the depressing and indeed …

Unconstitutionally long copyright terms stifle content creation, just ask Disney

The R Street Institute recently released a report on copyright duration titled: "Guarding Against Abuse -- Restoring Constitutional Copyright." The report examines how copyright terms today are completely …

The New York Times plays patsy for anti-tobacco voices

In the tabloid tradition of "if it bleeds, it leads," he New York Times ignored the lack of peer review and wasted no space on critical analysis when …

Is the U.S. more like Sweden or Qatar?

Yet again, House Speaker John Boehner is in trouble with conservative lawmakers. This time it's because he wisecracked at a Rotary Club luncheon about his fellow House Republicans' …

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 …

The conservative case for taking on the copyright lobby

Today, the R Street Institute released a report on copyright duration titled "Guarding against abuse: Restoring constitutional copyright." In recent decades, a number of special interests called the "copyright …

FDA regulation: Defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products

The FDA has released a proposed rule to regulate "products that meet the statutory definition of 'tobacco products'…such as certain dissolvables, gels, hookah tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cigars and …

Height Act debacle shows politicians aren’t serious about D.C. autonomy

The House of Representatives voted earlier this week to change the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, and it soon will be legal to build habitable spaces in …

How the tea party movement can save itself and become a force for good

The tea party is the most maligned major political movement of our time. But it has been maligned for all the wrong reasons. I am happy to report, though, …

Outbox vs. USPS: How the Post Office killed digital mail

Evan Baehr and Will Davis were summoned to Washington for a meeting with the postmaster general. Evan and Will wondered what it could be, "They must have seen …

Facebook, McDonald’s and the divided American workforce

On Wednesday, Facebook released data on its performance in the first quarter of 2014, and the results were very impressive. The social network has succeeded in monetizing its …

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. …

Internships are an important rung on the ladder of opportunity

Prohibiting unpaid internships is an effective way to withhold economic opportunity from young and ambitious men and women, particularly those from modest backgrounds. That, of course, is not the …

Federal e-cigarette data AWOL

Americans are familiar with the census, taken every 10 years by the U.S. Census Bureau, but few are aware the bureau regularly collects information on a range of …

The Supreme Court case that will decide the future of television

In the past decade, home-media consumption of television content has changed significantly. Millions of people, particularly among younger generations, are becoming cord-cutters and converting to Netflix or Hulu. …

Florida’s RESTORE Act funding decisions requires transparency

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jay Liles, policy consultant for the Florida Wildlife Federation. Later this month, Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast will mark the …

The Cliven Bundy in all of us

At first glance, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle-rancher who has been fighting the Bureau of Land Management tooth and nail for more than 20 years, might strike you …

UCSF redefines youth smoking; Journal’s peer-review fails

The National Youth Tobacco Survey has been abused on an unprecedented scale by anti-tobacco forces.  First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released cherry-picked data, fabricating an …

Public access vs. open access

“Doesn't Congress already make its information publicly accessible?” That's the question I hear most frequently when I tell people about the Congressional Data Coalition's mission to get Congress to …

Paul Krugman isn’t a hypocrite

Paul Krugman may be America's foremost public intellectual. He's certainly a contender for the title. He has done more than any other thinker to sound the alarm about …

How to tax sharing

Across the nation, so-called "peer production businesses" have become a common feature of the urban landscape, and cities are scrambling to figure out how to tax and regulate …

Renters and rent-seeking in San Francisco

As anyone who’s lived in a major coastal American city knows, apartment renting is about as far from an unregulated free market as you can get. Legal and …

Swedish tax proposal threatens successful tobacco harm reduction

Sweden, which represents the world's best example of the population effect of tobacco harm reduction, is considering increasing its snus tax by 22%, according to the Swedish national …

Why Congress must rethink sanctions on Cuba

Alan Gross, the 64-year-old American who has been imprisoned by Cuban authorities since 2009, is an unremarkable man on the surface. He could be a friend or colleague, …

U.S. Statutes-at-Large: Essential to understanding our laws and legislative history

One of the benefits of the Congressional Data Coalition has been our ability to collaborate on mutual projects of interest. CDC members recognize that reusable, cleaned-up legislative information, …

NEJM fails to correct data on children’s e-cigarette use

The New England Journal of Medicine and authors of a commentary on e-cigarette use have ignored our call for correction of a substantial error regarding e-cigarette use among …

How Uber and Airbnb resurrect ‘dead capital’

Arguably the two biggest economic stories of the last decade are the Great Recession and the rise of a category of new businesses that turn noncommercial capital and …

Why I am still a neocon

We neocons have fallen out of favor, not just on the left, where "neocon" is routinely used as a term of abuse, but also on the right, where …

A more affordable D.C. starts with easing land rules

In her April 4 Metro column, "A plan to fix D.C.'s housing crisis can’t wait till Nov.," Petula Dvorak rightly lamented the district's high housing costs, but her …

Virginia takes lead in patent reform

As awareness builds about the cost in dollars and innovation that patent trolling extracts from the economy, Virginia has been among the states that have responded with legislation …

How to get Americans back to work

Friday's Labor Department data shows an uptick in jobs, but an unemployment rate that remained steady from February to March. While the size of the labor force is …

Patent reform efforts shouldn’t overlook patent quality

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to take up legislation in the next several days that looks to combat so-called "patent trolls," it's imperative that lawmakers address the real underlying …

To make Congress more accountable, make it more open

This piece was co-authored by Daniel Schuman is policy director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Nearly two decades ago, Congress began publishing some of its …

Takoma NIMBYs go BANANAs

WMATA might finally be able to build something on its extremely valuable land surrounding the Takoma Metro Station, after 14 years of effort. Starting in 2000, it worked with …

Florida pivotal in Internet tax battle

This piece was co-authored by R Street Florida Director Christian Camara. A misleading piece of federal legislation, called the "Marketplace Fairness Act," passed the U.S. Senate last year. Contrary …

No stroke risk with snus

Swedish researchers who two years ago reported no association of heart attacks with snus use (abstract here, my blog entry here) now conclude there is no association with …

Tax credits and children: Parents should pay lower taxes, and childless people should pay higher taxes

When my mother was my age, she was working full time while raising three small children, and she spent every spare moment studying to finish a graduate degree. …

Tax smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes at lower rates

Gov. John Kasich's plan to increase taxes on all tobacco products is bad tax policy, built on an unscientific, unsuccessful anti-smoker strategy: wuit or die. Only one component of …

Congress must put a clamp on the ‘patent trolls’

The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote on a bill soon aimed at addressing patent demand letters from entities frequently referred to as "patent trolls." Clearly, the momentum …

Can Bitcoin outrun the regulators?

Bitcoin is at the cutting edge of innovation. And like most new, potentially transformative ideas, most future job creators, and most disruptive innovations, Bitcoin does not have lobbyists, …

Deepwater Horizon restoration funding must be transparent and avoid cronyism

Next month will mark four years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded fifty miles off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men and spilling over four million barrels …

What the GOP can learn from the Koch brothers

Republicans are very enthusiastic about this year's midterm congressional elections, and it is easy to see why. Obamacare, the president's signature domestic policy legislation, remains unpopular. Turnout during …

Art sale could benefit retirees

The following piece was co-written by R Street Midwest Director Alan Smith. Next month, Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will release the latest iteration of a plan to restructure …

Mehrens confused about impact of Internet sales tax initiative

Nathan Mehrens is confused about the Internet sales tax issue and the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act," which he praises as addressing a "competitive advantage" enjoyed by online retailers …

Republicans should back Tesla, creative destruction at its best

Gov. Chris Christie's administration just effectively banned Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to consumers in New Jersey. Here's why his move is a quintessential example of how …

How to fix higher education

America's elite higher education institutions are the envy of the world. Foreign students flock to the oldest and wealthiest U.S. research universities to take advantage of resources that …

People who can’t afford cars don’t need their own parking spaces

Imagine a world in which every apartment is required by law to include accommodation for around-the-clock butler services. In this world, developers would have to add an additional …

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 …

In search of ‘Mr. Republican’

Who will be the next "Mr. Republican"? While the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination gets underway, there is another, more informal race going on as well. …

Congress shouldn’t overlook design patents in its push for reform

With legislation passed in the House, the U.S. Senate is set to move forward on multiple bills to combat the costly problem of patent trolls. While current proposals …

The one budget proposal worth seizing

President Obama’s new budget for fiscal year 2015 is almost entirely free of surprises. The Obama administration supports a number of large tax increases, most but not all …

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 grand compromise that wasn’t

One of President Obama's defining convictions is that he is the most reasonable man in our nation's capitol. He seems to view opposition to his agenda as a …

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 …

Budget gimmickry on the Bayou

Sometimes a trust fund isn't a trust fund and sometimes an appropriation isn't an appropriation. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana has done some important work over the …

GOP: Beyond repealing to reforming

The last time the federal government approached its statutory debt limit, Republicans in the House of Representatives fought tooth and nail to attach tough conditions to any increase. …

Local control is better management for federal lands

In his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama promised to use presidential authority to "protect more of our pristine federal lands." Similar to most political statements, …

More Americans should work abroad

On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner told members of the press that though immigration is "an important issue in our country" (thanks for that, John), it will be …

5 reasons Ronald Reagan’s secret identity was Captain Planet

If we've learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. …

Don’t encourage risky development

The Jan. 30 editorial, Mapping our future, is right to commend South Florida’s governments for doing more to “tackle the threat of climate change” and rising sea levels. …

Hurricane mitigation sales tax holiday would be nice

Gov. Rick Scott's announcement that he will pursue legislative action to grant a 15-day sales-tax holiday for hurricane preparedness is a big win for Florida. The tax incentive …

To win votes, the GOP should focus on jobs, not immigration

One of the most curious political developments in recent memory is House Speaker John Boehner's decision to press for a new Republican immigration bill before addressing America's bona …

Let’s Move: A better approach to poverty

The following piece was co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer. President Obama's State of the Union speech brimmed with ideas to increase upward mobility and spur job creation—most …

SOTU: Obama defines the challenge, but misses the solution

For those who care about wage stagnation, alleviating poverty and increasing income mobility, the president's speech Tuesday night was a mixed bag. Granted, it's difficult to delve deep …

Geographic mobility as a cure for income mobility

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson launched the "War on Poverty" during his first State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is widely expected to revisit that …

It’s time to protect data in the cloud

Tuesday’s State of the Union address affords President Barack Obama another opportunity to address the government’s massive overreach in collecting data about ordinary Americans in the name of …

Flood-bill vote could put lives, careers at risk

If a plan to delay the phase-out of some federal flood insurance subsidies is successful, Congress could be setting itself up for a nasty pre-election “October surprise.” Should …

Learning to love the Brooklyn Nets

Before the Nets moved to Brooklyn, I knew almost nothing about professional basketball, or basketball in any incarnation. I understood that it was a sport in which tall …

Chris Christie and the ‘failed war on drugs’

What would you do if you were a high-profile governor caught in the midst of a pseudo-scandal, with the national news media hanging on your every word? Here’s …

Smokers can turn to safer smoke-free tobacco products

Kentucky State Police report that traffic fatalities in 2013 fell to 635 — down 15 percent from the year before and the lowest count since 1947. Lower traffic …

Where is the GOP heading on immigration reform?

After falling off the radar for months, immigration reform is back. Late last year, Speaker John Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent — a veteran of Arizona Sen. John McCain's …

Fannie, Freddie and the big one

Twenty years ago today, the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake struck the San Fernando Valley 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, killing 60, injuring 7,000, and damaging more than …

Mike Rogers’ one-half percent

As negotiations in Congress over the so-called "farm bill" continue, Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican representing Alabama's Third District, is seen as a key vote on the small …

The case for treating windfalls like bonds

Windfalls are, by definition, irregular occurrences that disrupt state and local governments' regular flow of finance. And because each windfall is, at least to some degree, sui generis, …

Saving the bayou

Morgan City, La. — Last Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reined in BP's efforts to curb payouts for what the oil company called "absurd" and "fictitious" claims …

Handouts aren’t enough

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

From Marco Rubio, a new approach to ending poverty

I realize that I ought to be writing about Chris Christie, the recently re-elected Republican governor of New Jersey, who has just had a brush with political death. …

High school seniors’ tobacco use: another year in decline

Smoking by teens has declined to record-low levels, according to the latest University of Michigan annual Monitoring the Future Study, which examines youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use …

Universal preschool may help parents more than children — and that’s okay

As a small child, I vaguely recall having attended a Montessori preschool in Brooklyn, which was loud, lively and colorful. One day, a classmate made a reference to …

How to spend oil spill fines wisely

A federal judge in New Orleans will soon decide how much oil company BP has to pay in Clean Water Act fines for its role in the 2010 …

‘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 …

Why I signed up for Obamacare

The deadline for enrolling in the Obamacare insurance exchanges for those who want coverage that starts on Jan. 1 is about to pass. Late last week, I became one …

RESTORE Act is key to flood insurance affordability

The following was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, passed as part of 2012's transportation bill, is an important step forward …

Letter to the Tampa Bay Times: Sifting flood program data

"Flood insurance rhetoric ignores reality," Dec. 15 This column on the National Flood Insurance Program's subsidized properties takes my organization, the R Street Institute, to task for asserting that …

The death of the Obamacare individual mandate

Obamacare is best understood as a collection of carrots and sticks designed to expand access to insurance coverage. But what happens to Obamacare if we get rid of …

Jackson must seize opportunity to invest in restoring the Gulf

A federal judge in New Orleans will soon rule on how much oil company BP must pay in Clean Water Act fines for its role in the 2010 …

Alabama’s coast needs wise RESTORE Act investments

Early next year, a federal judge will decide how large a fine BP must pay for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. No matter what …

The public policy lessons of ‘Doom’

Last week saw the 20th anniversary of the release of Doom, almost certainly the greatest first-person shooter game of all time, if not the greatest electronic game of …

The problem is NSA overreach, not the technology we use

Blaming big tech companies for enabling our runaway surveillance state is like blaming Toyota or Ford for drunk drivers. It's a dangerous distraction, and it's the wrong strategy …

Bernard Mandeville and consumerism’s buzz

When addressing the right’s awkwardness surrounding issues of extreme economic inequality, it's lately become almost de rigeur among conservative reformers to cite Adam Smith as a polestar that conservatives ought …

The budget deal’s central achievement: protecting America’s military strength

Remember 1986? Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Dionne Warwick was topping the charts, and movie audiences swooned as Tom Cruise romanced Kelly McGillis in Top Gun. …

Tech companies revolt as government spying threatens to wreak havok on U.S. business interests

When tech companies AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo wanted to voice their concerns about government surveillance, they took to a very traditional medium: full …

Driving a Motor City revival

In the wake of officially receiving approval for bankruptcy protection, Detroit's story has become a familiar one. Once the poster child of America's industrial might and middle-class prosperity, …

Letters to the Tampa Tribune: Great promise

Regarding your editorial "Coming to the aid of the Gulf of Mexico" (Our Views, Dec. 5), you are absolutely correct that the RESTORE Act presents an exceptional opportunity …

A new red state slush fund?

The Gulf Coast states — Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas — are all governed by Republican governors and have Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. With the …

Mandela’s heirs face a rocky economic future

The death of Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the world, and for good reason. As the first president of post-apartheid South Africa, he served as a symbol …

Taxpayers still face storm threats

Last Saturday, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season came to a close, not with a bang but with a whimper. While in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan was responsible for …

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 …

The conservative case for patent reform

What would you think if someone knocked on your door one day and threatened to sue you for everything you're worth unless you paid a settlement fee to …

When progress trumps privacy

In 1890, two of America’s leading legal minds, Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren, published an article called "The Right to Privacy" in the Harvard Law Review. Scandalized by …

The oil spill windfall: A test for Republicans

A federal court in Louisiana will decide in the next few months how much oil company BP must pay in Clean Water Act penalties as a result of …

They left their hearts in San Francisco

To the Editor: You write that because of the influx of wealthy tech employees and a shortage of affordable housing, San Francisco "city officials must grapple with the arithmetic …

What the filibuster’s demise means for the Supreme Court

Now that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ended the filibuster for district and appeals court nominees and executive branch appointments, it's only a matter of time before …

Finding new ways to make work pay

One of the scariest notions about America's sluggish labor market recovery is that it doesn’t represent an aberration, but rather a new reality in which good jobs are …

A stronger environment, a freer economy

It is almost taken for granted in America that, when it comes to the environment, you have two choices: either the environment is protected and the economy suffers, …

Obama’s apology (of sorts) for his ‘keep your plan’ promise

This week, President Barack Obama offered an apology (of sorts) to Americans who believed him when he repeatedly assured the public that anyone who liked their current health …

Where does Obamacare leave millennials?

The Obamacare rollout has been a disaster. In sharp contrast to the devastating technological effectiveness of President Obama's 2012 campaign, HealthCare.gov has become the butt of jokes not …

Vincent Orange’s ‘Superdome’ would compound previous land-use blunders

In case you missed it, Vincent Orange and other District Council members want to commission a study to look into building an enormous, 100,000-seat stadium and recreational complex on …

Why New Jersey and Virginia matter to the GOP — and its future with black voters

This week’s election will be an important one for the future of the GOP. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is up for re-election, and by all …

The GOP’s insurance hypocrisy

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

Restore Gulf treasure

Regarding "Maintaining a healthy Gulf Coast is key to local economy" (Page B7, Wednesday), Sinclair Oubre is absolutely correct when he argues that the RESTORE Act presents an …

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 …

The right needs to take the reins in Gulf Coast restoration – before the left does

It has now been more than three years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men and spilling millions of …

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 …

Changes to property insurance are welcome

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

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

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

Instead of a divorce, the GOP needs primary reform

A few days ago, an older and wiser friend of mine and I had a lengthy conversation about divorce, that most cheerful of subjects. He noted that one …

Don’t subsidize Citizens’ out-of-state policyholders

While politicians repeatedly have tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, state legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property …

A vindication of Juggalo society: Why America is increasingly down with the clown, and that’s ok

In February 2012, Cato Institute Vice President Gene Healy tweeted what may be the funniest think tank tweet to date: "Someday, the 'Think Tank Network' (TTN) will sponsor …

Government shutdown is already doing severe damage

With the political battle over the government shutdown still raging in Washington, it's worth noting the shutdown is already having a serious adverse impact on hundreds of small communities across …

Charge out-of-state residents more

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

New proposal to slay patent trolls would be a boon to the digital economy

Following a slew of other bills introduced earlier this year to address America's broken patent system, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., recently released a second draft of a proposal to extend …

Keep act on course

Tribune columnist Joe Henderson is wrong to call for delays in changes to the National Flood Insurance Program ("Fair play needed in flood insurance debate," Oct. 1). Although …

How to fix the GOP’s discipline problem

As the government shutdown grinds on, the Republican leadership in the House is struggling to unite GOP lawmakers around a fiscal deal that Senate Democrats and the Obama …

The Republicans have a tea party problem

One year ago this week, Mitt Romney, then the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, scored a surprising victory in his first debate with President Barack Obama. Having endured withering …

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 …

Obamacare’s threat to health-care innovation

Next week, the new state-based health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will be open for business. Or rather — some of …

Politicians who support the Internet sales tax face a rude ballot-box awakening

This piece was co-authored by Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. According to conventional political wisdom, selling a bad tax idea to voters is simple …

How Republicans can win the shutdown showdown

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

The farm bill: best if used by Sept. 30

Lost in the noise regarding the impending government shutdown is a separate deadline Congress faces on Sept. 30 – the expiration of the farm bill. While there’s been …

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 …

Sen. Mike Lee’s plan to bolster middle-class parents

On Tuesday afternoon, a small but influential slice of the inside-the-Beltway conservative intelligentsia gathered at the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C.-based conservative think tank, to hear Utah Sen. …

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 …

Americans have a right to know details of government data requests

Abusive government surveillance practices have violated the privacy and trust of the American people. But they’ve also left many companies who do business online in a lurch about …

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 …

Will Obama silence critics of his Syria policy?

Skepticism regarding the wisdom of President Obama's call for a U.S.-led military strike against the Assad regime comes from several different directions, and so the president will have …

The NSA’s war against encryption

New revelations about National Security Agency abuses, which now include everything from industrial espionage to reports that the agency can access most data on our smartphones, seem to …

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. …

How Larry Summers could fix his reputation – and help millions of Americans

Right now, it looks as though Larry Summers has the inside track to be named the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. This is despite the fact that …

A just law