TEXAS
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. …

What the Wall Street Journal gets wrong about farming in 2017

With the Farm Bill up for reauthorization in 2018 and legislative debate poised to heat up later this year, there’s been a lot of talk about the plight …

A cyber mandate isn’t the way to address cyber-insurance takeup

To improve cyber preparedness and help companies recover from cyberattacks, it's essential that the takeup rate for cyber insurance continues to rise. The insurance capacity plainly exists to …

Should we have a long-term budget for entitlements?

Federal law treats Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements as “mandatory” spending programs, which means they are not subject to the annual appropriations process like the rest …

How the federal government could lead by example in cyber insurance

The takeup rate of cyber insurance is rising, but the market's growth to date has been uneven. Anne Hobson, a technology policy fellow at the R Street Institute, …

CTA previews Innovation Policy Day at SXSW

The Consumer Technology Association welcomed R Street Tech Policy Fellow Anne Hobson to take part in a recent Facebook Live panel to preview the Innovation Policy Day programming …

Ian Adams on KVOI in Tucson

R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams and Mike Shaw of KVOI in Tucson, Arizona, to discuss the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act) Act …

Transportation regulators are determined to stretch their powers to the limit

Since 2008, the freight-railroad industry has contested an effort by two federal regulators to rebalance the relationship between freight-rail operators and Amtrak. The issue is one of control …

The administration’s bad start on civil asset forfeiture

It appears that President Donald Trump has officially taken a position on civil asset forfeiture. This week, the president offered to help “destroy” the career of a Texas …

Neeley addresses press conference on ‘Conservative Texas Budget’

R Street Southwest Region Director Josiah Neeley joined with Texas state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, and other members of the Conservative Texas Budget Coalition at an Austin press …

Adams talks self-driving cars on Tech Policy Podcast

R Street Institute Senior Fellow Ian Adams recently joined TechDirt's Tech Policy Podcast for a discussion about the many implications of autonomous vehicles. Full audio of the show is …

Debunking the ‘experts’ on vaping

A recent article on the millennial-focused website Mic.com deigned to summarize “what the experts say” about the long-term effects of vaping, which certainly is an important topic. Alas, the …

Seventh Circuit strikes down Indiana’s protectionist vaping rules

Apparently we weren’t the only observers who thought the Indiana law regulating vaping products was a little over the top. A major reason why Indianapolis rated a grade …

Does Congress have the technology it needs to govern?

During its first two centuries of operations, Congress conducted business the old fashion way: with paper and pencil and face-to-face. Over the past 25 years, however, the legislative …

Video: Orange County short-term rentals panel

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

Hobson talks ‘Poképolicy’ on the Tech Policy Podcast

Last summer's megahit game Pokémon Go was many Americans' first introduction to the notion of "augmented reality," in which artificial visuals are superimposed onto the real world. R …

FERC chair’s departure spells policy uncertainty and infrastructure delays

In his first week in office, President Donald Trump elevated Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to serve as acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This action removed that …

Time to slam the brakes on local ridesharing regulations?

R Street Southwest Region Director Josiah Neeley joined April Mims, senior public policy manager at Lyft; Mayor Betsy Price; and James Quintero, director of the Center for Local …

Why process matters in congressional appropriations

As recent legislative sessions repeatedly have ground to a halt with threats of government shutdown, we’re forced to wonder: what has gone so terribly wrong in the appropriations …

Reforming the administrative state—and reining it in

National Affairs released a special report earlier this month on comprehensive proposals to rein in the regulatory state. The report's three authors -- Hoover Institution Research Fellow Adam White, Manhattan …

What Dow 20,000 looks like in inflation-adjusted terms

The Dow Jones industrial average closing Jan. 25 at more than 20,000 inspired big, top of the fold front-page headlines in both the Wall Street Journal and the …

The erosion of ownership in the digital age

When you buy a book from the store, no one doubts that you own it completely. You can take it home, write in its margins, lend it to …

The Future of Work: Capturing the American Dream in an internet-enabled economy

As we race toward a technologically enhanced future, internet-enabled technologies continue to disrupt markets and industries at a breathtaking clip. Corporations see exponential increases in productivity from internet-enabled …

It’s time for the Senate to pull in the REINS

Much of the debate about the new administration’s regulatory-reform agenda centers on the Regulations from Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require both houses of …

Ohio and Michigan both kick off 2017 with asset-forfeiture reform

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, opened the new legislative session last week by declaring the legislative branch's job was to improve quality of life for all Ohioans. …

Six quick takes on President Trump’s speech

Thank you for making your speech short. Really, the days when folks enjoyed hearing long orations have passed. I am glad you thanked the Obamas for being "magnificent" to …

R Street Panel: The expertise gap between Silicon Valley and Washington

It shouldn't be surprising that our elected representatives don't always understand new technology. Rather than being early adopters, most of them are at least a decade behind the …

Kosar talks Congressional Regulation Office on C-Span

R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar was on C-Span's Washington Journal program recently to discuss his recent piece in National Affairs proposing a Congressional Regulation Office and …

Self-driving car bill would authorize Cal DMV to do what’s already done

New legislation introduced in the California Assembly would mandate the state Department of Motor Vehicles revoke the registration of any autonomous vehicle that isn't operated in compliance with …

Join us tonight for Le Hackie Awards

DC Legal Hackers hosts its third annual Le Hackie Awards tonight, an event to honor companies, organizations, legal hackers and the best legal hacks of 2016. For those not …

Making Congress great again

It hasn’t exactly been a smooth first week for the Republican-controlled 115th Congress. On Monday, House Republicans voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics—only to reverse their …

The intelligence community should be more accountable to Congress

The salvo between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. intelligence community continues to intensify. Having downplayed and dismissed unanimous intelligence agency conclusions about Russian involvement in the DNC …

Yes, fewer traffic fatalities is a good thing!

Outlet bias is a hallmark of the bored and lazy, and also of The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro. Taken by the recent headline of a piece I wrote with …

Don’t demonize bitcoin, blockchain, Tor and other online privacy tools

“Can bitcoin be used for good?” read the headline of an April article in The Atlantic. It’s not just a headline writer’s attempt at provocative rhetoric. The phrases “darkest …

January promises an end to FCC’s zero rating attack

There’s a quote posted in the guidance counselor’s office at my son’s middle school: “Fairness isn’t everyone gets the same.” Unfortunately, that is how outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman …

Michigan looks to become autonomous vehicle mecca

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder last week signed a package of four bills (S.B. 995-998) intended to signal the state's commitment to the autonomous future, including by opening up …

R Street panel on NHTSA rules for self-driving cars

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its much anticipated self-driving vehicle guidelines, instant reaction was generally favorable. But upon further reflection, a more complicated picture was …

Robot scalpers and the BOTS Act

The current system for allocating tickets to popular events leaves a lot to be desired. Most tickets for the most popular shows are pre-allocated to fan clubs, VIP …

Tax reformers must take care not to kill reinsurance market

During the 2016 presidential election, one theme from President-elect Donald Trump rang louder than any other: the importance of keeping jobs in America and finding ways to encourage …

Time for a reset breath on tech antitrust

Just as the Senate was holding hearings on the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger last week, an interesting tidbit of information crossed my tablet: a story finding that …

R Street’s guide to policy events at SXSW 2017

In addition to its high-profile music and film festivals, Austin's South By Southwest (SXSW) also hosts one of the biggest annual gatherings of technologists, activists, government officials, entrepreneurs …

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

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

The insidious campaign of ‘soft’ prohibitionists

This week's Repeal Day (Dec. 5) marked 83 years since the dreadful social experiment of Prohibition finally was killed. We think we live in strange times today, but what …

Regulators’ vaping crackdown should concern other innovative industries

On the Food and Drug Administration’s webpage, Commissioner Robert M. Califf asserts “a successful FDA is a critical factor for better public health in this changing world” and …

CBO confirms OPEN Government Data Act won’t cost taxpayers

The bicameral, bipartisan Open Public Electronic and Necessary ("OPEN") Government Data Act will not cost taxpayers a dime, according to new scoring analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. The …

The housing bubble renewed?

Average U.S. house prices are back over their 2006 bubble top, as measured by the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. “Home Prices Recover Ground Lost During Bust” read the …

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

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

More consumer choice in electricity should be on policymakers’ holiday wish lists

As we head into the holiday shopping season, consumers should consider adding one more item to their lists: an alternative electricity supplier. The process of switching energy providers long …

What’s the outlook for legal sports betting in the Trump era?

With the state-level battles over daily fantasy sports (DFS) largely settled, the online gambling industry, along with professional and recreational sports bettors, are speculating how the incoming Trump …

Moving forward on unwinding proxy access

The shareholder empowerment movement consists of activists who advocate shifting corporate decision-making authority to shareholders, and thus away from boards of directors and executive management. In effect, this …

Yesterday we talked about Congress reclaiming the power of the purse — a bit

I co-direct the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group, a nonpartisan gathering of scholars and congressional staff that aims to “make Congress great again.” We meet each month on …

Consumer Review Fairness Act heads to Obama’s desk

The U.S. Senate this week gave unanimous consent to H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, legislation that would protect reputational information online. Having previously passed the House …

Ohio wants to be testing ground for self-driving cars

The world knows Ohio as home of the Wright brothers and the first man to step on the moon. But locals also know it as home to aviatrix …

What Joe Maddon can teach Illinois lawmakers about competition

Illinois policymakers are considering a sprawling, damaging and wasteful energy bill that seeks to bail out two unprofitable Exelon Corp. nuclear plants. This massive 446-page piece of legislation—dubbed …

Household incomes can fall even when everyone’s getting richer

One of the politically hottest statistics right now is median household income, especially its slow growth. But there is a big problem with understanding what this statistic means, …

Panel Video: Legislative Reform: Then and Now

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

The kids suing over climate change better *not* be our best hope

Following election results and a subsequent transition period that probably has been fairly dispiriting to those concerned about tackling the problem of climate change, recent days have seen …

How the coming Republican Congress could cut regulations lickety-split

For the better part of eight years, Republicans have tried to stop the Obama administration from issuing new regulations. They have not had much success. But this may …

Self-driving car makers shouldn’t have to ask NHTSA ‘mother, may I?’

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recently issued safety guidelines for self-driving cars would upend five decades of federal auto-safety policy by embracing a system of pre-market approval. The …

GDP per-worker vs. GDP per-capita

We have previously compared the growth in real per-capita gross domestic product between the United States and Japan and among the 10 largest advanced economies. Growth in GDP …

Ohio’s fight to preserve energy competition and choice

Ohio regulators recently approved a problematic, watered-down subsidy for investor-owned utility FirstEnergy Corp. amounts to corporate welfare to protect captive ratepayers of its monopoly utility segment from the …

Does Congress finally get that business as usual should not continue?

Nearly everyone is gobsmacked by last night’s election results. But should we really be so surprised? No, because a significant portion of the public has been down on …

The anarchist case for climate action

A spate of recent articles have purported to offer the "conservative case for a carbon tax" or the "libertarian case for climate action," or some similar riff. R …

Discussion: Government regulation and the internet of things

The R Street Institute hosted an expert panel last month to explore ways in which the “internet of things” is affecting cybersecurity, privacy and ownership rights. With cyberattacks …

If elected, would Clinton declare war on the sharing economy?

The following post was co-authored by Senior Fellow Lori Sanders. This coming Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is expected to claim a resounding victory at the climax of a long, hard-fought …

IRS plans to make it harder to let families keep their businesses

The Internal Revenue Service is up to about 10,000 public comments submitted thus far on its latest assault on families – proposed sweeping changes to Section 2704 of …

Finding a 21st century system for booze

Traverse City, Michigan (population 15,000), is a gorgeous bay town near the northern end of Lake Michigan. The town, which oozes charm, has very good restaurants and genial …

Avoiding backdoor bailouts on the Texas grid

Texas is blessed to have a competitive market for electrical generation. Unlike most states, Texas’ electric-power mix is not decided by bureaucrats who guarantee that utilities can recover …

States and cities are drowning in pension debts

One of the purest mysteries in public policy these days is that while there's a clarion call from every class of political leadership to do something about sea-level …

Growth in per-capita GDP: How does the United States rank?

Growth in gross domestic product after adjustment for inflation (real GDP) is the most frequently reported and discussed economic measure. More important, however, is how people on average …

Insurers vow ‘muscular’ response to over-regulation

Insurers aren’t known for their aggressive pushback against overly meddlesome regulations. American insurance companies – like any massive industry – have a large lobbying presence. But they tend …

Five bad arguments against public access to CRS reports

This week the progressive organization Demand Progress, along with the Congressional Data Coalition, launched EveryCRSReport.com. This new project site makes available, with the help of friendly Congressional offices, …

Free-market coalition calls for improvements to California self-driving car regs

The California Department of Motor Vehicles' second round of draft regulations on testing and deploying autonomous vehicles are better than the iteration the department previously introduced last December, …

Why we need federal anti-SLAPP

Donald Trump has promised that if he becomes president, he’s going to “open up those libel laws so when The New York Times writes a hit piece we …

Direct democracy not always the ideal approach

The following blog post was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Steven Greenhut. Colorado and California are among the states most accustomed to direct democracy: the initiative, …

Is Congress getting a bum rap?

In short, yes, to a degree. Much of the work it does seldom appears in the news, so legislators get no credit. So, thanks are owed to Michelle Cottle …

Avoiding the renewables blame game – lessons from down under

News that wind energy may have played a role in an electrical blackout experienced last week in South Australia has reinvigorated the question of whether renewable-energy mandates decrease …

Debating proxy access with substance, not bluster

There has been much bluster, but very little substance, in the ongoing debate over proxy access – that is, the ability of certain privileged shareholders to have their …

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

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

Fixing what ails the Endangered Species Act

A recent tweak to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is sparking considerable backlash from environmentalists, with prominent groups accusing the Obama administration of weakening the landmark legislation. The controversy …

New Orleans could legalize spacesharing this week

The New Orleans City Council is set to vote tomorrow on an ordinance that would allow short-term rentals in the city. The vote comes in the wake of …

‘Fin’ versus ‘tech’ in fintech

Financial technology – or "fintech," in the modern parlance – may be seen as trendy, but computing technology has strongly influenced banking and finance for decades. Its effects …

ICYMI: A manual for conducting congressional oversight

Mort Rosenberg spent decades at the Congressional Research Service advising staff and members how to conduct oversight. After he retired, he published this guide -- based on previous …

R Street panel on transferring IANA functions

You can’t regulate self-driving cars into existence

The following blog post was co-authored by R Street Technology Fellow Anne Hobson.  The editorial board of The New York Times apparently knows precisely the autonomous vehicle future that …

Yahoo! goes cuckoo for the NSA!

In stunning news, a just-published Reuters exclusive purports that Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails on behalf of the National Security Agency. While the public has been made aware …

Energy Subsidies: End them all!

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

Congressional Earmarks: Are we better off without them?

When the GOP took back the House in 2010, it followed through on what many of its members had promised in their campaigns—banning earmarks. Earmarks are the district …

Happy birthday, TARP!

Today, Oct. 3, is the eighth anniversary of congressional passage of the act that created the famous or notorious $700 billion bank bailout program in the midst of …

California’s draft self-driving car regulations: second time’s a charm?

Quietly slipped in to the Friday afternoon news dump were updated draft regulations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that signal a pivot from the much-maligned rules …

Much ado about nothing? The phantom U.S. crime wave

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released its much anticipated annual crime report this week, which within hours became fodder for both candidates in the first presidential debate. While …

Contra Costa pilot program will put fully autonomous cars on the road

Vehicles without steering wheels and pedals will soon be on California’s roads, if only in very specific areas, thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown's signature on A.B. 1592, sponsored …

California legalizes rental cars for ridesharing

Gov. Jerry Brown this week gave a small but significant boost to the ridesharing industry by signing A.B. 2763, which allows drivers for transportation network companies such as …

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 that …

DEA’s kratom battle another misstep in war on drugs

In their infinite wisdom, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is expanding the war on drugs this week to include kratom, a medicinal plant seen by many as a …

After it works too well, NYC scraps free web access

For years, the primary argument for municipal broadband has been about the need to bridge the digital divide. Government-run wireless networks, we’ve been told, are needed bring the …

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

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

Republicans want to attach Ted Cruz’s internet governance language to the government-funding bill. It could blow up in their faces.

The following post was co-authored by R Street technology policy program director Zach Graves. SOURCE: Giphy Sept. 30 marks the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, which means both Republicans …

NHTSA forces Cal DMV to walk back self-driving car rules

The California Department of Motor Vehicles attempted to force one of the most promising automotive innovations in history to do what people waiting to register their cars do …

How pirates shaped the internet as we know it

Today is “International Talk like a Pirate Day.” While it’s a lot of fun to act like a pirate, drink rum and catch up on Errol Flynn movies, …

How limits on Hawaiian deep-sea mining could hurt the solar-energy market

In a bid to shore up his eco-legacy, President Barack Obama announced the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Monument. The protected area, first created by President George W. …

Planting mustard seeds in the heartland

This week, I'm taking part in a beta test for a new service that connects Columbus, Ohio's parking-space owners mostly with out-of-towners looking for a place to park …

Anne Hobson on the ICANN transition and the future of internet governance

On Oct. 1, the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration’s  (NTIA) contract with the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expires and the transition to a …

Lawrence Strickling cites R Street in Senate hearing on internet governance

You can see the full video of the hearing here. Also see R Street's analysis of the arguments for and against the transition. …

Nathan Leamer on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann

Is Pittsburgh the Kitty Hawk (or St. Petersburg) of self-driving cars?

The wonders of our modern age have left many of us immune to the kinds of feelings of astonishment that once were triggered by spectacular events. So, if only …

Michigan makes its play to be center of self-driving car universe

In the race to innovate, there often are rewards for being first. Just as technology firms and automakers vie to roll out the first scalable autonomous vehicle, so …

Strengthening congressional oversight of the intelligence community

Domain name not resolved: Breaking down the debate over the ICANN transition

The following blog post was co-authored by R Street Senior Technology Policy Program Director Zach Graves. Is Obama giving away the internet? According to some conservatives, like Sen. Ted Cruz, …

Four inconvenient truths about Fannie and Freddie

Americans have for years been addicted to long-term (that is, 15 to 30-year) fixed-rate residential mortgage loans. We just can’t live without them. The severity of this habit …

Court smacks down California regulators over broker/agent ruling

An Orange County, California court has given the state’s Department of Insurance a stunning smack down in a long-running case about the “broker fees” charged by some insurance …

Criminal-justice reform won’t be a boon to illegal aliens

A common avenue of attack against criminal-justice reform, particularly its mandatory-minimum provisions, is to invoke the bogeyman of illegal immigration. The argument generally suggests that incarcerated aliens would …

Texas limits on out-of-state alcohol may be headed to the Supreme Court

It’s been a busy summer for booze-related litigation in Texas. I’ve written previously about the successful challenge by craft brewers to a 2013 law that makes them give …

How the sharing economy can help in disaster recovery

The sharing economy has created new opportunities for hundreds of thousands around the world. It has provided new options in everything from lodging to transportation. It has helped …

Louis Vuitton can’t take a joke

Charles Caleb Colton (and later, Oscar Wilde) is famous for the phrase, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” In the world of trademark, such "flattery" happens often. …

Musicians’ brief in ‘Blurred Lines’ case: Overly broad copyright stifles creativity

A group of musicians that includes John Oates of Hall & Oates, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Rikki Rocket of Poison has filed an amicus brief in the …

From congressional bootleggers to Beltway booze bans

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

NAIC San Diego: Self-driving cars and regulatory renewal

Insurance regulators are a diverse bunch. Some are elected, while others are appointed. Some are Republicans, while others are Democrats. At the triennial meeting of the National Association …

5 habits of highly effective lawmakers

The following post was co-authored by Alan E. Wiseman. How can legislative staffs help their members of Congress become effective lawmakers? One way is by checking his or her Legislative …

Texas court invalidates restrictions on craft brewers

The forces of boozy liberty won a big victory Thursday when an Austin judge declared unconstitutional a 2013 law that required craft brewers to give away distribution rights …

Japan versus the United States in per-capita GDP

We often see and hear in the media about the “stagnation” of economic growth in Japan. Let’s look at the numbers and see how Japan has done compared …

NCOIL looks at high cost of air ambulances

Health insurance premiums, and the underlying health care costs that drive them, were a major topic at last month's National Conference of Insurance Legislators' meetings in Portland, Oregon, …

Is TWIA’s progress to rate adequacy over?

  It’s no secret that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) has a funding problem. Rates for coastal windstorm insurance offered by the state-created agency long have been well …

DFS and the right to gamble – even a little bit

With football season two weeks away, we can expect an uptick in interest in fantasy-sports leagues and their controversial offshoot, daily fantasy sports (DFS). The kerfuffle over DFS speaks …

ICYMI: Members of Congress publish essays on the state of Congress

The July 2016 copy of PS: Political Science and Politics carries essays by four members of Congress (one former and three current). This unusual and happy development was the work of Michael H. …

No, a child tax is not like a carbon tax

As a former philosophy major, I resent that the only time philosophers tend to get featured in the press is when they are saying something particularly ridiculous. For …

NHS approves an e-cigarette for use in smoking cessation

In another note of progress in the war against tobacco-related disease, the United Kingdom's National Health Service announced yesterday it has approved an e-cigarette to help people quit …

White House overreaches with SEC climate disclosure plan

As has been expected for months, the Federal Emergency Management Agency this coming morning will publish in the Aug. 19 edition of the Federal Register its regulations implementing …

What Louisiana’s floods say about America, and America’s future

While most of America is focused on the Olympics or the latest campaign controversies, Louisiana is in crisis. Flooding in parts of the state during the last week is …

Microsoft’s leaky ‘boot’ offers another reason to preserve encryption

Gandalf: A Palantír is a dangerous tool, Saruman. Saruman: Why? Why should we fear to use it? Gandalf: They are not all accounted for, the lost Seeing Stones. We do …

These songs are our songs

There are certain songs that live in our hearts as quintessentially American; songs that have taken their place in history and encapsulate the American spirit. Two of these …

Welcome to Virginia, where the whiskey’s strong and the government’s stronger

Craft distilling may be undergoing a renaissance, but in the shadow of George Washington’s Mount Vernon (home to one of the nation’s first distilleries), you can barely get …

The status quo for music licensing is far from perfect, but it works

The U.S. Justice Department last week concluded its multiyear review of consent decrees for the two largest performance rights organizations (PROs), the American Society of Composers (ASCAP) and …

Nearly 70 percent of European vapers have quit or reduced smoking

Misperceptions about the safety and efficacy of electronic cigarettes abound, yet each new piece of research shows increasingly positive results. The latest study by Konstantinos Farsalinos and colleagues surveyed …

Would adding more members to Congress make it function better?

Writing for Aeon, David V. Johnson says a legislature should be "large enough to reflect the interests of an entire people." He notes that James Madison, the architect of …

R Street’s voting guide for SXSW policy panels

Here at R Street, we’ve put together some great policy panels for next year’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. But we need your support to get in the …

Greenhut talks California initiatives on KQED

R Street Western Region Director Steve Greenhut joined KQED radio's "Forum" program recently for a discussion about ballot initiatives in California, including the whopping 17 initiatives that Golden State …

When is the next financial crisis due?

House prices, commercial real estate prices, stock prices and bond prices are all very high. Remarkable asset-price inflations have been induced by the low, zero or negative interest-rates …

Is the 114th Congress getting things done?

Source: PopVox.com Yes, writes Marci Harris and her team at PopVox: The 114th Congress has passed a significant number of major policies into law: from ending a Medicare physician payment …

Growing a better farm safety net

Congress is not scheduled to reauthorize the farm bill until 2018, but the farm lobby is already signaling its strong resistance to reform. To combat constant lobbying and …

Conferees agree to legalize ridesharing in Massachusetts

In a marathon negotiating session that wrapped up at the literal 11th hour, Massachusetts lawmakers have reached agreement on legislation that would formally legalize transportation network companies in …

Revised rules for whiskey labeling? Proceed with caution

Craft distillers often complain about the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (27 Code of Federal Regulations 5), a set of labeling rules enforced by the Tax …

OFR points to low interest rates without mentioning the Fed

In the July 2016 edition of its Financial Stability Monitor, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Financial Research (OFR) points out multiple times that exceptionally low interest rates …

What the GOP platform gets right about agriculture

Regardless one's thoughts on the 2016 Republican Platform’s planks on international trade, marriage equality, immigration and so many other issues, libertarians and small-government conservatives should be cheered that …

The lukewarm case for climate action

I usually try to avoid writing about the science of climate change. For one thing, it’s boring. Start writing about climate science, and the next thing you know, …

A Soviet drinks monopoly in Maryland

Maryland’s Montgomery County is a nice place. Its western border runs along the Potomac River and its southern territory abuts Washington. Many folks who work in the district …

On what does the U.S. House spend its appropriations?

The following post was co-authored by Nicholas W. Zeppos. A version originally appeared on LegBranch.com. There is a short and unsurprising answer: mostly, it spends on staff.  Personnel expenses amount to …

The EU’s misguided call to ban zero rating

The net neutrality debate has come to Europe. Following a go-ahead European Parliament in October 2015, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is writing the …

California coal-divestment push mostly about politics

California voters in 1988 dramatically expanded the power of the state Department of Insurance and turned the insurance commissioner post into an elected position. The Proposition 103 initiative …

How does the U.S. House divide its money between members, committees and leadership?

The following post was co-authored by Nicholas W. Zeppos. A version originally appeared on LegBranch.com. In order to think clearly about legislative capacity, or the lack thereof, we need a …

Capping crop insurance subsidies is a long overdue initiative

To hear the agricultural lobby and farm state representatives in Congress tell it, making any cuts to the subsidies farmers receive from the federal government to help them …

Negative real interest rates are politics

In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, Jason Zweig cites Harvard's Carmen Reinhart as rightly pointing out that "low interest rates will keep transferring massive amounts of wealth …

Adams talks driverless cars on ABC 10 Sacramento

R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams joined ABC 10 in Sacramento, California, recently to talk about the future of driverless cars and what they could mean for auto …

Congress’ tendency to cannibalize itself

The following blog post was co-authored by R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar. Why is Congress loath to increase its staff, and sometimes eager to cut it? Anthony J. …

Is the House of Representatives deinstitutionalizing?

The following post was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Director Kevin Kosar. In an important recent paper, Jeffery A. Jenkins’ and Charles Stewart III re-evaluated Nelson Polsby’s classic analysis that …

Most of the world still isn’t online, and that’s a problem

According to the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union, 4.2 billion people –nearly two-thirds of the world's population – have no internet access. This massive untapped population – largely …

Science Committee broadens witch hunt against nonprofits

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

New York homebuyers are overpaying on title insurance

Homebuyers in New York State overpaid on the cost of their title insurance to the tune of $155.3 million last year, according to a new report from OneTitle …

Internet governance and the free market

With the U.S. government set to relinquish its last vestiges of its control over the internet's functions through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), R Street hosted a panel …

Pollock testifies on CHOICE Act before House Financial Services

R Street Distinguished Senior Fellow Alex J. Pollock testified July 12, 2016 before the House Financial Services Committee about the CHOICE Act, legislation that proposes to loosen regulatory …

Warren Buffett versus the three-tier drinks system

In Texas, as in much of the nation, alcohol is regulated under the so-called “three-tier system,” which requires alcohol manufacturers, distributors and retailers to be separate and independent …

Conservatives shoot selves in foot by obstructing librarian of Congress vote

President Barack Obama recently nominated Carla Hayden – a career professional library administrator – to serve as the retiring James Billington's successor as head of the Library of …

Immigration challenges that aren’t demogoguery

Back around the turn of the century, a few of us who toil in the public-policy vineyards guessed that privacy was going to be the overwhelming pubic-policy issue …

The Library of Congress needs a professional librarian, not a ‘scholar-in-chief’

In the months following incumbent Librarian of Congress James Billington's retirement, some conservatives have coalesced around the idea that the next person to head the library ought to …

Canada’s legislature begins to strengthen itself

Last month’s Supreme Court decision on President Barack Obama’s unilateral immigration directive was a positive development for those determined to restore the paramountcy of the legislative branch in U.S. political …

The European Union is obsolete

The world is still dealing with the effects of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. After being a member of the E.U. and its predecessors …

A Fourth of July reflection on Brexit

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to resume among …

Massachusetts ridesharing bill moves into final stretch

Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft would be legally sanctioned to operate in Massachusetts, governed by a set of mostly reasonable regulations, under legislation approved this week …

Will the CDC let us drink in peace this Fourth of July?

As Independence Day approaches Monday, one wonders if the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will follow its recent pattern and release some scary anti-alcohol …

CEA plans to fix what isn’t broken

The California Earthquake Authority has had some great shopping luck this year. According to a report from Insurance Insider, the state-backed residual market pool was able to buy …

Reforming the U.S. Postal Service

R Street Senior Fellow Kevin Kosar recently joined James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation and Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute in an expert panel moderated by Cato's …

Brexit: A summary

When Britain first at Heaven's command Arose from out the azure main, This was the charter, the charter of the land And guardian angels sang this strain: Rule …

Could an Article V convention fix Congress? Maybe

It's fashionable in some quarters to herald an “Article V” convention as a potential panacea for all that ails Congress. Article V is the provision of the U.S. Constitution …

Even Sacramento Nazis have rights

In the 1979 comedy movie classic "The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Ellwood Blues undertake an odyssey to put their band back together, all in an effort to raise …

Virginia’s infamous food-beverage ratio prioritizes cronyism over consumers

Virginia may be for lovers, but the state's draconian liquor laws make nights out on the town not so lovely. The commonwealth is home to some of America's worst …

To reduce carbon emissions, U.S. should embrace nuclear power

This month, the first new nuclear reactor in the United States in two decades came online. The new reactor at the Watts Bar power plant in Tennessee is …

Wisconsin Supreme Court shoots down Milwaukee home-rule claim

The world looked on last week as the people of the United Kingdom consider whether to loosen the grip that a reported 40,000-plus Brussels bureaucrats have over their …

Do we still need the three-tier system for alcohol?

The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which repealed Prohibition, left it up to the states to regulate the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages. The states did …

R Street to the Senate: Top 5 reasons to support PROMESA

With additional Puerto Rican defaults probable on July 1, just a week away, the U.S. Senate faces a pressing vote on how best to resolve Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. While no …

A first step toward Anglosphere

By voting (by a narrow margin) to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom has decided that near-term economic pain is a price worth paying in exchange for …

LA’s onerous rental rules threaten consumer privacy

The Los Angeles Planning Commission is considering onerous new regulations regarding short-term rentals. Here is a letter that R Street sent to the commission: I am the Sacramento-based Western …

Chicago’s spacesharing and ridesharing rules: Not as bad as they almost were!

Maybe it was the Summer Solstice, although more likely it was Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's playing a bit of hardball with dissenting aldermen. Whatever it was, the Chicago City Council …

The Senate needs to pass the House’s Puerto Rico bill

The government of Puerto Rico is broke. It now has multiple defaults on its record, most recently for $367 million in May. More and bigger defaults are on …

Why the Senate should reject expanding National Security Letters

The following post was co-authored by R Street Internet and Tech Policy Fellow John Arzinos. The U.S. Senate will vote today on the “ECTR Fix” amendment to the Commerce, …

Godwin talks anti-SLAPP laws at CKI panel

R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin joined a number of other notable panelists to discuss strategic lawsuits against public participation ("SLAPPs") and what legal and legislative strategies are …

A plea to Congress not to ‘fix’ a music market that isn’t broken

Dear Congress, By now, maybe you've read the "Dear Congress" letter that many music companies and individual artists have signed asking you to "fix" the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—a …

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

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

Austin sharing-economy rules headed to court

Recent controversies involving the sharing economy in Austin are about to enter a new phase, as lawsuits challenging city regulations of ridesharing and short-term rentals have been filed. Over …

Six energy-policy reforms conservatives should embrace

The U.S. House demonstrated last week that the politics of climate solutions remain intractable. With bipartisan support, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a resolution describing a carbon tax as, “not …

The FBI isn’t Santa Claus: Fix your lists and check them twice

The recent tragedy in Orlando has set off yet another contentious debate over the issue of gun control. On a June 13 conference call Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., …

Let my Nevadans go

More than 3,000 years later, another desert exodus is upon us. Customers yearn to break free from NV Energy, the sole electricity provider in most of Nevada. Escaping …

The gig economy could defy regulation

Austin, Texas, has been taking a lot of heat after passing a proposition that essentially regulated Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies out of town. This is unfortunate …

Some Ag Committee members draw millions in farm subsidies

Who benefits from farm subsidies? R Street long has been critical of our federal farm-support system, a massive boondoggle that disproportionately funnels taxpayer dollars to wealthy agribusinesses rather …

Pennsylvania’s drinks reform changes too little

The Keystone State’s Legislature could have gone big. Instead, it settled for a bill that is about as potent as near beer. Only the politicians are likely to …

Pennsylvania’s awful alcohol laws turn rational citizens into criminals

I am a criminal. I regularly break the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At least once a month, I drive across the border to New Jersey, pull …

Illinois moving to loosen occupational licensing rules for ex-offenders

When persons with “backgrounds” in Illinois want to turn their lives around, "we want them to be as productive as possible as quick as possible," state Rep. Marcus …

When it comes to solar, average isn’t everything

This summer, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative will reach its halfway point. Established in 2011 as a ten-year project, the program aims to make solar "fully …

House spending data show where the staff are

As DemandProgress' Daniel Schuman reports, the U.S. House just began publishing its spending reports online as data. The House's "Statements of Disbursement," which show how much money Congress spends on its …

Recap of R Street’s May 26 GSE reform conference

Government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have essentially no capital, have been in government conservatorship for nearly eight years and are totally dependent on the taxpayers. As Congress …

Some American values may be dimming, but transparency continues to shine bright

Attending a Memorial Day ceremony in my little city yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened all of the sudden to make it palatable for so many …

Should we just take the nicotine out of cigarettes?

The short answer is…not yet. In the United States, the ultimate goal of tobacco-control programming long has been a “tobacco-free society.” This goal is clearly articulated in the most …

Dope by mail: Another challenge for the Postal Service

The U.S Postal Service’s financial and other operational challenges regularly are in the news. Less well-known is its illicit drug problem. Thanks to the internet, anyone can now become …

Pennsylvania lawmakers bat around regulations for self-driving cars

Not unlike curious cats, lawmakers often show inordinate interest in the newest and shiniest objects to pass their field of vision. In Pennsylvania, recently hailed as a center …

The House takes a small step to make Congress great again

Something remarkable happened a week ago: a committee in Congress voted to spend a little bit more money on congressional staff. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., offered the amendment …

R Street Institute to Congress: Vote NO on H.R. 4889, the Kelsey Smith Act

The R Street Institute encourages all members to vote no on H.R. 4889, the Kelsey Smith Act. This bill is expected to be considered under suspension of the …

Turnabout is still foul play in politically motivated subpoena fight

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

The 21st Amendment continues to choke the drinks trade

Tennessee recently passed a law limiting any company from owning more than two liquor-store licenses. Why? Well, current holders of liquor licenses don’t want out-of-state grocery chains to …

Time for Congress to vote in the new Puerto Rico bill

A revised bill to address the intertwined debt, fiscal and economic crises of Puerto Rico has just been introduced in the U.S. House. H.R. 5278 proposes "to establish …

Google to France: We can’t pick this Bonaparte

Today's announcement from Google that the company will appeal a French agency’s order to abide by France’s version of the so-called "right to be forgotten" all over the …

Arizona flips the narrative, legalizes spacesharing statewide

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

Iowa, Alabama pass ridesharing bills; could Pennsylvania be next?

It's been a busy week and a half on the ridesharing front, as legislation setting out statewide rules for transportation network companies moved forward in Iowa and Alabama, …

Citizens’ anger is palpable, global, often misdirected

An awesome 6.7 percent of Iceland's resident population took to the streets last month to demand the resignation of their prime minister. The rallying cause was his perceived …

Does America need more political dynamism?

We have all heard the railings of the presidential aspirants about the federal government: that it’s corrupt; that it’s rigged by the malevolent establishment against the common man; …

Austin may move to deregulate taxis

It’s been a busy week for vehicles-for-hire in Austin. This past weekend, the city's voters rejected a proposal that would’ve blocked new restrictions on ridesharing passed by the …

Pennsylvania’s bad beer regulation system lives on

Eight years down the road, supermarket beer sales are changing the entire alcohol beverage sales category in Pennsylvania, and not for the better. Given our state's comically byzantine …

China’s self-driving future

In Beijing, a young car culture is going through teething pains. The pressure of urban density, in combination with growing demand for personal transportation in an ever-more-affluent city, …

Clean Power Plan isn’t only EPA rule endangering electric reliability

Back in February, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) pending resolution of various legal challenges against the rule. The …

Shareholders continue to be misinformed about the costs and benefits of proxy access

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York City Comptroller’s Office both continue to use a deeply flawed CFA Institute report as support for their …

Should the Fed act as the world’s central bank?

The need for public justification is a vital, if overlooked, check on power. If an institution cannot convincingly explain why it does what it does, consequences naturally will …

Nasty politics may kill drinks reform in Colorado

Colorado loves its drinks. It is the home of Stranahan’s whiskey and great microbrews too numerous to list. The Rocky Mountain State also is the home of the …

Let’s end discrimination in the drinks market

Everyone has heard this basic truth many times: the amount of alcohol is the same in a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor, a 4 ounce glass of wine …

FDA’s deeming rules could be step backward for public health

This morning saw the release of long-awaited regulations from the Food and Drug Administration that extend its authority over all tobacco-related products, including the broad spectrum of electronic …

Uber’s surge pricing is like watching a bald eagle eat a cat

When I see the lightning bolt on my Uber app, I almost instantly feel a hateful resentment toward the corporate overlords standing between my next destination and me. …

Pollock talks Puerto Rico on CCTV

R Street Distinguished Senior Fellow Alex Pollock was interviewed in a recent segment by CCTV America on the Puerto Rican debt crisis and steps Congress should take to …

Royal College of Physicians: E-cig switch benefits smokers

The United Kingdom's Royal College of Physicians issued a groundbreaking report this morning on electronic cigarettes which concludes that encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes is likely to …

Oregon town ponders onerous short-term rental rule

The Hood River, Oregon, City Council has delayed its decision until May 9 on an ordinance that would restrict short-term rentals to a family’s primary residence and ban …

TWIA shifts on reinsurance

Texas’ state-created windstorm pool is looking at changes to the way it would cover losses in the event of a major storm. Last week the Actuarial Committee of …

Dear Philadelphia, Uber isn’t ISIS

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

Rideshare rules could cost Austin coveted ‘Smart City’ designation

Austinites will vote next week on how to regulate ridesharing companies in the city (early voting began Monday). On the ballot is Proposition 1, which would continue the …

Lehrer at the Aleph Institute’s ASKS Summit

R Street President Eli Lehrer took part recently in the Alternative Sentencing Key Stakeholder (ASKS) Summit, hosted in Washington by the Aleph Institute. Eli moderated a panel March …

SCOTUS protects electricity competition, strikes down Maryland subsidies

Tuesday’s unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court invalidating Maryland's subsidy program to encourage building new power generation marks a welcome defense of the principles of competition in electricity …

Let’s free the antique alcohol market

It seems like every month, I get an email or two from strangers asking me the same question. They read something like this: “Hi. My elderly father died, …

Billionaire ‘farmers’ rake in big taxpayer bucks

When it comes to agriculture subsidies, the farm owners who need your money least are the ones getting the heftiest government payouts. Analysis published this week by our friends …

Sonoma should step back from punitive tobacco law

A version of this post also appeared as a letter to the editor in the April 19, 2016 edition of the Press Democrat newspaper.  The Sonoma County Board of …

You, too, should celebrate the end of the Google Books litigation

If you felt a vibration in the air this morning, it may have been the final sigh of relief so many of us heaved when the U.S. Supreme …

Puerto Rico: Time for Congress to act

The finances of Puerto Rico's government are unraveling rapidly. With the commonwealth government broke and scrambling, its Legislative Assembly already has empowered Gov. Alejandro García Padilla to declare …

People deserve second chances, even in the insurance industry

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

It’s time for Uber’s regulators to be as transparent as the company is

This post was coauthored by R Street Policy Analyst Nathan Leamer. Recent years have seen a range of internet companies release “transparency reports” that attempt to detail, to the …

Blocking remittances wouldn’t make America great again

Donald Trump has become the Republican frontrunner based on a promise to build a giant wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, candidate Trump has until recently been vague …

Puerto Rico bill proceeds with oversight board and no bailout

The House Natural Resources Committee is taking testimony today on its bill to address the Puerto Rico debt crisis, and could send a finished bill to the full …

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

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

When did the Imagineers lose their imagination?

In a recent storyline of FX's "The Americans," the show's protagonists – Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, and their children Paige and Henry – were set to take a …

Burr-Feinstein anti-crypto proposal would undermine digital security everywhere

We at R Street have known for a while that Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. were planning to propose anti-encryption legislation that would be truly …

Senate could sneak wasteful energy subsidies into FAA reauthorization

What does the Federal Aviation Administration have to do with renewable-energy subsidies? Not much, except that senators are trying to sneak extensions of expiring green-energy tax credits into …

Mississippi and West Virginia governors both sign ridesharing laws

Mississippi and West Virginia have become the 30th and 31st states to pass legislation to create a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies …

Nevada study on rideshare background checks turns up nothing…literally

Would it surprise you to learn that government sometimes asks people to do the impossible? Last year, Nevada passed legislation that allows transportation network companies such as Uber and …

Competition, ratepayers lose big in Ohio

In a unanimous vote, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) moved March 31 to accept modified plans from investor-owned utilities FirstEnergy Corp. and American Electric Power Ohio …

Now you can see what reports have been published by the Congressional Research Service

Did you know the Congressional Research Service has published reports on the federal defense budget, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) benefits, changes to hemp-growing restrictions and porcine …

As tax day approaches, more families should enjoy the benefits of the EITC

As the April 15 tax-filing deadline approaches, nearly 30 million low-income families will receive more than $64 billion in tax breaks from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Policymakers …

Service-animal fraud throws the ADA to the dogs

A wave of animal friendliness has swept, and continues to sweep, the nation. Once relegated to waiting for his owner to return from a trip to the store, …

On Puerto Rico, Congress is moving in the right direction

The draft bill to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis – released late last week by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah – marks a step in …

The Washington Post’s ‘Reefer Madness’ campaign against booze

I enjoy Christopher Ingraham’s writing for The Washington Post. His WonkBlog posts are data-heavy, which makes them interesting. Like Ingraham, I have serious concerns about America’s long war on …

MetLife decision a win for constitutional government, loss for ambitious bureaucrats

Do the bureaucrats who run government agencies long to increase their power?  Are they ambitious to extend their reach over private institutions and citizens?  Of course they do …

Moylan talks Roomscore on the Tech Policy Podcast

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan sat down recently with Evan Swarztrauber, the host of TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast, to Roomscore, R Street's new report and website looking at …

As anti-SLAPP moves in Kansas, federal action still needed

The Kansas House of Representatives earlier this week passed the Enacting the Public Speech Protection Act (HB 2054) by a nearly unanimous 123-1 margin. If its overwhelming support …

Neeley talks net metering on Bloggingheads.tv

R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley sat down recently with Kevin Glass of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity to chat at Bloggingheads.tv about net energy …

Moylan talks Roomscore on the In the Tank podcast

R Street Institute Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined John Nothdurft and Donny Kendal of the Heartland Institute's In the Tank podcast to discuss Roomscore, R Street latest report …

What’s in your mail? Even more unwanted ads

As you probably have heard, the U.S. Postal Service is in a bad way. The Senate has not bothered to vote on appointees to the USPS board. Thus, …

Why the Supreme Court stay hasn’t stopped states’ CPP compliance plans

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told lawmakers earlier this week that 25 states are still working on Clean Power Plan (CPP) compliance plans. This may come as …

France fines Google for failing to forget

France's data-privacy authority announced today that it will impose a fine on Google for failing adequately to comply with the so-called "right to be forgotten." (For background on …

South Dakota opens the door to ridesharing

South Dakota has become the 29th state to implement statewide rules governing the operation of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, with news that Gov. Dennis Daugaard …

Trump recommends the cutting edge in failed 1980s urban renewal

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

Mile-for-mile, TNCs beat taxis hands down

It's always a pleasure to have one’s intuition confirmed. Last week, we at R Street were mighty pleased when a new working paper from the National Bureau of …

FBI’s sudden move in Apple case isn’t really a surprise

The following post was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. After an abrupt “motion to vacate” Monday evening, the U.S. Justice Department has won postponement of …

Wind PTC’s creator says credit’s end is nearing

As we’ve said before, the federal wind-energy production tax credit (PTC) is a wasteful and harmful subsidy that has lived far beyond its expiration date. Last week, new …

Paying for a better watchdog

R Street recently signed on to a bipartisan coalition letter, addressed to the chair and ranking member of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, expressing support for additional …

Would a President Trump make a deal on climate?

What would energy policy look like under a Donald Trump presidency? It’s a question worth considering. While the race to pick a Republican presidential nominee remains undecided, the …

Trouble brewing in emerging markets

How serious is the present turmoil in emerging market economies? Could it become a crisis and lead to a renewed global recession? And how responsible is the Federal …

Texas rideshare rules are headed to the voters

All across Texas, battles are raging between the fans and foes of ridesharing. Ridesharing mainstay Uber officially suspended operations in Corpus Christi March 13 after the city passed …

Lehrer talks free-market environmentalism with The Energy Gang

R Street President Eli Lehrer sat down recently with Greentech Media's The Energy Gang podcast to discuss the institute's work on carbon pricing, the ongoing market transition to distributed sources …

5 environmental topics a new GOP working group should tackle

At what would prove to be the final presidential primary debate in which he'd participate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was asked to respond to Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado’s …

Amid Airbnb debates, Arizona offers sensible solutions

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

Bureaucrats are remaking the energy economy, not necessarily for the better

The Obama administration is determined to transform the energy economy in its last year in office, and now the White House is calling in reinforcements from our neighbors …

Dispatching the federal government’s ‘zombie’ spending

Congress spent $310 billion last year on more than 250 programs that were no longer authorized. This week, the House Republican Conference took important steps to kill these …

When copyright law jams your toaster

It seems clear enough that copyright law ought not prevent users from programming a digital device that they own outright. We at R Street have said this before …

Oregon energy bill is long on symbolism, short on smart policy

Oregon's S.B. 1547, signed into law last Friday by Gov. Kate Brown, has all the hallmarks of top-down, government-directed industrial policy. But when it comes to weighing costs …

The reductio ad absurdum of central banking

Common sense once held that negative interest rates were absurd and impossible. But the European Central Bank has just made its once unprecedented negative deposit rate even more …

Dear America, please remember Skokie

In recent weeks, America’s presidential campaign politics have gotten uglier. Much uglier. The protests have gotten out of hand. Showing up at political events to call candidates’ supporters names …

California anti-nicotine package vaporizes common sense

The California Legislature this past week approved a far-reaching package of anti-nicotine bills. Republicans objected, but Democrats insisted the state – despite having some of the lowest smoking …

Flawed ridesharing bill moving in Massachusetts

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

Filtering out bad solutions to Flint water crisis

At what was already the umpteenth Democratic presidential debate – March 6 in Flint, Michigan – Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders both vowed to use government muscle …

Slaying the dragon of occupational licensing

It’s rare to see Republicans and Democrats united on solutions to address poverty. But when it comes to reining in excessive occupational licensing laws, both sides are starting …

Digital eyes on the prize

Shortly after the news flurry surrounding the public dispute between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple Inc., the American Enterprise Institute’s Gus Hurwitz argued in a Feb. …

With Florida ridesharing reform going nowhere, Hillsborough is back to ticketing drivers

After a six-month reprieve, the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission – the agency that regulates taxicabs and limousines in Florida's fourth-largest county, which includes the City of Tampa …

Sixteen years later, just how ‘bubbly’ was the tech-bubble peak?

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the very top of the notorious tech-stock bubble, which in retrospect, was truly remarkable for its illustration of “irrational exuberance." On March 10, …

Congress must invest in its own capacity again

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Reid, Speaker Ryan and Democratic Leader Pelosi: We the undersigned, as close observers of Congress deeply invested in the health of the institution, …

Insurance markets in environmental regulation

“The tort system will take care of it” long has been the go-to response of classical liberals and libertarians when asked how a “free market” will mitigate harmful …

Texas hail and wind claims: We’re No. 1!

Texans like to brag that “everything’s bigger in Texas,” but sometimes that’s not something to be proud of. According to data recently released by State Farm, Texas led …

R Street’s guide to policy events at SxSW 2016

Every year, tens of thousands of people swarm to Austin, Texas for SxSW – one of the biggest annual gatherings of technologists, activists and entrepreneurs in the country. Here …

State lawmakers seeking ways to grapple with ‘big data’ in insurance

Insurance is about information. Outside of the technology industry itself, few sectors are better situated to seize the advantages of so-called “big data” than insurance. Such was the …

‘Protecting’ consumers by forcing them to pay more

A Depression-era trade law – now the subject of debate in the West Virginia Legislature – is a reminder of how “consumer protection” laws often do little to …

Let’s keep remembering the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

Search-engine giant Google announced earlier today that it has expanded its implementation of the European Union’s "Right to Be Forgotten." I get why the company made this choice, …

Apply now for an innovation policy fellowship at R Street

The R Street Institute is now accepting applications for its 2016 Google Policy Fellowship. R Street’s Google fellow will have the opportunity to contribute op-eds and blog posts, …

New bill would open CRS reports to the public

According to one assessment, some 27,000 copies of Congressional Research Service reports are scattered about the Internet. However, there is no one website where the public can find …

Obamacare’s state impacts dominate spring NCOIL meeting

Even with Sen. Ted Cruz also in town, the struggle between state lawmakers and regulators over who would take the lead on health-care policy continued to dominate the …

Would ‘100 percent licensing’ unshackle the market for music, or make it worse?

As we’ve covered in recent months here at the R Street Institute, the U.S. Justice Department is in the midst of its review (and possible modification) of the …

Could this year’s election revive the First Branch?

Donald J. Trump had a pretty super Super Tuesday. He won more delegates than any other Republican contender and his lead has expanded considerably. Final results are still …

AEP and FirstEnergy proposals undercut competition and ratepayers

FirstEnergy Corp. and American Electric Power (AEP) are looking to undo Ohio's electricity market reforms in an effort to extract more revenue from Ohio ratepayers. The companies’ proposals, which …

Kosar talks CRS with Grover Norquist

R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar sat down with Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform to discuss the Congressional Research Service and why its taxpayer-funded reports should be …

Happy Fair Use Week from the R Street Institute

Every time anyone create a meme or posts a gif to social media that makes use of someone else's original idea, he or she is engaged in "fair …

Congress can, and should, check the EPA’s power grab

The Clean Power Plan – the Obama administration’s policy to reduce emissions from the nation’s power plants – has a whole host of problems that have been discussed …

Political realignment in black and white (and brown)

Throughout U.S. history, we have seen political realignments roughly every 30 or 40 years. The history books often will assign some precise date or event to mark these …

How tort reform helped crack down on polluters

In the war against environmental degradation, politicians and pundits all-too-often rally behind grand initiatives with colorful acronyms. But what if large reductions in toxic releases could be achieved …

Could the former NSA director be encryption’s friend?

It isn’t every day that civil libertarians and national security hawks agree on policy, but the encryption debate has created an unlikely alliance. I have rarely (scratch that…never) found …

Donate to R Street, get a signed Godwin’s Law poster

For a limited time, make a tax-deductible donation to R Street of $100 or more and we’ll send you a free original poster of Godwin's Law signed by …

Why R Street is engaging on international Internet policy

  This post was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. Readers may notice that R Street has been increasingly vocal on international Internet-policy and tech-policy issues. …

Oklahoma ponders ‘California model’ for earthquake insurance

Oklahoma lawmakers are in the early stages of considering legislation to create a state-level “earthquake reinsurance program” that its author claims will be modeled on the California Earthquake …

New Mexico lawmakers beat clock to pass ridesharing

The New Mexico Legislature closed out its 2016 session Feb. 18, but not before passing legislation to legalize and regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Just hours after …

The invisible wounds of occupational licensing

At the same time the Buckeye State was celebrating the 200th anniversary of Columbus as the state's permanent capitol last week, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation …

Apple’s pro-user, pro-privacy stand gets the issues right

This piece was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin.    A federal magistrate took the unprecedented step yesterday of issuing a court order for Apple Inc. to …

Mensah talks SLAPP on the Tech Policy Podcast

R Street policy intern Moriah Mensah sat down recently with Evan Swarztrauber, the host of TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast, to discuss strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) and public …

A defense of ‘Presidents Day’

Today is President’s Day. Or is it? For a long time, I was one of those annoying people who, when you wished him a “Happy Presidents Day,” would solemnly …

Is privacy possible in the Internet of Things?

In past policy reports, I’ve supported the right of private-sector companies to collect personal information on individuals who voluntarily agree to disclose it. Whether it was Google, Facebook, …

Leamer talks FISA Section 702

R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer sat down with Evan Swarztrauber, the host of TechFreedom's Tech Policy Podcast, to discuss Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, …

Greens tangled in the Evergreen State’s political thicket

Washington state's environmental community continues to fail to escape the tangle of its own political allegiances, even when it comes to addressing a crisis that, by its own …

Seven years ago today, WikiLeaks published 6,700 CRS reports…and nobody was hurt

Feb. 8, 2009 began like any other Sunday for me. I was up early taking care of a young child, gulping coffee and scanning the news. The New …

Video of panel ‘The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report: Five Years Later’

To mark the fifth anniversary of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, R Street hosted a Feb. 4 panel featuring commission members Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute …

A tale of two sovereigns

Canute was a king of Denmark who ruled over an empire that included large parts of Sweden, all of Norway and almost all of England. He ruled over …

Bill legalizing ridesharing moving through West Virginia House

What a difference a year makes in the world of ridesharing. Just 18 months ago, only one state (Colorado) had passed comprehensive legislation legalizing and regulating the emerging …

After latest F-35 setback, time to consider a replacement

Just when the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter project appeared it couldn’t get any worse, it went and did exactly that. The case study in how not to …

Cameron Smith talks New Hampshire Primary

R Street State Programs Director Cameron Smith appeared on the Feb. 4 edition of the Matt Murphy show on 1070 WAPI in Alabama to discuss the GOP Presidential …

Lefties who moved right

I very much enjoyed reading the "Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century" (Simon & Schuster, 2016), which details the movement of …

Philly taxi cartel’s ‘public-private partnership’

Regulators have a long and lamented history of picking winners and losers among businesses and industries. But they typically at try to appear to be demonstrating impartial judgement …

Will the needless secrecy surrounding CRS reports end this year?

  Not quite a year back, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., sought to do a little good for the American public. He offered an amendment to an appropriations bill that …

FCC targets cable set-top boxes — why now?

  With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 …

Congress scrambles to settle US-EU data spat this weekend

Having procrastinated beyond all reason in its duties to help resolve a pressing international disagreement over how U.S. companies use Europeans' data, the rush is now on for …

Cosplay and the courts

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a...cease and desist order? This week, a panic spread among cosplayers that a recent Supreme Court case on copyright infringement might have …

New Mexico tries once again to legalize ridesharing

New Mexico is the latest state to undertake an effort to make the operation of ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, legal within its borders. With the blessing …

California regulator looks to open the FAIR Plan’s floodgates

In those periods of respite when the State of California is not rocking and rolling atop its various fault lines, it’s often quite literally on fire. In fact, of …

Video introduction to the Re:Create Coalition

The video below was filmed to introduce the world to the Re:Create Coalition, a broad collection of groups from across the ideological spectrum who agree on the need …

Jones’ coal divestment call is irresponsible, blatantly political

In the early 1990s, the insolvencies of three major life insurers – Executive Life, Mutual Benefit and Confederation Life – rocked the industry and threatened to bring about …

Copyright Week: R Street’s greatest hits!

Advocacy groups and think tanks across the nation are celebrating Copyright Week this week, intended to highlight a series of discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright …

Should it matter that Ted Cruz was born in Canada?

I have it on high authority that President Barack Obama is a Kenyan and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a Canadian. By high authority, I mean that I …

The split screen

The headline for a New York Times piece by Peter Baker this week used the metaphor of a split screen, contrasting President Obama’s State of the Union address …

‘Dig once’ could lead to smarter broadband

The following was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. The hardest part of building broadband Internet just might be figuring out how to get more wires into …

Portland’s sees big gains in transportation market freedom

Portions of Portland’s transportation-for-hire market – that is, the market for taxis, limos and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft – have improved faster this year than in …

Does the USPS even need a board of governors?

The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors is supposed to have 11 members. It currently has three: one governor, the postmaster-general and the deputy postmaster-general. By law, the board …

These are not the free market rates you’re looking for

This piece was co-authored by R Street Digital Director Zach Graves.  America’s music-copyright world was shaken up in December when the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued its long-awaited rate …

Fingerprint background checks: not as reliable as you think

The Austin City Council last month passed rules mandating fingerprint-based background checks for prospective ridesharing drivers. These new requirements were part of wider changes to Austin's ordinance regulating …

Mr. Smith takes on the regulatory state

By a 245 to 174 margin, the U.S. House this week passed the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act of 2015, also known as …

What’s the cost of caution?

Everyone cares about safety. And no one can agree on what that term means or what it entails. That was the only bit of consensus to be found during …

Vegas transportation reform: the proof is at the cabstand

Any city looking to host conventions for more than 170,000 people, like this month's Consumer Electronics Show, needs some serious infrastructure and sufficient transportation options. But until Nevada lawmakers …

Nashville tops national ridesharing scorecard with innovative attitude

When it comes to an inviting regulatory environment for transportation innovators like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, Nashville is the best city in the nation. According to a report recently …

Make a year-end donation to R Street, get a free gift!

Get the mug everyone has been talking about. Make a tax-deductible donation to R Street of $50 or more and we'll send you your choice of these premium …

Kasich signs Ohio TNC bill into law

Ohio has officially become the 28th state to pass legislation regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 237 into law Dec. …

Season’s greetings from R Street

All of us here at the R Street Institute would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas; Happy New Year; a Chag Chanukah Sameach; a Cheerful Maunajiyaras; a Joyous …

Politics of Star Wars panel

Back on Dec. 9, R Street hosted a panel on "The Politics of Star Wars." Among the topics: was Han Solo the first Uber driver? Was Tatooine a failed …

A chat with Congress’ only ex-CIA officer about surveillance

Technology has enabled a dramatic increase in interconnectivity and sharing of new ideas. Yet this increased communication and online engagement has also brought about new and difficult tests …

Ridesharing lessons from the Buckeye State

One wonders if Ohio Gov. John Kasich, before he made his way back home following Tuesday's CNN presidential debate in Las Vegas, might have noticed how the local …

For energy markets, tax and budget talks include good, bad and ugly proposals

R Street has a longstanding commitment to highlight wasteful government spending, programs and market restrictions. The end-of-year negotiations on the budget deal and tax extenders have highlighted some …

California gets it very wrong on self-driving cars

Nearly a year since its last workshop on autonomous-vehicle regulation, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has released draft regulations for consumer-oriented self-driving cars. While patient deliberation is …

Don’t include CISA in omnibus

Today, R Street joined the Niskanen Center, FreedomWorks and TechFreedom in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., opposing any attempt to add CISA (the Cybersecurity Information …

With eyes on Paris, DC stayed busy on energy issues

The international climate negotiations in Paris – formally, the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21 –might have been the media focus the last two weeks, but Congress and …

Practicing what we preach on smoking cessation

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

A small silver lining in Ex-Im renewal’s black cloud

As it had long been clear he would, President Barack Obama has signed H.R. 22, the five-year, $305 billion federal highway bill that also revives from the dead …

Statewide ridesharing rules ready to go in Florida House

State legislators descended on Tallahassee last week for their final round of interim committee hearings – also the last time they will meet before the official start of …

Did Chris Rock have the answer to gun violence?

I love Chris Rock. Or I should probably say, I love Chris Rock, the standup comedian. The record of Chris Rock, the actor and filmmaker, is decidedly more mixed. …

Austin shifts into reverse on sharing economy

The last few years have seen an incredible expansion in what’s known as the sharing economy. Digital media has made it easy to sell belongings online, rent out …

Study finds consumers benefit from aftermarket crash parts

There’s a good chance that you are paying more for repairing your vehicle after an accident than you need to be. A new study has found that car …

The future is in the futures markets: an interview with Richard Sandor

Richard Sandor has a relatively painless solution to climate change. It relies on the financial markets, not onerous regulation. It even has a track record. He talked to …

Transportation bill would undo billions in crop insurance savings

The FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) is aptly named, but for all the wrong reasons. The process for getting to final passage for the federal transportation …

California improves by not getting worse

Sometimes, small victories are worthy of celebration. A qualified celebration of just that variety is in order at the California Department of Insurance headquarters in Sacramento to mark …

Congress should publish Statutes-at-Large as open data

Two years ago, Congress began publishing the U.S. Code in the XML markup language, a remarkably versatile format that can be read both by people and by machines. …

R Street at the Thanksgiving table

Every year, various publications wish their readership a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Some go further. They provide their readership with advice about how to navigate political conversations around …

In wake of record fine, Pennsylvania lawmakers scramble to legalize ridesharing

The Pennsylvania Legislature is having to act fast to settle on a way to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s because administrative law judges for …

Should we be worried about the big beer merger?

Last month, AB InBev and SABMiller announced they had agreed to join forces. The proposed $106 billion deal would unite the makers of two of the best-known American …

No matter what the kids say these days, the sky is not the sea

A Washington state court has found that navigable waterways are linked to the planet’s atmosphere to such a great degree that the law governing one must apply to …

Understanding the crusade against e-cigarettes

Two recent public comment letters from Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco finally lay bare the myth that underlies the public-health crusade against e-cigarettes …

Massachusetts lawmakers go home for holidays; no action on ridesharing

In the home of the Pilgrims, lawmakers have gone home ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Massachusetts Legislature has adjourned for 2015, having failed to move on any …

Could restitution play a role in criminal justice reform?

It is widely acknowledged that the United States has a problem with mass incarceration. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the nation has more than 1.5 million …

Readopted credit-scoring model highlights NCOIL’s annual meeting

Cyber insurance, international regulatory efforts, the sharing economy and the successful state credit-scoring model dominated the agenda of this past week's National Conference of Insurance Legislators meetings in …

Gillibrand proposes reinsurance tax gimmick to fund 9/11 victims

In his seminal 1987 work Crisis and Leviathan, economic historian Robert Higgs traces the pattern of government growth as a response to catastrophic events. The federal government, in …

Leamer talks ISIS on The Big Picture

R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer appeared on the Nov. 17 edition of RT's The Big Picture, to discuss the Paris attacks, ISIS, Syrian refugees, digital privacy and congressional …

As Congress remains gridlocked, the USPS loses

The U.S. Postal Service lost nearly $5 billion this past year, according to its just-released year-end financial results. As in recent years, the agency did not make the …

How not to be Paul Krugman

One of my favorite bloggers is Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex. In a recent post, Scott wrote about the inability of small children to conceive that other …

Ohio dodged a bullet on ‘legal’ pot

Ohio voters last week voted down legalized recreational marijuana use, but the state also may be taking a first step toward exploring the medical research and ameliorative capability …

The ninja are among us

Ninjas. Just the word can send a shiver down one's back. Originating in feudal Japan and reaching their peak during the Sengoku era that spanned the 16th and 17th …

Prop F fails, but news not all rosy for Airbnb on home turf

On a night of statewide and city races across the country, the highest-profile vote may have occurred in San Francisco. There, voters decided by a 55 to 45 …

Adams talks SLAPPs in CEA hangout

R Street Western Region Director Ian Adams joined an online Google Hangouts panel put together by the Consumer Electronics Association to discuss SLAPPs -- that is, Strategic Lawsuits Against …

Bench-slapped by anti-SLAPP

Judges occasionally descend from the august pedestals on which they sit to offer decidedly human rebukes to the parties before them. Among attorneys, these moments have a tongue-in-cheek …

Modeling the health effects of expanding e-cigarette sales

A modeling study by Sara Kalkhoran and Stanton A. Glantz published in the Oct. 1, 2015 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine can reasonably be interpreted as demonstrating the …

Portland’s ridesharing pilot could come crashing down

The Portland City Council demonstrated remarkably good judgement when it instituted its transportation network company pilot program back in April, allowing firms like Uber and Lyft to operate …

A landslide of bad ideas

Landslides are a problem for which the United States has yet to come up with an answer. A recent essay by Penn State University law professor Christopher C. …

Consumer Watchdog should want a more dynamic, competitive market for California insureds

Yesterday, I published a paper about, and titled, "The troublesome legacy of Prop 103." Shortly thereafter, an organization called Consumer Watchdog published a startlingly quick response. The speed of …

How bitcoin can help get money to refugees in need

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have grown in influence and usage the past few years. People looking for an alternative to government-issued fiat currencies, or who simply don't trust …

The Chicago Way: Bringing a subsidy to a fight over ridesharing

Uber became so popular so fast because it filled voids the regular taxi industry did not: its drivers would go into non-touristy neighborhoods, pick up African-American customers and …

Whom does The New York Times consider a doctor?

According to a national poll released this morning from CBS News and The New York Times, Ben Carson has surged ahead to become the leading contender for the …

15 reasons CRS reports should be public

I worked at the Congressional Research Service for 11 years as an analyst and manager. I greatly enjoyed supplying congressional staff, committees, and members of Congress with nonpartisan …

Kosar talks transparency in CRS reports

R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar joined a panel with former U.S. Chris Shays, R-Conn.; Prue Adler, associate executive director of the Association of Research Libraries; and Stan Brand, a …

Cameron Smith talks Ryan, Clinton on Matt Murphy Show

R Street State Programs Director Cameron Smith made another of his regular appearances this week on The Matt Murphy Show on 1070 WAPI-AM in Birmingham, Ala. to discuss Hillary …

Finding a path to fix unsustainable federal spending

Some time next month, the federal government is set once again to hit its debt limit. If Congress does not agree to raise the statutory debt ceiling, the …

Don’t strangle the cyber insurance market in its cradle

We live in an era of disruption. Technology redefines our world on a regular basis, as the wonders of networks that allow data to be transferred virtually without …

GAO opens up about secret reports

Most of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s reports are freely available to the public via GAO.gov. For decades, however, the agency has kept a minority of these reports …

Asset-forfeiture reform: No more margarita machines!

"We can neither confirm or deny if we have the mayor’s possessions." That was reportedly the statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento to Stockton, Calif. Mayor …

How should libertarians think about intellectual property?

Watch R Street's Sasha Moss along with Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute, Wayne Brough of FreedomWorks and Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center in a panel moderated by Reason's …

Hey NFL, leave my GIFs alone!

It appears the National Football League is cracking down on the unauthorized proliferation of GIFs and Vines of league-owned content. Sometimes these snippets are of funny incidents or for …

Flipping out

Baseball's ongoing debate concerning the propriety of exuberant behavior exhibited by players in the throes of celebration has been settled. The final verdict was rendered to thunderous applause …

Surprise! The Trump campaign is broke

Reviewing the third quarter presidential campaign filings, one finds that Donald Trump runs his presidential campaign much like he ran his casinos – in the red. The Trump campaign …

What does Uber’s return to Broward mean for the future of TNCs in Florida?

Ridesharing giant Uber returns to Florida's second-largest county today after a two and one-half month hiatus. This development both appears to resolve the at-times nasty public battle over …

Despite veto threat, Congress moves closer to lifting crude export ban

The U.S. House late last week voted to lift the politically contentious 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. This sends debate over to the Senate, which already has …

Jersey City brings legal spacesharing to New York area

With average hotel rates upward of $350 a night, Manhattan is perhaps the costliest tourist destination in the United States. Thankfully, much more affordable accommodations are available just a …

‘Jersey Smart’ is better than ‘Jersey Strong’

Earlier this week, I covered South Carolina's "1,000-year storm," questioning whether we can actually say with any kind of certainty that such events are, in fact, all that …

Imbalanced ‘incentives’ hurt creativity more than they help

Are lawyers the driving force behind artistic freedom? Astonishingly, that's the impression you get when you read the Copyright Alliance's account of a recent panel on music copyright …

The Ex-Im Bank battle continues

Conservatives declared victory this summer when the Export-Import Bank closed up shop because Congress refused to renew the government-backed bank's charter. Those in the free-market movement view this …

Washington state could set conservative example on climate-change action

When it comes to climate-change action, conservatives like me find ourselves today in the same position we occupied during the health-care debate: opposition coupled with no alternative vision. …

Is ridesharing saving lives in Austin?

On March 13, 2014, a car plowed through a barrier in downtown Austin and into a crowd of SxSW festival-goers. The crash resulted in four deaths and two …

Shareholder activism of the worst kind

For investors focused on maximizing portfolio value, there are some significant questions raised by recent empirical research indicating that shareholder proposals submitted by public-pension funds and labor-union-related entities …

YouTube Kids is not a regulatory problem

Google has continued to fine-tune its YouTube Kids application amid complaints that the family-friendly interface, a free download for smartphone and tablets, is not as family-friendly as claimed. The …

Airbnb isn’t killing hotels, after all

Much as Uber and Lyft are transforming the taxi industry, Airbnb is transforming the lodging industry. Airbnb connects hosts to guests. Hosts can rent out anything from a …

Solar needs competition, not government ownership

CPS Energy, San Antonio's city-run electrical utility, launched a new program this month to install solar panels on residents' homes. The plan calls for residents to receive fixed …

Voters hate the Internet sales tax

With reports building that there might be an attempt to attach misguided Internet sales-tax legislation to a budget deal or to an extension of the commonsense ban on …

The F-35 isn’t the only military procurement failure

When people want an example of how broken the military-procurement system really is, most usually point to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. That program has become a textbook …

A ‘1,000-year flood’ almost certainly isn’t

Over the weekend, the nation saw the horrific toll of massive flooding across South Carolina, which has left at least nine dead. The Charleston area got nearly a …

Colorado utility looks to charge solar customers for energy they don’t use

The laws of supply and demand are straightforward. Prices reflect the interplay between what people want and how realizable what they want is. But in the world of …

R Street’s primers on music-licensing laws, decisions and terminology

To aid legal, media and policy discussions about ongoing issues in the worlds of music licensing and copyright, R Street has prepared what we hope will prove a …

Join us for a reception following the Congressional Hackathon

Join the Congressional Data Coalition, the R Street Institute, Demand Progress and the OpenGov Foundation for a reception at Google D.C. following the Congressional Hackathon. WHEN: Friday, Oct. 23, at 5:30 …

No, e-cigarettes aren’t recruiting teens to smoke

Writing in the Sept. 8 edition of JAMA Pediatrics, Dr. Brian Primack and team reported on a portion of the data from a national survey of U.S. teens …

Of Trump and sausages: confessions of an ex-radical

My transformation into a political radical happened in what would probably seem, to many, a highly unlikely venue: working in the public relations department of that grandmamma of …

Endgame proposals and a wake-up call to the tobacco-control community

The recent endgame review by Patricia McDaniel and her team in the Aug. 28 edition of Tobacco Control demonstrates a major flaw in thinking within the tobacco-control community. The …

E-cigarettes and recruitment of teens to nicotine addiction

Writing in the Aug. 18 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Adam Leventhal of the University of Southern California and his team survey teens about …

How lasting will the American experiment be?

A recent three-day family vacation brought me to the impressive Seattle Art Museum, where I marveled over the collection of artifacts from around the world and what they …

Don’t let shutdown fight undo spending limits

Every day closer to Oct. 1 marks another step toward a potential government shutdown. Even though Republicans maintain control of both the House and Senate, there has been …

How ridesharing has helped the taxi industry

The taxi industry has been perhaps the biggest, and unquestionably the most forceful, critic of the emerging ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Taxis see the upstarts unregulated …

What the GOP contenders got right about climate change

The marathon second Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley California will be remembered for many revelations: Jeb Bush smoked pot 40 years ago …

Of course federal agencies hate search-warrant requirements for email

Unsurprisingly, witnesses who testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act stressed that the law, passed before the down …

How ridesharing could help the poor

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are very popular among millennials. The ease of ordering a car service directly from your smartphone is very appealing to those who …

Finding the future’s free-market advocates

It's interesting to contrast the nightly news dispatches on the increasingly juvenile presidential campaign with the solid work of an organization composed of actual young adults -- high …

Contemporary thinkers featured in new online resource

Isaiah Berlin. John Maynard Keynes. Leo Strauss. Michel Foucault. James Q. Wilson. These are some of the influential intellectuals whose life and work are featured at the newly …

California should keep its energy incentives straight

A quietly crucial debate is going on within the California Public Utilities Commission about the future of distributed electricity generation. At stake is the Self-Generation Incentive Program. Created in …

The business case for Cambodian Internet freedom

Riven by Marxist-inspired genocide only a few decades ago, Cambodia now aspires to both democracy and something like a free market—at least, in theory. But the country’s ruling party, …

California Supreme Court and the coming assignment-of-benefits gold rush

The California Supreme Court recently decided to break with its own precedent and declare that insurers can't stop policyholders from assigning the benefits of their policies before a …

North Carolina boy charged with possessing indecent pictures of himself

A 17-year-old North Carolina quarterback is charged with possession of sexual images of a minor. The minor is himself. But he is being charged as an adult. So …

Delta’s plan to get ahead by leading from behind

For the aviation industry, air shows are a showcase of the best manufacturers can muster, where cutting-edge aircraft like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are put …

Calling all presidential campaigns

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

If you don’t support the party line, don’t speak

I am extremely disappointed to announce that my invitation to speak at the fall conference of the Council of Institutional Investors has been withdrawn. The conference organizers have …

Ohio considers the crony side of cannabis

Ohio produced the first airplane pilot and the first man on the moon. This week, we are blessed with the consensus No. 1 preseason pick of college football …

Courts need a better appreciation of the principles of depreciation

Post-World War II, the United States experienced a simultaneous boom of babies and buildings. To keep pace with the need for new development, homes literally could be ordered …

Landmark study finds e-cigs 95% safer than smoking

In landmark news, a systematic review of available literature by Public Health England on the health and safety implications of electronic cigarettes concludes that their use is about …

Florida insurance chief calls on NFIP to hand over its data

In his ongoing efforts to foster a competitive private flood insurance market in Florida, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, recently requested help from the state's Office of …

Remembering Whitney Ball

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

California Earthquake Authority prepares to go into ‘hyperspace’

The California Earthquake Authority – the state's quasi-public earthquake insurance pool – long has had a problem with take-up. Only about 10 percent of homeowners in this most …

When it comes to EPA standards, California has a gas problem

California's reaction to the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan has been a collective mix of self-congratulation and confidence in the state's ability to comply with the rule's demands. …

Four charts explain the Postal Service’s financial struggles

The U.S Postal Service reported a third-quarter loss of more than $500 million. If you are wondering whether this is news you're already heard, it is. The USPS …

Kosar talks Trump on Dubai’s Al Arabiya

R Street Governance Project Director Kevin Kosar sat down with Dubai's Al Arabiya news network -- one of the largest news sources in the Arab-speaking world -- to …

Fracking drives NAIC earthquake conversation

Hydraulic fracturing – the process of extracting oil and gas resources that requires breaking rock through the high-pressured injection of liquid into the ground, popularly known as "fracking" …

So what do Uber drivers actually think?

Are taxis becoming extinct? Is creative destruction a good thing? Are Uber and Lyft drivers fulltime employees entitled to benefits or are they independent contractors? Should municipalities cap …

Thoughts on a klansman

Last month, as but one marker of the sudden and somewhat unexpected public outcry to remove from all manner of public life flags and memorials honoring the Confederacy, …

TWIA raises rates ahead of board restructuring

Now that we're a good two-and-half months into hurricane season, it would be a good time to check in on the financial situation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance …

An EPA-inspired muscle car renaissance

USA Today recently proclaimed "the golden age of muscle cars is now." Based upon sales numbers of large-displacement and high-power motors, it's hard to say they're wrong. New automotive …

Appeals court considers ITC bid to be Internet cop

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments this week in what might otherwise be described as an obscure patent case, ClearCorrect v. International Trade …

Is Carly Fiorina Silicon Valley’s friend?

By all accounts, Carly Fiorina gave a strong performance at the Republican Party presidential debates last week. I initially missed the "undercard" event in which she participated, but …

SXSW policy panels you should vote for

We at R Street have put together what we think are some great policy panels for next year's SxSW conference in Austin, Texas. But we need your help …

A Bush/Rubio ticket would be complicated, not impossible

They would, in some senses, appear to be the dream ticket. One is the more moderate elder statesman; one is the brash young firebrand. One is the darling …

White House finalizes CPP, but will it stand?

President Barack Obama yesterday released long-awaited regulations intended to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030. The stakes are high. Designed under decades-old …

White House offers tepid response on email privacy

As we have previously noted, proposed reforms to the Electronic Communication Privacy Act recently have received increased attention. Congress appears on the verge of finally restoring email privacy …

New White House report gives states a license to deregulate

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on a lot these days. But if a recent report released by the White House on occupational licensing is any indication, we may …

Mississippi is on the wrong track with telemedicine

Recent years have seen plenty of debates about misguided health and safety regulations, but the current one in Mississippi threatens to frustrate one of the brightest trends in …

Ant-Man: A hero for criminal justice reform?

Last weekend, I managed to talk my wife into seeing Ant-Man, Marvel's latest superhero movie. Not exactly at the top of anyone's superhero pantheon, to the extent the …

Je ne suis pas Google

The French government's privacy-regulation agency decided in June to order Google Inc. to remove (or "delist") from all Google websites worldwide – not just those in France or …

‘Gov’ knows best

No one likes a controlling, overbearing boyfriend. You know the guy I’m talking about. Incessantly checking in, sticking his nose into every and any decision, disapproving of anyone …

It’s time for dialogue, not demagoguery, on price optimization

Social activist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals" was written as a how-to guide for community activists looking to compel political change. Yet …

Lowering the drinking age will have some bad effects. We should do it anyway.

For the first time in decades, the legal drinking age is back in the news, and nearly all the credit for that belongs to the Amethyst Initiative. Signed …

Leamer talks Trump on The Big Picture

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

5 reasons to support the REINS Act

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

Congressional Internet Caucus and ‘fractally complex’ music licensing

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

GMOs help fight climate change, but will anyone care?

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

North Carolina Senate passes ridesharing bill

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

And then there were three: Obamacare forces health insurer consolidation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TNCs, price optimization and roofing fraud top agenda at NCOIL

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

SCOTUS’ mercury decision probably won’t end EPA overreach

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

TNC rain dance shows how NCOIL is all wet

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

Conferees should spike IP czar language in customs bill

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

Judge fixes troubling court order in CloudFlare filtering case

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

Progressives turn their backs on the sharing economy

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

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

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

In midst of drought, Sacramento needs to prepare for flood

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

Neeley talks climate change at EarthDay Texas

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

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

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

Texas’ risky decision on multiproperty insurance

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

The Dodd-Frankenstein monster

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

Airbnb faces trouble at home

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

15 sheep explain the Chinese stock market crash

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

Procedural quagmire dooms California vaping ban, for now

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

Florida fumbles ridesharing

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

A new dawn for solar in Texas?

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

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

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

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

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

Sanders talks TPP on Thom Hartmann Show

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

Federal district strikes down crowdfunding patent

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

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

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

Heritage on how conservatives should approach patent reform

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

Study shows Airbnb has positive economic impact for New Orleans

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

High stakes for online poker

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

A tale of two nations and one very important pig

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

America’s Greece

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

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

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

Je suis Uber

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

The high cost of free college

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

California committee stands up to the fourth branch of government

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

Nikki Haley signs bill legalizing TNCs in South Carolina

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

Email privacy bill could move by August recess

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

‘Disloyal competition’ — here and abroad

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

John Roberts and the long con

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

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

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

Avoiding protectionist reinsurance tax key to ensuring low-cost insurance

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

Interpreting the law in 2015

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

Don’t cast CloudFlare as copyright/trademark enforcer

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

Wharton study finds disaster aid displaces property insurance

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

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

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

A new era in government transparency

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

Why does Congress diminish itself?

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

Utah TNC bill makes optional coverages mandatory

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

Campaign of contradictions

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

Washington state lawmakers should save solar for another day

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

Is Texas ready for a second round of tax cuts?

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

Muni broadband: sanity in Seattle, questions in Council Bluffs

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

Reason.com subpoena is outrageous prosecutorial overreach

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

The troubling intersection of national courts and international censorship

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

Committee-passed Innovation Act includes significant litigation reforms

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

Confronting public misconceptions about ridesharing

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

FTC should heed advice on the sharing economy

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

New paper: economic liberty requires patent reform

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

Jurassic Pork: A policy blockbuster

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

CBO confirms private insurers could take on way more terrorism risk

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

A buzzword glossary for tomorrow’s Innovation Act markup

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

USTR doesn’t need an IP czar

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

Lehrer talks climate change and insurance on the Weather Channel

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

Free trade doesn’t have to be a trade secret

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

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

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

California’s conservatives should draw from the Tory playbook

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

Give federal employees bonuses for finding spending cuts

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

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

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

Can ‘The Rock’ rescue the CEA?

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

No need to renew the Export-Import Bank

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

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

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

Yes, healthy congressional politics are transactional…and more

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

Leamer talks USA Freedom on Lars Larson Show

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

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

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

A guide through Senate amendments to the USA FREEDOM Act

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

One last chance to reform Texas’ spending limit this session

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

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

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

Assurance contracts and the indie film market

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

Daily fantasy sports and the case for legal online gambling

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

Free America’s beverage markets!

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

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

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

Nevada lawmakers send bill legalizing ridesharing to Gov. Sandoval

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

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

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

How to reform Amtrak?

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

Shelby’s financial reforms could face problems on the floor

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

Nevada should embrace disruption in energy markets

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

Jersey Strong…but not strong enough to pump gas

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

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

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

Laffer: Keep protectionist reinsurance tax out of tax reform

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

D.C. appeals court rules some iPhone trademarks invalid

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

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

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

New study shows how Florida Citizens subsidizes the rich

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

Fixing the Texas tax-cut stand-off

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

Copyright, pharmaceutical enforcement shouldn’t be imposed on ICANN

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

Legal ridesharing comes to Portland…sort of

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

Nevada Senate gives green light to ridesharing

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

Audio from SxSW ‘Your Laws, Your Data’ panel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Circuit declares NSA bulk collection illegal

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

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

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

Signs of hope in North Carolina

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

Kansas overrides Brownback veto on TNC bill

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

California is learning to pay its own way

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

How the DMCA is turning ownership into ‘loanership’

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

Texas moves closer to hail insurance reform

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

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

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

Risk transfer success leads to ratings upgrades for Florida Citizens

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

Louisiana mulls duplicative rules for solar

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

Michigan House could vote this week on auto insurance reforms

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

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

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

Why disaster policy matters

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

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

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

TPA: Trading up for a better deal

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

Conservative case for surveillance reform Hill briefing

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

A TWIA by any other name

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

PTO smacks down podcasting patent troll

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

Key FDA panel votes down warning label change for snus

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

Hawaii considers bill to regulate ride-sharing…in 2112

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

Plan to regulate Airbnb might lead to total deregulation in Maine

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

Does no one die rich in Atlanta?

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

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

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

The conservative case for surveillance reform

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

Top 5 findings on the environmental harms of crop insurance subsidies

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

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

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

Could ridesharing shift to an ad-supported business model?

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

Moylan testimony on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act

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

Kansas City could make terrible ridesharing market even worse

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

Cutting defense in a time of war

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

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

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

The West not yet fully won for ridesharing

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

It’s time for open data in insurance

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

Lehrer talks flood insurance on Morning Edition

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

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

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

Moylan on the Heartland Daily Podcast

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

Ethanol isn’t the only renewable fuel source Iowans love

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

Tempest brewing around California uninsured motorist coverage

A tempest is brewing around California’s otherwise functional system of uninsured and underinsured automobile insurance. At an informational hearing held in the great Shakespearian tradition of dialogue capped …

Florida Cat Fund cleared to buy $2.2B of reinsurance

In what counts as excellent news both for Florida taxpayers and the private insurance market, Gov. Rick Scott and the State Board of Administration have approved a request …

Prop 103’s authors argue for changing Prop 103

Scottish poets from the 18th Century are rarely credited for their insights into California politics. Yet the architects of Proposition103, California’s 25-year-old attempt to rigidly control prices in …

The myth of the child poker player

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations is scheduled hold hearings today on a federal bill aimed at stopping states from legalized online gambling. The Restoration …

Major insurers to strike deal to support compromise TNC language

For much of the past year, we at R Street have been active in trying to promote reasonable, effective compromise on ride-sharing regulations. The goal all along has …

Don’t let the FCC muck up on-demand TV

Apple’s Web TV plan spotlights the opportunities and challenges ahead in what will be the most dramatic shift in the distribution of television content since the advent of …

It’s time for real competition in solar markets

Fights are playing out across the states as regulators try to navigate the introduction of rooftop solar into energy markets. Over the last few years, numerous pieces of legislation …

Are casinos the solution to TWIA’s woes?

When it comes to hurricane insurance, Texas is in trouble. The state-run Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has more than $77 billion in potential liabilities, but only a few …

It’s time for insurance reform in Louisiana

Louisiana is vulnerable to extreme weather and natural catastrophes in ways only a few other states experience. By all indications, that exposure will only grow worse, as a …

New Orleans takes step in right direction on ridesharing

New Orleans has traditionally been hostile to the sharing economy. Airbnb and other room-sharing services are still effectively outlawed in the Crescent City. Ridesharing companies have not had …

Marx, Smith, Amplifyd and Nestle: social investing in 2015

One of the more interesting signs that the economy is picking up again is the new focus on social responsibility emanating from the C-suites of major corporations. The …

Louisville should find way to accommodate home-sharing

The growth of the popular home-sharing website Airbnb over the past few years has engendered opposition in some quarters. Most recently, Louisville, Ky. is the latest city to …

Judges say labor laws outdated to deal with sharing economy firms

New laws might be needed to provide courts better guidance on how to classify the employment status of drivers for transportation network companies, and indeed, other services offered …

Progressive is rolling out TNC coverage in Pennsylvania

Slowly but surely, more of the major U.S. auto insurers are rolling out custom products designed to cover the unique risks presented by the emerging market of transportation …

‘Blurred Lines’ decision offers blurry conception of copyright

A federal jury seated in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has handed down a $7.4 million verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, asserting the pair's 2013 …

Earthquake risks are rising, but take-up isn’t

The West Coast's risk of ruin is even greater than we previously feared. According to the just-released Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, the likelihood that California could …

Missouri considers overly prescriptive TNC law

Governments are having a difficult time keeping up with changes in the culture and in the economy these days. One of the top issues for governments everywhere is …

San Antonio must continue to revisit rideshare ordinance

Ridesharing reform is coming to San Antonio, but so far it’s been a bumpy road. In December, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to impose a set of …

Indiana passes e-cig regs, but stops short of vaping ban

The State of Indiana is moving to regulate e-cigarettes and the liquids used for “vaping.” The Indiana House and Senate both have passed legislation that would ban sales …

Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods and the use of IP as censorship

Trumbull, Conn. is a town of 36,000 in suburban Fairfield County, perhaps best known for winning the 1989 Little League World Series and for being the hometown of …

TNCs, state flood insurance among hot topics at NCOIL spring meeting

For those whose travel plans weren't interrupted by the inclement weather, the spring meeting of the tri-annually convened National Conference of Insurance Legislators – held in Charleston, S.C. …

It’s tax break week in Texas

The Texas state Senate this week is holding hearings on a whole slew of tax reform bills. Starting yesterday and continuing today and tomorrow, the Senate Finance Committee …

Addressing the real drivers of the explosion in food stamps

The U.S. House may not be able to agree on much when it comes to the size and scope of federal programs, but one thing has been clear …

Olympia could punish early adopters of rooftop solar

When it comes to technology, so-called “early adopters” understand they are taking a risk. Those who choose to pay more for unproven or unscaled technologies do so with …

White House restrictions on data collection imperil innovation economy

In a late Friday news dump, the Obama administration released a dubious plan to create a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.” This proposal would enact a slew of …

Florida may move forward on TNC regs

Florida lawmakers this month filed legislation in both houses of the Legislature to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.  The two companion bills seek to establish …

R Street scholars on your podcast airwaves

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan sat down with the fine folks at the Through the Noise podcast to discuss, among other things, what a "think tank" is, …

Fair Use: Getting by with a little help from our friends

Is it legal for me to publish a blog post with this title? Am I violating copyright law? I am, after all, reusing lyrics from the chorus of …

A rose ceremony we should tune out

Prime-time television is rarely, if ever, conducive to serious debates about public policy. Yet a recent article by Danielle Paquette on the Washington Post's Wonkblog manages to do …

The difference between wanting a carbon tax and getting one

Negotiation is the process by which value is determined by the intensity of the involved parties’ desires. The more that one party wants something the other controls, the …

Insurance industry needs better arguments for ‘price optimization’

Back in her high school days, my daughter got to be a pretty darned good field hockey player, eventually became the captain of her team. But in her …

Guide to policy events at SXSW 2015

Every year, tens of thousands of people swarm to Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive – one of the biggest annual gatherings of technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs in the country. Here at …

Lehmann talks extreme weather on NPR’s On Point

With record snowstorms crippling New England, R Street Institute Senior Fellow and Editor-in-Chief R.J. Lehmann was a guest this week on the nationally syndicated public radio program On …

Apply now for R Street’s 2015 Google Policy Fellowship

Applications are open now for R Street's 2015 Google Policy Fellowship in technology policy. The deadline to apply is March 12. R Street’s Google Fellow will have the opportunity to …

States would be better stewards of most federal lands

Tell the typical American that the federal government controls 640 million acres of land (close to 28 percent of the nation's total area), and you're likely to get …

Why the two-earner tax credit is a flawed approach

In his most recent State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama laid out a litany of tax proposals, including a $500 tax credit to households where there …

Alcohol delivery and your smart phone: a match made in heaven

In a world where the lines between the digital and the physical are blurry and fluid, constantly crossing and morphing and mashing up into a new version of …

Geico goes end-to-end with Virginia ridesharing product

In a continuation of the encouraging trend of personal insurers embracing innovation as a way to deal with the increased popularity of "sharing economy" services, auto insurance giant …

Sanders talks child care and Head Start on The Big Picture

R Street Outreach Director and Senior Fellow Lori Sanders joined host Thom Hartmann on his RT show The Big Picture to discuss President Barack Obama's new childcare proposal …

FAA suit hopes to help ‘flight sharing’ take off

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute last month sued the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of Flytenow Inc., a fledgling transportation network company that is looking to do for "flight …

Transparency in government-sponsored ads

In recent years, Americans have been inundated with commercials highlighting the Affordable Care Act, some of which have been slagged as rather tasteless and exaggerated. The Department of …

The inevitability of the sharing economy

Uber, AirBnB and other companies that mine the so-called “sharing economy” continue to face legal and regulatory challenges, both in the United States and internationally. At heart, these services …

A tale of two turnpikes

Several times a year, I make the drive from Chicago to my parents' house in Youngstown, Ohio. It's a 400-mile straight shot on the Indiana and Ohio Turnpikes …

California opens fast lane to approve TNC insurance products

The California Department of Insurance has approved the state's first private passenger auto policy endorsement specifically crafted to cover drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. …

$7 billion just disappeared on the Gulf Coast

Right now, a federal court in Louisiana is wrapping up the penalty phase of the trial against BP to determine the oil company's negligence under the federal Clean …

Senate set to vote on five-year extension of Wind PTC

Congress has been in session for only a couple weeks and the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate already has surpassed the number of roll call amendment …

Muni broadband: Even dumber in 2015 than 2005

Ahead of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama went to Cedar Falls, Iowa to tout municipal broadband. Despite a landscape littered with missed goals, incomplete …

NAIC seeks input on TNC white paper

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has begun a 30-day comment period on a draft white paper (available here) that no doubt will shape the development in states …

New Orleans smoking ban should exclude vaping

Years after most American cities have enacted smoking bans, the City of New Orleans is poised to enact one. With a unanimous vote Jan. 22, the City Council …

Personal auto insurers wade cautiously into ridesharing waters

In recent months, controversy over the potential "uninsured" status of drivers for app-based transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has finally started to settle down. Those two …

Are police radars that ‘see through walls’ as scary as they sound?

In a growing trend begun a few years ago without much public disclosure or debate, at least 50 police departments across the country -- including the FBI and …

Inslee’s vaping tax bad for taxpayers, public health

It is often the case that partisans of one political cause or another obscure their real motivations for the sake of expediency. Non-politicos are likely to characterize such …

McCarty deserves some credit for stabilizing Florida market

Testifying this week before the Florida House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, Office of Insurance Regulation Deputy Chief of Staff Monte Stevens echoed much of what has been reported …

Louisiana’s largest parish could legalize ride-sharing

Jefferson Parish – a New Orleans suburb and Louisiana’s most populous parish -- is considering an ordinance by Parish Councilmembers Cynthia Lee-Sheng and Ben Zahn that would legalize …

Obama dredges Sacramento’s mire for SOTU

California’s left-leaning political chattering classes were tweeting with enthusiasm last night as President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. To their delight, the president …

It’s Copyright Week! Let’s talk about copyright cronyism

Every year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a host of other organizations -- including think tanks, trade groups and public interest advocates -- align their efforts for one …

The message Boehner should give to House Republicans

I used to work for a big and complicated enterprise – a multinational, multibillion dollar financial services confection of companies. I worked on public policy. In large commercial …

Keystone pipeline drama returns for an exciting new season

Just as popular television shows often go on hiatus for the holidays, so our nation’s greatest political drama is now back for a new season. And measured purely …

In Vegas, CES parties like it’s 2009

It is estimated that 150,000 participants will flock to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. CES is a citywide forum for the introduction of novel …

Happy holidays from the R Street Institute!

We here at R Street are a culturally and religiously diverse bunch. For instance, our president, Eli Lehrer, is Jewish, while Office Manager Khanh Nguyen is Buddhist. We …

Charlottesville gets the gift of high-speed broadband

Toronto-based Tucows Inc. – best known for the domain registrar Hover and the wireless service provider Ting – will be jumping in to the ultra-high-speed broadband market pioneered …

You say ‘po-tay-toh,’ I say massive spud fraud

A pair of Cooperstown, N.D. brothers have been convicted in a $2 million scheme to defraud the federal crop insurance program with false claims of loss on their …

Play EFF’s fantastic copyright crossword

This holiday season, our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put together this fantastic crossword puzzle (also available in electronic and printable formats), comprised of clues relating …

What if they threw a market panic and nobody came?

The news last week that Congress would adjourn without extending the $100 billion federal backstop offered by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was greeted with howls of shock …

Seeking common sense in 2015

I was going to try to write something positive at the end of the year, to balance out what a scold I’ve been almost all year long about …

Big SIFI news: MetLife is designated, Obama signs insurance capital standards bill

This week brought big news on two fronts in the world of allegedly "too big to fail" insurers. By a nine to one vote, with former Kentucky Insurance Commissioner …

Why we need to get DATA Act standards right

Passing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) Act was a victory for open government and congressional data transparency. But passing the law alone is not enough -- …

Two steps forward, one step back

When news broke that the Utah Department of Insurance found that popular new benefits company Zenefits was not in compliance with state insurance law, and would have to …

The CEA considers a tax by any other name

The California Earthquake Authority has a heady legislative agenda on-tap for 2015, and Californians without earthquake insurance coverage could be made to foot the bill. The CEA’s CEO, Glenn …

The Wind Production Tax Credit lives on

After much negotiation, Congress has passed legislation retroactively extending 55 “temporary” tax breaks (or tax extenders) through the end of 2014. It is likely that the president will …

Did Tom Coburn just cancel the Super Bowl?

No, is the short answer. The longer answer is more complicated. As has now been widely reported, it appears the U.S. Senate will not, after all, pass legislation extending …

Lawsuits against premium booze makers may have major impact on spirits labeling

So-called "premium" spirits, which are made in smaller batches and are traditionally more expensive than ordinary mass-produced spirits, are helping to fuel growth in alcohol sales in the …

Patents as weapons of self defense

The Center for Economic and Policy Research's Dean Baker notices something strange in the New York Times' profile of four-year-old Chinese cell phone manufacturer Xiaomi, an emerging player …

Fannie and Freddie: Proving that insanity is good for business

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Even a casual observer of the U.S. economy since its collapse in 2008 is …

Gone Google: Europe is pushing to limit Internet companies

Europe's battle against large Internet companies (or should we just say Google?) wages on. Spain just introduced a new intellectual property law that will require Spanish news publications …

‘Commemorative’ bills plunge in 113th Congress

For all the talk of congressional dysfunction, there is a bit of good news: Congress has spent less of its valuable time passing "commemorative" legislation. For this development, …

San Antonio goes too far with ridesharing insurance requirements

San Antonio, Texas appears to be on the verge of implementing one of America’s worst laws to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The current San Antonio …

Fear and loathing at Columbia Law

It isn’t the "stupid American voters" that are the problem in this country, unless you count the crazies manifesting their unhappiness this week that the fellow who promised …

Will San Antonio welcome or reject ridesharing?

When talk turns to cultivating a local high-tech economy, Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tend to come to mind. Certainly these companies …

Congress and public opinion: Five things you may not know

As anyone with an iota of awareness has already heard, Congress is exceedingly unpopular these days. A mere 14 percent of the public approve of the job Congress …

Cheers! A day worth celebrating

Even in the middle of a busy holiday season I find it is worth taking time to commemorate the end of Prohibition. Eighty-one years ago today the 18th …

New portal will help alleviate Texas’ unfunded storm liability

Gulf coast states have long struggled to deal with the increased risk of property damage in hurricane-prone coastal areas. In Texas, we have increasingly relied on TWIA (the …

Federal snow storm aid, self-government and CRS reports

The Federation of American Scientists recently posted a copy of a report titled, “Major Disaster Declarations for Snow Assistance and Severe Winter Storms: An Overview.” The document was …

Don’t let Congress undermine surveillance reform

Eighteen months after the Snowden revelations, Congress has failed to enact surveillance reform. With the improved USA FREEDOM Act not reaching cloture in the Senate and the Amash …

Save the date: multidisciplinary hackathons on congressional data

Boston Kickoff Weekend Co-Hosted by Harvard University’s Ash Center and The OpenGov Foundation; Finals on Capitol Hill Spring 2015 The weekend of January 30, 2015, The OpenGov Foundation and Harvard’s Kennedy School …

College football: An effort to win at the cost of progress

Every fall, on campuses across the nation, fans journey to watch collegiate athletes take the field to play America’s most popular amateur sport, football. The appeal of college …

R Street is seeking a Director of Innovation Policy

The R Street Institute, a free-market think-tank located in Washington, D.C., is seeking a law and technology wonk to serve as our Director of Innovation Policy. We’re looking …

Keeping the Texas budget lean

Mark Twain famously observed that the two things you don’t want to see being made are laws and sausages. But when it comes to the state budget, an …

Rounding up NCOIL’s San Francisco meeting

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators is an organization founded with the goal of helping legislators make informed policy decisions. Over the course of three yearly meetings, members …

Collection of CRS reports released to the public

Something rare has occurred---a collection of reports authored by the Congressional Research Service has been published and made freely available to the public. The 500-page volume, titled “The …

Austin gets a C on taxi alternatives

Austin enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a vibrant, tech-friendly metropolis. But when it comes to the vehicle-for-hire market, the city could be doing a lot better. A new report …

U.S. regulators, insurers skeptical of global capital standards

A new report commissioned by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has found there would be significant economic costs …

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Likely to fail regardless of litigation outcome

In less than two weeks, comments are due for the Environmental Protection Agency’s highly controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power …

Post-election scrum powers ride-sharing bills in the Midwest

It is disappointing to see all the public policy debates that languished over the last several months, both in Washington and in the state capitals, suddenly light up …

Gulf Coast spill money is starting to flow

On Monday, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a second round of grants from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. The fund – established as part of the …

Yes, the government can open your mail without a warrant

By law, first-class mail is sealed against inspection, meaning that government officials may not open it without first getting a warrant from a judge. A citizen would be …

Louisiana’s PSC race is a must-watch for solar energy

The race for a seat on the Public Service Commission in Louisiana rarely generates headlines, even though the PSC in Louisiana, unlike in most states, actually has some …

Our work speaks for itself

One of the more dispiriting trends of the political left in recent years has been the growing tendency to do battle, not by engaging with ideas, but through …

CDI ready to review ride-sharing insurance

Reasonable observers of California government must give credit when credit is due. In this case, the good news is that the California Department of Insurance reports it is …

Tipping the hat to all the veterans

Today is Veteran's Day in the United States and the president -- apparently no longer particularly mindful of the optics of his role as commander-in-chief -- is in …

Why are Louisiana’s auto insurance rates so darn high?

As a Louisiana resident, I paraphrase Jimmy McMillan when I say “car insurance in Louisiana is too damn high.” While Louisiana only has the seventh most expensive car …

Election post-mortem in California

If the key to success is maintaining low expectations, California Republicans had a great election night. Over the past several years, every objective measure of the party’s success has …

Will TDI hold the line on TWIA liability expansion?

The Texas Department of Insurance met Wednesday to consider whether to expand liability for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). State law caps the amount that TWIA can …

Hey, taxi!

Sometimes, people and businesses start out by trying to avoid regulation, and then discover that some basic ground rules aren't such a bad thing after all. At an …

HomeAway goes to court over San Francisco’s ‘Airbnb law’

An old adage in the legal profession suggests: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. …

Come hear how Texas will benefit from a ‘conservative budget’

Next Monday, Nov. 10, I officially join R Street as its new Texas director. I'll be working on a variety of issues of critical importance to the Lone …

Moylan on state franchise dealership laws

Earlier this week, R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined a Cato Institute-hosted "hangout" to discuss state regulations that restrict how auto-makers can sell their cars, which in …

Should music publishers be an antitrust concern?

On Aug. 6, a letter arrived at the U.S. Department of Justice from someone writing anonymously under the name John Doe. Mr. Doe was seeking to persuade the …

Should we have to declare our emails at customs? The ITC says yes

"Threats to the open Internet come from all sides....Today’s threat comes from a patent and international trade agency." - Charles Duan, Public Knowledge The post-Snowden era of digital communication has …

With Texas windstorm insurance, what you don’t pay for, you won’t get

There’s an old saying in business: you get what you pay for. Yet all too often, government policy seems based on the hope that you can make costs …

America should learn from the German job-training model, but not copy it

The U.S. labor market may finally be picking up steam, but when it comes to our structural labor problems, big questions about stagnant wages and underemployed workers remain. Will …

America’s motor state going the wrong way on direct sales

For most of my life, the Detroit area has been the epicenter of the domestic automotive world. Unless you are the sort of person who experienced a fainting …

Does Prop 103 violate itself?

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly …

How SOPA would have cost the content industry billions

Ever since the advent of Internet-based, user generated mass media, Hollywood has been fighting a losing game of whack-a-mole against ordinary online users who share copyright-protected material in …

Search engines, free advertising and the content industry

In 1925, a music industry professional complained to the New York Times that the new medium of radio was destroying the industry's business model by making songs too …

Mandates, subsidies and political semantics

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in 2012, the nation was gripped by an intimate and personal political drama …

NSA spying harms the economy, as well

Last week, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., hosted a forum in Silicon Valley on NSA spying as a means to drum up support for proposed reform legislation that …

Clinton and Enamorado on ‘The Fox News Effect’

Too often, political science journals publish articles focused on questions too distantly connected to real-world political phenomena. It is a modern sort of scholasticism, as my friend Professor Lawrence Mead …

Cornyn smokes patent trolls out from their bridge

Most children who’ve heard the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff know that if an ugly, parasitic troll comes out to get you, the best thing to …

A welcome message from R Street’s Governance Project

The R Street Institute this month launched the Governance Project, an effort to assess and improve the state of America’s system of national self-governance, with particular attention to …

Gov. Brown forces AB 2616 to walk the plank

California’s workers’ compensation system is a political flashpoint that attracts the interest of labor, management, attorneys and insurers. Last session, a skirmish about expanding the scope of workers’ …

FCC’s Wheeler likes the ‘idea’ of muni broadband

Speaking at the recent National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors annual meeting, Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler endorsed Lafayette, La.’s municipal fiber optic system—or more specifically, he …

How the Wind Production Tax Credit undermines wind power

U.S. renewable-energy policy is largely defined by mandates and subsidies that maintain an artificial market for investment and generation. Heavy dependence on government creates significant vulnerability for the …

Airbnb regulated into legality

One of the many oddities of San Francisco is that the city is full of libertarians who love regulation. You can do your own thing, unless you’re a …

Is all-or-nothing better than nothing at all?

The loudest criticism of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships negotiations between the United States and the European Union is that they are conducted behind closed doors. …

No, the F-22’s success against ISIS doesn’t justify its price tag

The controversial F-22 fighter just had its combat debut in Syria, bombing ISIS-controlled targets. The plane, which costs $412 million per copy, finally saw action 23 years after …

Florida’s insurance industry a big contributor to state economy

Its status as a low-lying peninsula jutting 500 miles into the warmest, most hurricane-active waters in the world makes Florida one of the riskiest places to live. So …

Detroit enables ‘prison guards of the past’

"There you go again..." exclaimed  Ronald Reagan famously, as he claimed the debate audience and eventually the White House.  The City of Detroit is once more eschewing hospitable …

Jacksonville should find a commonsense solution for ride-sharing

Jacksonville, Fla., is making headlines over plans to enact stiff penalties against ride-sharing drivers. Some transportation network company drivers in Jacksonville have recently gotten into trouble for not carrying …

Tax reform and the family life cycle

Over the last several decades, one of the central objectives of conservative tax reformers has been to "neutralize" the tax code – to cut down on the incentives …

Earthquake coverage should be standard for mortgage loans

When it comes to California earthquake insurance, affordability is in the eye of the beholder. Californians are not convinced that earthquake risk is sufficient to warrant the purchase …

Four reasons why international climate discussions should matter to U.S. industry

Virtually every American in the climate change policy space is supporting, fighting or still deciphering the EPA's plan to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants – commonly …

‘Ike contingent’ pounding insurers with Texas hail claims

Insurance availability crises are nothing new. Nor is finger-pointing about what exactly causes them. In Texas, a red state that is nonetheless home to a robust plaintiffs' bar, …

Transformation, tests and t-shirts

Intellectual property laws sometimes pit different camps of creators against each other. On the one hand, makers want the freedom to pull inspiration from works that have already …

R Street is hiring a new outreach manager

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C., is looking for a dynamic, versatile, bright and well-connected person to serve as our outreach manager.  …

Pornographers choke in ‘Deep Throat’ case

While Hollywood is often known as one of the groups most fiercely committed to protecting copyrighted works, a recent case shows that even in Tinseltown, the veto power …

Despite Senate inaction, progress on patent trolls

In May, Senate Democrats -- led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. – tabled the patent reform bill on which his panel had worked for months. The …

The unfortunate rise of data protectionism

The age of Internet exceptionalism is at risk of coming to a close. Thus far, the Internet has served as a platform for data transfer and information sharing …

Rob Schneider: Makin’ enemies

In a decision that had to be as awkward as it was necessary, State Farm has cut ties with pitchman Rob Schneider, following a social media campaign to …

LEADS Act: another small step toward digital privacy

It may take incremental steps to ensure due process against government seizure of online data, but step-by-step protections are better than no protections at all. The Law Enforcement Access …

Sanders on EPA carbon rules

R Street's Lori Sanders joined the American Action Forum's Douglas Holtz-Eakin and the Brookings Institution's Adele Morris in a panel discussion examined flaws in the structure of forthcoming …

Nashville regulators seek to bring Airbnb into the fold

On its face, Airbnb would seem to violate Nashville laws against short-term rentals of any sort, other than licensed hotels and historic bed-and-breakfast inns. And so, lawmakers are …

Tesla takes Massachusetts

High-end electric car consumers rejoice! If you want to buy one of the famous Tesla cars and you live in Massachusetts, you can now do exactly that. This …

TNC battle ends with Gov. Brown’s signature

Gov. Jerry Brown has lent his signature to compromise legislation that clarifies how and when transportation network companies are commercially insured. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, A.B. 2293, …

Fraud costs Michigan drivers $220M a year

Auto insurance fraud costs Michigan drivers more than $220 million a year, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced while unveiling a set of 17 legislative and regulatory anti-fraud …

Self-driving cars could require overhaul of insurance regulation

What is an autonomous vehicle? As demonstrated in a Sept. 15 California Department of Insurance informational hearing, that's a misleadingly simple question. Regulators' attempt to stay in front of …

Detroit takes another title: highest car insurance in America

The Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor metropolitan area has higher auto insurance rates than any other top 25 metro area in the United States. It wasn’t even close, according to the …

Are Google Fiber speeds ‘too fast’?

Our recent policy study by Associate Fellow Steven Titch -- "Alternatives to government broadband" -- looks to recent efforts some municipalities have made to attract Google Fiber's super-high-speed …

R Street hosting two energy events on Capitol Hill this Wednesday

The R Street Institute will be hosting two energy events on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, September 17. We hope you can join us for one or both of …

A negative income tax beats both the minimum wage and welfare

Recently, there have been demonstrations by fast food workers and labor unions calling for an increase in the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to a …

Nicki Minaj and the rule of law

Conservatives have long stood for the principle that the state ought to abide by the rule of law. Application of the law ought to be uniform across all …

Turkish rights and digital delights: an IGF recap

The annual Internet Governance Forum was established to foster an open, inclusive dialogue among the parties that "govern" the Internet. IGF is a conference designed, somewhat counter-intuitively, to …

The inequality of unisex pricing

Equality before the law is a foundational principle of American democracy. Many policymakers are proud to pursue efforts to realize that principle. Perhaps that is why, cloaked by …

California state funds continue to shake up cat bond market

California's recent "Winequake" brought the public's focus back to the state's significant vulnerability to seismic events. Fortunately, the tremors, while costly, did not tally a high human score. …

R Street is looking for a Texas director

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, is looking for a dynamic, super-smart, energetic person to serve as the director of its Texas office.  …

The ‘right to be forgotten’ and the quagmire of global Internet regulation

Is an open and free Internet a fundamental human right? And if so, how do we enforce it in an international context? These questions have become acutely pressing …

Not-so-common core

At last week's 40th annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators, several rock stars lit up the stage and podium. I'm not mostly talking about sold-out …

Can Prop 103 handle driverless cars?

Earlier this year, Google announced the introduction of a completely driverless car. On this blog, Eli Lehrer took time to discuss the insurance implications of such a development. …

Delaware becomes first state to include digital accounts in estate law

Say you have an iTunes library that’s the envy of the most obsessive music collectors. Or a Facebook account with thousands of friends who obsessively share and “like” …

Ten great policy panels to vote for at SXSW

I recently wrote a short post highlighting the four panels we put forward for the 2015 SXSW Interactive conference, including the one I'll be on (along with folks from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the …

How big government and cronyism are slowing the growth of solar in the south

An Aug. 9 article in the Los Angeles Times explored why states in the U.S. South that get plenty of sunlight -- such as Virginia, South Carolina and, of …

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the broken copyright law

Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is fond of saying that one must never alter facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Given …

Lessons from Napa’s ‘winequake’

In the early hours Sunday morning, Northern California shook with the largest earthquake it has experienced since 1989. The South Napa Earthquake, as it is being referred to …

Scary armored vehicles aren’t the biggest danger of police militarization

The problem of police militarization has been in the news for more than a week, as the city of Ferguson, Mo. continues to deal with the aftermath of …

Don’t intervene in Azeroth: Thieves in MMOs shouldn’t face criminal charges

While the world reels from the Ebola epidemic, the instability in Gaza and the intensifying tensions between Russia and Ukraine, one British politician seems to have put his …

For insurers, California’s ‘diverse procurement’ is well-meaning and wrong

Under Section 927.2 of the California Insurance Code, insurers writing $100 million or more in annual premiums in the state are required to submit reports to the Department …

Sanders on Paul Ryan’s poverty plan

R Street Senior Fellow Lori Sanders joined Lowman Henry of American Radio Journal to discuss the anti-poverty agenda put forth recently by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, …

Legal fiction and fictional legality

"The Case of the Speluncean Explorers," a 1949 Harvard Law Review essay by Lon L. Fuller, may prove instructive to the ever-growing number of Americans who follow with …

Vote for R Street at SXSW 2015

We've put together four awesome panels for SXSW Interactive. Your vote can help us bring free market ideas to Austin's annual gathering of 30,000 technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs. Please …

Lehmann talks Uber and Lyft in Virginia

R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann, co-author of our recent white paper on principles for regulating the peer production economy, discusses a recent deal struck by the Commonwealth …

Fla Citizens’ business travel saves Florida money

A recent article by the Palm Beach Post blasting Citizens Property Insurance Corp. executives for traveling overseas casts a negative image onto the state-owned and operated insurer. However, …

A decade after Charley, Florida’s still paying the bill

Tomorrow, Aug. 9, marks the ten-year anniversary of the formation of Hurricane Charley. The third named storm of the 2004 hurricane season, Charley did $13 billion of damage, …

Gingrich advises state lawmakers not to kill innovation

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is known as a font of ideas, even by detractors who don’t necessarily approve the product of all his …

Pending gas price hikes make California lawmakers skittish

As the California Legislature wraps up its last few weeks of this year's session, some lawmakers are anxious to head off a scheduled gas price increase set to …

Half a trillion unaccounted for on federal spending transparency website

The federal government can’t find $619 billion dollars on the website it built six years ago to give a transparent account of its spending activities. USA Today‘s Gregory Korte has …

Political hacks stand to gain from Florida gerrymander fix

Looks like Florida lawmakers will have to put their summer campaign activities and fundraising on hold. Last week, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ordered the Legislature …

California’s incomplete prescription for reducing climate risk

The California Natural Resources Agency has just released its Final Safeguarding California Plan for Reducing Climate Risk. The roughly 350-page plan is designed to provide policymakers with recommendations …

Portable persistency and the Prop 103 roadblock

The emerging need to develop new insurance products to cover California's Transportation Network Company operators has spurred a reexamination of the nature of Proposition 103's quasi-constitutional status. In …

NAF report quantifies cost of NSA snooping

In the year since Edward Snowden began disclosing the scope of National Security Agency's programs to use cell phone networks, the Internet and various commercial websites to spy …

The left’s case against Ex-Im

Efforts to finally kill the $140 billion federal boondoggle that is the Export-Import Bank -- led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas -- are getting …

The national security social contract

Of all the news outlets that covered the mysterious replacement of the U.S. flags on one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, only the New York Post …

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel launches online gambling in California

In the spirit of the adage that it's better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission, the Native American Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Calif., has launched …

Anatomy of a Trojan Horse: California’s permissive single-subject rule

When it comes to winning at the polls, hoodwinking voters by confusing the issues is a strategy that has stood the test of time. This November, Propositions 45 …

Market freedom paying off in South Carolina

Maintaining pricing freedom and a light regulatory touch is paying major dividends in South Carolina's property insurance market, where the state is reaping the benefits of the ongoing …

Learning from Detroit

R Street Executive Director (and Detroit native) Andrew Moylan took part this past week in the Cities on the Brink forum presented by the Manhattan Institute and State …

Moylan talks Internet sales tax on Radio Iowa

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan and Pete Sepp from the National Taxpayers Union joined host host Kay Henderson of the Learfield Radio Network's Radio Iowa to discuss …

Jerry Brown provides powerful argument for California separation

Gov. Jerry Brown's spokesman has raised questions about the feasibility of the Six States proposal, arguing that "the proposal has serious practical challenges." But does this position harmonize …

Transportation reform debate is out of gas

With the impending shortage in the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, claws have come out across the political spectrum. Grassroots activists decry what they see as wasteful spending on …

The twisting tale of the CVT

Would you think that an unexpected ban of a disruptive technology, particularly a ban imposed 20 years ago by a private race car administrative organization, could retard timely …

Lyft’s insurance move a first step toward regular TNC coverage

Even as it faces new regulatory headaches in New York, transportation network company Lyft is making news this week with a major announcement today that should quiet at …

Update on the Lyft/NYC dispute

Since I wrote about the Lyft/New York City fight for The Weekly Standard this morning, it has come out that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing the …

Moylan talks Internet sales tax on the Bill LuMaye Show

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan was a guest on the Bill LuMaye Show on Raleigh, N.C.'s WPTF (NewsRadio 680/TalkRadio 850) to discuss federal proposals to allow states …

R Street’s Adams on flood insurance in Sacramento

R Street Associate Policy Analyst Ian Adams joined host Bruce Maiman yesterday on KFBK radio in  Sacramento, Calif. to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program. In particular, Ian …

Hobby Lobby and the hobbling law

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell predictably unleashed a firestorm of controversy that has burned through every sector of the press. If nothing else, …

Some San Franciscans hopping mad over ReservationHop

ReservationHop is a start-up caught in the horns of controversy. Its business model places it at the intersection of San Francisco's built-in techno-libertarianism and urban third-estate populism. Is …

R Street to host extreme weather event with Rep. Cartwright

Come see R Street's president Eli Lehrer on extreme weather events and disaster policy Wednesday at noon. Full details below. No RSVP required. Washington, DC –On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, in …

Prop 45: An internecine fight on the regulatory left

Ominously, Proposition 45, the "Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act," is heading for California's November ballot. If voters approve the Consumer Watchdog-sponsored initiative, health insurers would be …

Conservatives debate IP: A right or a privilege?

Can copyrights and other intellectual property be treated the same as physical property rights, and just how far should that analogy be taken? Those were among the key issues …

Arthur could strike around the Fourth in Morehead City

Ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, the U.S. East Coast is preparing for Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 season. Formed yesterday off the …

Michigan scalping law is ‘consumer protection’ gone wrong

So-called "consumer protection" has evolved into a major legislative preoccupation, which would be fine if it was mostly related to protecting citizens from injury – physical or fiscal. Alas, …

Reinsurers starting to drop their terrorism exclusions

As property insurers lock up their July 1 reinsurance renewals, many are finding a bonus surprise above and beyond the soft pricing environment – the terrorism exclusions that …

Slender Man or slender minds?

Much of the media have been consumed in recent weeks by a lurid story with all the hallmarks of a psychological horror film by the likes of Guillermo …

California Senate panel lowers insurance requirement for TNCs

California's A.B. 2293 – sponsored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord – crossed another hurdle Wednesday by earning approval of the state Senate Insurance Committee. Having earlier been amended …

No easy fix for California’s replacement parts regs

Henry Ford would be gratified to see how far mass production has come. Entire cars are constructed in a matter of hours. He would be somewhat less impressed …

Let it grow

Last week, the Washington Post detailed a phenomenon which, to many twenty-something residents (or former residents) of the District of Columbia, is all too familiar: young people are …

University of California has strong opinions on peer-to-peer business

Earlier this week, the University of California's Office of the President (UCOP) determined that, as a result of a perceived shortfall in regulation, it would not reimburse faculty …

Don’t take the Texas GOP’s crazy platform too seriously

In recent weeks, more than a few groups – including one on whose board I serve – have denounced various aspects of the Texas Republican Party's platform. Indeed, there's …

Insurance by/at the pound?

It has never been more of a dog's world. Consider, 45 percent of households own dogs. With such a high rate of cohabitation, insurers have seen dog-related claims rise. …

Checkmate for E3’s critics

Imagine the following: A new form of entertainment enters the market, which engages its players in intense competition, sometimes to the exclusion of their social lives, and which …

The Burkean case for immigration reform

Demos blogger Matt Bruenig, in an apparently Burkean mood, writes: The biggest factor in production is not nature, labor, or capital, but in fact accumulated technology and knowledge that …

Patents? Where we’re going, we don’t need patents

A little more than a week ago, if you were to walk through the lobby of Tesla Motors – not that I ever have, but if one were …

The fight over TNCs in California

Legislation regulating so-called "transportation network companies" in California passed the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee by a unanimous 8-0 vote earlier this week, amid a row …

Four other ethnic groups who could challenge pro team trademarks

Today's decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to vacate six of the Washington Redskins' trademarks on grounds that they are "disparaging …

Sacramento’s soggy redevelopment plan

Those unfortunate enough to have attended California Gov. Leland Stanford's 1862 inauguration likely had to commute to the Capitol Building as he did – by boat. Sacramento is, if …

The California Earthquake Authority: A confused success story

This year, the California Senate Insurance Committee has hosted two informational hearings on earthquake risk, bringing together stakeholders, regulators and thought-leaders. The fact is that Californians are overexposed and …

Paper puts cost of patent trolling at $22B

A new research paper has calculated that frequent lawsuits by patent assertion entities—or patent trolls as they are known pejoratively—has scared off some $22 billion in venture capital …

Conspicuous production

We are living in an era of makers. The objects being made are diverse: quadcopters, decorations, blog posts and hand-bound notebooks. The ones we hear about have some …

In memoriam, Sean Carr

Sean P. Carr, one of the best reporters covering the insurance industry here in the nation's capital, died suddenly last night from complications during emergency surgery, just a …

Join R Street’s Christian Camara in Pembroke Pines

R Street State Affairs Director Christian Camara will take part this Thursday in a forum sponsored by Florida International University's Metropolitan Center on “The Hurricane Threat: Issues in …

Moylan on Virginia’s TNC ban

R Street's Andrew Moylan joined Afternoon Constitutional host Joe Thomas of WCHV-FM, 107.5 in Charlottesville, Va., to discuss Virginia's recent cease and desist letter to transportation network companies …

Pioneering innovative new approaches to rectangles

Microsoft, one of the largest corporate holders of patents in the United States, received another major bundle of approvals this week from the USPTO. In addition to some …

Who will weight-watch the watchmen?

In what is likely the most bizarre story you will read all week, Seattle resident, trained fighter and self-proclaimed "superhero" (read: costumed vigilante) Phoenix Jones has decided to …

Court rules no legal fees in ‘pocket bra’ patent troll case

Back in 2012, Kyle Bartlow and Mariah Gentry were juniors at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, looking to live out the American dream of entrepreneurship. …

Moylan on hurricane season

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance on TPA's "Taxpayer Watch Podcast" to discuss the June 1 start of the Atlantic …

Utah residents may be charged $20 a month to bail out UTOPIA

Residents of 11 Utah cities would be billed as much as $20 a month, as part of a plan to salvage the state's once-heralded UTOPIA fiber optic network. UTOPIA, …

The conservative case for precedent

Treating like cases alike is central to the U.S. legal system. Socially and morally, the advantages of juridical consistency are assumed to be foundational. For this reason, among …

That’s how the cupcake patent crumbles

Perhaps the surest sign that the decade-long cupcake fad is really and truly over is that even cupcake-related lawsuits are wrapping up tidily. Most recently, news has come down …

Muni broadband: The gift that keeps on taking

LUS Fiber, the municipal broadband system in Lafayette, La., last month received another warning from city auditors, an advisory that appears to have become an annual thing. Although losses …

Will the NFIP survive this year’s hurricane season?

This Sunday, June 1, marks the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. And though experts are predicting a relatively quiet one this year, our dutiful representatives in …

Upcoming Google hangout on copyright reform

We'll be hosting a Google Hangout with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss copyright reform on Thursday, …

Five reasons why online poker is here to stay

The annual World Series of Poker got underway in Las Vegas Tuesday. Poker enthusiasts are looking to see if legalization of online poker has an impact on the …

The insurance implications of Google’s self-driving car

Google has announced a truly "driverless" car that lacks a steering wheel, brakes or anything else that allows a driver to control its movements. This actually strikes me as a …

Forget everything you know about six-pack organizers

Picture a six-pack of bottles or cans. Now, imagine you want to transport or organize those bottles and/or cans. How are you going to do it? Perhaps you might …

Endow R Street’s office supplies of freedom

  After two years of serious work and a lot of fun, we at the R Street Institute feel like we've finally joined the big leagues. We've produced widely-circulated …

Prop 103’s troublesome legacy

It's been more than a quarter-century since California voters passed Proposition 103. Spurred on by questionable analysis of the causes of high auto insurance premiums, five competing insurance-regulation …

Africa can tap global reinsurance markets; why not Florida?

In what can only be taken as an exceedingly encouraging sign for emerging markets around the world, an African Union-created agency has established the continent's first-ever catastrophe insurance …

Democracy and open data: are the two linked?

Are democracies better at practicing open government than less free societies? To find out, I analyzed the 70 countries profiled in the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Data Index …

TNCs fight for footing in California’s legislature

A recent R Street post by Zachary Cohn laid out three steps that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar should take to solidify their place in …

Showtime series highlights R Street carbon tax debate

The makers of the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously shot some footage of the carbon tax debate we hosted last June, pitting R Street Executive Director Andrew …

House Republicans offer road map for the future of terrorism insurance

Having previously played (and arguably, lost) two prior rounds of legislative "chicken" with the insurance industry, congressional conservatives are making it known that, this time around, they're quite …

Wait, did Amazon just patent photography?

Watch out Glamour Shots, Amazon may be setting its sights on you. That's because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the most unlikely of all companies, Amazon, …

Memo to EU: There is no ‘right to be forgotten’

The European Union's highest court has ruled that Internet search engines must give serious consideration to users who request they remove links to any content or article that …

The net neutrality end-game

This Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to decide whether the network neutrality principle is feasible in a world where on any given evening, Netflix and YouTube …

FTC directors say states should scrap dealership laws

In what has to be taken as a surprisingly encouraging piece of pro-market sentiment coming from a trio of federal regulators, three high-level Federal Trade Commission staffers are …

Our selective privacy panic

Somewhere around the time that Google launched its first ad-matching algorithm for Gmail, America and its policymakers became very concerned about privacy on the Internet. Never mind that …

Congressional Data Coalition asks Senate to publish legislative info in digital formats

Earlier today, the Congressional Data Coalition submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee on improving public access to legislative information. The coalition made two requests. First, we asked the …

Conservatives coalescing against TRIA, Ex-Im

It has been the general Washington consensus of recent years – voiced, most recently, by my colleague Reihan Salam – that the conservative movement is inalterably riven between …

DC wants to lock up street vendors

The District of Columbia's food trucks, farmers markets, mobile boutiques and ticket resellers all potentially face harsh new criminal penalties under amendments to the district's vending regulations that …

Pushing the White House toward digital privacy

President Barack Obama is scheduled to review federal policies regarding both the corporate and governmental collection, use and retention of citizens' personal data. While this "big data" review could …

Four principles for effective cybersecurity law and policy

Cybercrime is in the news again. The Heartbleed security flaw has damaged the reputation of open source computing—a situation only made worse by reports that the government exploited …

TNCs need to go on the offensive…nicely

In the past year, so-called "transportation network companies" like Uber and Lyft have gone from fighting for explosive growth to fighting for survival. They won their first fight …

USPTO strikes down sippy cup design patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has, for the first time, invalidated a design patent under a post-grant review process created by the America Invents Act. The patent in …

Bucking the ‘mother, may I?’ mentality

"Permissionless innovation" is what we call the unconstrained tinkering and continuous exploration that takes place at multiple levels across the digital economy today, from professional creators to amateur …

Peer production enters the kitchen

There's another peer production platform for regulators, taxmen, and assorted other busybodies to get the vapors about: Feastly, the "Airbnb of dinner." Feastly follows a pretty typical peer-to-peer model: …

Pritzker’s pro-patent reform push should include designs

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker believes reforms are needed to rein in costly litigation in the U.S. patent system, adding in recent public remarks that "the president gets it," …

Uber and Lyft prepare for Houston showdown

When Uber entered the Houston market in February it provoked the same outcry from the city's only two cab companies. The city code does prohibit drivers without livery …

Congress should help, not hinder, private terror insurance markets

Earlier this week, I took part in what I found to be a lively and enlightening panel discussion on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the now-12-year-old federal program …

Differentiation within the peer production economy

Earlier this week, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry posted a long and thoughtful comment on my response to his Forbes piece on the sharing economy from last week. I wanted to …

Facing Social Security’s ignoble lie

That federal entitlement programs are heading for an increasingly unavoidable crisis has (justifiably) become conventional wisdom in Washington. What's more, these programs unquestionably hold the lion's share of …

Treasury regs and Louisiana’s coast

Yesterday saw two significant bits of news come out of the Louisiana Gulf Coast. First, oil company BP announced that, almost four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil …

R Street’s Lehmann on terrorism insurance

R Street Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann participated in a panel organized by National Journal magazine and hosted at Chicago's Soldier Field by Zurich North America …

Responding to Coppage and Gobry on the sharing economy

This morning in the American Conservative, Jonathan Coppage writes about "The Sharing Economy’s Undead Capital, and Its Discontents," commenting on my essay in The Ümlaut last week, as …

Ridesharing, insurance and regulation

ALEC's Cara Sullivan had a good post earlier this week on the American Legislator blog about the importance of balancing consumer protection with innovation in the ride-on-demand services …

Scott Rigell tries to resurrect totally discredited Marketplace Fairness Act

I'll say one positive thing about supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act: they're nothing if not persistent. They've been trying to hammer a square peg into a round …

R Street’s Salam with FBI vet Michael German

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street's Reihan Salam discusses how the FBI has changed since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, with Michael German, a 16-year FBI …

Can a vampire serve in Congress?

While this might be the sort of question one usually only expects to hear on an episode of True Blood, it became a genuine concern this week. It …

Breaking wind

It's budget season, and with budget season comes a renewed debate over one of the most depressing elements of American politics – namely, its tendency to pick winners …

Sanders talks robopocalypse on FBC’s ‘The Independents’

R Street Outreach Director Lori Sanders joined hosts Kennedy, Kmele Foster and Matt Welch (editor of Reason magazine) on Fox Business Channel's "The Independents" to discuss whether the …

Is it only violent people who fear video game violence?

Recently, residents of my home state of California got an uncharacteristically hilarious moment of political irony. In a storyline that may as well be from The Blacklist, state …

Smoking cessation expert to Health Canada: Stop killing smokers

Health Canada has blocked sales of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, even though the devices are readily available in the United States.  I previously commented on the agency's unfounded opposition to …

When does a school become a scam?

With the student loan debt bubble starting to look to many worried observers like Subprime Mortgages 2: Electric Boogaloo, the question of whether college is really worth it …

Detroit: From ‘Heat Wave’ to deep freeze

In the early 1960s, a young songwriter from Detroit named Lamont Dozier signed an exclusive contract with Motown Records, teamed up with Eddie and Brian Holland, and eventually …

The ‘House of Cards’ generation

In the first season of Netflix's runaway political hit "House of Cards," protagonist and antihero Frank Underwood remarks dryly about a liberal educational expert's bill that: Two things are …

Rick Santorum’s geographic suicide pact

While the 2014 midterm election season has not yet fully taken shape, reading most major press outlets, one could be forgiven for concluding that the 2016 presidential primary …

Vermont vapers cheesed off by tax proposal

The Vermont Legislature is considering a new (vastly higher) tax on e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco that would treat them very much like cigarettes. The revenue Vermont hopes to …

‘4/04 Day’ panel and happy hour

The Congressional Data Coalition is hosting a panel and happy hour on April 4 ("4/04 Day") sponsored by the R Street Institute, and organized with help from other coalition …

Clinical trial: e-cigarettes are satisfying cigarette substitutes

A clinical trial demonstrates that e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, reduce craving and satisfy vapers. The research, published in Scientific Reports, is the work of Konstantinos Farsalinos and colleagues at …

Apply now for our 2014 Google Policy Fellowship

The R Street Institute (a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, DC) is accepting applications for its 2014 Google Policy Fellowship in technology policy. R Street's Google Fellow …

Fla Cat Fund missing out on best reinsurance market ever

Coming into 2014, we had modest expectations of the potential for significant property insurance reform in Florida. Given that it is an election year – and one featuring …

Survey finds businesses would reducing hiring, raise prices to offset minimum wage hike

Though the Congressional Budget Office has already warned that the proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage could cost the economy at least 500,000 jobs over the next two years, President …

R Street looking for a California director

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, is looking for a dynamic, energetic person to serve as the first employee and director of a …

NSA can record every phone call in a foreign country

The NSA spying controversy has found its way back in the news, after a brief respite due to the foreign policy crisis with Russia and coverage of the missing …

Vapers, know your e-cig ingredients: propylene glycol

A common knock against e-cigarettes is that we don't know the long-term health effects of consuming nicotine vapor.  The fact is that while it's impossible to have complete …

UCSF study falsely links e-cigarettes to smoking

Academics at the University of California San Francisco have used the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey to fabricate a claim that "e-cigarettes are likely to be …

Republicans dip toes in TV reg reform waters

Just when it seemed that Republicans might take the plunge in reforming outdated retransmission consent laws, it sounds like they found the water colder than expected and have …

Design patents are a poor match for high fashion

As the lengthy Hollywood awards season has shown us, fashion - especially red carpet fashion - is rife with faux pas, but none so great as "stealing the …

Portrait of the porn star as a young millennial

News that there is a Duke University freshman who acts in pornographic films was always going to make the Internet catch fire.  But the recent revelations, which have …

‘Innocence of Muslims’ ruling raises host of questions

Remember the video that President Obama cited as the reason behind the attacks in Benghazi? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to order the video …

Movin’ on up to the right side

In a debate near the end of her premiership, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was faced with a questioner who complained that while "the prime minister has achieved …

State attorneys general support patent reform

The attorneys general of 42 states have signed a letter supporting efforts in Congress to enact comprehensive patent reform legislation. The letter emphasizes the need for increased transparency, …

Justice trumps compassion

Late in season two of House of Cards (spoiler alert!), the show's protagonist, Vice President Francis Underwood, is confronted with a thorny and uncharacteristically human problem when Freddy, …

The REINS Act doesn’t go far enough

In a recent Rasmussen poll, more than half of likely voters (51 percent) said they believe EPA regulations should require congressional approval before they are implemented.  Given that …

Why doesn’t the left push a universal basic income?

It seems barely a week goes by without the release of some statistic that sparks an unwieldy volume of conflicting interpretations. Last week, it was the projection by …

R Street’s Sanders on the Thom Hartmann Show

R Street's Lori Sanders took part in an hour-long panel with progressive commentator Nate Sweet and Project 21/MoveOnUp.org's Hughey Newsome on RT's Thom Hartmann Show. Topics covered include …

Salam on whether racist incidents are on the rise

Over at CNN's OutFront with Erin Burnett, R Street's Reihan Salam joined Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to discuss a recent incident in …

Tobacco harm reduction endorsed in New England Journal of Medicine

In late January, the New England Journal of Medicine published a ringing endorsement of tobacco harm reduction.  The authors of "Smoke, The Chief Killer – Strategies for Targeting …

Join AFF and R Street’s Lori Sanders for a panel on the right’s response to poverty

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a damning chart examining the War on Poverty. The chart showed the poverty rate's fluctuations over the last 50 years, once taxes and …

Internet comments sections are more dangerous than video games

In the past few weeks, two fascinating pieces of research concerning technology and the Internet have come to light. A study from Brock University in Canada suggests prolonged …

The silliness of Florida’s film tax incentives

A spectre is haunting Florida: The spectre of running out of taxpayer money to subsidize Hollywood productions in the state! Tampa's Bay News 9 reports: Hollywood producers have been scouting …

Beaver pelts and broadband

In 1670, King Charles II of England granted a group of 17 men—now called the Hudson Bay Co.—a royal charter, which gave them control over 40 percent of …

God and man and supply and demand

In 1951, William F. Buckley Jr. published the first of his many books, "God and Man at Yale." An instant commercial success, and an instant source of controversy, …

Salam on Chris Christie’s political career and prospects

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN OutFront host Erin Burnett and New Republic Senior Editor Alec MacGillis to discuss MacGillis' cover story in the latest issue …

Poisoning public health issues: Chapter 2

Three years ago I discussed an unfounded claim by Harvard University's Dr. Gregory Connolly that smokeless tobacco products are a major cause of poisoning among American children.  A …

Reasons to fight back today

There comes a point when people just can't take it anymore, when frustration and anger boil over into public displays. Two years ago, that anger manifested in the …

The Obamacare trap

Last week's release of Congressional Budget Office numbers showing that Obamacare is projected to decrease employment by 2.5 million jobs has, by now, been litigated almost to the …

A day to fight back

Hoping to capture the same grassroots outcry that successfully blocked ham-handed anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA two years ago, a number of organizations on both the left and …

Nitzkin on Oregon’s proposed e-cigarette ban

R Street's Dr. Joel Nitzkin testified yesterday before the Oregon Legislature regarding bills that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors and ban their use in areas where …

Salam discuses student debt with Anya Kamenetz

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street's Reihan Salam interviews Anya Kamenetz, staff writer for Fast Company and a columnist for Tribune Media, about the state of higher …

How can businesses ‘regulate their rivals’ in a bill eliminating regulations?

Fred Campbell, executive director of a new group called the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, had a curious piece on retransmission consent on The Hill’s Congress Blog …

CVS abandons tobacco and reason

Tobacco control advocates have for years pressured pharmacies to stop selling tobacco. Today, CVS, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, announced it will end all tobacco product sales effective …

NSA surveillance should not be the new normal

It's saying something when National Security Agency data collection becomes a reference point in the sports pages. In an article in this morning's Houston Chronicle, reporter Roy Bragg begins …

To an ‘ordinary observer,’ design patents flunk the test

The U.S. Supreme Court laid down the legal standard for what constitutes infringement of a design patent in the 1871 case Gorham v. White. The court's decision, which …

Design patents are an ornamental drag on innovation

What's the purpose of a patent? If you answered "to promote scientific progress and development by giving incentives to inventors," then you're at the top of the class. …

FISA requests way more interested in email content than ‘metadata’

In a major step forward for transparency, Google today offered the first batch of disclosures made pursuant to new U.S. Department of Justice rules allowing companies to publish …

Flood insurance and the phantom real estate crash

To hear proponents tell the tale, the reason the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to gut reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program that it had approved overwhelmingly just …

Exploiting the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report on smoking

Fifty years ago, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued a landmark report describing the health risks of cigarette smoking. Tobacco prohibitionists are using the anniversary to promote onerous …

The GOP’s new base?

Today saw the release of the Washington Post's January poll of registered voters on a singularly interesting question: "Which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans), do you …

Buckley’s revenge

In a 1988 debate over drug policy, William F. Buckley Jr struck what would have been, for a conservative, a rather unconventional position on a hot button social …

Fear and clarity in Davos

I happened to be watching the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and was struck by the number of CEOs who mentioned "clarity" as the overarching need …

BMJ editorial: Holding the line for ignorance

The British Medical Journal grossly erred in its Jan. 2 commentary "Hold the line against tobacco" by Editor Dr. Fiona Godlee. BMJ asserts that e-cigarettes pose a "grave risk …

Should Snowden get clemency?

Over at the VICE podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam hosts a debate between Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy & Technology …

Nitzkin on the benefits of e-cigarettes

Oklahoma City's KFOR NewsChannel 4 carried this report on the Jan. 21 joint hearing of the Oklahoma Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and the Oklahoma House …

Rothschild on how Florida should use RESTORE Act funds

Florida lawmakers should ensure the windfall that will soon come to the state's counties under the federal RESTORE Act are used as intended for environmental and economic reparations …

Congress should put NSA back on target

Before Christmastime, hackers from Eastern Europe loaded malware onto big box store Target's computers, collecting credit card information on millions of people. No one seriously disputes that what these …

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Game over for video game violence alarmism

In 1999's comedic classic, "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut," a mob of angry parents, searching for an explanation for their children's increasingly profane language, point the finger …

Burn all the patent violators!

In 1421, an Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, designed a truly massive creation. Called ll Badalone, or "The Sea-Going Monster," it was a ship intended to haul a hundred tons …

US privacy law requires operating system upgrade

This may not be obvious but, as a short trip through some of Buzzfeed's less serious listicles will quickly reveal, the world has changed since 1986. Ronald Reagan is …

House to hold hearings on Internet sales tax

The issue seemed to be dead going into 2014, but some House Republicans — those who seem determined to find a way to raise taxes — are planning …

A sad day at National Underwriter

Before jumping into think tank life in late 2011 (technically speaking, jumping back into think tank life, as I did have a brief spell with the Independent Institute …

Are we all #fullcommunists now?

The explosively angry reaction on the right to Jesse Myerson's recent Rolling Stone piece, "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For" is, like its earlier reaction to …

Lehrer talks ‘ban the box’ on WBAL

R Street President Eli Lehrer was on WBAL Radio in Baltimore, Md., to discuss his recent Huffington Post piece on proposals to "ban the box" -- that is …

SAVE THE DATE: Florida Chamber’s 7th Annual Insurance Summit

Those interested in the future of insurance in the Sunshine State should register for the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Seventh Annual Insurance Summit, set for Jan. 15-17 at …

Upcoming R Street tech policy briefings

Please join us for two days of tech policy briefings followed by a networking happy hour at Capitol Lounge presented by the R Street Institute and Generation Opportunity. …

The left’s half-baked critique of gamer culture

With the advent of video gaming as an art form, it is both natural and appropriate that criticism of its "canon" should arise. Just as scholars puzzle over …

Are we seeing the end of Baptist-bootlegger politics?

Thirty years ago, economist Bruce Yandle introduced the world in a classic essay to the pervasive power of "Bootleggers and Baptists," a catchphrase used to refer to any …

NYU to e-cigarette users: Cigarettes are healthier

I have noted in the past how prestigious organizations sometimes spew misinformation about the risks of smokeless tobacco; I have been especially critical of individuals representing the Mayo …

Do e-cigarettes cause passive vaping?

"Passive smoking" has been hotly contested. Is there a case for "passive vaping?" Hardly. A detailed study of e-cigarette vapor by German investigators at the Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz Institute's Department …

Rothschild talks RESTORE Act on New Orleans’ WWL

R Street State Projects Director and Senior Fellow Daniel M. Rothschild joined host Garland Robinette on New Orleans WWL Radio, AM 870/FM 105.3, to discuss how Louisiana will …

Missing the point on ‘Pajama Boy’

Like every conservative, when I saw the recent Obamacare ads featuring the by-this-point infamous "Pajama Boy," my first reaction was near-instant derision, and not just because of unpleasant …

Scalise to the retrans reform rescue

I've been working on the issue of retransmission consent, the process by which broadcasters and television service providers negotiate a price for delivering video content to consumers, for …

Why Christians (and Americans) should support A&E’s Duck Dynasty decision

The past 24 hours have seen lots of hand-wringing over cable channel A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the patriarch in the hit show "Duck Dynasty," for controversial …

Legacy tells the truth, THR revolution gains momentum

After 20 years of staunch opposition to and misinformation about tobacco harm reduction from anti-tobacco forces, one prominent figure has broken ranks, offering the truth and a cautious …

Sanders on the farm bill

R Street Senior Fellow Lori Sanders discusses the farm bill on 1070 AM WINA in Charlottesville, Va. Click here to download the podcast. …

Shining a light on federal advertising

News broke this week that insurers plan to spend more than $500 million in coming months to market the healthcare plans available on the Obamacare exchanges. This will …

The CDC abuses the facts about e-cigarettes – Part II

In a previous post, I noted false and misleading information in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release about e-cigarette use by youth. The CDC reported …

Wisconsin workers’ comp insurers propose to rein in costs

States once again show the way to management and reform of public systems by having affected interests sit down together to work out a plan. In Wisconsin, the …

Insurance shows that federalism works

Fifty-four years ago, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations was established by statute to examine the best or most logical accommodations of federalism. For many years, it held …

ECPA reform campaign will get official White House response

Early Thursday morning, with just hours remaining before the cutoff, a WhiteHouse.gov We the People petition to reform ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) and update privacy laws to …

Good news from Florida

Good news from Florida on the insurance front: the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has shrunk their exposure by some 35 percent. This is a win for competitive insurance …

The election Obamacare postponed

Imagine a purely hypothetical election. An incumbent president who is despised with unmatched wrath by his party base is swept out of office in disgrace after his administration's …

The CDC abuses the facts about e-cigarettes, part I

The headline on the Centers for Disease Control's Sept. 5 press release was dire: "E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012."  …

Join today’s ‘Day of Action’ on electronic privacy

This week, Congress updated one outdated technology law, but they've left a more serious one languishing.  While Congress has renewed the Undetectable Firearms Act, which bans plastic guns, …

An X-boneheaded argument

In the 1980s, a group was formed which warned of an emerging danger to American's youth. That danger was a new, and increasingly popular form of entertainment that, …

Pope Francis and the three-legged stool

Spend any time at a gathering of conservative thinkers, and soon enough, the conversation will turn, like clockwork, to the idea that conservatism needs to remain a "three …

Salam on the Obamacare delay for small business

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN's Erin Burnett and Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis to discuss the latest announced Obamacare delay, as the portion of the federal …

What the EU snus ban means: 290,865 casualties per year

A Nov. 12 e-cigarette summit at the Royal Society in London featured a range of views on European prospects for these new products. Tobacco harm reduction proponents included Clive …

(Un)happy Thanksgiving, from USDA’s family to yours

Every Thanksgiving, our pre-dinner routine is the same. We trek out, mile-long list in hand, to our local grocery store, prepared to fill our buggies with every food …

Another flood insurance canard washed away

When the cause of flood insurance reform is advanced, one immediate bit of pushback that one tends to hear is that reform is unfair. The reasoning usually goes …

Federal snooping’s chilling effect on writers, data

The expansion of government surveillance— or, more precisely, our expanding awareness of government surveillance— has had a chilling effect on writers. According to a survey conducted by the PEN …

The FDA’s war on information

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a "dangerous" medical product, but it's not a drug or a diet or a surgery. It's information. On Nov. 22, the …

Australia: tobacco control and bootlegger paradise

Australia is the darling of anti-tobacco extremists.  They tout that country as the model for draconian cigarette regulation and taxation.  Australia imposed mandatory plain packaging last December and …

Did Obamacare reveal its own alternative?

When it comes to Obamacare's current problems, there is a story often told at libertarian seminars that springs to mind. The story tells of a town that, plagued …

The 375 Charts You Must See

For years, blog posts promising "The One Chart That Explains" some complex subject or "Three Graphs Tell You Everything You Need to Know About" a current policy debate …

Obama’s SBA spent $80,000 in taxpayer money on study to promote Internet sales tax

There's wasteful spending and then there's wasteful spending, Chicago-style. File this under the latter. To translate the bureaucrat-ese at the link for you, this is an award notice for …

Overdue patches for privacy law

The furor over National Security Agency spying keeps turning up surveillance ops that are stomach-turning, but legal, thanks to too permissive law.  Some regulations were deliberately written to …

R Street is seeking a think tank office manager

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

Another reason to defend the fraternal tax exemption

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

New energy for the farm bill

I’ve written several times criticizing the efforts of the House on the farm bill, highlighting the myriad ways in which the House’s agriculture supports are far too generous, …

School choice: a solution to bullying

As readers may or may not be aware, it's School Choice Week. However, given the items in the news, you could be forgiven for not knowing. In fact, …

Misinformation from federal officials, 2013 edition

"See, in my line of work," said President George W. Bush in 2005, "you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth …

New York AG treating Airbnb customers to fishing expedition

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, has issued a subpoena to Airbnb to request data on all users in New York who have ever used the popular Internet …

Doubling down on dishonesty

"Somebody is on the wrong side of history," said Joe Trippi, the "netroots" guru and former campaign manager for Howard Dean's presidential quest, on a recent TV news …

Hot new national security priority: taxing Internet sales

Wait, what? Yes, according to rumblings on Capitol Hill, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will once again attempt to attach the Reid-Durbin-Obama Internet sales tax bill known as the Marketplace …

Salam talks ‘sketching rebellion’ with artist Molly Crabapple

Over at the VICE Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam sits down with artist Molly Crabapple to discuss her work, much of which deals with subcultures and …

Sarvis gave Republicans their key to victory

A few weeks back, I noted that libertarians were turning to Robert Sarvis over Ken Cuccinelli due to a combination of historical resentment from the Bush era, and hard political …

Words alone won’t draw foreign investment

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

Common sense solution for indoor vaping

E-cigarettes are gaining traction as legitimate harm-reduction alternatives for cigarette smokers, but one nagging question persists: should vaping be permitted in interior public spaces? With few exceptions, indoor smoking …

Consumers deserve open ticket markets

Like most Americans, I enjoy attending live entertainment events. But also like most Americans, I find the complex world of online ticket sales as user-friendly as the Healthcare.gov …

Does the right need to call a ceasefire on the safety net?

American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks recently claimed the right needs to declare a ceasefire on the safety net, a controversial statement for the leader of what is …

Why scalping opponents are losing their heads

When one thinks of ticket scalpers, one generally conjures a mental image of shady men waiting outside theaters offering scandalously overpriced tickets to late buyers from under several …

Is the ‘Northern Strategy’ replacing the ‘Southern Strategy?’

Today, if polls are any guide, two events are at least likely: First, we can probably say with absolute certainty that Chris Christie will be reelected governor of …

Salam with Kleiman on crime and punishment

Over at the VICE Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam interviews Mark Kleiman of the University of California-Los Angeles, author of the book When Brute Force Fails. …

Noonan: Insurers can cover terrorism privately

A poll released last week by the Risk and Insurance Management Society -- the trade association for risk managers of corporations, non-profits and local government agencies, who together …

About those ‘huge’ flood insurance rate increases

Recent news reports on the roll-out of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program have focused on astronomical increases in rates faced by some home and business owners. …

The scientific evidence for e-cigarettes

I am honored to join Drs. Riccardo Polosa and Pasquale Caponnetto and their colleagues at the University of Catania in Italy as a coauthor of a new scientific …

What does it take to be a federally subsidized ‘farm manager’?

I've written before on one of the more egregious aspects of federal farm payments, namely that they frequently go to those who aren't actually farming. I last wrote …

What would Buckley do?

In the ongoing dust-up over tactics currently dominating conservative sites – turning former comrades against each other and causing many consternation about the fate of the GOP – …

National Review Institute is accepting applications for 2013-14 fellows

The National Review Institute is accepting applications for their 2013-14 class of fellows. As a fellow from the 2012-13 class, I highly recommend the program to conservatives of …

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

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

Salam on whether unpaid internships should be legal

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam recently joined political commentator Stephanie Miller and Mediaite's Joe Concha to discuss unpaid White House internships on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront. …

Why libertarians won’t vote for Cuccinelli

Next week, voters in Virginia will go to the polls to choose the next governor of their state, and if current forecasts are any guide, it will be …

Huzzah! Europeans have purchased our brewery!

To listen to some of my beer snob friends talk, Belgium invaded Kansas this month. Figuratively, of course—the Belgians have not been serious aggressors since the times of …

Don’t let them delay it

What did I tell you? Barely a week after the most pointless show of political muscle since 1995, Democrats are now starting to think about delaying Obamacare, after …

A directory of tobacco harm reduction experts for inquiring media

Mass media are in complete denial of the voluminous scientific literature supporting e-cigarettes as harm-reduction products.  A recent report on National Public Radio is representative.  The host set …

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

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

GOP goes back to the future

Following the unmitigated political disaster that was the two-week government shutdown, there has been a heartening rise in the number of people on the right speaking out against …

Georgia Republicans to the poor: ‘We can’t hear you now’

If you want to reduce fraud and abuse in a government program, you can figure out the sources and experiment with reasonable solutions. Or you can do what …

The lost opportunity for ‘Grace’

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan initiated a two-year effort to ask thousands of businesses and associations to help his administration root out inefficiencies in the federal government. This …

Five lessons from the shutdown

On Wednesday night, a miracle happened. Not only did the country avoid default on its debt and reopen the government at the same time, but it did so …

Good news for Amtrak? Not so fast (just like their wifi)

I'm a big fan of train travel in the Northeast, at least relative to the other options. I've never understood people who fly between DC and New York …

Why do we invest in infrastructure?

Katrina vanden Heuvel engages in a fun bout of meta-trolling in the hometown paper this morning, arguing that Democrats have already compromised so much that Republicans have basically …

The GOP’s ‘moral’ hazard

In just a couple of days, it is quite possible that the impasse which has gripped Washington's divided government may have another casualty -- that is, the United …

Federalism, immigration and deciding who can practice law

Federalism is a theory of balance. The American system disperses power over fifty states, some much larger number of localities and the federal government. The idea of federalism …

The hazards of hookah

One of the hot trends in tobacco use is waterpipe smoking (the terms hookah, narghile or shisha are also used). Hookah bars are located throughout the United States, …

Supreme Court takes another look at the takings clause

In good news for property rights, the Supreme Court granted cert this term to hear a case about a kind of abuse that has been festering for nearly …

Let them eat care

Last week, Obamacare's exchanges opened. Not that you'd know, given that they have remained inaccessible ever since. Almost as inaccessible as a decent excuse by which the GOP …

PATRIOT Act author introduces measure to end NSA bulk data collection

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the author and primary sponsor of the USA PATRIOT Act, announced Wednesday that he would introduce legislation, the USA FREEDOM Act, to end the …

Set campaign finance free

The First Amendment protects assembly, speech and the resources that make speech possible. Yet the rules governing political speech in the United States are fraught with limits, red …

Debt ceiling breach could leave markets not enough debt to go around

In recent weeks, public discourse here inside the Beltway (and on Wall Street, and within various other corridors of power near and far) has focused on the need …

Sanders on the future of conservatism

R Street Outreach Director and Policy Analyst Lori Sanders took part last month in a panel sponsored by the Future 500 on the future of conservatism. Moderated by …

Salam talks with director of Let the Fire Burn

Over at the Vice Podcast, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam chats this week with Jason Osder, director of the new documentary Let the Fire Burn. Comprised of …

Gilles and Lund on firearm liability insurance mandates

The cover story in this quarter's edition of Regulation is a fascinating article by Stephen G. Gilles and Nelson Lund looking at the possible constitutional ramifications of mandatory …

The e-cigarette as ‘genuine competitor’ – Czech survey

A survey of smokers in the Czech Republic shows that e-cigarettes "may develop into a genuine competitor to conventional cigarettes." The lead author of the study, which was …

Centennial Institute on Renewable Portfolio Standards

Renewable Portfolio Standards are policies that mandate electricity producers generate certain percentages of their power from renewable standards. As of 2012, 30 states had RPS mandates and another …

Bill would take the Florida Cat Fund in the wrong direction

Florida state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, has filed Senate Bill 228 to maintain the current statutory requirement that the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, better known as the …

A reminder: credit unions didn’t cause the financial crisis

The past several weeks have seen the fifth anniversaries of several of the epic failures of the 2008 financial crisis. There was the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and …

Stop trying to fix Obamacare

Yesterday, the Twitter feed of fictional House of Cards main character (and House Majority Whip) Francis Underwood offered this gem of wisdom: Never interrupt your enemies when they are …

What happens when the government shuts down…

There's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the government shutdown that started today. Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been complaining about how it …

CNN poll: 57% oppose Obamacare, GOP gets blame for government shutdown

Opposition to Obamacare has hit its highest level since March 2011, according to the latest CNN poll, but Americans place the blame for the government shutdown largely on …

Sept. 24 telepresser on flood insurance

Our friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who recently published a fascinating report on how climate change and rising sea levels could impact the flood insurance, held …

Snus saving Swedish smokers’ lives as tobacco consumption declines

New research confirms earlier findings demonstrating that widespread snus use is tied to reduced rates of smoking. A decade ago I worked with scientists from Sweden's Umeå University to …

In childhood obesity battle, BMI-tracking by schools is losing policy

As schools around the country wrap up their first month back in session, parents soon may start receiving the first reports on how their children are shaping up …

Why I am not a libertarian populist

"You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your condition which you simply take for …

The conservative case against flood insurance

In the recent Hammer Horror film The Woman in Black, lawyer Arthur Kipps (played by erstwhile Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe) undertakes the project of sorting through the possessions of …

A Royall legacy

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago this week, two prominent citizens and a 30-year-old represented the people of North Carolina by signing what has come to be the …

Lehmann on farm policy’s impact on duck hunting

R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann sat down this week with our friend Steve Stanek of the Heartland Institute to discuss his recent paper on U.S. Department of …

Goodlatte’s principles help reset Internet sales tax debate

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., released his long-awaited Basic Principles on Remote Sales Tax yesterday. In seven commendably brief points, Goodlatte lays out the most important …

Nicotine safety

I have asserted for some 20 years that nicotine, while addictive, is otherwise without significant adverse health effects outside of pregnancy. It is, in other words, safe to …

There is reason to feel optimistic on this Constitution Day

Back in 2004, Congress passed an amendment offered by the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to an omnibus spending bill to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and …

Marketplace Fairness Act: bad policy, REALLY bad politics

A new poll released last week by the R Street Institute and National Taxpayers Union found strong opposition across the board to new Internet sales tax legislation like the so-called …

Facebook CEO: NSA spying hurting online businesses

The National Security Agency's broad surveillance programs aren't just bad for Americans' privacy, they're also bad for business. That's what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — a guy who …

Clinical trial shows e-cigarettes as good as the patch to quit smoking

Newly published research shows that e-cigarettes are about as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit. That should (but won't) silence critics who insist that e-cigarettes are …

TRIA: To extend or not to extend

Just in time for the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, our friends at the Cato Institute have published an interesting new report that calls for …

Join R Street’s Lori Sanders for a panel on the government’s role in social norms

What should be the role of government in creating and influencing social norms? In recent years, the movement for so-called "libertarian paternalism" has taken off to incorporate social …

Urban ‘farmers’ reap taxpayer dough

Many pundits and analysts have framed the farm bill, with its ever-growing spending on farm programs and nutritional assistance (or SNAP, previously known as "food stamps") to be …

Enhanced encryption could throw a wrench in NSA mass surveillance

Craig Timberg at the Washington Post has an important story on efforts to keep online communications and user data safe from the prying eyes of Uncle Sam. Timberg …

Join Reihan Salam at the Eagleton Institute

R Street Institute Senior Fellow Reihan Salam will be on hand Wednesday, Nov. 13 to offer a lecture and discussion on American conservatism at Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute …

Irresponsible e-cigarette theatrics from federal officials

The anti-tobacco movement continues to ignore evidence that millions worldwide have switched from smoke to vapor.  Witness yesterday's press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …

How can vouchers ‘threaten’ an education system this bad?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the …

Michigan bill says no credit score should be no factor in insurance discounts

The use of credit scores for insurance purposes has been a controversy for years in Michigan. The debate appeared to be settled in 2010 when the Michigan Supreme …

Should ‘under God’ be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joins Dean Obeidallah and CNN's Erin Burnett to discuss the latest court challenge. …

Measuring smokers’ preferences for smokeless tobacco products

Most of America's 45 million smokers have never considered switching to a smokeless tobacco product.  They have plenty of options, but we have little information about smokers' product …

R Street’s Andrew Moylan on the Gary Nolan Show

Talk show host and erstwhile candidate for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination Gary Nolan -- syndicated by 93.9 The Eagle in Columbia, Mo. -- caught up with our …

Twitter town hall on Pentagon #spendingreform

A transcript of our recent Twitter town hall on reforms to Pentagon spending: @gabriellahopem Join us for a Twitter town hall on reforming Pentagon spending today at 12:00 ET. …

August recess closes without closure on farm bill front

August is the one time the concerns of outside-the-beltway Americans are heard consistently in Washington, as major news outlets relay messages from congressional town hall meetings across the …

Five things about the NSA saga you may have missed

It has not been a good couple of weeks for the National Security Agency. Numerous details have emerged about the agency's spying "data acquisition" programs, and there's also …

Preserving natural beauty, encouraging economic growth

One of the greatest things about America is her natural beauty. From the peaks of the Rockies to the lowlands of the Great Plains, to the eastern and …

Obamacare will cost Delta Air Lines $100 million

Delta Air Lines sent a letter to the Obama Administration in June warning them that the mandates and taxes in Obamacare will cost the company $100 million. The letter, …

North Carolina consumers confronted with ‘Consent to Rate’

WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C. reports on a common problem facing North Carolina consumers: the arrival of letters from one's home or auto insurer requesting to raise rates above …

Join R Street’s Andrew Moylan Aug. 28 for a Twitter ‘town hall’ on defense spending

Right on Defense will host a Twitter town hall on wasteful spending in the bloated $600 billion Pentagon budget, featuring Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense and …

The tainted legacy of tobacco prohibitionism

On Aug. 19, David Abrams and Julia Cartwright wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled "What's wrong with this picture?" Alas, Dr. Abrams and Ms. Cartwright are …

When it comes to flood risks, population shifts trump climate change

Draft versions of a forthcoming working group report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- set to be formally released Sept. 27 -- have already …

Pociask on Florida’s missed opportunity

Writing at the Sun-Sentinel, our friend Steve Pociask of the American Consumer Institute reminds Florida lawmakers of the opportunity they missed out on during this past legislative session …

D.C. Taxicab Commission should reverse course and re-legalize uberX

Uber recently launched their new uberX service in Washington, D.C. and immediately faced opposition from the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission. UberX is similar to Uber's black sedan …

Being secure in one’s ‘papers’ in a paperless world

If you're pulled over, can the police access your cellphone and look through it without a warrant? The Obama Administration is asking the Supreme Court to say yes, …

Sanders on the conservative case to tackle poverty

R Street Outreach Manager Lori Sanders joins Michael Graham, host of the The Weekly Standard's podcast, to discuss her recent piece on why Republicans need to take poverty …

Salam interviews Jeremy Scahill of ‘Dirty Wars’

Over at Vice, R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam interviews Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, about his coverage special forces operations in the Middle East, …

States urged to restore Glass-Steagall

“The moment of truth has arrived. It is literally a choice between Glass-Steagall and mass starvation and death.”  This got my attention, and even though I thought I knew …

Fabricating a smoking gateway

A Harvard School of Public Health report claims, according to Reuters, "most young people in the United States who use newer smokeless tobacco products are smoking cigarettes." In …

Federal officials endorse impossibly high standard for e-cigarettes

National Public Radio host Diane Rehm on Aug. 5 discussed "Smoking in America Today" with Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office of Smoking and Health at the …

What Jeff Atwater gets wrong, and right, about Florida reinsurance

Yesterday, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater penned a letter to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty inquiring why property insurance rates continue to rise even as the cost of …

Gay marriage isn’t the only way conservatives can stand up for equality

Two recent Huffington Post pieces on gay marriage at the state level highlight an interesting contrast for Republican supporters of the cause. On Monday, the outlet reported that, …

Libertarian populism’s female problem

In the search for a fresh GOP narrative after 2012's losses, "libertarian populism" has emerged as perhaps the most viable alternative, partially because it already has a few …

The DEA gets in on the secret snooping business

The war on civil liberties continues to intensify. Reuters revealed Monday that the Drug Enforcement Administration has been receiving data from the National Security Agency’s spy program. That …

Don’t tax credit unions…or community banks, either

With the suggestion box now clamped shut for the Senate Finance Committee's tax reform project, it bears pondering what the process is likely to mean for the future …

Senate moves to make its ag reform intentions clear

The future of the farm bill may be in limbo, but fortunately, unlike their House counterparts, the Senate is using this waiting period to push for further agriculture …

Three must-read articles supporting tobacco harm reduction

These outstanding recent publications belong in every tobacco harm reduction library. 1.  Dr. Lynn Kozlowski on e-cigarettes Kozlowski, dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Buffalo, …

The White House’s ‘new’ newspeak

"I got tired of cursing the newspaper every morning. I got tired of seeing what was going wrong and not being able to do anything about it."  - …

After failed NSA vote, Rep. Ross points way forward

A proposal to defund the National Security Agency's spying program came close to passage last week. Proposed by Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and John Conyers, D-Mich., the amendment …

Will ECPA reform be carved up like a turkey?

With Congress set to break for its August recess this Friday, Capitol Hill is under pressure to get certain business done, for good or bad. That includes moving …

House convenes ‘Stop Government Abuse Week’

This week, the U.S. House will consider ten bills aimed at curbing government abuse, covering topics such as the IRS' involvement in health care, customer service standards for …

FDA finds insufficient evidence to justify menthol ban

The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee in 2011 reported that menthol had a negative impact on public health.  This week, the FDA released its Preliminary Scientific Evaluation …

Credit where it’s due

We spend an awful lot of time yelling about what Congress is screwing up. In our defense, it's a target-rich environment. A quick glance at the red ink …

Gov. Scott asks congressman to oppose protectionist reinsurance tax

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking a firm stance against proposals floated in Congress and by the White House that would raise catastrophe insurance rates by limiting the …

House members who receive farm subsidies vote against cutting them

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., released a report yesterday illustrating the latest Republican hypocrisy. The report profiles 14 Republican congressmen who receive federal agriculture subsidies. Each member voted for …

Ending the patent troll extortion racket

Patents are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as a means to "promote the progress of science and useful arts." Yet, in recent years, abusive and rent-seeking patent litigation …

The IRS scandal’s evolving narrative

We saw yet another congressional hearing on the Internal Revenue Service scandal yesterday in which both sides continued to establish beachheads with their partisan narratives. The Democrats have …

Clinical trial shows e-cigarettes can aid in smoking cessation

A new clinical trial provides clear evidence that e-cigarettes are effective in helping smokers quit or reduce cigarette consumption.  The results were published in PLoS One by Pasquale …

What’s really going on with flood rates? FEMA provides some clarity

In recent months, a group of lawmakers from the Gulf Coast -- led by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. -- in concert with some of their colleagues from Sandy-hit …

Civil investigations in the cloud

Increasingly, computer users are turning to cloud storage to hold on to their files and data. They do so not only to have access to these files whenever …

Effect of snus use on newborn birth weights? Real, but very small

Three years ago, I discussed several Swedish studies reporting that pregnant women who use snus are at risk for: Slightly smaller babies, premature delivery and preeclampsia (here); and Premature birth …

The farm bill fiasco

The Farm Bill is on the House floor right now and rumors are flying as to who's voting for it and what's been promised to them. I thought …

Does Obama have authority to suspend the employer mandate?

"We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,: says the U.S. Treasury spokesman about the Obamacare …

5 items in the PRISM report you need to read

Last week, the Congressional Research Service released a report on the National Security Agency's domestic spying programs. Essentially, it is a "What You Need To Know, Mr. Representative" …

Can the Republican Party be saved?

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses options to grow and reform the Republican Party, and whether such efforts have any hopes of succeeding. …

Salam on treatment of Zimmerman witnesses

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses the treatment of witnesses in the George Zimmerman case on CNN. …

Do House Republicans really want reform?

As much as I never like to question anyone’s intentions, I finally find myself asking this week, do House Republicans really want to reform Washington? Perhaps it was naïve, …

Top 7 farm amendments House won’t be allowed to vote on

News broke earlier today that the House will proceed with consideration of a "farm only" Farm Bill this week after deciding to split the agriculture and nutrition portions. …

Salam talking carbon taxes on Business Insider

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses the potential for a carbon tax with Josh Barro of Business Insider, as well as the prospects that Republicans would ever …

Reihan Salam on Eliot Spitzer

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joins Dean Obeidallah, Stephanie Miller and CNN's Erin Burnett to discuss Eliot Spitzer's return to politics. …

Reihan Salam on why single-payer wouldn’t work here

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses single-payer health care systems, and why the United States may not be ideally suited for one. …

Restore the Fourth: Snail mail edition

On the Fourth of July, thousands of protesters took to the streets across America to challenge the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional domestic spying program. Simultaneously, the New York Times' …

Censorship by the Norwegian Health Directorate

Global health authorities have zero tolerance for tobacco use. Worse, they have zero tolerance for any rational discussion of tobacco harm reduction. Last year, the health directorate of Norway …

Salam on the employer mandate delay

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam discusses the Treasury Department's decision to delay the Obamacare employer mandate with Josh Barro of Business Insider. …

The Obamacare employer mandate should be delayed…forever

The big news this morning is the Treasury Department’s announcement that it will delay for one year provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require employers with more …

Hey big corporations, D.C. doesn’t want your lousy jobs

Jobs? We don’t need no steeeenking jobs! That could be the motto of the D.C. City Council. Last week, the council voted to impose a “super-minimum wage” on large …

Tobacco harm reduction: Hope in the US, despair in Europe

In my commentary, “The Electronic Future of Cigarettes,” published last week in The Atlantic,  I described "a radical transformation in the way our society uses tobacco…as tobacco consumers …

Top five policies that keep DC’s Metro dysfunctional

It's very difficult to find any agreement in Washington, D.C. From budgets to health care to social issues to even Redskins or the Ravens, disagreement is the norm. …

R Street wins carbon tax debate with Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute

On June 13, 2013, the R Street Institute hosted a debate with the Energy & Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Heartland Institute on the question, "Are …

Facebook official’s move to NSA should raise eyebrows

Last week, news came to light that former Facebook Chief Security Officer Max Kelley now works for the National Security Agency. The story should raise a few eyebrows …

Indiana balance-billing law latest in fight over ‘reasonable’ charges

One of the long-standing tensions in health care  finance -- whether you're talking about health insurance or managed care, for-profit or non-profit, workers' compensation, Medicare, Tricare,  automobile medical …

Don’t mess with Texans’ emails, revisited

Just a week ago, we noted that the Texas Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Rick Perry that would force state law enforcement to get a warrant if …

Alternative tobacco products aid in smoking cessation

In May, Dr. Lucy Popova and Dr. Pamela Ling coauthored “Alternative Tobacco Product Use and Smoking Cessation: A National Study.”  It appeared in the May issue of the …

Texas wind pool wants $500 million in pre-event notes

On Tuesday, the board of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association agreed to explore additional funding options, after the Legislature was unable to pass any reforms during the recent …

R Street urges House consider improvements after failed Farm Bill vote

For Immediate Release Contact Information: R.J. Lehmann, Public Affairs Director Office: 202.525.5717 Email: rlehmann@rstreet.org WASHINGTON (June 20, 2013) –- The R Street Institute welcomed today’s 195 to 234 U.S. House vote defeating a …

Lies, damn lies and crop insurance

The fact that outlandish misinformation flies around Capitol Hill as various groups fight to keep their subsidies is nothing new. But sometimes, the misinformation is so misleading and …

Eli Lehrer on R Street, conservatism and the environment

Peter Sinclair's two-part YouTube interview with Eli Lehrer on R Street, conservatism and the environment. …

Florida taxpayers owe Binnun a debt of gratitude

Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced earlier this week that Chief Financial Officer Sharron Binnun has resigned to take a job in the private sector. Her departure from …

59 reasons to stop NSA spying

I’m not one for opinion polls; if 64% of Americans said Justin Bieber was a fantastic singer, he would still be genuinely terrible. But with regards to the …

Spectrum squeezing America

Have you noticed the cost of your smartphone plan keeps increasing? There was quite a hullabaloo last year when AT&T hiked rates and Verizon--affectionately known as "Big Red"--switched …

Immigration “fertile” for reform, by the numbers

Pardon the pun, but it is only appropriate on the heels of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s remarks to the Faith and Freedom Coalition last Friday. According to …

British government promotes cigarettes

The United Kingdom will regulate all nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes, as medicines, starting in 2016. The British bureaucrats justified their decision: "Our research has shown that existing electronic cigarettes and …

Eli Lehrer discussing conservatism and the environment at Duke University

Eli Lehrer of R-Street at Duke University from Energy & Enterprise Initiative on Vimeo. …

Whom does the beach house bailout benefit? Hedge funds, Venezuelan expats, Russian oligarchs

With Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., expected any day now to reintroduce his proposal to have federal taxpayers backstop the risk of state catastrophe funds, it bears examining just …

Three reasons not to pass the Farm Bill

Next week, the latest iteration of the Farm Bill will head to the floor of the U.S. House. This is the usual bundle of legislation that includes dozens …

The myopia of insurance regulation

Mary Williams Walsh of The New York Times’ DealBook blog has an interesting post today on New York regulators’ expansive investigation of captive reinsurance transactions by life insurers, …

NextNewsNetwork report on ‘Defending America, Defending Taxpayers’

NextNewsNetwork offers this video briefing "Defending America, Defending Taxpayers," a recent report by R Street Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan and Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union. …

Five reasons to increase the number of H-1B visas

The U.S. Senate is close to voting on a bill promulgated by the Judiciary Committee that would, among other things,  raise the H-1B visa cap from 65,000 annual …

Don’t mess with Texas emails

The Texas Legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Perry's desk that would require a warrant to open any email, no matter how old the email is. Ars Technica has …

Rand Paul and the NSA

In the wake of the revelations about PRISM and National Security Agency spying, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill, S. 1121, or “A bill to stop …

Will NSA-gate push ECPA reform over the finish line?

Last week, civil liberties journalist Glenn Greenwald broke open the story of the National Security Agency grabbing everyone’s call information in a massive surveillance program called PRISM, which …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

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

Expect the Farm Bill to cost a lot more than advertised

With pressure in the Senate to pass the Farm Bill this week (they approved cloture this morning) and showmanship killing any consideration of further amendments, things aren’t looking …

Landrieu’s attempt to gut flood reforms she voted for spikes Farm Bill improvements

The U.S. Senate ground to a halt yesterday amid a hailstorm of objections to various Farm Bill amendments, both germane and non-germane to the legislation. Roll Call had …

FDA lifts restrictions on OTC nicotine replacement therapies

In a truly stunning announcement, April 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its intention to lift many restrictions on labeling of over-the-counter Nicotine Replacement Therapy drugs; allow …

You can’t tax credit unions if they don’t exist

After enduring months of salvos from the banking industry, credit unions are fighting back. The above video from the Credit Union National Association, one of the industry’s two major …

Marketplace Fairness Act supporters write facepalm-worthy letter

Last week, a coalition ostensibly made up of four groups (Let Freedom Ring, American Majority, 60 Plus, and Americans for Job Security) released a letter (PDF) urging support of the …

What Farm Bill reforms are still possible?

The Senate’s Farm Bill deliberations should wrap up next week, with final approval coming after this week’s recess. That makes this a good time to take stock of …

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

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

No one has a ‘right’ to be subsidized

In a new blog post, our friend Daren Bakst at the Heritage Foundation argues against returning to the Reagan administration policy of linking federally subsidized crop insurance to …

Some rare good news on crop insurance reform

I wrote earlier this month about the record high losses taxpayers incurred due to the 2012 drought, highlighting an excellent study by Bruce Babcock that showed how premium …

Nobody’s fault in Michigan

There are two schools of thought about how to analyze a benefits system. The first is to look at its overall function and how the various parts interrelate. …

The Florida Cat Fund’s low bar for fiscal ‘health’

The headlines blaring from the Sunshine State today are unambiguous. The state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is “in good shape”  Indeed, its latest report card shows it is …

Watch the Heritage bloggers’ briefing on the Farm Bill nightmare

Watch live streaming video from heritagefoundation at livestream.com Watch R Street Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan with Heritage's own Daren Bakst on the $1 trillion abomination that is the Farm …

American sugar: A not-so-sweet deal

With the Farm Bill renewal debate rapidly approaching, one undeniable candidate for pruning is the federal sugar program. Currently, the federal government controls almost every aspect of sugar …

2012 crop insurance payouts were more than double farmers’ losses

The verdict is in – crop insurance, as currently structured, results in massive overspending on the part of the federal government. Just how much overspending? According to a recent …

In N.C., chairman’s auto insurance bills don’t even meet his own standards

As the push for modernization and consumer choice in North Carolina's auto insurance system moves from the state Senate to the House, it's worth going back to examine …

Yes, the Marketplace Fairness Act does authorize a sales tax audit bonanza

The so-called "Marketplace Fairness Coalition," one of a half-dozen groups using big-box retailer cash to organize support of Internet sales tax legislation, sent a very interesting letter yesterday …

Top 10 bogus arguments for the Marketplace Fairness Act

Whenever there are tens of millions of dollars worth of lobbying muscle behind a piece of legislation, folks seem willing to say just about anything to make a …

A silver lining in these very gray times

It has been an ugly two ­­­weeks. The Boston bombing horror cost my son’s triathlon coach a broken leg, broken ankle and a severed Achilles tendon. The coach’s …

Fraud is Michigan’s ‘other’ auto insurance problem

As legislative work picks up in earnest on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to reform the state’s woeful no-fault auto insurance system, we wanted to call attention to …

Electronic privacy law is due for an update

As the intense debate over S. 743, the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act," progresses in the Senate, Internet activists and privacy advocates should remember that the MFA isn’t the …

Texas House passes ban on texting

Rarely do Texas trial lawyers and "red mea"t Republicans find common ground. But they did this week on the Texas House floor during the statewide texting-while-driving ban debate. A …

Could this be the year for no-fault reform in Michigan?

Maybe the Michigan auto insurance law was "essential" when it became law, but in the last four decades it has become luxurious compared to all other states. Gov. …

Conservatives need a ‘head start’ on income inequality

No one doubts the unfortunate outcomes that many children from lower-income households face: lower high school  and college graduation rates, reduced earnings and higher rates of out-of-wedlock birth, …

REMINDER: Conservative groups oppose so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act”

After a sham vote during the debate over its budget resolution, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has apparently decided to engage ludicrous speed on the egregiously flawed legislation known …

North Carolina’s auto insurance system badly needs an upgrade

It’s easy to understand why many North Carolinians are skeptical of proposals to change how the state regulates auto insurance. In a state where homeowners insurance rates are …

TARP report shows banks failed to boost small business lending

Forcing banks to lend to small businesses via the Troubled Asset Relief Program was simply never going to work, and now the evidence is in: on Tuesday, TARP’s …

Senate water bill deserves serious scrutiny

April 10, 2013 Dear Senator: We write urging greater scrutiny of misguided and potentially costly provisions in S.601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013. It is our understanding that …

FDA lifts restrictions on OTC nicotine replacement therapies

In a truly stunning announcement, last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its intention to lift many restrictions on labeling of over-the-counter Nicotine Replacement Therapy drugs; …

Columbus makes ICF’s ‘Significant Seven’

As we prepare to celebrate the conclusion of the most popular national sports tournament in this country, the Intelligent Community Forum has picked my hometown, Columbus, Ohio, as …

North Carolina’s ‘other’ auto insurance market

I've already covered in these pages some of the things the editorial pages of North Carolina's leading newspapers are getting wrong about S.B. 154, legislation to modernize the …

FIGA reforms should increase flexibility, not eliminate it

When it comes to property insurance reform in Florida, everyone is basically focused on proposals that deal with the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and …

From March Madness to the Hunger Games

I was in North Carolina last week. North Carolina is, I believe the only state in the union where the Monday after Easter is a state holiday to …

Jersey pols shill for the NFIP’s three-card monte

My home state of New Jersey has been the scene of a number of historic events over the years, both famous and infamous: the invention of the incandescent …

Dialogue, stakeholders and the future of tobacco control

In a Jan. 31 BMJ blog post, Dr. Ruth Malone, editor of Tobacco Control, excoriated the Food and Drug Administration for proposing "facilitated dialogue" with the "tobacco industry." …

With rates expected to drop, Cat Fund reform a no-brainer

For four out of the last seven years, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund has been projected to have a shortfall should a major hurricane impact the state and …

The ‘deficit-neutral reserve fund’ game to corner conservatives on Internet Sales Taxes

Later this week, the Senate is likely to vote on a "deficit-neutral reserve fund" amendment regarding internet sales taxes, couched in terms of state sales and use tax …

A less lively CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference is clearly not as energized as last year, due largely to the intervening national election, which  many of these folks had thought would …

A response to ‘Stubbing Out Cigarettes for Good’

Earlier this month, the New York Times published and op-ed penned by Richard Daynard of Northeastern University titled “Stubbing out Cigarettes for Good.” Professor Daynard is president of …

AIF map confirms Citizens not the leading writer in most Florida districts

The debate over how to reform Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has been a years-long and arduous political battle. Despite its original mission to act as Florida's insurer-of-last-resort, …

Breaking up North Carolina’s auto insurance cartel

Legislation to break up North Carolina’s rate bureau cartel and bring the state’s auto insurance market into the 21st Century has now been introduced in both houses of …

A step from the left on entitlement reform

Isabel Sawhill and Harry Holzer correctly identify the cost to society (and also in terms of reduced government services) that's created by soaring entitlement costs in their Washington Post …

Who navigates Obamacare’s navigators?

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed to address both the cost of medical treatment through insurance and the fact that many people didn't have …

Moylan on Internet sales tax fight

Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan appeared on the Huffington Post's HuffPost Live program to discuss Internet sales taxes as part of a "Google Hangout" panel that also included Huffington …

Western Europe’s demographic time bomb leaves its leaders with few choices

Joseph Chamie, who recently retired as the chief demographer for the United Nations, has a new piece out that lays out in stark terms the choices that not …

Not deciding is a decision

Those who are following the great sequestration drama might get the impression that, while this kind of federal budget management is not ideal, at least something will be …

Texas bills look to address mitigation, wind pool

This week, two important pieces of legislation began moving through the Texas Legislature. H.B. 1890 was filed by Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, and S.B. 784 by Sen. Juan …

Defending deferral

National Public Radio’s Marketplace This Morning recently ran a piece on its show highlighting an in-depth investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting that focused on the ability …

More good news/bad news for Florida insurance market

Floridians would face about $7.19 billion in post-hurricane taxes to make up the funding shortfalls of state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund should …

Good news now, question marks later, for Fla. Citizens

Coming on the heels of a major deal that transferred 31,000 coastal policies and $30 billion in gross exposure to private start-up Weston Insurance Co., Florida’s state-run Citizens …

Michigan’s unlimited auto insurance, revisited

Most of the attempts to fix Michigan’s long-time Essential Insurance Act have ended as spectacularly as the meteor which exploded over the Ural Mountains town of Chelyabinsk a …

Republicans and civil rights: Michigan edition

This coming Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will award its annual Oscars, with Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed “Lincoln” -- a look at the 16th president’s …

Ghost of Charlie Crist haunts insurance reform

It has been more than two years since the adults regained control of Florida, yet the specter of the Charlie Crist days of demagoguery, populism-at-any-cost and overall political …

Conservatives should run, not walk, away from so-called ‘Marketplace Fairness Act’

Despite what its supporters claim, the reintroduced “Marketplace Fairness Act” is bad news for conservative principles and limited government. If it were to pass, it would tear down …

Texas panel gives insurers more time to answer regulatory requests

The Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee heard testimony on S.B. 183 this morning.  The bill establishes a more reasonable period of time for private insurance companies to …

Why John Harbaugh’s job is easier than John Kasich’s

A great source of frustration to me when I worked in corporate America was that the people I worked with and who lived in my community would organize …

Chamber poll suggests Floridians want their state out of the insurance business

Floridians believe their state should stay out of the insurance business, rather than supporting a state-run insurance company, according to a recent poll sponsored by the Florida Chamber …

Keeping up with the Texas Legislature

Want to keep up with the Texas Legislature? If you are into high tech toys, then you are in luck. These are a few of my favorite tech things... On …

Federal bailout of Florida is far from a sure thing

As Florida’s 2013 legislative session draws near, state lawmakers once again are preparing to examine reforms to the Sunshine State’s property insurance system. Most notable, of course, are …

Fla. Gov. Scott unveils $74.2B budget

Gov. Rick Scott this week unveiled his long-awaited Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget. Thanks to expected revenue increases, Scott and state legislators will not have to grapple with a …

Why school choice matters

"You’d better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” – Yogi Berra Under the headline “Does it Matter if it’s Real?” the …

Florida Senate committee hears property insurance reform proposals

The Florida Legislature ended two weeks of interim committee hearings this today with various hot-button issues addressed.  One that we at R Street follow very closely is the …

Luck of the draw

Yesterday, Texas state senators drew lots to determine if they would serve a two- or four-year term before defending their seats at the ballot box again. One of the …

Public adjuster threatens lawsuit against Florida blogger

As our regular readers may recall, last month we reported a revealing set of findings by a Florida blog that connected a handful of plaintiffs' law firms to the vast majority …

Hawaii’s Legislature hopes to avoid new taxes

Having already witnessed the inauguration of President Barack Obama the first time around, I opted this week instead to attend the opening day of the newly elected Hawaiian …

Finding a path for pot in the post-criminal world

Pot smokers with no medical justification finally broke through in November in a couple of states where citizen-initiated lawmaking allowed the state’s voters to decide to allow recreational marijuana …

Texas lawmakers already looking to raid Rainy Day Fund

Swearing in for the Texas Legislature will open with a sunnier financial outlook than previously expected. State Comptroller Susan Combs announced a $101.4 billion revenue estimate for the …

Fla. state Rep. Wood: Fix Citizens now!

Florida state Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, notes in today's edition of the Sun-Sentinel that the feds aren't the only ones dealing with a "fiscal cliff." So long …

Government-owned broadband networks a headache for their owners

Last year the R Street Institute expressed serious concerns with a proposed government-owned broadband network (GON) project in southwest Florida. After attending a public input workshop organized by …

Panel offers plan for New York to prepare for catastrophes

New York State's NYS 2100 Commission, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to offer recommendations on ways to better prepare for natural disasters, …

Picking up the tab

"There is no reason for me, at the moment, to believe anything they tell me,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of his party’s congressional leadership at a …

Usage-based auto insurance

If you have been watching any of the bowl ads on TV recently, you may have seen a push for usage-based auto insurance. Voluntary data collection is the …

Funds needed for a rainy day

Though Texas escaped another hurricane season without a catastrophic event, a big storm is brewing at the Capitol over how to fund the state’s windstorm pool. The current funding …

Happy Holidays from the R Street Institute!

While we at R Street continue to have our eyes and ears open for significant developments at both the state and federal level in this final week of …

Charlie and the politics factory

Just when Floridians thought crazy state politics were about over for the year, in comes Charlie Crist.  I’m sure all the coverage surrounding him during the past two …

I surrender

I would like to officially announce that I have given up any hope that anyone is going to inject a modicum of rationality into the discussion on the …

Follow the money on opponents of Citizens reform

We at R Street recently came across a blog post by Johnson Strategies, LLC that sheds light on the apparent motivations of many opponents to property insurance reform …

States are getting more partisan, and more cooperative

This space has often compared what is going on in Washington to what is happening at the state level.  Most of the policy served out of Washington would …

TAG…you’re out!

In what proved to be a bit of a surprise to veteran Capitol Hill watchers -- a pleasant one, from our perspective -- a planned U.S. Senate vote …

Over the cliff

According to a report from the only living person who has done a federal sequestering of funds at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (last done in …

A Christmas wish for small business: More credit, please

It’s no secret that small businesses across America, as of late, have had to adapt or die.  They have been tightening-up operations, becoming leaner and more efficient, awaiting …

Internet Sales Tax Threat Grows Larger

The threat of Congress passing damaging Internet sales tax collection legislation grew larger this week, as Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has filed his Marketplace Fairness Act as an …

Record drought leads to…lower crop insurance premiums?

The Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, the entity which administers crop insurance for farmers across the country, just released word that premiums are actually going down for a …

Heartland’s Stanek on the ‘Beach House Bailout’

Our old colleague at the Heartland Institute, Steve Stanek, has a great piece this week in The Washington Times on the laughably named "Taxpayer Protection Act," the latest …

Eli Lehrer featured on the Insurance Journal podcast

R Street President Eli Lehrer was interviewed by Andy Simpson of Insurance Journal for IJ's podcast about the results of the 2012 elections and how they bode for …

David Frum’s Why Romney Lost

Today is Thanksgiving, which usually marks the beginning of the Christmas season. As merry shoppers prepare to brave the fulsome crowds to take advantage of Black Friday deals, …

For NFIP, when is a loan not a loan?

The White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are expected to come forward in the coming days or weeks with a request to raise the National Flood …

After elections, time to address long-term issues

With this election winding down to the final provisional and absentee ballot-counting in the seats too close to determine a winner on Election Day, there are a few …

Florida election results rattle Republicans

The elections have come and gone and, needless to say, there were a few surprises.  Florida, for example, was widely expected to award its 29 electoral votes to …

The room is getting smokier on Internet sales taxes

I recently wrote about what I called the "smoky room" strategy to pass Internet sales tax collection legislation in Congress. I worried out loud about an effort by …

The blue in Texas

Though the GOP easily held its majority in both the Texas House and the Senate, Democrats landed major victories to secure their voice will be heard in the …

The coming election

Since Ohio makes the news on a regular basis in any election year expected to be a close contest for the presidency, everywhere I go people are asking …

After Superstorm Sandy, a national catastrophe fund is still a bad idea

The flood waters from Superstorm Sandy had not yet receded and her winds had not yet calmed before politicians and media types took the opportunity to resume their …

Slate takes note of conservation compliance

Slate's Daniel Imhoff has taken a look at the 700-page monstrosity that is the Farm Bill and noticed some of the same things we have -- notably it's …

Moylan on the ‘Beach House Bailout’

R Street Outreach Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan recently sat down with the Heartland Institute's Steve Stanek to record a podcast on the ironically titled "Taxpayer Protection …

Hurricane Sandy advice from a Floridian

Some tips from a Florida veteran of several storms: Charge all your electronic devices fully (mobile telephones, laptops, etc.). If you're lucky, you may have a cell signal even …

Hail to the vanquished

Even in the middle of the college football season, a lifelong Buckeye has to look at the proposed “economic death warrant” that could be signed by the voters …

Distractions

An internal email sent back in July by Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is keeping lawmakers from focusing on productive steps to reforming the troubled Texas Windstorm Insurance Association …

Fla. Citizens picks odd moment to sack ‘integrity’ office

Despite headlines being dominated by the ever-tightening presidential election, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. continues to make news in Florida.  Last week, Citizens announced that it was eliminating its …

What we are and aren’t getting out of the debates

A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man tried to blow up the building next to where my children live yesterday.  He was sent to our country on a student visa by …

Eli Lehrer on the Farm Bill at HuffPost Live

R Street President Eli Lehrer takes part in a panel discussion at HuffPost Live on the 2012 Farm Bill, which Congress failed to pass before the existing bill's …

Stadium subsidies: dumb idea or dumbest idea?

The multi-billionaire owner of minor league baseball's Reno Aces (everyone's heard of them, right?) wants city and county taxpayers to fork over $1.5 million per year to pay …

Andrew Moylan on wasteful spending at the Pentagon and the free market

R Street Outreach Director Andrew Moylan joins Michael Ostrolenk in a discussion on the misallocation of resources at the Pentagon and how free-market supporters need to support cuts. …

Big idUS in Columbus

Hats off to Columbus for celebrating its 200th anniversary!  There are perhaps dozens of different ways to do a birthday party, and part of the festivity for the …

Citizens CEO responds to critics of surplus notes plan

Floridians are getting more and more used to seeing Citizens Property Insurance Corp. pop up in the news lately.  This week, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation granted Citizens …

Fla. Citizens’ surplus note depopulation draws broad coalition support

A coalition of business and consumer interests are pushing for rapid approval of a plan floated by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to speed its depopulation efforts by offering …

Recommendations for TWIA improvement go unheeded

In response to the question of how to adequately fund the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the Texas Department of Insurance hired Alvarez & Marsal Insurance Advisory Services …

The smoky room strategy on Internet sales tax collection

In my first post here at R Street, I'm going to continue beating a drum that I spent a lot of time pounding in my prior work at the National …

Rate hikes approved for Florida Citizens

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved rate increases for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s homeowners policies just slightly below the rates the state-sponsored insurer was seeking. The new …

Ohio’s ‘fair’ elections question

Ohio voters once again enjoy the opportunity to make a huge policy change through this year's Issue 2 on the general election ballot. In the last general election, …

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

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

R Street’s Peter Cramton on Medicare’s bizarre auction process

The above video includes R Street Associate Fellow Peter  Cramton, professor of economics at the University of Maryland and one of the nation's foremost experts in auction theory, …

The ‘R’ word – responsibility

When I was engaged full-time in law enforcement, I was once searching a house pursuant to a federal warrant. While I was looking for evidence of the federal …

Florida doesn’t need government broadband to stay connected

Government overreach into the broadband market has recently become increasingly popular in the Sunshine State. According to a recent report from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), cities, counties …

Texas lawmakers gear up for pension reform battle

The battle lines are being drawn in Austin over public pensions in anticipation of a budgetary fight during Texas' next legislative session. At last week’s hearing of the House …

Taking the middle road on pension reform in Ohio

"Proposals’ goal: avoid insolvency" was the kicker under the headline last week in the Columbus Dispatch reporting that representatives of all five of Ohio’s public pension systems had …

Texas seacoast panel finds TWIA solutions hard to find

During the first hearing of Texas' Joint Seacoast Territory Insurance Committee earlier this week, three different insurance-related agencies unequivocally told lawmakers the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association was not …

Access to Capital for Small Business – The Hill’s Video

The video features the Sept. 12 seminar on small business access to capital hosted by The Hill, and featuring talks by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Rep. Ed …

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

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

Our live-tweeting of today’s hearing on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

For those of you who don't yet follow us on Twitter, here is a read-out of our live-feed of today's House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and …

Fla. Citizens posts depopulation plan

The depopulation committee of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. unveiled a plan yesterday designed to transfer about a third of the state-run insurer’s 1.4 million policies to …

Watching the debt pile up

Watching the Republican and Democratic conventions the last few days is not exactly reassuring to those of us who have been watching what is going on in Washington …

Criminal investigation launched over Hurricane Ike claim

Texas homeowner Jim Warner has been locked in a legal battle with State Farm over denial of insurance claims for the damages to his home from Hurricane Ike. …

Let the Wind Production Tax Credit expire!

The following letter was submitted Sept. 6 by R Street and 63 other allied organizations to every member of Congress. September 6, 2012 Dear United States Senators and Representatives: The principal …

Donelon: La. Citizens’ Isaac claims less than $75M

It appears that Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. may not have to draw on its Pelican Re catastrophe bond, after all. In an interview with The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, …

Immigration and the GOP Convention

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I took a young Peruvian friend down to the federal courthouse to receive his naturalized American citizenship. I was thinking …

Texas state senator asks governor to sack insurance commish

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is calling on Gov. Rick Perry to replace Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman, charging that in the year since she was appointed …

Wind-water dispute reform arrives too late for Isaac claims

As the Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Isaac, one hopes the region will avoid not only the massive destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina eight years ago, but also …

Fla. Citizens dodges Isaac; La. Citizens may not be so lucky

Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. can now breath a major sigh of relief, as Tropical Storm Isaac delivered just a glancing blow to South Florida and the Keys …

Tracking Texas transparency

Transparency has been a key concept not only throughout this election cycle, but in the upcoming budget fight at the Texas Capitol. Where does public money come from, …

Penny-wise and billion-pound-foolish in Florida

According to its official tourism marketing corporation, the State of Florida welcomed 87.3 million visitors in 2011, whose $67.2 billion of spending generated nearly a quarter of …

Will we have a debt debate?

I see that “grown-up” is still in the dictionary, having been joined this year by “aha moment”, “game-changer” and “f-bomb.”  But finding real honest-to-goodness grown-ups in the political …

On eve of Andrew anniversary, Florida turns eyes to Isaac

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which made landfall Aug. 24 as a Category 5 storm in Elliott Key and Homestead, Fla. At $15.5 billion in …

Kitzman gets an earful in Corpus Christi

  Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is hearing an earful from the coastal community as she listens to residents’ concerns in the Corpus Christi area. Coastal occupants are complaining about …

The Medicaid expansion standoff

During the national debate in 2010 on the federal health care proposal that became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I was watching one of the weekend …

‘Everyone in here is a millionaire’

That headline comes us by way of “Grandpa” Straub, a farmer from Fairbury, Ill. who also serves as the star of the latest edition of National Public Radio’s …

Will the NAIC’s CIPR survive Terri Vaughan’s departure?

I’ve just returned from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ summer meetings in Atlanta, where the big news was the announcement of NAIC CEO Terri Vaughan’s pending …

Texas commish fires back

Deluged by a mass-email campaign initiated by consumer group Texas Watch, state Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman responded this week with a thorough fisking of the commenters' questions, demands …

Charlie Crist: The comeback governor?

Those of us who know what drives opportunist politicians have said for a long time that former Florida Republican-turned-independent governor -- and all-around backstabber -- Charlie Crist would …

Miami-Dade could repeal 23-year-old pit bull ban

Miami-Dade County voters will go to the polls Aug. 14 to determine the fate of a 23-year-old ban on so-called “pit bull-type” dogs, which could make it the …

The shifting sands of Galveston Island

The ever-changing coastline on Galveston Island’s West End is creating myriad dilemmas for citizens and government officials. First, beachfront landholders woke up to the fact that their once-public beaches …

‘All of the Above’ is not working

If you view, as I do, the American economy running along on two major rails – cheap energy and cheap credit – it is easy for one to …

CEA offering shows enormous private sector interest in earthquake insurance

The California Earthquake Authority, which has been lobbying Congress to establish a federal backstop to its debt financing, is proving once again that it can do plenty fine …

What is insurance, anyway?

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

R Street is looking for an outreach director

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

Trailer for fascinating North Korea doc, Juche Strong

Juche has been described as the state religion of North Korea. Attributed to the late dictator Kim Il-sung, the Juche philosophy interpolates Marxist concepts of the deconstructed self …

Rate reform must be key to shrinking Citizens

Albert Einstein once said "a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels." Or, as it often paraphrased, we cannot solve …

North Carolina’s antiquated rate bureau system

There was a time, not so far in the distant past, when virtually all property and casualty insurance rates were calculated by industry-owned rate bureaus. It wasn’t necessarily a …

Brad Rodu on the ‘third way’ for America’s smokers

Click the video above to listen to the full audio of R Street Institute Associate Fellow Brad Rodu discussing tobacco harm reduction earlier this year on WKU, a …

Of hurricanes, insurance, mitigation and carbon taxes

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

Lying, incompetent or what?

A few years ago following a number of major hurricanes, the public relations staff of the property casualty insurance company I was employed by at the time managed …

HUD holding millions of relief dollars hostage

Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski is taking on U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan over $589 million in disaster relief funds. The federal government is threatening to …

Hoeven’s flood bill derailed in U.S. House

In what turned out to be very good news for taxpayers, the environment and anyone concerned about risk mitigation, the speeding legislative train that was Sen. John Hoeven's S. …

Harsh medicine in South Florida

The Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s governing board convened a workshop in Miami this week to address various issues facing the state-run insurer, including its inadequate rates, ballooning book …

The awful Hoeven levee bill

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

House pushes off North Dakota flood properties vote

S. 2039, Sen. John Hoeven's bill to exempt flooded North Dakota properties purchased with federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds from the open space requirements of the Stafford …

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

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

Texas voter ID trial wraps up

Attorneys for the State of Texas have not been lacking for work recently. Last week, arguments in the Texas voter identification trial wrapped up in U.S. District Court  for the …

Rep. Royce takes his NAIC questions to Treasury

Dissatisfied with the answers he’s received from the group itself, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., is turning to Federal Insurance Office Director Michael McRaith with a request that …

Gilway’s approach to Citizens reform strikes a good balance

Barry Gilway was appointed president of Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. just a few weeks ago and already he is making public statements about how he intends to …

Rep. Peterson: Millionaires need safety nets, too

In what was not at all a surprise, the House Agriculture Committee passed by a 35-11 margin its mammoth $957 billion Farm Bill early this morning, without any serious consideration given …

Help cut Texas’ red tape

Texas state Rep. Bill Callegari, R-Katy, chair of the state House Government Efficiency and Reform Committee, launched an innovative new tool yesterday to engage citizens to fight onerous regulations …

House GOP freshmen failing the Farm Bill test

They took office 18 months ago full of piss and vinegar, the 84 freshmen Republicans who rode a wave of tea party invective about out-of-control government spending into …

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

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

If a divided Congress can do it, why can’t the Florida Legislature?

Last week, Congress came together and passed legislation that will not only extend the National Flood Insurance Program for five more years, but also approved rate hikes to …

Texas primes for primary run-offs

Early voting for Texas' primary run-offs begins July 23. There are four statewide races for Republicans and one for the Democrats. By far, the most contentious is the race …

Michigan’s credit-scoring law moves closer to the mainstream

The State of Michigan, whose Supreme Court struck down an absolute ban on the use of credit information in insurance underwriting and rate-making decisions, has moved to slightly …

The decay of federalism

Within my own lifetime of several decades, I can remember a time when there was wide agreement among citizens of this country about issues that affected nearly everybody. …

Dred Scott? Really, fellow conservatives? Really?

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

BREAKING: Senate leaders strike deal on flood insurance reform

(See UPDATE below) In a briefing today with interested parties, the Senate Banking Committee’s chairman and ranking member confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader …

Hager: Florida Cat Fund totally unprepared

Florida state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, recently sat down with the Florida Channel to record his “Perspectives” interview that most state legislators do every year.  Instead of …

Rep. Cummings wants federal workers comp insurer for overseas contractors

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. – the former chairman and current ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – has some issues with American International …

Ohio takes it slow on new energy taxes

Ohio has an interesting case study in principles and politics in the current clash over the potential of new natural gas and oil reserves in the eastern and …

Consumer Federation of America’s ‘shocking’ new study

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

Conservative activists should bone up on policy

This past weekend, conservative activists from around the country descended on the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas for Americans for Prosperity's fifth annual RightOnline Conference. The event drew the conservative …

This is it: Senate flood insurance bill vote coming up

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

TWIA solvency concerns finally on Texas lawmakers’ radar

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has only about $3.6 billion in claims-paying resources “under a best case scenario,” even though it could face losses of $14.2 billion from …

Round-up from CPAC Chicago

After road-testing in Florida not long ago, the mobile version of the Conservative Political Action Conference hit Chicago last week. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the most …

What Florida conservatives should say about backstopping

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

Meet Barry Gilway: Florida’s fate is in his hands

Meet Barry Gilway, 66, Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s new president. Given the challenges ahead, I don’t know whether or not to congratulate him. Gilway has over 40 years …

Connecticut reforms reinsurance collateral, California could be next

Connecticut is the latest state to liberalize collateral requirements for foreign-based reinsurers, and California could be next on the list, after a similar bill passed that state’s Senate. Connecticut …

Fla Citizens taps Zurich vet as new president

The board of governors of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. pulled off not one, but two shockers in the past 24 hours with respect to its choice of …

Dear conservatives: A rejoinder to Lehrer

One of the goals we set in launching the Word on the Street blog is that it would promote dialogue on a broad range of issues – from …

Florida can and should fix its own insurance problems

You have to hand it to the Palm Beach Post. First, the paper sends out a reporter to a press conference with Gov. Rick Scott to ask his …

Walker recall victory eclipses this week’s other once-in-a-lifetime event

Earlier this week, we were able to witness one of the two telescopic proofs of heliocentrism offered by Galileo in the 17th Century: that Venus could pass in …

Rep. Rivera aims to change Cuban Adjustment Act

It’s been a very political week in Florida, and there is still one more day to go. This week is the qualifying deadline for every political office up in …

Florida insurance reform push draws strange bedfellows

Tom Grady, interim chief of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp., has been on a tour of the Sunshine State, trying to defend he and his board’s efforts to …

La. Legislature takes wrong turn on rates

The Louisiana Legislature wrapped up their 2012 session late June 4 by passing S.B. 204 , a bill that would reinstate a partial suspension of the requirement that …

Does Rick Scott support the ‘Beach House Bailout?’

Much of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's tenure in office has been consumed with confronting the mistakes his predecessor made in the property insurance market. Charlie Crist left office …

Raise rates, but keep Florida Citizens

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

R Street report card ranks Vermont best, Florida worst regulatory environments for insurance

The R Street Institute published its first research project as an independent institution today, a report card of the insurance regulatory environments in each of the 50 states. …

Welcome Out of the Storm News readers!

Regular readers of OutOfTheStormNews.com, the flagship publication of the former Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, may have noticed some changes around these parts. Now that we …

Citizens Property Insurance debate once again heating up Florida

The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. debate is heating up once again in Florida.  Despite a legislative session that largely steered clear from this contentious issue earlier this year, …

Federal flood program gets 60-day extension

The National Flood Insurance Program will be extended an additional 60 days beyond its scheduled May 31 expiration, after the U.S. House late May 30 approved by voice …

Free markets don’t have to mean no regulation

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

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

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

Congresswoman presses Geithner on delayed insurance report

Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., wants to know why the Federal Insurance Office still hasn’t issued its much-awaited report on insurance regulatory modernization. Biggert, who serves as chairwoman of the …

The Royce-NAIC spat heats up

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is neither a regulator nor a trade association, but an “association of elected and appointed state regulatory officials charged with regulating the …

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

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

La. Citizens latest state insurer to tap cat bond market

The Louisiana Citizens  Property Insurance Corp. has become the third state-run residual market wind pool to turn to the private insurance-linked securities market, issuing $100 million of catastrophe …

Letter from Tallahassee: Thrilling end to a roller coaster session

Last Friday marked the end of Florida’s 2012 Regular Legislative Session, and what a roller coaster it was, literally to the very end.  When the dust cleared, many …

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

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

Oklahoma commish draws line in sand on ‘states rights’

He was elected back in 2010, but the just-completed National Association of Insurance Commissioners spring meetings in New Orleans may well prove to have been Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner …

Letter from Ohio: Rethinking crime in the wake of tragedy

As one Ohio community recoils in horror and anguish at yet another incomprehensible multiple school murder and attempts to cope with the aftermath, the public discussion will once …

BREAKING: Treasury sells off 14% of its AIG stake

Perhaps taking a tip from us, the U.S. Treasury Department has restarted its stalled effort to sell off its 77% stake in bailed-out insurance giant American International Group. Treasury …

Proposal for surplus lines take-outs from Fla. Citizens appears DOA

A proposal that would allow surplus lines insurers to take-out blocks of policies from the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. appears to be dead, after the Senate voted …

Letter from Washington: Good news, bad news at AIG

The glacial pace of unwinding American International Group’s mammoth $182 billion federal bailout inched along ever-so-slightly faster this past month. While this is good news, there remain some …

FIRE Podcast- J. Robert Hunter: Insurers’ disappearing cat risk

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire022912.mp3[/podcast] It isn’t often that we find ourselves in agreement with J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. The former Texas insurance commissioner and …

P&C trades argue states destroying ‘interstate comity’ with climate survey

A trio of large states that recently banded together to require insurers comply with a climate risk survey process originally developed – but later withdrawn – by the …

Letter from Austin: Kitzman drops bomb on TWIA

Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman dropped a bomb on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), recommending it be restructured to address the long-term sustainability of the program. As is often …

Congressman asks: ‘what exactly IS the NAIC?’

It’s a fair question, and one I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions. The question keeps coming up, in part, because the NAIC keeps changing its answer. The …

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

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

Citizens reform advances, despite Hurricane Hukill headwinds

The Florida House of Representatives has passed legislation by an 89-25 margin that would limit Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s ability to assess private insurers’ policyholders to make up …

Telematics are the future of auto insurance

Writing at National Underwriter’s PropertyCasualty360 site, Robert Regis Hyle, editor-in-chief of Tech Decisions magazine, sees the future of auto insurance dominated by “telematics,” those advanced modeling systems that …

Letter from Tallahassee: Property insurance reform gets national spotlight

Greetings from unseasonably warm Florida, where citizens are beginning to petition Al Gore to host a global warming summit to hopefully attract a Nor’easter to cool us off …

Letter from Washington: Homeowners insurance is a crummy business

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

Texas commissioner calls TWIA ‘unsustainable’

Calling the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s present structure “unsustainable,” Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has put forth a proposal to hire consultants to reduce the state-backed insurer’s exposure …

WSJ weighs in on Florida’s Insurance Crisis

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal weighed-in on Florida’s insurance crisis, shedding light on the concerns economists, actuaries, insurance experts, consumer advocates and Heartland Institute analysts have …

FIRE Podcast- CPAC Panel: Too many crimes, too many criminals

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/cpac_2012_eli_lehrer.mp3[/podcast] In a special dispatch from the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference – held Feb. 9 to 11 in Washington D.C. – this week’s episode of the FIRE Podcast …

Letter from Washington: 41 senators ask for flood vote

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

Obama budget would hurt U.S. policyholders

Hidden in President Barack Obama’s newly released $3.8 trillion Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal is a provision that would do serious damage to U.S. property and casualty insurance …

FIRE Podcast- Sean Carr: HUD discrimination rule could hit homeowners insurance

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire020912.mp3[/podcast] Homeowners insurers are concerned that a new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could subject long-standing rating and underwriting practices to scrutiny under …

‘Beach House Bailout’ author gets new life as Obama fundraiser/lobbyist

The assertion from President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign that it won’t  “take a dime from D.C. lobbyists or special-interest PACs”  has come into question in light of a …

Telemetry-based auto insurance comes to U.K.

Telemetry-based auto insurance is making its way across the pond, as GPS specialist TomTom announced it has signed a deal with Welsh insurance broker Motaquote to begin offering …

Letter from Austin: The trouble with Texas taxes

In 2006, Texas fundamentally changed how it taxed businesses in the state.  It replaced its long-standing franchise tax on businesses chartered in the state with a new tax …

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

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

Waiting game continues for FIO report

Those awaiting delivery of the Federal Insurance Office’s first major report on ways to improve and modernize U.S. insurance regulation will have to wait a bit longer, Insurance …

Beachhouse Bailout backers make pitch to the heartland

The Beachhouse Bailout is back. And this time, its authors are making a desperate pitch to appeal to the Heartland. (The region, not the Institute; Even they aren’t …

FIRE Podcast-Jack Nicholson: Fla. insurers need ‘skin in the game’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire020212.mp3[/podcast] As Florida lawmakers’ 60-day legislative session continues to move forward, there are some unsettling signs that efforts to reform the state’s Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund may be stalled …

Letter from Tallahassee: Post-primaries, fixing on Cat Fund reform

Greetings from the SuperPAC-pillaged state of Florida! All eyes were on the Sunshine State this week to see who Republicans would choose to be their nominee to run against …

Treasury’s AIG pump and dump

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released new projections that the Troubled Asset Relief Program will cost the federal government $23 billion in 2012, $20 billion more than …

Letter from Washington: Flood reform a rare opportunity for bipartisanship

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

Former realtors’ lobbyist calls flood program a ‘boondoggle’

The National Association of Realtors, the largest U.S. trade association and one of its most powerful, has historically played a key role in blocking efforts to bring about …

FIRE Podcast-Ian Bremmer: The rising threat of state capitalism

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/yingma-1.mp3[/podcast] The emergence of China as a global economic power has generally been cheered by free-market advocates as the end result of a 30-year process of economic liberalization that …

Florida leaders rally for PIP reform

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, among other leaders, held a Jan. 25 rally at the State Capitol in Tallahassee …

Letter from Ohio: Insurance-scoring ban wouldn’t serve consumers well

Except for public health and some reasonable safety measures, when the government tells an industry how to run its core operations, the impact is not generally favorable to …

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

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

New Jersey insurance chief reportedly stepping down

New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Considine is set to step down next month to return to the private sector, Newark’s Star-Ledger newspaper is reporting. If true, it …

FIRE Podcast-Robert Detlefsen: Litigation finance could impact insurance claims

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire011912.mp3[/podcast] Third-party litigation funding, already a regular practice in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom, has seen growing interest in the United States in recent years. Buoyed by …

Letter from Austin: Senate chair wants to bring down rates

With a sigh of relief, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency closes out the calendar year absent a major hurricane or other severe weather event. Only a hailstorm in …

Econ lesson for PIPA author

I don’t always find myself in agreement with Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. But over at his Beat the Press blog, …

Florida bill orders accident victims report to the emergency room

In an effort to crack down on the potential for auto insurance claims fraud perpetrated by so-called “pain clinics,” a subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives has …

Letter from Tallahassee: State of the Sunshine State

Aaaand they’re off! The 2012 legislature session was gaveled into regular session this week, and lawmakers have hit the ground running. Gov. Rick Scott gave his State of the …

FIRE Podcast- J.P. Freire: Cordray appointment is White House power grab

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire011012_0.mp3[/podcast] In a move that cheered some liberals and infuriated many conservatives, President Barack Obama moved Jan. 4 to name former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as head of …

Frequency of auto injury claims ticking up

After years of decline, the frequency of auto injury claims appears to be on the rise again, a troubling development given the recent steady increase in average costs …

Good news for online poker?

A recent memo drafted by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on whether proposals by New York and Illinois to use out-of-state transaction processors, and the …

Letter from Washington: Finance and insurance predictions for 2012

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

‘Poetic Justice’ takes on insurance fraud

Justice J. Michael Eakin, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s notorious “rhyming judge,” has struck again, this time in a majority ruling vacating an insurance fraud conviction. Eakin, who has rankled …

S.C. insurance director resigns

David Black has resigned as director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, effective Dec. 28, the department announced in a media advisory. No reason was given for Black’s …

Letter from Austin: TWIA considers alternatives to reinsurance

Four state senators, four representatives and a member of the public have been appointed to Texas’ Joint Interim Committee to Study Seacoast Territory Insurance, charged with examining alternative …

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

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

FIRE Podcast- Robert Hartwig: Insurers and the Eurozone crisis

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE121511.mp3[/podcast] Economic problems in Europe, and particularly the sovereign debt problems faced by several members of the Eurozone, pose a serious risk for the U.S. economic outlook, Deputy Assistant …

Letter from Tallahassee: Thoughts turn from holiday tidings to a packed legislative session

Greetings from Florida, where we proudly decorate our palm trees with balls and lights this time of year. Last week marked the final round of interim committee meetings before …

House passes tax bill that includes flood insurance reforms

With just two more days before the National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire, the U.S. House voted to reform and extend the program for five years …

FIRE Podcast- Alex Tabarrok: Launching the innovation renaissance

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE120611.mp3[/podcast] Stagnant economic growth in the United States isn’t merely a function of the recession that kicked off four years ago. Its roots can be traced back decades, a …

The Insurance Data Protection Act’s hidden sop to the NAIC

I’ve been publicly critical of the Insurance Data Protection Act, which was endorsed yesterday by a 7-5 tally of the House Financial Services Committee’s insurance subcommittee. It’s been interesting …

Senate bill looks to ease burden of SOX 404

Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., have introduced legislation that would exempt some smaller companies from the regulatory burden of complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s Section …

Letter from Ohio: Credit and energy, the economy’s twin tracks

The economy of the United States and all other developed countries rides along on two rails – credit and energy. Anybody who has read a newspaper in the …

Senate flood bill filed; still no floor vote in sight

After months of backroom negotiations, the Senate Banking Committee has at last filed its conference report for the flood insurance reform bill it passed back in September. The …

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

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

A.M. Best: U.S. P&C insurers have $38.6B in cat losses through Q3

The U.S. property and casualty industry incurred $38.6 billion of pre-tax catastrophe losses through the first nine months of 2011, nearly doubling the full-year total of $19.6 billion …

FIRE Podcast- Ted Frank: Fighting abusive class action settlements

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE113011.mp3[/podcast] Since its founding two years ago, the non-profit Center for Class Action Fairness LLC has stepped in to object to 30 class action settlements on behalf of consumers …

FIRE Podcast- Daniel Schwarcz: Insurers should publish their policies on-line

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE112111.mp3[/podcast] Electronic commerce presents consumers with choices never before imagined. But in the world of insurance, despite an expanding array of coverage options, few consumers are able to take …

FIRE Podcast- R.J. Lehmann: Capitol Hill update

[podcast]/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE111711.mp3[/podcast] In this week’s edition of the FIRE Podcast, I offer updates on major insurance issues brewing on Capitol Hill, including delays in getting a Senate floor vote on …

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

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

FIRE Podcast- Robert Gordon: Insurers aren’t ‘too big to fail’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE111011.mp3[/podcast] The Financial Stability Oversight Council – the college of regulators established by the Dodd-Frank Act as the ultimate overseers of systemic financial risk – last month reissued proposed …

Bank Transfer Day haul: 40,000 members, $80M in deposits

Though final numbers likely won’t be available until the National Credit Union Administration releases call report data for the fourth quarter,  an initial survey by the Credit Union …

AIG, Met and Pru all could be ‘too big to fail’

MetLife Inc., American International Group, Prudential Financial and possibly Berkshire Hathaway all could be designated as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, according …

Reinsurance collateral and the ‘giant sucking sound’

At their national meeting this past weekend, the full National Association of Insurance Commissioners formally adopted a long-awaited (and much needed) overhaul of the group’s model law and …

Bloomberg: Financial sector also must give up its tax breaks

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a D.C. audience that in addition to ending huge tax breaks and subsidies for the agricultural and energy industries, fiscal responsibility …

Letter from Ohio: Buckeye State voters eye exchanges

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) bills were signed by President Obama in March 2010, states already were moving to protect themselves from this overtly …

FIRE Podcast- Tim Carney: Left and right should agree on ending ‘too big to fail’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE110111.mp3[/podcast] As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue on, some observers have started to wonder about the potential for convergence among left-wing and right-wing populists. Jim Harper of the …

Agri-business backs making crop insurance boondoggle even bigger

Even as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – the so-called “Super Committee” – moves toward its Nov. 23 deadline to come up with at least $1.5 …

Will Bank Transfer Day matter?

In what might well prove to be one of the most significant real world consequences of the Occupy Wall Street movement, tens of thousands of Facebook members have …

FIRE Podcast- Joseph Annotti: Fraternal insurers could see new ‘renaissance’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE102511a.mp3[/podcast] Alexis de Tocqueville, in his masterpiece Democracy in America, marveled at how the American people of the 1830s were the most fraternal he had ever encountered. In addition …

FIO, FOIA and a free market in insurance data

In the United States, publicly traded companies must file quarterly financial statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which the SEC makes available to the public through their …

Letter from Austin: TWIA more transparent on legal costs

Earlier this month, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s management offered an update on implementation of the reform legislation passed in June. The report displayed an overall commitment to …

A SIFI warning shot from Snoopy?

The announcement by MetLife Inc., the only major U.S. insurance group currently organized as a bank holding company, that it has been ordered by the Federal Reserve to …

Michigan PIP reform faces pushback

Efforts to reform Michigan’s unique auto insurance law, which ensures costly coverage by requiring essentially uncapped medical benefits, are facing some resistance in the state’s House of Representatives. A …

Homeowners rates won’t cover insurers’ capital costs

Homeowners insurance rates nationwide are projected to produce after-tax returns on equity of just 4.8% over the next year, which may not be enough to cover the industry’s …

McRaith to tell House panel his plans for Federal Insurance Office

Former Illinois Insurance Director Michael McRaith will appear before Congress for the first time since stepping into his new role as the first-ever director of the Federal Insurance …

Crist’s legacy: Fla. Cat Fund faces $3.2B shortfall

The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, the state-run reinsurance facility from which all property insurers in the state are required to purchase coverage, would not be able to borrow …

NFIP reform floated to ‘Super Committee’

Sean Carr of rating agency A.M. Best’s BestWeek and BestWire publications is reporting (subscription required for the link) that both Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Financial …

When the levee breaks…

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has yet to schedule floor time for consideration of the National Flood Insurance Program reform bill the Senate Banking Committee passed unanimously …

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

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

Lawmakers reintroduce protectionist offshore reinsurance bill

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have reintroduced protectionist legislation that would raise costs for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-based insurers and reinsurers, costs that ultimately …

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

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

‘If we had it to do over again, we would have barred Genentech’

Genentech Inc., now a subsidiary of Swiss drug-maker Hoffmann-La Roche, is widely viewed as the founder of the biotech industry. Among the company’s notable achievements over the past …

Campbell earthquake plan no better than Feinstein’s

Perhaps this is what had California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy so optimistic last week. News came down today that Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has introduced the Earthquake …

Norton bill would make D.C. catastrophe insurance capital

“Taxation without representation” reads the District of Columbia’s official license plate design, a slogan aimed at raising awareness of district residents’ lack of voting representation in Congress. But new …

Shaking up the earthquake insurance market

Does Glenn Pomeroy know something the rest of us don’t? Pomeroy, a former North Dakota insurance commissioner and brother to former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, currently serves as CEO …

NFIP Direct dispute dogs flood insurance reform

The Hill is reporting that a dispute between State Farm and other P&C insurers over the fate of some 800,000 former State Farm flood insurance policies threatens to …

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