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The role of U.S. research and development policy in nuclear power

February 24, 2015, 9:00 AM

The U.S. civil nuclear sector faces a number of challenges that threaten grid reliability and climate mitigation goals. Though current U.S. reactor designs improve confidence in the predictability of construction schedules and costs, the United States is unlikely to see a substantial expansion of its nuclear fleet in the near future. The biggest current obstacles are cheap shale gas and continued mandates and subsidies for other forms of generation, particularly renewables. State and federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, should treat nuclear power like any other non-emitting source. Furthermore, the federal government should refocus its nuclear research and development programs. Of particular value to improving the competitiveness of nuclear power would be advances that reduce operation and maintenance costs for the existing fleet and that improve the thermal efficiency and fuel burn-up of future reactors, thus reducing waste streams and significantly increasing revenue streams for owners and operators. A new fast test reactor that allows testing of advanced concepts should be built as soon as possible, to achieve these strategically important objectives.

Is it unfair to compare ISIS to the Nazis?

February 24, 2015, 8:54 AM

From Newsweek:

Is it time to repeal Godwin’s Law? The rise of ISIS–a fast-growing, fascistic, expansionist force that’s willing to murder any person who dares defying its strict tenets–gets many people thinking of World War II.

In 1990, Mike Godwin, a lawyer and author, observed that in online conversations someone will eventually invoke the war against fascism. As Godwin framed his law, in long strings of online debates “the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches 1.”

Godwin’s insight is profound. The N word (as in Nazi) in casual debate is inadequate. Hitler’s crimes were so painful that no Seinfeld-esque “soup Nazi” should introduce his name into serious discourse…

…In ISIS’s case, it seems, Godwin violations just roll off the tongue.

Godwin himself tells me that neither he nor anyone else is in charge of his eponymous “law,” so anyone can break it. “The Third Reich taught us once and for all how fragile civilization really is, and how, surprisingly, a whole society could allow and even encourage new, ‘modernized’ forms of massive death and destruction,” he said. ISIS, for now, is a “footnote to what we learned in the 20th century about how fragile civilization is.”

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February 23, 2015, 4:44 PM

Testimony to Utah House Business and Labor Committee

February 23, 2015, 4:27 PM

Chair Peterson, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. Thank you for hearing my testimony today.

R Street is a non-profit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C., though I hail from Sacramento. We maintain the largest insurance-focused project of any non-industry think tank and also engage in research concerning disruptive technologies.

Though we are free marketers, we also believe there is a productive role for regulation to play in preventing consumer harm.

The controversy presented by the current interpretation of Utah’s anti-rebating statute is at the intersection of insurance and innovation. For this reason, I have examined the Utah situation in a recently released white paper entitled “Anti-rebating laws and the Utah experience.”

My research indicates that, from a free-market perspective, the current interpretation of Utah’s anti-rebating law requires legislative correction.

As you are aware, insurance is largely regulated by the states. Anti-rebating laws are widespread. 48 of 50 states have anti-rebating laws. Among the states, there is a high level of interpretive uniformity about what constitutes an “inducement.”

These laws were first introduced in the 19th century to achieve two overarching objectives:

  1. To maintain insurer solvency; and
  2. To prevent impermissible discrimination between customers.

To the extent that Utah’s anti-rebating law still seeks to further the policy objectives of the original anti-rebating laws, the interpretive judgment of the Department of Insurance concerning “inducements” accomplishes neither of those goals. Solvency concerns have been resolved by the introduction of risk-based capital standards and there is scant evidence in the states that do not maintain anti-rebating statutes that discriminatory treatment is an issue.

Even if there were evidence of impermissible discriminatory conduct, other legal proscriptions against discriminatory market conduct are already on the books and are much more effective.

By removing the nexus between the sale of an insurance product and an inducement, Utah’s interpretation of what constitutes an inducement has become an aberration unmoored from original intent. What’s worse, it does not remedy a clear consumer harm, which is the principal test of the need for regulatory intervention.

At a higher level of abstraction, for innovation to flourish, predictability and consistency are necessary. Thus, while no anti-rebating laws anticipated the innovation in question here, a permissive interpretation of the law is a preferable public policy outcome in the absence of a clear harm to consumers. For markets to flourish, innovation must be as permissionless as possible.

A near-term solution that affirms Utah’s status as a mainstream jurisdiction on this issue will allow consumers in Utah to benefit from a genuine and normatively desirable innovation.

Thank you for your time, I am happy to field any questions that the committee has.

 

Innovation and a Carbon Tax: Unexpected Views from the Right and Left

February 23, 2015, 3:11 PM
This event has passed 09/16/2014 @ 6:30 am - 8:00 pm

Australia has just repealed one, South Africa is just getting one going, and British Columbia has a popular one that nobody seems to know about.  In the United States, it is generating ever more divisiveness — or is it?

Discover the unexpected areas where the right and the left agree and disagree on a carbon tax.  Learn their thoughts on innovation and energy policy through a thought-provoking panel co-organized by the R Street Institute and Future 500.

Moderated by David Baker, Energy & Clean Tech reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, the panel will feature:

  • Andrew Moylan, R Street Institute
  • Jeremy Carl, Hoover Institution
  • Ted Nordhaus, Breakthrough Institute
  • Bill Shireman, Future 500

The event is free to public, although we kindly ask that you RSVP through this page.Catered fare and alcoholic refreshments will be provided.

For more information, please contact Brendon Steele at bsteele@future500.org.

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Loading Map.... R Street Institute
1050 17th St NW #1150 - Washignton
Events 38.9033684 -77.0388572 09/16/2014 - 6:30 am - 8:00 pm
R Street Institute
1050 17th St NW #1150
Washignton

R Street Institute

February 23, 2015, 3:11 PM
Loading Map.... R Street Institute
1050 17th St NW #1150 - Washignton
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Washignton
DC

20036
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  • The California Model: What We Can Learn from the Golden State’s Approach to Ridesharing

    February 23, 2015, 3:09 PM
    This event has passed 11/10/2014 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Join the R Street Institute and Engine for a candid discussion about ridesharing legislation featuring key stakeholders and policy analysts. The panel will coincide with the release of a new joint paper scoring the top 50 cities in America for transportation friendliness, looking at what worked, what didn’t, and what jurisdictions still considering how to deal with ridesharing can learn from California’s approach.

    Featuring:
    Ian Adams, California Director – R Street Institute
    Andrew Moylan, Executive Director and Senior Fellow – R Street Institute
    Evan Engstrom, Policy Director – Engine
    Michael Gunning, Vice President – Personal Insurance Federation of California
    David Mack, Director of Public Affairs – Lyft
    Luis Quinonez, Chief of Staff – California Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla

    RSVP Here

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    Loading Map.... Hattery
    414 Brannan St. - San Francisco
    Events 37.7798936 -122.394879 11/10/2014 - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Hattery
    414 Brannan St.
    San Francisco

    Hattery

    February 23, 2015, 3:09 PM
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    414 Brannan St. - San Francisco
    Events 37.7798936 -122.394879

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    San Francisco
    CA

    94107
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  • Panel: Conservative Thought and Sustainability

    February 23, 2015, 3:04 PM
    This event has passed 11/13/2014 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

    R Street’s Lori Sanders will be speaking on the panel “Conservative Thought and Sustainability” at the ASBC Annual Business Summit on November 13, 2014. Details below:

    Join us at the 3rd Annual Business Summit in Washington, D.C. for an up-close and  candid opportunity to exchange ideas with senior Administration officials,  regulators and members of Congress and gain valuable insight into where policy is evolving in 2015. With a new Congress coming to D.C., the 2014 Summit enables sustainable businesses and organizations to influence the policies that will make the American economy more vibrant and just.

    Open to ASBC Members and Invited Guests

    Cost: Organizational Members = $225 / Business Members = $395 / Non-Members = $600

    Agenda: http://asbcouncil.org/sites/default/files/agenda2014a.pdf

    RSVP: http://asbcouncil.org/join-asbcs-2014-white-house-summit#.VDa13SldVwY

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    Start:
    2:30 PM

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    Cost:
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    Website:
    http://asbcouncil.org/join-asbcs-2014-white-house-summit#.VDa13SldVwY

    Loading Map.... K&L Gates LLP
    1601 K Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.90293399999999 -77.03707299999996 11/13/2014 - 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    K&L Gates LLP
    1601 K Street NW
    Washington

    K&L Gates LLP

    February 23, 2015, 3:04 PM
    Loading Map.... K&L Gates LLP
    1601 K Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.90293399999999 -77.03707299999996

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    1601 K Street NW
    Washington
    DC

    20006
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  • Ridesharing in the District: How the Nation’s Capital Is Regulating Drivers-for-Hire

    February 23, 2015, 3:01 PM
    This event has passed 11/19/2014 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

    Join the R Street Institute and the Washington Examiner for an in-depth discussion of the state of transportation in America’s 50 largest cities. Centered on R Street’s recently released “Transportation Regulation Scorecard: 2014,” the panel will examine how cities foster or stymie a healthy transportation economy and will make recommendations for how cities can improve their rankings.

    The panel will take a particularly close look at the District of Columbia, the top scoring city in America, and the District’s new ridesharing legislation which helped vault it to the top of the list.

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    Loading Map.... The Loft
    600 F Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.8970246 -77.02018069999997 11/19/2014 - 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    The Loft
    600 F Street NW
    Washington

    The Loft

    February 23, 2015, 3:01 PM
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    600 F Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.8970246 -77.02018069999997

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    Washington
    DC


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  • Westfields Marriott

    February 23, 2015, 2:57 PM
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    14750 Conference Center Dr - Chantilly
    Events 38.873846 -77.45612799999998

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    Chantilly
    VA

    20151
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  • Fighting Poverty: Solutions from the Center-Right

    February 23, 2015, 2:55 PM
    This event has passed 12/06/2014 @ 9:45 am - 12:00 pm

    R Street senior fellow Lori Sanders will be a featured speaker at a panel on poverty policy at the Republican Party of Virginia’s 31st annual conference:

    Save the Date! The 31st Annual RPV Advance is set for December 5th-6th at the Westfields Marriott!

    We’ve got a great line-up of speakers and conservative newsmakers, workshops to help you sharpen your message, and of course hospitality suites where the newsmakers, future leaders, and current elected officials meet the grassroots one-on-one!

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    Cost:
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    Website:
    http://rpv.org/2014advance/

    Loading Map.... Westfields Marriott
    14750 Conference Center Dr - Chantilly
    Events 38.873846 -77.45612799999998 12/06/2014 - 9:45 am - 12:00 pm
    Westfields Marriott
    14750 Conference Center Dr
    Chantilly

    A Public Forum Leading on Climate

    February 23, 2015, 2:46 PM
    This event has passed 12/07/2014 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

    R Street senior fellow Ian Adams will be a featured speaker at an upcoming panel discussion of climate policy:

    Climate change is hurting Oregonians. Pollution affects our health, economy, and infrastructure.

    Nearly every developed country wants the United States to hold polluters accountable for climate change. But Congress won’t act before a state can prove the model of effective policy.

    November’s election made this much clear: that state is Oregon.

    But if we send the bill for droughts and wildfires to the out-of-state corporations that cause them, what should we do with the estimated $2 billion in revenue every year? Cut taxes? Repair infrastructure? Invest in schools and clean energy? Should we send the money back to Oregonians as a $2,000 annual kicker? Or save for a rainy day?

    Join us on Sunday, December 7th at KOBI-TV Studio C in Medford for The Two Billion Dollar Question, an opportunity to celebrate the things we love about our home and get involved with the surest way to protect it: a fee on carbon pollution.

    Enjoy great food and music, meet the experts, and join the Two-Billion-Dollar-Debate.

    Now is the time for Oregonian exceptionalism. Don’t miss out on this exciting event!

     

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    Map Unavailable 12/07/2014 - 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm


    #LegalHack CopyNight Returns: February 10 Edition!

    February 23, 2015, 2:43 PM
    This event has passed 02/10/2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

    RSVP and details at: http://www.meetup.com/DCLegalHackers/events/219834425/

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    Loading Map.... R Street
    1015 ½ 7th Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.9072386 -77.02192179999997 02/10/2015 - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    R Street
    1015 ½ 7th Street NW
    Washington

    R Street

    February 23, 2015, 2:43 PM
    Loading Map.... R Street
    1015 ½ 7th Street NW - Washington
    Events 38.9072386 -77.02192179999997

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    1015 ½ 7th Street NW
    Washington
    DC

    20001
    United States


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  • Copyright Policy Lunch

    February 23, 2015, 2:40 PM
    This event has passed 02/11/2015 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm

    Join Public Knowledge and the R Street Institute for an informational briefing on the hill explaining the basics of copyright law, and the policy challenges that arise in an age of monkey selfies, Taylor Swift, and Buzzfeed.

    Featuring opening remarks from Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX).

    Details and RSVP: http://copyrightpolicy.splashthat.com/

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    12:15 PM

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    Map Unavailable 02/11/2015 - 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm


    R Street / CDT Happy Hour at SXSW

    February 23, 2015, 2:13 PM
    03/14/2015 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    Sorry, this event is by invitation only.

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    Loading Map.... R Street / CDT Happy Hour
    238 W 2nd St , - Austin
    Events 30.2648172 -97.74593920000001 03/14/2015 - 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    R Street / CDT Happy Hour
    238 W 2nd St ,
    Austin

    R Street Panels at SXSW

    February 23, 2015, 2:11 PM
    03/13/2015 - 03/17/2015 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Join the R Street Institute in Austin, Texas for three policy-focused panels during SXSW Interactive.

    1. How Big Data Can Transform Poverty Policy (Feat. Kevin Corinth, Michele Jolin, Rep. John Delaney, Lori Sanders) – Sunday, March 15 at 9:30 AM
    2. When Should Privacy Trump Free Speech? (Feat. Zach Graves, Mike Godwin, Emma Llansó, Jillian York) – Sunday, March 15 at 5:00 PM
    3. Your Laws, Your Data: Making Government More Open (Feat. Molly Schwartz, Daniel Schuman, Molly Bohmer, Rebecca Williams) – Friday, March 13 at 12:30 PM

     

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    Start:
    8:00 AM

    End:
    5:00 PM

    Cost:
    $1,295.00

    Website:
    http://sxsw.com/interactive/conference/2015-sessions

    Map Unavailable 03/13/2015 - 03/17/2015 - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm