The Power of Independent Thinking

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Posted: Mon. June 15, 2020, 11:50am PT

Independent Institute Executive Director Graham Walker appears on the Jen and Don show on KTIE in San Bernardino, CA to talk about the California law AB5. The law redefines what a freelancer is in various occupations. It is forcing businesses to hire employees who were contractors. Enforcement of the law, passed in 2019, is now being stepped up. Some similar occupations are treated differently under law as exemptions to AB5 are given to some, but not other jobs. Movers, delivery drivers, nurses, doctors are treated very differently, bringing in to question the purpose of the law which is stifling innovation during a pandemic when jobs are needed most.

Posted: Sat. June 13, 2020, 1:43pm PT

The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer has sparked a massive reaction. Peaceful protests are clearly justified. Lawless and opportunistic riots, arson, theft, injuries, and killings are not. At the same time, it is obvious that weeks of COVID-19 fallout coupled with Floyd’s death have put a spotlight on the challenges and desperation that were already afflicting many of our urban communities.

Posted: Thu. June 11, 2020, 4:35pm PT

California is beginning to enforce AB5, the 2019 law that is forcing Uber and Lyft drivers and other freelance workers in California to become employees of a company, rather than contractors. Independent Institute Executive Director Graham Walker explains how workers want the freedom to work when and where they want, and companies don't want to bear the costs of onboarding part-time drivers. Exemptions to AB5 have been granted to certain occupations, creating "clients" of the California legislature, beholden to them and the unions who granted them exemption from this restrictive law.

Posted: Tue. June 9, 2020, 12:37pm PT

Which countries have handled the COVID-19 crisis best? Sr. Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa's Op-Ed Time to Listen to the Coronavirus Dissidents focuses on which countries have dealt with the pandemic without completely shutting down their economy. Are the heavy-handed policies indeed working? It may depend on how much (or little) bureaucratic intervention and testing the country has.

Posted: Tue. June 9, 2020, 9:18am PT

Research Fellow Jonathan Bean, editor of the book Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader appears on the Lars Larson national radio show. Similar to the 1960s in America, riots have broken out around the US. There should be no "moral holiday" as happened in the past, but criminals should be held to account, says Bean. Business owners should also be able to protect their property, he says, and not solely rely on law enforcement to stop mobs from attacking during riots.

Posted: Thu. June 4, 2020, 1:51pm PT

As the economy is beginning to reopen and some people are returning to work, there is still a large sector of workers being negatively affected by government restrictions. California Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5), legislation enacted late 2019 that inhibits the gig economy (freelancers, independent contractors, truckers, Uber drivers, just to name a few) and prevents part-time workers, many of whom are essential during the COVID-19 crisis. AB-5 is a devastating piece of legislation.

Posted: Wed. June 3, 2020, 1:49pm PT

How did we get here and—more important—what can we do about it? In this video, the renowned public choice economist and Independent Research Fellow Randall G. Holcombe joins with Dr. Graham H. Walker, Independent’s Executive Director, to discuss these matters.

Posted: Wed. June 3, 2020, 1:45pm PT

When the nation needs innovation and rapid response, the “precautionary principle”—the over-regulation or even the banning of substances due to (often unreasonable) fear of hazard—can and has cost many lives.