The Lighthouse® is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.
Volume 17, Issue 46: November 17, 2015
- Love Gov Wins Film Festival Award
- Housing Measures Leave Costly Restrictions in Place
- Jerry Browns Costly Symbolism for Climate Activism
- France, Terrorism, and the Road Ahead
- Job Opportunity: Student Programs Manager
- New Blog Posts
- Selected News Alerts
Have you heard the exciting news? Love GovIndependent Institutes first online video serieswon the top prize Thursday at the 2015 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival!
We are absolutely thrilled to have won the 2015 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival Award, said David J. Theroux, the president and founder of Independent. Our in-house team and our partner organization, Emergent Order, worked very hard to make Love Gov such a hugely popular and effective video series about government folly, and we are deeply honored that Atlas Network has recognized everyone involved in this accomplishment.
Were also honored that Love Gov was a Finalist for the 2015 Reason Video Prize. These professional accolades mean a lot to us. They tell us that people whove thought long and hard about how to promote liberty think were on the right track. But were even more proud that Love Gov has won a huge audience: Its racked up more than 1.8 million total views on YouTube since its July 6 release. Clearly the story and its message are resonating with many, many Millennials. We would love to keep spreading the message. If you havent done so yet, please help us by watching Love Gov and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. And if youd like to help us make additional episodesor even another series, please help us by making a tax-deductible donation.
Love Gov: From First Date to Mandate
San Francisco has the priciest housing market in the United States. Not surprisingly, in this months elections voters faced more than one ballot measure on housing. Fortunately, they defeated the worst, Proposition I, an 18-month moratorium on the construction of market-rate housing in the Mission District, and Proposition F, a measure that would have restricted short-term rentals à la Airbnb. Voters did pass two propositions intended to increase affordable housing, but those measures dont deal with the underlying problem: government policies have prevented the housing supply from keeping up with growing demand.
There just were no ballot initiatives aimed at cutting back the restrictions that have made the city, and much of the Bay Area, unaffordable for many Americans, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell writes. Government restrictions on new home building to preserve open space and limit density simultaneously drive up housing prices and make the region unaffordable for many people.
As for Proposition F, the defeated anti-Airbnb initiative, the hotel lobby failed to rally enough supporters to overcome the huge number of homeowners (and their friends and allies) who have benefited from renting out their homes. This time the special interests were not able to restrict supply for their own advantage. Airbnb (like Uber and Lyft) is using modern technology to bring together supply and demand in a new and powerful way. Modern technology is eliminating all those barriers to mutually profitable exchanges, as Independent Institute Senior John C. Goodman puts it. Of course, tearing down and keeping away the regulatory barriers to economic progress requires something more: eternal vigilance.
Increase Housing Supply To Increase Affordability, by Benjamin W. Powell (The Daily Caller, 11/6/15)
Is Your Home Your Castle? You Wish, by John C. Goodman (Townhall, 11/7/15)
Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis, edited by Randall G. Holcombe and Benjamin W. Powell
House Poor, Episode 4 of Love Gov
As weve been saying since June, when we published California Dreaming by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Lawrence J. McQuillan, the Golden State is facing a massive public-pension shortfall that will be covered with higher taxes and painful cutbacks in public services. Despite the fiscal disaster, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 185, a bill requiring state public pension funds to dump all their holdings of coal stocksresulting in huge capital losses for the funds.
Political correctness on so-called climate change thus imposes a cost on current and future public employees and taxpayers, writes Independent Institute Research Director William F. Shughart II in an op-ed published in the San Jose Mercury News and elsewhere. Californias symbolic action will have little or no impact on coal companies themselves, though, because other investors will buy the stocks CalPERS and CalSTRS dump at fire-sale prices.
Activists prize the symbolism of divestment, but Californias public pension plans have paid a heavy price for it over the years. One estimate puts the total capital loss from various politically correct divestments at $4 billion to $8 billion. Shughart writes: That estimate, if accurate, should drive angry pensioners and taxpayers into the street demanding that state officials rescind their precipitous action on SB 185, which adds to the total loss.
Symbolic Gesture on Coal Will Ding California Pension Funds, by William F. Shughart II (San Jose Mercury News, 11/2/15)
California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve Americas Public Pension Crisis, by Lawrence J. McQuillan
The American people have paid a tremendous price for the U.S. military response to the 9/11 terrorist attacksfar higher in blood and treasure than anyone in the White House or Congress had estimated. It took the benefit of hindsight for many to realize that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were unnecessary and, in many respects, counterproductive. Will the French people, in the aftermath of the barbaric shootings and bombings of Friday the 13th, follow a similar path? In his latest piece for the Huffington Post, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland urges them to take a different route.
France would do well to heed the advice of Napoleon, when the little tyrant recommended that his military commanders try to think like their enemy. If President Hollande does this, Eland argues, he might discover how to stop domestic terrorism once and for all. If he does notif he responds with a full-scale military retaliation with heavy collateral damagethe Paris attacks might mark the early stages of a long cycle of terrorist attacks and counterattacks.
[Muslim terrorists] are attacking the Western world powers to stop them from meddling in their lives, which is unnecessary anyway, Eland writes. To stop the terrorists, the best approach may be for the Western coalition to withdraw from Iraq and Syria. This tactical forbearance, Eland argues, would force Muslim Turkey to step up and send its large and capable army into both countries to clean out ISIS, thus avoiding the anti-Western backlash of ineffective and counterproductive Western bombing there.
The Endless Cycle of Terrorism, by Ivan Eland (The Huffington Post, 11/16/15)
Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty (Updated Edition), by Ivan Eland
Independent Institute is currently seeking a Student Programs Manager to develop and oversee our summer seminars, internships, and other student programs. The ideal candidate is a self-starter who loves working with college students. For listings of this and other job opportunities, please visit our Employment Opportunities page.
From The Beacon:
What The Hunting Ground Gets Right and Wrong About Campus Sexual Assault
Sam Staley (11/16/15)
Shillers Irrational Faith in Government Regulation
Robert Murphy (11/13/15)
Paid Patriotism: The Artist Formerly Known as Propaganda
Abigail Hall (11/12/15)
Honoring Veterans with Parental Choice in Education
Vicki Alger (11/11/15)
We Need Free Enterprise in Banking
Robert Murphy (11/11/15)
University of Missouri Police to Investigate Hurtful Speech
Melancton Smith (11/11/15)
Rock Star Physician Rebels Against Medicare Bureaucracy
John R. Graham (11/9/15)
From MyGovCost News & Blog:
Cops Go Easy on Ruling Class
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/16/15)
VA Executives Plead the Fifth
Craig Eyermann (11/13/15)
Coastal Commission Power Surge
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/11/15)
You can find the Independent Institutes Spanish-language website here and blog here.
William Shughart on Bill Gates on climate policy
Video: Robert Higgs speaks at Cato Institute