In full sprint
As Ronald Reagan would say, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’
After four months at the helm of American Experiment, what has impressed me most is the impact that the Center has on Minnesota. Consider some of the Center’s achievements since the beginning of 2016:
- The Center played the lead role, along with our longtime collaborator, Doug Seaton, in stopping AFSCME’s stealth attempt to organize home child care providers.
- Peter Nelson’s block buster report on how high taxes have prompted migration of Minnesota families to lower tax states, resulting in a net loss of nearly $1 billion in income, ignited an ongoing debate that promises to alter the landscape of future discussions of tax policy.
- Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal addressed a packed house of 300 at a Center lunch forum, explaining how liberal policies have hurt African-Americans. Riley’s speech was re-broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio and given wide publicity in local African-American news media.
- Kim Crockett and Kathy Kersten used town meetings, op-eds, and legislative testimony to oppose the Met Council’s efforts to use its modest legal authority to push a left-wing agenda on such far-flung matters as race and climate.
- In May, Peter Wallison addressed another Center lunch forum on how the Dodd-Frank Act has hurt community banks and small businesses. The event was covered in local news and Congressman Tom Emmer, author of legislation that would rein in Dodd-Frank’s excesses, participated.
- Peter Nelson leads legislative efforts to dramatically improve Minnesota’s health insurance landscape by authorizing small employers to offer defined contribution plans.
- Acting as an amicus before the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Center helped clarify how the misuse of “fees” having nothing to do with their ostensible purpose has impaired transparency in local government. The case could have far-reaching national implications.
- Mitch Pearlstein has organized a soon-to-be published symposium on specific actions that can change the culture that leads to family fragmentation.
- Kathy Kersten’s local and national columns on violence in the St. Paul public schools have triggered a national conversation on school security.
And that’s just four months’ worth!
In 2016, we have also ramped up our effort to communicate conservative and free-market ideas to far more Minnesotans. As of April 19, our staff had placed 34 op-eds in 20 newspapers around the state. We estimate that they were read by 348,000 Minnesotans.
We have also begun advertising data from our reports on the radio—listen for us on the Joe Soucheray show on ESPN 1500!—and the Internet. We are completely ravamping our web site and stepping up our presence on Facebook.
And, as Ronald Reagan would say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Before long, we will release a comprehensive report on problems in Minnesota’s economy, authored by a PhD economist in collaboration with the Center’s staff, which will re-frame legislative and public policy debates by highlighting weaknesses in our economy that are too often swept under the rug.
Later, we will publish a series of reports on how environmental regulation needlessly drags down Minnesota’s economy, especially in Greater Minnesota. Is there a more effective organization in Minnesota than Center of the American Experiment? I don’t know of one. If you haven’t already joined our team, please do!