The Blog

News and stories from the campaign to reclaim individual responsibility and liberate Americans from bureaucracy and legal fear.

Blog — Events

May 19 Forum: How Faster Infrastructure Approvals Can Get America Moving Again

On Thursday, May 19th in Washington, DC, Common Good, the Progressive Policy Institute, and Covington & Burling LLP will host an event on infrastructure permitting as part of Infrastructure Week (www.infrastructureweek.org).

Speaker information will be listed soon.

Event Details:

Title:  How Faster Infrastructure Approvals Can Get America Moving Again

When:  Thursday, May 19, 2015; 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, with lunch to   follow. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:15 AM.

Where:  Covington & Burling LLP, 10th Floor, One CityCenter, 850 Tenth Street,  NW, Washington, DC 20001

To RSVP, please e-mail your name, position, affiliation, and contact information to Andrew Park at apark@commongood.org. All attendees must register before the day of the event. Please e-mail Andy with any questions as well.

Comment ›

May 9 Event: BILLIONS FOR RED TAPE

Common Good invites you to attend an end of the day discussion and reception on Monday, May 9th in New York City to discuss the release of our new report: “Billions for Red Tape: Focusing on the Approval Process for the Gateway Rail Tunnel Project.”

The event will feature remarks from Senator Cory Booker followed by a moderated panel.

Panelists:

Patrick Foye, Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Philip K. Howard, Chair, Common Good
List in formation.

The Gateway Rail Tunnel Project is a $24 billion infrastructure plan to alleviate a critical bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor, an area of the country that accounts for 20 percent of national GDP. The purpose of the report and event is to outline the economic and environmental costs of different permitting timetables, and to propose approval mechanisms that will save taxpayers billions and avoid significant economic and environmental harm.

Event Details:

When: Monday, May 9, 2016
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Cocktails and appetizers will be served.

Where:  The New York Times Building
43rd Floor (offices of Covington & Burling LLP)
620 Eighth Avenue (between 40th and 41st Streets)
New York, NY 10018
A government-issued ID is required to pass through building security.

To RSVP, please e-mail your name, position, affiliation, and contact information to Ruth Mary Giverin at rmgiverin@commongood.org. Please contact Ruth with any questions as well.

Comment ›

Philip Howard Leads Panel at Center on Capitalism and Society’s Annual Conference

On November 9, Common Good’s Philip Howard chaired a panel at Columbia University’s Center on Capitalism and Society’s 13th Annual Conference. The panel, titled “How Evolving Social Values Suppress Individual Initiative,” also featured NYU’s Jonathan Haidt, Swarthmore College’s Barry Schwartz, and Lapham’s Quarterly Lewis Lapham. Click the picture below to watch the panel in full.

At the end of September, Philip was named an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Center – you can read about that here. Click here to watch more video from the annual conference, including a luncheon presentation by entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

Comment ›

Common Good Releases New Report: “Two Years, Not Ten Years”

*** Click here to access proposed legislative language to implement the report's proposals. ***

Today Common Good released Two Years, Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals, our new report on the costs of delaying infrastructure permits. The report concludes that a permitting delay of six years on public projects costs the nation over $3.7 trillion, more than double the $1.7 trillion needed through the end of this decade to modernize America’s decrepit infrastructure.

Read the press release here.

Read the report here.

This report came out of the May 2015 forum Common Good co-hosted with the National Association of Manufacturers, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Covington & Burling LLP.

Common Good is pushing for a radically simplified approach, with all reviews and approvals completed within two years. “Two Years, Not Ten Years” is our rallying cry.

We would welcome your comments and suggestions on this crucial national issue. You can e-mail them to commongood@commongood.org.

Comment ›

Common Good Event: “Paralyzed Government: Then What?”

The U.S. government is structurally paralyzed and requires a reset to become functional. The paralysis is not simply political but structural. Red tape blocks vital initiatives and obstructs rather than supports public goals. The nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, taking as long as a decade to get needed approvals to undertake essential projects. Innovation is stifled; the U.S. now ranks 46th globally in ease of starting a business. America’s economic competitiveness is undercut, along with millions of potential jobs.  

The roots of public paralysis grow deep in our culture—avoiding authority, giving any group an effective veto, and letting special interests preserve the status quo. This discussion—“Paralyzed Government: Then What?”—will bring together leading thinkers who have each recently published books suggesting the need not just for new leadership, but major overhauls of governing structures.  

Participants in the discussion, which will take place on Wednesday, June 17, and be moderated by John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Beast, will be:

  • Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay; Professor, Stanford University;
  • John Micklethwait, co-author of The Fourth Revolution; Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg L.P.; and
  • Philip K. Howard, author of The Rule of Nobody; Chair, Common Good.
Comment ›

May 12 Forum: Rethinking Infrastructure Approvals

Part of Infrastructure Week 2015 | www.infrastructureweek.org

View invitation as a PDF.

Common Good, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Association of Manufacturers, and Covington & Burling LLP invite you to attend a morning forum on accelerating infrastructure approvals on Tuesday, May 12 in Washington, DC.

The forum, which is part of Infrastructure Week 2015, will include keynote addresses by key members of the Administration and Congress (invitations in process), a presentation on best practices from other countries, plus two panels of experts discussing how to achieve these goals:

1. Better environmental reviews, accomplished in months or a few years, not a decade.
2. How to consolidate permits. 

The forum’s goal is to explore bold proposals for simplifying, accelerating, and improving the infrastructure approval process. Red tape must be cut if America wants to reap all the benefits of new infrastructure projects—enhanced competitiveness, millions of jobs, and a greener environmental footprint.

Participants include leaders of industry, labor, government, and environmental protection (list not final):

Keynote Remarks: U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez

Robyn M. Boerstling, National Association of Manufacturers
Clarke Bruno, Anbaric Transmission
Shawn Denstedt Q.C., Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt (Canada)
E. Donald Elliott, Covington & Burling; formerly of EPA
Patrick J. Foye, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Gary S. Guzy, Covington & Burling; formerly of CEQ and EPA
Philip K. Howard, Common Good
Kelly S. Huffman, Poseidon Water
Sarah Kline, Bipartisan Policy Center
Deron Lovaas, Natural Resources Defense Council
Nick A. Malyshev, OECD
Diana C. Mendes, AECOM
Joann Papageorgis, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
John D. Porcari, Parsons Brinckerhoff; formerly of the U.S. Department of Transportation
Mark R. Tercek, The Nature Conservancy

For more information, visit Infrastructure Week 2015’s website at www.infrastructureweek.org.

Event Details:

Title: Rethinking Infrastructure Approvals

When: Tuesday, May 12, 2015; 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, with lunch to follow. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:15 AM.

Where: Covington & Burling LLP, 10th Floor, One CityCenter, 850 Tenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

To RSVP, please e-mail your name, position, affiliation, and contact information to Ruth Mary Giverin at rmgiverin@commongood.org. All attendees must register before the day of the event. Please e-mail Ruth with any questions as well.

Comment ›

The Future of the Individual: Video Excerpts

Click on the images below to watch excerpts from The Future of the Individual, Common Good and Columbia University’s November 6 forum on the social and economic developments that are diminishing the role of the individual in the modern world.

Here’s Common Good Chair Philip Howard on how we have the wrong idea of “the rule of law”:

Here’s former Indianapolis mayor and New York City deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith on how innovation within government is “illegal”:

Click here to watch Mr. Goldsmith’s entire presentation.

Here’s Doctored author Dr. Sandeep Jauhar on the effects of bureaucracy on health care:

Click here to watch Dr. Jauhar’s entire presentation.

Here’s Brookings senior fellow Robert Litan on possible solutions:

Click here to watch Mr. Litan’s entire presentation.

And click here to read Philip and Nobel laureate Edmund Phelps’ joint statement from the event, “Humans vs. Bureaucracy.”

Comment ›

Humans vs. Bureaucracy

The following statement by Philip K. Howard and Edmund Phelps was presented in conjunction with Common Good's recent joint forum with Columbia University’s Center on Capitalism and Society, "The Future of the Individual." In the coming days we will post videos and summaries from the forum. This joint statement can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Nothing gets done sensibly, or fairly, unless a real person makes it happen. This is true for a teacher in a classroom, a CEO in a company, a nurse in a hospital, a worker on a shop floor, an inspector of a restaurant, or a high official in Washington.

Making these choices requires an open zone in which the responsible individual feels free to draw on experience and instinct to make a judgment. Sometimes the decision will be a good one, sometimes it won’t. This process of trial and error is how people learn. It is part of economic advancement and the rewards of work. Similarly, achieving innovation requires a real person to imagine the product or method, to judge whether it has a chance of success, and to create the thing.

Today, Western nations are organized to avoid individual choice. Rules and systems tell us how to do things “correctly.” Mindless compliance supplants personal responsibility to achieve a result. The idea is that systems, not humans, will lead us to the promised land.

The harm is not just ideological—that individuals are less free. The harm is practical—things don’t work. Schools are lousy, healthcare unaffordable, government paralyzed, and people feel powerless to do anything about it. Economic growth is slower and the labor force has shrunk—observations suggest that innovation is constricted and job satisfaction has narrowed.

America needs a new public philosophy. Humans must be reinstated as the activating force. Systems and regulations must be rebuilt as a corral with an open area for human responsibility, not as an instruction manual that dictates daily choices. Corporate attitudes that block innovators from building in communities and handicap outsiders from competing with insiders must be exposed as costly to human fulfillment. Law should be a framework for free choice, not a replacement. 

Put humans in charge. A revolution will be required. But that is proof only of how far we’ve slipped. This is not just a plea for better public policy. This is a new belief structure. Let us take responsibility. Judge how we do, don’t tell us how to do it.

Comment ›

The Future of the Individual: A Forum with Philip Howard and Edmund Phelps

Event program with agenda.

On Thursday, November 6, Common Good and Columbia University’s Center on Capitalism and Society will hold an afternoon forum in New York City on reviving the conditions for individual initiative in America. The event’s hosts are Common Good’s Philip K. Howard and Nobel laureate Edmund S. Phelps of Columbia’s Center on Capitalism and Society. Other expected participants include:

  • William R. Brody, MD, Salk Institute
  • Stephen Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis
  • Anthony Gottlieb, former Executive Editor of The Economist
  • Heather R. Higgins, Randolph Foundation
  • Kay S. Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute
  • Sandeep Jauhar, MD, author of Doctored
  • Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
  • Robert E. Litan, Brookings Institution
  • James Mackintosh, Financial Times
  • Peter Pazzaglini, Columbia University
  • Robert Pondiscio, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Andrzej Rapaczynski, Columbia Law School
  • Richard Robb, Columbia University
  • Esa Saarinen, Aalto University (Finland)
  • Robert J. Shiller, Yale University
  • William H. Simon, Columbia Law School
  • Juan Vicente Sola, University of Buenos Aires
  • Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University

The forum will address how bureaucracy, corporatism, and cultural trends have diminished the room for individual autonomy and initiative, and will explore possible solutions. Reforms to expand individual opportunities and ownership of daily choices include simplifying regulatory structures, changing corporate incentives away from short-term thinking, fostering decentralized government, discouraging uniform solutions to social problems, sponsoring local manufacturing to build the conditions for know-how, redirecting education toward imagination and creativity, and expanding the public narrative to highlight the role of human initiative in all accomplishment.

The forum will consist of short opening presentations, followed by four panels. A cocktail hour will conclude the event.

Event Details

Title: The Future of the Individual

Date: Thursday, November 6

Time: 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM (followed by a cocktail hour). Registration and lunch begin at noon. Event program with agenda.

Location: Covington & Burling, 43rd Floor, The New York Times Building, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY

RSVP: Registration required. Please e-mail your name, title, and affiliation to Ruth Mary Giverin at rmgiverin@commongood.org. Please e-mail Ruth with any questions as well.

This event is made possible by the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Comment ›

John Micklethwait & Philip K. Howard on Commissions

The Economist's editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, recently joined Philip Howard for a discussion around their two recent books: Micklethwait's The Fourth Revolution and Howard's The Rule of Nobody. Watch an excerpt of their conversation here:

Comment ›

 1 2 >