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

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Common Good Releases Animated Video on Why Congress Needs to Streamline Infrastructure Approvals

Common Good today released a three-minute animated video explaining why Congress needs to streamline the approval process for infrastructure projects. America has an infrastructure backlog totaling more than $4 trillion, in part because the current permitting process is so ludicrous. It can take more than a decade for major projects.

Click the image below to watch the video:

Congressional Roadblock” was created for Common Good by Alex Marino, a former writer for “The Daily Show.” The cost of unnecessary delays is explored in detail in a September 2015 report by Common Good’s Philip Howard titled “Two Years, Not Ten Years.” It found that red tape delays for infrastructure more than double the cost of large projects and dramatically harm the environment by prolonging pollution.

Click here to read Common Good’s full press release on the video.

Click here to read the one-pager we released during Infrastructure Week 2017 detailing Congress’ role in creating the current broken system.

And click here to read our proposed three-page piece of legislation that would solve much of the problem.

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Move the Capital: New Animated Video Examines Washington’s Toxic Culture, Proposes Radical Solution

In the latest edition of “The Weekly Stupid”—the newsletter of the “Who’s in Charge Around Here?” campaign—a new animated video from Common Good examines an overlooked reason why Washington doesn’t work: it’s toxic culture.

Click on the image below to watch the video:

The culture of a place determines how it works. Whether people in a place take responsibility, feel free to innovate, speak truth to power, pitch in, help others grow, or do a thousand other things that help a group thrive, is usually fostered by its culture. Conversely, a culture can also lead people to be self-protective, short-sighted, quick to assign blame, and disinterested in joint purpose—sounds like Washington, right?

Here's a radical idea: Start moving agencies out of D.C. It wouldn’t matter where, as long as new people were in charge. Most Americans go to work expecting to make things work. They take responsibility—for results. Americans are willing to make hard choices, because that’s their job. In contrast, Washington avoids responsibility like the plague. It lacks the will to govern. That’s why, one way or the other, we believe Washington needs to be replaced.

For more discussion on the poisonous culture of Washington, check out Philip Howard's essay over at The Daily Beast.

Click here to sign up for future editions of "The Weekly Stupid." To learn more about the “Who’s in Charge Around Here?” campaign, visit Take-Charge.org. You can also follow it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: #TakeCharge.

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Common Good Releases Animated Video on the Need to Expedite Approval of the Gateway Project

UPDATE: Common Good’s video on the need to expedite approval of the Gateway Rail Tunnel Project has received significant media coverage, including from NJ.com and the Washington Post. The Washington Post’s Fredrick Kunkle interviewed Common Good’s Philip Howard about the reasoning behind the video, and the need to reform America’s infrastructure approval process:

‘We need to create a critical mass of public pressure to make sure that at the end of the meeting, someone says, “Okay, let’ s move forward and do this, instead of having another meeting. ”

Howard said that another reason for the delay is that the public works approval process has been hijacked—sometimes by opponents, and sometimes by proponents who fear being sued by opponents. Their battleground has become the environmental impact review or concerns that bulldozers will raze history.

‘Everyone’s gaming the system,’ Howard said. ‘The environmental review, in my opinion, is an extraordinarily important component of decision-making. But it was intended to take months, not a decade. It was intended to focus the important environmental issues, not overturning every pebble.’

You can read the full piece here.

ORIGINAL POST: Common Good today released a three-minute animated video highlighting the need to expedite approval of the proposed Gateway Rail Tunnel Project under the Hudson River. The video—“Transportation Armageddon”—was created for Common Good by Alex Marino, a former writer for “The Daily Show.” It incorporates his humor and perspective in discussing a crucial issue: the need to prevent unnecessary financial and environmental costs from delay of the Project. Click the image below to watch the video:

The video is the first “Weekly Stupid” product created as part of Common Good’s recently-launched “Who’s in Charge Around Here?” campaign.

Download the press release on the video here.

Click here to read Common Good’s May 2016 report on the Gateway Project, “Billions for Red Tape.”

And to learn more about and sign up for the “Who’s in Charge Around Here?” campaign, visit Take-Charge.org. You can also follow it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: #TakeCharge.

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Philip Howard, Bill Bradley, Tom Kean Talk Broken Government

The co-chairs of Common Good’s “Who’s in Charge Around Here?” campaign have appeared on TV and radio in the past few days to discuss the effort and, in particular, the need for it.

On Friday, campaign co-chair Philip Howard appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” arguing: “Americans are frustrated, but it’s like punching a pillow, because Washington is this giant hairball of accumulated regulations that prevent everybody, even the President, from [getting anything done].”

Click the image below to watch a five-minute clip of the interview.

On Monday, former Senator Bill Bradley, the other campaign co-chair, appeared with former Governor Tom Kean, a campaign endorser, on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” “We have a lot of talk about the problems we face as a country, but there’s no coherent plan to fix Washington,” said Bradley. “And what we’re trying to do is lay out a plan to fix Washington ….”

Click the image below to listen to the 23-minute interview.

Learn more about and sign up for the campaign at Take-Charge.org. You can also follow it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: #TakeCharge.

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Philip Howard Appears on Idaho Public Television

Common Good Chair Philip Howard recently appeared on “Dialogue,” Idaho Public Television’s statewide public affairs program. The 30-minute discussion with host Marcia Franklin covers such topics as principles-based regulation, the role of judges, the need to review old laws, and how to bring about change.

“In a sensible system of government,” Howard tells Franklin, “everybody ought to be free to ask, ‘What’s the right thing to do here?’ Instead we’ve got this crazy world where teachers are told never to put an arm around a crying child, and playgrounds are not allowed to have things that are fun for kids, and businesses don’t give job references, and all these things where people are paralyzed in all kinds of ways that make no sense, because of the detailed rules."

Click here to watch the full interview.

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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.

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Philip Howard Presents at Municipal Art Society’s 2015 Summit

On October 22, Common Good Chair Philip Howard presented at the Municipal Art Society of New York’s 2015 summit. Click the image below to watch his six-minute talk, titled “Two Years, Not Ten Years.”

Click here to access Common Good’s recent “Two Years, Not Ten Years” report on infrastructure permitting.

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Lenore Skenazy Makes the Case for “Free-Range Kids” on The Daily Show

Common Good friend and founder of the “Free-Range Kids” movement appeared on last night’s Daily Show to make the case for why we should allow our kids to navigate risk. “I think that we are overestimating danger and underestimating our kids almost all the time,” she argues. “Fear is keeping our kids inside—helpless, indoors, bored, fat, diabetic, depressed.”

Click the image below to watch the full segment.

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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.”

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Bob Litan on the Need for Sunsets, Review Commissions

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Bob Litan of the Brookings Institution makes the case for sunsets and review commissions to clear the regulatory jungle hindering American entrepreneurship. An excerpt:

More broadly, Congress should regularly reevaluate and update federal regulations, many of which pose unnecessary barriers to entry for new firms. Federal regulations are expensive, often costing small businesses thousands of dollars per employee, and such costs pose a distinct disadvantage for younger and smaller firms, which rarely have the resources to hire full-time attorneys or compliance officers. To facilitate the dismantling of unnecessary regulations, Congress should include sunset provisions on all major federal rules so that every ten to 15 years or so, Congress is forced to reevaluate its regulations, removing those that do not pass a cost-benefit test and improving those that do. Congress could also authorize a bipartisan panel of experts to identify outmoded regulations and submit them on a regular basis to lawmakers for an up-or-down vote.

You can read his full essay (“Start-Up Slowdown: How the United States Can Regain Its Entrepreneurial Edge”) here. Common Good and Philip Howard have previoulsy made similar proposals—click here to read Philip’s proposed “Bill of Responsibilities” from The Rule of Nobody

Litan also made this case at Common Good’s recent forum, The Future of the Individual—click on the image below to watch an excerpt from his presentation.

You can watch his complete presentation from the forum here.

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