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About Common Good

Common Good is a nonpartisan reform coalition that offers Americans a new way to look at law and government.

We propose practical, bold ideas to restore common sense to all three branches of government––legislative, executive and judicial––based on the principles of individual freedom, responsibility and accountability.

Common Good’s philosophy is based on a simple but powerful idea: People, not rules, make things happen. This idea is fundamental to how we write laws and regulations, structure government agencies and resolve legal disputes. It affects all our lives, every day.

Our mission is to overhaul governmental and legal systems to allow people to make sensible choices. We believe Americans need to be liberated to do their best.

Common Good offers new ways to simplify government that will cut budget deficits and create more jobs in our economy. Polls show that huge, bipartisan majorities of America's voters support these initiatives.

To advance our mission, Common Good provides thought leadership, issue research, advocacy support and policy implementation.

Common Good was founded in 2002 by Philip K. Howard. Our Advisory Board includes leaders from many areas of society, including former government officials Senators Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson, and Governors Richard Thornburgh and Tom Kean. We have offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

Click here for a full list of advisers and staff.

Taking Action

  • Common Good is advising federal, state and local officials on government overhaul, regulatory reform and elimination of obsolete laws.
  • Common Good is winning bipartisan national support for creation of health courts––a reform to streamline medical malpractice litigation, cut costs, end delays and protect patients.
  • Common Good is sponsoring expert forums, conducting policy research and partnering with a variety of think tanks to spotlight critical issues.
  • Common Good is influencing the national debate with thought leadership and new ideas that are regularly featured in major newspapers, websites and on network TV programs.
  • Common Good has been working with media organizations, such as The Atlantic, to spotlight new ideas and serious policy issues.

Simplify Government: Cut Deficits, Create Jobs

Common Good offers six common sense solutions to fix America's broken governmental and legal systems:

  1. Give government a "spring cleaning" by cutting out obsolete laws and bloated bureaucracies. If we are serious about reducing budget deficits, the underlying structures of government need to be reformed.
  2. Simplify regulations––and base them on results, not rules. This will strengthen the economy and free America’s "can-do" spirit.
  3. Create special health courts. This reform will protect patients, lower healthcare costs and expedite malpractice cases by taking them out of the regular court system.
  4. Reasonably limit the time it takes to do environmental reviews. This is critical if we’re going to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and protect the environment.
  5. Overhaul the civil service system. This will improve government efficiency and increase management flexibility .
  6. Free public schools from senseless bureaucracy and red tape. This will make it possible for teachers and principals to do, and give, their best.

About Philip K. Howard

Philip K. Howard is a well-known leader of government and legal reform in America. His new book, The Rule of Nobody (W. W. Norton & Company, April 2014), has been praised by Fareed Zakaria as "an utterly compelling and persuasive book that, if followed, could change the way America works." His Ted Talk has has been viewed by almost 500,000 people.

Philip is also the author of the best-seller The Death of Common Sense (Random House, 1995), The Collapse of the Common Good (Ballantine Books, 2002) and Life Without Lawyers (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009).

In 2002, Philip formed Common Good, a nonpartisan national coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to America. Philip writes periodically for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, and has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the News Hour, Today, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and numerous other programs.

The son of a minister, Philip got his start working summers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner and has been active in public affairs his entire adult life. He is a prominent civic leader in New York City and has advised national political leaders on legal and regulatory reform for fifteen years, including Vice President Al Gore and numerous governors. He is Senior Counsel at the law firm Covington & Burling, LLP. He is a graduate of Yale College and the University of Virginia Law School, and lives in Manhattan with his wife Alexandra. They have four children.