Scholar Commentary

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.

The Benchmark: Let’s tear down the invisible wall

It’s time to fix our immigration system.

TV: Legal Marijuana and Drunk Driving

Author of CGO working paper, Benjamin Hansen joins the Kennedy show on Fox Business.

Podcast: Brian Isom discusses wildfires on the Upzoned podcast

Brian Isom, CGO research manager, discusses his recent op-ed in the Orange County Register about wildfires, power outages, and market incentives to make even the driest, most overbuilt corners of the US fire-safe.

Op-ed: Healthcare policy and the challenge of inertia

Why are Covered California enrollees willing to pay so much to stick with their plan?

The Benchmark: The future of education may not be what you think

College still matters, but it’s not the only option.

Op-ed: What college football can teach us about innovation

What does football have to do with innovation? In short, everything.

The Benchmark: The Opportunity Cost of Public Transit

Why Shiny New Projects Don’t Produce Results

The Benchmark: With Nuclear Power, the Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

Misconceptions about nuclear energy have proven to be far more deadly than atomic meltdowns.

Op-ed: Power outages are not the wildfire solution California needs

While this response is a guaranteed way to prevent powerlines from causing fires – a powerline with no electricity is nothing more than a bundle of wires – it comes at an incredibly high cost.

The Benchmark: Would deportations even work?

And what does work mean?

Op-ed: Let’s make Utah the ‘Sandbox State’

Utah is now full of “regulatory sandboxes” where innovators can safely test their ideas and experiment for a limited time with relaxed regulatory requirements.

TV: Christopher Koopman discusses the future of internet regulations on Liquid Lunch with John Tabacco

Senior Director of Research and Strategy, Christopher Koopman, joins Newsmax TV’s Liquid Lunch, hosted by John Tabacco, to discuss the future of social media and internet regulations.

The Benchmark: Finding Meaning in a Future of Less Work

Concerns about automation, in particular, have become deep-rooted and widespread in political debates and popular culture alike.

Radio: Is giving people a voice dividing or bringing us together?

Christopher Koopman discusses free speech and what big tech industries are doing on The Lars Larson Show

Radio: Trump administration moves to change fair-housing rule

Aaron Hedlund discusses the disparate impact rule under the Fair Housing Act on Marketplace.

The Benchmark: “The great moral renovator of society”

Mark Zuckerberg takes on free speech.

Op-ed: Look to history to reform the Antiquities Act

In its 113-year history, the Antiquities Act has gone through several cycles of controversy, reform and relative harmony.

The Benchmark: Want to See Green Tech Thrive?

Rethink how we fund it.

The Benchmark: Immigrants, Robots, and the American Farmer

Farmers are finding new ways to bring in their crops.

Op-ed: A Reset for the Renewable Fuels Standard?

The environmental record for biofuels is bleak , but upcoming regulatory reviews offer a chance to change course.

The Benchmark: “Look at the Camera for Entry”

Balancing the freedom to experiment and fear.

The Benchmark: Did Gavin Newsom kill the sharing economy?

Probably not, but it won’t be pretty.

The Benchmark: From Booze Cruise to Silicon Sands

What Tijuana teaches us about immigration.

Op-ed: Block the misuse of facial recognition, not the tech itself

It should not hinder the future of the technology in other applications where it shows real potential.

Op-ed: Should We Focus on Highway Expansion to Reduce Congestion?

Unfortunately, adding lanes to a highway is not a cure-all policy for congestion relief.

Op-ed: Soliciting donations from jurors can bias criminal court verdicts

Every year, millions of Americans file into courthouses for jury duty. They form a critical constitutional pillar of the criminal justice system — an unbiased trial by a jury of one’s peers.

The Benchmark: Chasing Away the American Dream

How reforming zoning rules could unleash home-based businesses.

Radio: Megan E. Hansen Discusses ESA Changes on American Viewpoints

Megan E. Hansen was a guest on American Viewpoints to discuss changes to the Endangered Species Act.

Op-ed: Protecting immigrants boosts US stocks

Our new research indicates that mass deportations could have an adverse effect on stock markets.

Op-ed: Changes to the Endangered Species Act will benefit endangered plants and animals

Changes to the ESA are likely to benefit endangered species by creating stronger incentives for private landowners to get involved in conservation.

The Benchmark: Why immigration raids backfire

Raids won’t keep people from coming to the US.

Op-ed: Want To Help Immigrants? Reform Occupational Licensing Restrictions

An unlikely immigration issue is actually a collection of state policies that hold immigrants back — occupational licensing.

The Benchmark: Reskilling tomorrow’s workforce

The role of on-the-job learning.

The Benchmark: Driverless cars could transform our roads

But there’s a long way to go.

Op-ed: The Right Way to Shape Our Low-Carbon Future

While renewables will certainly play a role in our low-carbon future, they aren’t our only option for reducing carbon emissions.

The Benchmark: Beyond the Fight for $15

The case for universal basic income.

The Benchmark: The road to wildfire is paved with good intentions

It’s time to give forest managers the tools they need.

Op-ed: Unnecessary regulation headaches for workers, business worst in these states

Different states have different rules and fees for those applying to get licenses, those laws can have a significant impact on who — and how many people — businesses choose to hire.

The Benchmark: The Border Patrol’s problems aren’t about Facebook

They’re about the Border Patrol’s culture.

The Benchmark: Bringing mom to work (and bringing work to mom)

How technology empowers a new generation of working moms.

The Benchmark: You probably can’t pass the US citizenship test

And other ways we can improve our immigration process.

Megan E. Hansen Discusses Improving Public Lands Management on C-SPAN

CGO Research Director Megan E. Hansen talked about her new policy paper, Executive Discretion and the Antiquities Act, and shared suggestions for how to improve public lands management [ … ]

The Benchmark: Are nonexistent connected cars slowing our WiFi?

The FCC can easily fix the problem.

Op-ed: Is Big Tech biased?

It’s time for a little perspective. No company is perfect, and each should be held accountable for its actions. But many of our fears are just plain overblown.

Radio: Megan E. Hansen talks public lands on Lars Larson Show

Megan E. Hansen, CGO Research Director, discusses what can be done to balance national land and public need on The Lars Larson Show.

Op-ed: Tax reform contributes to Utah’s economic success

Based on our economic research, it is clear that the best path for continued prosperity in Utah is in lowering overall rates and broadening the base.

Radio: Christopher Koopman on American Radio Journal

Christopher Koopman talks with American Radio Journal’s Lowman Henry about the impact on consumers of anti-trust actions against big tech firms.

Op-ed: How to protect monuments and local communities

At the heart of the controversy over Bears Ears is the Antiquities Act of 1906, which gives presidents broad discretion to designate and alter national monuments without requiring direct oversight [ … ]

OP-ED: APPA opinion on electric rates misses mark, retail choice better for customers: Academics

A recent study released by the American Public Power Association (APPA) concludes that, “between 1997 and 2018, increases in retail electric prices in states with deregulated electric markets [ … ]

Podcast: Brian Isom Discusses How Policy Changes Can Reduce Wildfires

CGO Research Manager Brian Isom expounds on wildfire policy.

Podcast: Robert Krol Discusses Highway Expansion, Tolls, and Congestion

Dr. Robert Krol of California State University was a guest on Economics Detective Radio to discuss the policy paper he wrote for The Center for Growth and Opportunity.

The Benchmark: The surprising leaders in the fight against climate change

U.S. companies are succeeding where the federal government has failed.

The Benchmark: Uber drivers aren’t employees

Where do we go from here?

The Benchmark: When “innovation” goes wrong

Let’s rethink the ethanol mandate.

Public Interest Comment: Modifications to Fuel Regulations to Provide Flexibility for E15 and to Elements of the Renewable Identification Number Compliance System

In this comment, the author shows how permitting year-round E15 sales introduces a number of environmental concerns that are inadequately addressed by the proposed [ … ]

The Benchmark: Burning down the house

How current wildfire policy is encouraging riskier real estate development.

Op-ed: National park entry fees are vital

CGO Research Director Megan Hansen and Undergraduate Research Fellow Rebekah Yeagley examine how proposals to eliminate entry fees will affect our treasured landscapes.

The Benchmark: The rise and fall of the female typist

Why we should be optimistic about technology’s impact on women.

Op-ed: If you love forests, let them burn

Today marks 49 years since Earth Day was first established by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI). Since then, the United States has made great strides towards improving the nation’s collective impact on the [ … ]

The Benchmark: The new identity politics

How the quiet battle over biometric data will shape the future.

Smith Testifies Before Colorado House Finance Committee

CGO Research Manager Josh T. Smith testified before the Colorado state legislature’s House Finance Committee on April 17, 2019.

The Benchmark: Is America Full?

Not even close.

Op-ed: Want border security? Drop the wall and welcome more immigrants

Policymakers should focus on expanding opportunities for people to peacefully and productively work in the U.S.

Op-ed: The US Biofuel Mandate Does More Harm Than Good

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to allow the year-round sale of E15 fuel, a gasoline mixed with biofuel produced from corn. The ethanol industry trumpeted these changes as a [ … ]

The Benchmark: The electrical grid is changing

It’s time our regulations changed too.

Op-ed: Why are states chasing away robot dogs?

Sony recently re-released an updated version of aibo, the robotic dog it sold from 1999 to 2006. The “canine” is built and designed for companionship, using artificial intelligence to remember different people. It also [ … ]

The Benchmark: Smokey Bear’s big lie

It’s going to take a lot more than you to prevent forest fires.

The Benchmark: Does our immigration system encourage crime?

Let’s stop talking about bad hombres, and start talking about bad incentives.

Op-ed: We can’t copy China’s game plan if we want to beat them to 5G

In the race to 5G, China is winning. The United States was slow out of the gate and is now playing catch up. The question at this point is not so much when we will get there but whether or not we will beat China.

The Benchmark: Riding in cars with strangers

How the sharing economy has increased trust by reducing transaction costs.

Op-ed: Why rent control won’t protect the poorest

While much attention over Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal has focused on the mystery of the disappearing website FAQ, its call to arms against flight travel, and the dangers of [ … ]

The Benchmark: Instead of replacing fossil fuels, let’s fix them.

We can achieve a green future without politics.

Op-ed: Our Climate Solution? It May Be Written In the Stars

Just before the holidays, Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., pointed to innovation as our best hope to curb carbon emissions. “Technology breakthroughs,” he said, “have led to an American energy renaissance and [ … ]

The Benchmark: Toward a better Green New Deal

Regulatory reform and the future of energy.

Smith Testifies before the Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee

Josh T. Smith, Research Manager at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, testified before the Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on February 13, 2019.

The Benchmark: No one reads online privacy policies

That’s probably a good thing.

Op-ed: Onerous Iowa occupational licensing laws limit opportunity and cost millions

A recent editorial in the Des Moines Register pointed out the stringent licensing laws that pervade the cosmetology industry in Iowa. As the article discusses, current occupational licensing rules require [ … ]

Op-ed: Walls Don’t Stop Migrants, But Tariffs Might

In his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump outlined a moral duty to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to prevent illegal immigration. But it’s not likely that he’ll receive congressional approval [ … ]

The Benchmark: Who benefits from the gig economy?

The short answer: Everyone.

Op-ed: The Wall Won’t Work

After closing for 35 days, the US government is open once again, at least until February 15. The deadlock over funding for President Trump’s border wall remains unresolved, however.

The Benchmark: What fracking can teach us about solving climate change

It will take serious innovation to reduce global carbon emissions, but history suggests that a solution is not as far off as we might think.

Op-ed: Licensing hurts, not helps, Utahns

At a meeting earlier this month, the Utah State Board of Education discussed concerns that too many teachers in the state are unlicensed. A 2016 change by the board allowed Utah schools to hire people [ … ]

Op-ed: The right strategy for handling general contractors

As the Idaho housing market continues to boom, complaints about substandard general contractors and shoddy building practices are on the rise. Many argue that contractors should be required to obtain a license [ … ]

Op-ed: Banning flavored tobacco and vaping products does more harm than good

Despite being far from the intended target of banning cotton candy-flavored vaping juice, traditional tobacco shops across California nevertheless are caught in efforts to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide.

The Benchmark: Parks over politics

The latest government shutdown shows that America’s national parks are too important for politics.

The Benchmark: We should welcome the future of work

Technology is changing today’s workplace. That’s a good thing.

Op-ed: Act Now to Keep Housing More Affordable

Recently, the Salt Lake City Council approved rules allowing more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), often simply called mother-in-law apartments. The change comes after nearly a decade of slogging through [ … ]

The Benchmark: Is data privacy a market failure?

In his opening remarks during this past September’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing examining privacy policies of top tech and telecommunications firms, Senator John Thune […]

Op-ed: The Shutdown is Ruining Our National Parks

As the government shutdown drags on, the fallout of political bickering in Washington, D.C., is being felt thousands of miles away in America’s beloved national parks.

Op-ed: Lessons to take from drones shutting down Gatwick airport

Holiday travel havoc is almost expected. Canceled flights and stranded passengers are as much a part of the holidays as homemade pumpkin pie and gift returns.