|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (June 2012)|
|Founder(s)||Robert W. Poole, Jr., Manuel S. Klausner, Tibor R. Machan|
|Mission||Advancing a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law|
|Chairman||Thomas E. Beach|
|Key people||Drew Carey, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch|
(FYE September 2013)
|Slogan||"free minds and free markets"|
5737 Mesmer Ave, Los Angeles, CA 902301747 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The Reason Foundation is an American libertarian research organization founded in 1968 that also publishes the magazine Reason. Based in Los Angeles, it is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. According to its web site, the Reason Foundation is committed to advancing "the values of individual freedom and choice, limited government, and market-friendly policies." According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), the Foundation is number 41 (of 60) in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".
Reason Foundation's policy research areas include: air traffic control, American domestic monetary policy, school choice, eminent domain, government reform, housing, land use, immigration, privatization, public-private partnerships, urban traffic and congestion, transportation, industrial hemp, medical marijuana, police raids and militarization, free trade, globalization and telecommunications. Affiliated projects include Drew Carey's Reason TV video website. Reason Foundation staff also regularly contribute to the Out of Control Policy Blog.
Reason Foundation co-founder Robert Poole is an MIT-trained engineer and the author of Cutting Back City Hall, published by Universe Books in 1980. Cutting Back City Hall provided the intellectual support for Margaret Thatcher's privatization efforts in the United Kingdom. Poole remains at Reason serving as an Officer on the organization's Board of Trustees and Director of Transportation Policy. Poole founded Reason with Manny Klausner and Tibor Machan.
- 1 Background
- 2 Publications
- 3 Policy areas
- 4 Drew Carey Project and Reason TV
- 5 Oath of Presidential Transparency
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Robert Poole founded Reason Foundation and served as its president from 1968 to 2001. Patricia Lynn Scarlett took over as president in 2001. Shortly thereafter Scarlett resigned to join the Bush administration as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the Department of the Interior. David Nott, a Stanford University graduate, has served as Reason Foundation's president since 2001.
Reason Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization completely supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the sale of its publications.
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Annual Privatization Report, Privatization Watch and Innovators in Action
Reason Foundation publishes the Annual Privatization Report, which reports on news and trends in U.S. outsourcing, privatization and public-private partnerships. Privatization Watch is another of the Foundation's privatization publications that is published three to four times per year. Innovators in Action is an annual publication that advocates shrinking the size and scope of government, usually through privatization. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens wrote columns for this publication in 2007.
Annual Highway Report
Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report ranks each state's transportation system on cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Reason has also published a number of studies opposing rail systems in favor of road construction. The 21st Annual Highway Report was published in September 2014.
Reason Foundation's primary publication is the magazine Reason, founded in 1968 by Lanny Friedlander, and was originally an infrequently published mimeographed magazine. In 1970, Robert Poole purchased Reason with Manuel S. Klausner and Tibor R. Machan, who set the magazine on a more regular publication schedule. Reason is the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets." It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.
Reason Foundation co-founder Robert Poole "is credited as the first person to use the term 'privatization' to refer to the contracting-out of public services and is the author of the first-ever book on municipal privatization, Cutting Back City Hall, published by Universe Books in 1980." Cutting Back City Hall was massively influential, notably by providing the intellectual support for Margaret Thatcher's privatization efforts in the United Kingdom. Thatcher wrote in Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report 2006, "State control is fundamentally bad because it denies people the power to choose and the opportunity to bear responsibility for their own actions. Conversely, privatisation shrinks the power of the state and free enterprise enlarges the power of the people."
The Reason Foundation supports the privatization of (or, public-private partnerships for) almost all government functions. Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation's Director of Government Reform, describes privatization as "a strategy to lower the costs of government and achieve higher performance and better outcomes for tax dollars spent." Gilroy also notes that "If badly executed, privatization like any other policy can fail. Taxpayers are no better off, and may be worse off, if a service is moved from a government agency to an incompetent or inefficient private business." During his time at Reason Gilroy has collaborated with Reason Foundation's Vice-President of Research, Adrian Moore, to co-author two studies that are essential introductory pieces on privatization, they include: Local Government Privatization 101 and 10 Principles of Privatization. Reason is known for seeking practical collaboration between the public and private sector, and has helped implement free market-based policy reforms across the United States and around the world.
Reason is engaged in a number of transportation policy endeavors.
Reason Foundation co-founder Robert Poole serves as the Director of Transportation Policy. According to the New York Times, "For 17 years, Mr. Poole has been the chief theorist for private solutions to gridlock. His ideas are now embraced by officials from Sacramento to Washington."
The Annual Highway Report receives significant media attention each year for ranking all 50 states for quality and cost-effectiveness. The 19th Annual Highway Report ranked North Dakota as having the most cost-effective roads in the country, and Rhode Island as having the least cost-effective roads in the country.
The Galvin Mobility Project is "producing results that will end congestion as a regular part of life." The Galvin Mobility Project has led to a prolific production of studies on the causes of congestion. One of the most noteworthy is the book "Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive Twenty-First Century" by Reason Foundation's Director of Urban Growth and Land Use Policy, Sam Staley.
Reason Foundation is often the target of criticism from transportation experts and observers. The criticism is typically motivated by the argument that Reason Foundation has a simplified perspective on transportation that it employs in analyses of projects, which often excludes walking/biking and misrepresents the societal costs of road congestion. Another common criticism is the typical neglect of interrelations between transportation and other aspects of society, such as the impact on public spaces and the improved quality of urban life in less car dependant environments.
Reason Foundation has strongly advocated for education reform - namely through expanded school choice initiatives. Reason's Director of Education and Child Welfare Lisa Snell authored a study in 2009 entitled Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2009, which examined school districts using student-based "backpack funding." Snell is also: "an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children’s Bureau; on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy."
In 2006, Reason Foundation issued a report attacking a municipal Wi-Fi project iProvo in Provo, Utah as financially unstable and ineffective at lowering Internet costs or raising broadband use. iProvo proponents responded vigorously with a white paper rebutting Reason's conclusions. In particular, the iProvo team noted that the author of the report, Steven Titch, "is a technology and public relations consultant with strong ties to Qwest Communications, an incumbent provider who has opposed the concept of iProvo from its infancy." Titch claimed that there was no conflict of interest. Others have noted that Reason received a $100,000 grant from AT&T the previous year, although AT&T does not seem to be necessarily opposed to municipal WiFi.
In 2008, Reason issued a follow up report titled, iProvo Revisited: Another Year and Still Struggling. According to Reason, the predictions in its first report had proven true: "iProvo's total losses are likely to exceed $10 million by the end of this fiscal year - and that figure doesn't include the $39.5 million borrowed to launch the project, most of which still needs to be paid back." Reason called for the city to "cut its losses" and sell the network to a private company. Shortly after the 2008 report was issued, the mayor of Provo, Lewis Billings, who had been highly critical of the Reason reports, announced that iProvo would in fact be sold to a private enterprise, Broadweave, for $40 million.
The Reason Foundation for many years denied climate change was being caused by human beings. But in 2005, Reason magazine's science writer Ronald Bailey wrote a column declaring that climate change is both real and man-made. He wrote, "Anyone still holding onto the idea that there is no global warming ought to hang it up. All data sets—satellite, surface, and balloon—have been pointing to rising global temperatures."
In 2006, Bailey wrote an article titled "Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore: Actually no one paid me to be wrong about global warming. Or anything else." In the article Bailey explains how and why he changed his mind on climate change.
War in Iraq
The Reason Foundation has been critical of the cost of the war in Iraq. Reason magazine's May 2008 cover story "Trillion Dollar War" discussed the dubious ways in which the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have been funded by Congress and the Bush administration. The majority of Reason magazine's staffers opposed the war, but a few—notably the Beirut-based contributing editor Michael Young—endorsed it.
On August 25, 2010, Reason TV published a video titled "Wheat, Weed and Obamacare: How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful" as part of an effort to question the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare. The video has been credited with popularizing the argument in conservative circles that PPACA's individual mandate to buy health insurance is constitutionally equivalent to requiring consumers to buy particular types of fruits or vegetables. This argument was ultimately articulated by Justice Antonin Scalia, who suggested during oral argument of the PPACA cases that if Congress has the power to require Americans to buy health insurance, then "Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli."
Drew Carey Project and Reason TV
Comedian and The Price Is Right host Drew Carey serves on the Board of Trustees at Reason Foundation. According to an interview by Katherine Herrup of the New York Sun with Nick Gillespie (current editor-in-chief of Reason TV), Carey initially proposed the idea for Reason TV after reading Reason magazine for years. He then both appeared in and narrated numerous videos produced by Reason TV.
One of the collaboration's first projects, Carey's video criticizing the Drug Enforcement Administration's medical marijuana raids, received significant national attention, Other of his videos for the foundation have promoted free trade; criticized the government's raids of local poker games; an Arizona attempt to ban dancing in a family restaurant (Footloose in Arizona) highlighted a ban on bacon-wrapped hot dogs in Los Angeles; detailed abuse of eminent domain laws; called for more toll roads to relieve congestion; argued for deregulation of organ donation (including kidneys and other organs); and called for immigration reform.
Reason TV produced a full-length documentary entitled Reason Saves Cleveland with Drew Carey applying success stories from around the United States to "save Cleveland." The documentary was awarded "Best Advocacy Journalism" at the 53rd Annual Southern California Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.
Oath of Presidential Transparency
Reason Foundation and a bipartisan group of over 30 other organizations asked all of the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates to sign a pledge promising that, if elected, they would deliver the most transparent presidency in history and guaranteeing the executive branch would adhere to the concepts of open government. The candidates who signed the oath were: Sen. Barack Obama (D–Illinois), Rep. Ron Paul (R–Texas), Sen. Sam Brownback (R–Kansas), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D–Alaska), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D–Ohio), Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, and John Cox.
Reason Foundation's Vice-President of Research Adrian Moore said of the oath, "The next president should be committed to transparency and accountability. Redesigning the federal government so that it is more accountable to taxpayers is a nonpartisan issue. Transparency will help produce a government focused on results instead of our current system, which is plagued by secrecy, wasteful spending and pork projects."
Then-Senator Barack Obama echoed those sentiments saying, "Every American has the right to know how the government spends their tax dollars, but for too long that information has been largely hidden from public view. This historic law will lift the veil of secrecy in Washington and ensure that our government is transparent and accountable to the American people."
Reason posted the signed oaths on its website.
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- Margaret Thatcher, "Rebuilding An Enterprise Society Through Privatisation", Annual Privatization Report 2006, p. 7 (http://reason.org/files/d767317fa4806296191436e95f68082a.pdf).
- Leonard Gilroy and Adrian Moore, "Ten Principles of Privatization"
- Leonard C. Gilroy, "Local Government Privatization 101"
- Transportation on Reason.org
- Galvin Mobility Project on Reason.org
- Todd Litman, "Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism"
- Lisa Snell, Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2009
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- Steven Titch (1 December 2006). "Spinning its Wheels". Reason Foundation.
- Tad Walch, Deseret News, "Provo lashes iProvo critics"
- Eric Bangeman, "AT&T gets into municipal WiFi business"
- Reason Foundation Press Release iProvo Losses at $8 Million and Counting http://www.reason.org/news/iprovo_municipal_wifi_broadband_update_041608.shtml
- Deseret News: iProvo, Broadweave Nearly Close Deal http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700239528,00.html
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- Ronald Bailey (22 September 2006). "Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore". reason.com.
- Trillion Dollar War by Veronique de Rugy in Reason magazine http://www.reason.com/news/show/125438.html
- Archive of Michael Young's Reason magazine columns http://www.reason.com/staff/show/138.html
- The Reason.tv Project. YouTube. 5 May 2008.
- Associated Press and USA Today: "Drew Carey Defends Medical Marijuana" http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-11-01-carey-marijuana_N.htm
- Arizona Republic: San Tan Flats Wins Dance Duel http://www.azcentral.com/community/pinal/articles/2008/04/30/20080430santanflat0430-on.html
- Archive of Videos Produced by Drew Carey for Reason TV http://reason.tv/featuredvids
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