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NEWS + ANALYSIS

DO YOU KNOW WHY YOUR WORK MATTERS?

October 12, 2018

Why does your work matter? That is the question that 29 professionals sought to answer through the day long training: Three-Stack Approach to Marketing and Messaging Policy Research. This training was part of a pre-session held before the State Policy Network’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah from Oct. 8-12. During this training Atlas Network’s Daniel Anthony and Dr. Lyall Swim delved into the importance of focusing on the meaning of your work and not the features of the work — to focus on the emotional appeal of policy work and the ways it impacts the everyday lives of real people.

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ISRAELI FREEDOM MOVEMENT PROJECT RECOGNIZED AT G10 SUMMIT

October 12, 2018

As a result of her leadership in the Freedom Index Project — a tool developed by the Israeli Freedom Movement (IFM) — Knesset (Israeli legislature) Member Sharren Haskel addressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders during the last week of September at the 2018 Group of 10 (G10) conference in Berlin. MK Haskel (the only representative from Israel) was one of ten participants in this highly selective, highly influential conference. As a participant, Haskel was able to argue for greater market solutions around the globe and express her growing concern over the big-government policies of many European countries.

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SPREADING LIBERTY ONE BEER AT A TIME

October 11, 2018

Free the People is using movies and beer communicate the ideas of freedom. The new film, "Beer Is Freedom: When Hops Cross Borders" tells the journey of how two brewers across the globe worked together in order to create a joint microbrew called Flying Dogma.

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MEETING OF OVER A DOZEN CLASSICAL LIBERAL ORGS MARKS IMPORTANT CHAPTER FOR ECUADOR

October 9, 2018

Thirteen organizations representing academia, civil society activism, and the private sector gathered at the first-ever “Liberal Meeting” in Quito, Ecuador, in late August to discuss the condition of classical liberal ideas in the country. The participants also developed a shared strategy so their efforts to advance economic freedom — in concert with one another — will have a greater impact for a country that recently fell 3 places on the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report.

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REMEMBRANCE OF HOLODOMOR TRAGEDY REMINDS OF THE DANGERS OF TOTALITARIANISM

October 8, 2018

Totalitarian systems unleashed catastrophic proportions of death and destruction in the 20th century. Communism alone has killed an estimated 100 million people since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Fascist regimes also killed tens of millions. In memory of all these victims, the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL)’s Václav Havel Institute recently held its 6th annual Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarianism conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This year’s conference included a panel that addressed the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor famine in Ukraine.

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REMEMBERING BASIL FISHER

October 8, 2018 | by Madeline Grant

Today (October 8th) would have been the birthday of Basil Fisher, the younger brother of the IEA’s founder, Sir Antony Fisher. Though few remember Basil Fisher today, his life (and death) have made a lasting impact.

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THE JONES ACT IS COSTLY, HARMFUL, AND DANGEROUS

October 8, 2018

A little known law is costing Americans more than they know. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 — also known as the Jones Act — has been inflicting costs on Americans for almost 100 years. Three Atlas Network partners — the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the Cato Institute and the Mercatus Center — are working to inform citizens of the costs they bear from this act, in order to work toward reform.

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INSPIRING MINDS FOR LIBERTY IN MONGOLIA

October 5, 2018

One of the most difficult tasks for the liberty movement today is persuading others of the value of free markets and free people. Even the best ideas cannot lead to greater freedom and prosperity unless others can be convinced of the value of those ideas. In Mongolia, the Silk Road Foundation uses its Free Market Academy (FMA) to overcome this challenge. The Free Market Academy is an annual five day workshop hosted in early August. The purpose is to inspire Mongolian citizens to a greater enthusiasm for liberty, free markets, and small government.

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DEADLINE IS APPROACHING FOR LIGHTS, CAMERA, LIBERTY 2019

October 2, 2018

A common weakness of public policy oriented groups is that they focus mostly on the development and publication of research, with no accompanying emphasis on bringing the meaning of that research to a wider audience. Stories have always been the most effective way to communicate messages. Think tanks need to understand how to tell stories about their work in compelling ways. That’s where the Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty Program (LCL) comes in.

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SRI LANKA LOWERS ITS TAX ON WOMEN

October 1, 2018

For poor women in Sri Lanka affording their monthly requirements of sanitary napkins is a struggle due to the high costs imposed by excessive taxes. The group Advocata Institute has succeeded in making these necessities more affordable by ending the 30 percent import tariff on these products.

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OHIO THINK TANK LEADS THE WAY ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

September 28, 2018

The Buckeye Institute has been named a finalist for Atlas Network’s 2018 Templeton Freedom Award. Too often, lives are defined by a single mistake. This is a story about human compassion, redemption, and commonsense solutions to complex public policy issues. It is a story about changing outdated, unjust, and arbitrary laws at the state level. The Buckeye Institute is endeavoring to fix a broken criminal justice system, law by law — and it is succeeding. This small think tank in Ohio has been relentless in its quest to protect the rights of the accused and to save Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars. Buckeye’s efforts have blazed a trail to reverse Ohio’s growth trend in incarceration by shrinking the state’s prison population to below 50,000, dramatically slashing the recidivism rate from 40 to 27 percent, reducing prison admissions by nearly 10 percent, expanding opportunities for thousands of people leaving prison, and redirecting $40 million to Ohio communities for the treatment of addiction and mental health issues. As a result, Ohio’s prison admissions rate has now hit a 27-year low. The Buckeye Institute’s innovative policy victories are ensuring that prosperity and opportunity are available to all Ohioans, who are now much freer and less likely to become inadvertently ensnared by the criminal justice system.

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STATE-BASED THINK TANK'S WORK ON PENSION REFORM A SUCCESS FOR ALL PENNSYLVANIANS

September 28, 2018

The Commonwealth Foundation has been named a finalist for Atlas Network’s 2018 Templeton Freedom Award. Pennsylvania was sprinting toward financial meltdown with its unfunded pension liabilities and its state lawmakers apathetic to do anything about it. That was until a small think tank sounded the alarm in 2006. The Commonwealth Foundation, or CF, published the seminal report, Beneath the Surface, which kicked off what would become a 12-year effort to avert the crisis. CF created a statewide campaign encompassing research, effective advocacy, public awareness, and marketing to advance pension reform. Its staff worked closely with state lawmakers to craft the legislation and garner support. And despite intense opposition from government unions and Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf, CF scored a major victory for the people of Pennsylvania when the state finally passed a comprehensive pension reform bill into law in 2017. The new law reversed the growth trend of unfunded liabilities, which had grown by 730 percent from 2006 to 2016. Now Pennsylvania is holding the line against future risk to the state’s taxpayers, with a projected savings of $5 to 30 billion over the next 30 years. CF’s efforts are a decade-long case study of a state-based public policy group demanding and delivering better outcomes for its fellow citizens.

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QUANTIFYING REGULATION FIRST STEP TO LOWER DRAG ON ECONOMIC GROWTH IN 26 STATES

September 28, 2018

Mercatus Center at George Mason University has been named a finalist for Atlas Network’s 2018 Templeton Freedom Award. Ever-growing regulatory codes pose a very tangible and acutely felt burden on the lives of real people. These burdensome regulations — a term that under-communicates just how harmful their impact can be — get in the way of prosperity and opportunity. Enter the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where scholars at the Program for Economic Research on Regulation saw an opportunity to change this ongoing problem using its ground-breaking RegData software to paint a clear picture of how reducing state-level regulations can have a measurable improvement on economic growth. RegData’s “snapshots” of the regulatory codes of 26 states show the real-world effects of how regulations shape economic growth. These snapshots give states a way forward to reduce their regulatory burdens and make a meaningful difference in their citizens’ lives. Kentucky, for example, partnered directly with Mercatus for its regulatory reform initiative. As of August 2018, the state had reviewed over 2,300 regulations, repealed 453 of them, amended an additional 424, and identified hundreds more for future action. So far, Mercatus’ RegData snapshots have reduced red tape in seven states — and more are in progress. These red tape reductions represent an opportunity for economic growth, new job prospects, and overall more prosperity and opportunity for all.

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CROATIAN PROPERTY TAX HANDILY DEFEATED, MORE CITIZENS GET TO STAY IN HOMES

September 28, 2018

Lipa Taxpayers Association has been named a finalist for Atlas Network’s 2018 Templeton Freedom Award. With Croatia’s population declining for decades, its government ought to pursue policies that encourage growth. Instead, it pursued a policy that threatened to further push Croatians out with the 2017 passage of a tax on privately-owned property — and since nearly 90 percent of Croatians own their own homes, the new tax threatened to hurt the rich and poor alike. Lipa Taxpayers Association refused to stand by and allow this property tax to hit an already troubled economy, so it enlisted one of the country’s most influential economists and launched an award-winning campaign against the tax, emphasizing Croatia’s already crippling tax burden. Its efforts turned public opinion sharply against the tax in a matter of months, resulting in over 146,000 petition signatures, media coverage in more than 100 news outlets, and a full repeal of the property tax. Following the repeal, public opposition to taxes has remained high, with the government unable to introduce any new taxes since. And while Croatians may still be overtaxed, they are grateful that Lipa’s success means they won’t be sending payments to the government just to live in their own homes.

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AMIDST ONGOING CHALLENGES, REDUCING SIZE OF GOVERNMENT IS ESSENTIAL STEP TOWARD CORRECTING ARGENTINA

September 28, 2018

Libertad y Progreso has been named a finalist for Atlas Network’s 2018 Templeton Freedom Award. A little over a century ago, Argentina was one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Yet decade after decade of economic mismanagement and a ballooning state has tanked its economy and ingrained a culture in which Argentines view their government as a benevolent provider of prosperity — even as 28 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, taxes on private firms are the second highest in the world, and public spending clocks in at 44 percent of GDP. Local think tank Libertad y Progreso (LyP) set out to show the real nature of government with “Downsizing of Argentina’s Government,” a massive education, awareness, and advocacy campaign that addressed issues of nepotism, government waste, and public political apathy. LyP’s research, media presence, and social activism resulted in the Macri administration’s adoption of a series of reforms, including tax and debt reduction, transportation modernization, and regulatory relief, to reduce the size of the state. While Argentina faces ongoing challenges, borne from years of economic mismanagement, LyP's important work is popularizing the understanding that lasting prosperity requires self-reliance, not government intervention.

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