Stories by Eli Lehrer

Eli Lehrer is Vice President of Washington D.C. operations for the Heartland Institute.

Rep. Campbell’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Bill

October 7th, 2011 at 12:47 pm 7 Comments

Rep. John Capbell, a California Republican, has introduced what may well be the worst Republican-led bill of the current session. His proposal, H.R. 3125 (there’s no short title) is a pre-funded bailout for California’s state-run, currently privately funded California Earthquake Authority (CEA). It’s difficult to overstate how bad an idea this bill is and how much damage it could do to the country. Indeed, it would put taxpayers around the country on the hook for billions of dollars in losses to private homes that they don’t currently have to pay.


Steve Jobs’ Many Failures (That Led to Success!)

October 6th, 2011 at 6:04 pm 43 Comments

The obituaries of Steve Jobs, understandably, all talk about his huge successes: he became incredibly wealthy, was universally admired, and played a major role in creating life-changing devices.

What most of the accounts I’ve seen give short shrift to, however, is Jobs’ enormous number of failures: the Apple III computer–the first PC built by Apple from the bottom up rather than as a hobbyist project–was so poorly designed that the company advised owners to pick it up and drop it a few inches whenever it stopped working. The Lisa, a personal computer that, if fully equipped, would have cost almost $20,000 in today’s money, sold very poorly (no surprise) and lost a bundle for Apple.


Santorum’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Stance Makes No Sense

October 3rd, 2011 at 2:00 pm 65 Comments

President Obama, justifiably, has scored a few political points by criticizing Republican candidates for not standing up for a gay solider who asked a question at a debate or even thanking him for his service. In a sense, though, the entire situation is being blown out of proportion: the response to the question was a few scatted boos; not widespread revulsion from the audience.

What really deserves the most criticism isn’t the booing or even the lack of praise for the solidier but, rather, the answer incredibly dumb answer/statement that Rick Santorum made in response to the solider’s question. Here it is:


Take Herman Cain Seriously

October 2nd, 2011 at 11:11 am 76 Comments

I don’t believe that Herman Cain is going to be the Republican nominee. The loss of his communications director under slightly mysterious circumstances shows that his surging campaign could be having growing pains. Although I have doubts that it would really generate nearly enough revenue, I find a lot to admire in the simple 9-9-9 tax plan he has pushed although not the slightly wacky FairTax he favors as a longer-term solution.



Government is a Lousy Investor

September 30th, 2011 at 8:57 am 58 Comments

Jim DiPeso is right to draw attention to the Colony Shale disaster and the disastrous Synfuels government supported enterprise that helped make it happen. But there’s a broader point to be made: the government is utterly clueless when it comes to developing consumer products.

Aside from developing products used only by governments alone–fighter jets and spacecraft–governments almost always fail when they try to develop things that individuals (or even business) want to buy.


Gold: Good For Nothing

September 27th, 2011 at 6:21 pm 65 Comments

Brad Schaeffer is right: Numbers don’t lie. And the numbers on gold are pretty clear: it’s a lousy investment over any long period of time. In times of economic uncertainty and malaise (whether it is now or the 1970s) gold prices have indeed gone up rapidly. (Just like stocks or real estate did.) But these prices came crashing down in the 1970s and will again. And they should.


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It WILL be Romney

September 26th, 2011 at 12:07 pm 117 Comments

Rick Perry’s propensity for gaffes, poor straw poll performance, and lackluster debating skills are already forcing many people who thought he would surely be the Republican nominee to reconsider. They’re right to have second thoughts, yet while Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and even Jon Huntsman may go on to win some primaries, none have a real chance of becoming the nominee either.

This leaves only one person standing: Mitt Romney. Whatever ups and downs take place for the Romney and Perry campaigns, it’s pretty obvious what will happen: Romney will prevail.


Herman Cain’s Advantage

September 25th, 2011 at 9:56 am 98 Comments

My predictions about the Florida Straw poll were wrong: I wouldn’t have expected Herman Cain to finish in the top three much less win overall. I saw a fair number of Cain buttons around CPAC but basically ignored him assuming that he had already peaked. Cain’s ability to win the straw poll does show that he’s a good organizer and may well go further in the race than some expect.


Is Romney Winning Over Florida’s Activists?

September 24th, 2011 at 11:14 am 56 Comments

The Florida straw poll (technically associated with the Florida Republican Presidency 5 that coincides with the Conservative Political Action Conference) hasn’t been released yet and, if the buttons and banners I’ve seen are any sign of enthusiasm, Rick Perry and Ron Paul will land at the top. (Michelle Bachman won’t do badly either.)

But, in just the last few hours–since the debate Thursday–I’ve heard far more positive responses about Mitt Romney. A Florida elected official–a Republican who is much admired in Tallahassee–put it this way in describing his support for Romney: “I went to the debate looking for someone to dance with last night. And now my dance card is full.”


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How to Lose a Supporter

September 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm 18 Comments


Scene: An Elevator at the Rosen Center Hotel, treatment 4:03 P.M.

College Age Male Wearing a Rick Perry Button: “I asked [Perry staffer] for a job or an internship at the end of the campaign and she said the governor would get back to me. Someone got back to me 11 months later to say no. And he pretended that he was doing me a favor by letting me know.

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