Lawrence J. McQuillan Archive

Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute.
Full biography and recent publications

The Truth about Tesla Motors



During a January 19th panel discussion at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tesla Motors general counsel Todd Maron said: “We make money from one thing: car sales and car sales alone.” In reality, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Motors loses more than $4,000 on every car it sells on a “full-cost” basis (keep in...
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Time to Privatize Federal Public Land



In a recent New York Times commentary titled “Give States Control Over Public Land Out West,” Robert H. Nelson wrote: “The federal government owns almost half the land in the American West—even California is some 46 percent federal land.” Here is what surface and subsurface federal ownership looks like on a map. The theory...
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Friedrichs v. CTA Could End Compulsory Union Dues



On January 11, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), a potentially landmark case. If the Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the financial strength and political clout of government employee unions across the country could be diminished greatly. Ten California teachers and a teachers’ group,...
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Israeli Restaurant Owner Uses Market Incentives to Advance Peace



The owner of the Hummus Bar in Israel offers a 50 percent discount to Jewish and Arab customers who share a table together. A small step for peace perhaps, but an illustration of how markets encourage cooperation and peaceful interaction. Here is a two-minute story on the business owner and his idea, airing today...
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Milton Friedman’s Solution for Social Security Would Work for Government Pensions, Too



Milton Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, was interviewed on the television program Uncommon Knowledge in 1999, and he offered a solution to Social Security’s financial problems: shut it down. But Friedman didn’t advocate that the federal government walk away from its promises. Social Security participants are owed a stream of payments during...
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Actuary Hands Gift to Pension Reformers



The actuarial firm Cheiron recently projected the future yearly pension costs for San Jose’s police and firefighter pension plan. Cheiron wrote: In the worst scenarios, the City’s aggregate contribution rate can exceed 110 percent of payroll. In the best scenarios, the City’s Tier 1 rate can drop to 0 percent, leaving a relatively small...
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Time for Bond Investors, Especially in Chicago, To “Know What You Own”



Four U.S. cities went belly up recently, and all declared bankruptcy largely due to unaffordable government pension costs. The outcomes of these bankruptcies should make everyone think twice about lending money to cities with serious public pension debts. The graphic below shows the outcome of the municipal bankruptcies in Vallejo, Detroit, Stockton, and San...
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U.S. Has Less Economic Freedom than Chile, Jordan, or Taiwan



Today the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada, released the 2015 Economic Freedom of the World Report (pdf) and it’s bad news for the United States, where economic freedom is falling. The U.S. ranks only 16th in economic freedom trailing Chile, Jordan, and Taiwan. The EFW Report measures the level of economic freedom in 157...
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The Decline in R&D Efficiency in the Drug Industry



Panel “a” in the graphic below shows that the number of new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) per billion U.S. dollars spent on research and development (R&D) in the drug industry has halved about every nine years since 1950, in inflation-adjusted terms. This represents a decline in drug R&D...
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CalSTRS Boss Jack Ehnes Deceives Californians About Funding



Jack Ehnes, CEO of the massive California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), deceived the public in a recent blog post opposing public pension reform in California: CalSTRS has not taken any “pension holidays,”’ which means contributions have been made continuously, thus reinforcing the sustainability of the fund. Ehnes fails to indicate whether: (A) $1...
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  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org