Energy regulations should be left to experts and politicians, not voters

Democracy can be a really bad idea. The majority of voters cannot be trusted to make the best decision when it comes to emotional or complex topics, such as minority rights or industrial regulation. Deeply ingrained prejudices, personal profit motives and intentionally misleading propaganda often sway voters more than reason or science. That’s why referendums […]

Lawmakers need to stop the losses at Texas hospitals

The Texas health care system is hemorrhaging money. Emergency room doctors see critically ill poor people every day who waited too long to seek help because they lack health insurance. The ER doctors provide them with just enough care to responsibly send patients on their way, knowing full well that while the patients will likely […]

Failing students mean failing businesses

What do you expect from public school assessments? Should they determine how well the students are learning, or rank schools in comparison with others? Should the standards get tougher over time, or should they remain the same for generations? Lastly, should the assessments help schools self-evaluate, or allow taxpayers to demand accountability? As employers complain […]

Corporate responsibility paramount to make Mexican energy reforms work

The ink on Mexico’s new energy laws is finally dry, and the biggest names in the industry are exploring how they can revive our southern neighbor’s wilting oil and gas production. Let’s hope they don’t mess it up. The nine implementing laws signed last week by President Enrique Peña Nieto formalized the biggest overhaul of […]

The future of jobs might be no jobs

Recently I caught a glimpse of the future of jobs, and jobs as we know them had largely dis-appeared. I needed two graphics for an outside project I was doing for another company, and the deadline was 24 hours away, too tight for that publisher’s artists to produce them. Frustrated and desperate, I went online […]

Defect in U.S. tax law motivates companies’ overseas moves

A researcher trying to find ways to keep black bears away from humans once summed up the problem for me with a simple calculation: Animals are driven to obtain the maximum number of calories for the least amount of effort, and people leaving high-calorie food out attract the bears. The same drive applies to executives […]

Cleaning up coal not greenest option, but key for energy diversity

Balancing economic feasibility, shareholder value, regulatory necessity and social responsibility is something that business leaders do every day. Striking the right balance requires creativity and compromise, and no sector faces more challenges than electricity generation. If a power plant produces too much pollution, we suffer health consequences. If the cost is too high, we suffer […]

Time for an overhaul, possible elimination, of state incentives

Is it a business incentive or corporate welfare, a tax break or a tax giveaway, an enterprise fund or a slush fund? The debate over spending taxpayer money to benefit private businesses is the subject of intense debate as cities, states and even countries compete for jobs and investment. Texas lawmakers have begun examining the […]

Asian steel in the oil fields cost Texans jobs

When most people see a flatbed truck loaded with drill pipe rolling west on Interstate 10, it’s a reminder of the thousands of oil and gas wells that are driving the booming Texas economy. When steelworkers in Bellville see those trucks, though, they’re reminded why their plant, which makes similar pipe 60 miles west of […]

Guidelines Could Make Oil Companies Better Neighbors

In Yorktown, Texas, they put locks on fire hydrants to keep oil workers from stealing water. Meanwhile, the ammonia level at the water treatment plant has been rising, and officials suspect it’s from oil field workers illegally dumping used wastewater into the sewage system of the small town, 150 miles southwest of Houston. “It’s easy […]