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This Week's Columns

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Save Virginia’s Collateral Source Rule 
 By Burton J. Rubin
You’re driving south on Interstate 95 when you are suddenly rear-ended by a drunk driver. Your hospital bills will be high, your new car is totaled and it will be many months before you can return to work.  But when you sue the drunk driver for damages, he says he owes you nothing because you had health insurance, which covered your hospital bills, you were prudent enough to have collision insurance on your car and you also had disability insurance to pay you for the time lost from work.
For over two hundred years we have had a legal principle called the “Collateral Source Rule,” which prevented someone like the drunk driver from getting off scot-free just because the injured party was cautious enough to have insurance. But that rule is under serious threat in Virginia. READ MORE

Can Atlanta’s East Lake Experiment Work in Virginia?
 By Jim Bacon
 It is axiomatic among social scientists that concentrating poor people in public housing projects accentuates the social pathologies that make poverty self-perpetuating and unbearable. The oft-touted solution is to create more mixed-income neighborhoods that de-concentrate poverty. Presumably, the presence of working- and middle-class households people would moderate the anti-social behavior of the poor. There’s just one problem: While the poor perceive mixed-income neighborhoods as beneficial, the non-poor do not. Typically, the non-poor flee poor neighborhoods associated with crime, poor schools and disorderly behavior.
How, then, does one develop mixed-use neighborhoods? The answer, according to Carol R. Naughton, president of the not-for-profit Purpose Built Communities: The developer needs to partner with allies who can provide amenities — grocery stores, recreational amenities, and above all else good schools — that make a neighborhood attractive to the non-poor. READ MORE

New Survey Research on Autonomous Vehicles 
By Bob Poole
I continue to be concerned about visions of an autonomous vehicle future based not only on the impressive capabilities of fully (level 4) self-driving cars but also of fleets of robotaxis replacing personal vehicles. These would, indeed, be major changes. But how soon large numbers of people will accept such vehicles, and whether they will own them or purchase “mobility as a service,” will make an enormous difference in the outcome.
We are just starting to get serious survey research data on what people think about an AV future, and the results are sobering. Fairly detailed survey research was released in April by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute: “Revolutionizing Our Roadways: Consumer Acceptance and Travel Behavior Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles.” TTI conducted the survey in the Austin, Texas metropolitan area—a far more representative location than often-studied New York City or Singapore. The study objective was “to gather empirical evidence on consumer acceptance and adoption: the factors associated with the intention to use, how that intention might influence mode choice and vehicle ownership decisions, and what all this could mean for travel demand and congestion.” The researchers did an online survey of 556 residents and followed up with in-person interviews with 44 participants. READ MORE 

Why Iowa Farmers Should Ignore Drainage Case
 By Gary Baise  
(Editor’s note: articles such as this are run in the Jefferson Policy Journal because the outcome of lawsuits such as this will have an impact on Virginia since the outcome will encourage or discourage similar actions.)
The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) federal case is coming to a close. DMWW sued Sac, Calhoun, and Buena Vista Counties in Iowa, as trustees of numerous Iowa Drainage Districts. After the complaint was filed by DMWW, the Counties sought summary judgment in federal court regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) issues. The U.S. District Court referred the common law issues to the Iowa Supreme Court for review and decision. The CWA claims are now fully briefed. READ MORE  

More Job-Killing Rules from the EPA
By Paul Driessen
Having already done yeoman’s work stifling economic growth and job creation, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is doubling down again.
The United States created a paltry 38,000 new jobs in May: one for every 8,000 Americans. Its labor force participation rate is a miserable 63% – meaning 93 million Americans are not working, while 6.4 million more are trying to feed their families on involuntary part-time positions and a fraction of their previous salaries. Manufacturing lost another 20,000 jobs in May, as the economy grew at an almost stagnant 0.8% the first quarter of 2016. Middle class family incomes and net worth continue to slide.
Meanwhile, well-paid federal bureaucrats increasingly regulate our lives, livelihoods and living standards, hand down fines and jail terms for some 5,000 federal crimes and 300,000 criminal offenses, and inflict $1.9 trillion in annual regulatory compliance costs on families and businesses. READ MORE

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