Bruce Yandle

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.


Bruce Yandle Jr. was yet another cash-for-comments academic economist from Ryan Armacher's stable at Clemson University who worked for the tobacco industry creating propaganda and lobbying politicians. He also worked through the American Enterprise Institute and later the Independent Institute and the Cato Institute. He was right-wing libertarian economist who worked for the tobacco industry for a few years, but he never produced much of value.

    As far back as 1979, Bruce Yandle was well known by the tobacco industry as a compliant economist who would produce the right sort of material to counter any threats of increased cigarette taxes, if required. He appears to have also worked for the chemical industry for some time.
    Yandle doesn't figure in the tobacco documents excessively in the 1970s. However Ogilvy & Mather PR (mainly Jim Savarese), who was working for the Tobacco Institute, began to use Robert D Tollison and his associates in the Public Choice Society in various ways.

    Following the suggestion of ICOSI consultant George R Berman of Devon Management Resources, economics contractor James M (Jim) Savarese, and Professor Robert D Tollison of George Mason University began building a network of academic economists willing to work for the tobacco industry, and Yandle became an early member.
    The Tobacco Institute kept a registry of those academics willing and available to write articles or letters on demand, provide witness services at legislative or local ordinance hearings, etc. or give lectures to various influential bodies -- or have one-to-one meetings with legislators. The Economists were only one of the networks of compliant academics that they established.
    The Economists were selected through a test for attitude -- they were paid a small fee to comment on some anti-tobacco literature sent to them. Those who's comments matched industry expectations, where then actively recruited by Tollison and handed over to Savarese. They were not to divulge having any industry connections, and they were never required to make any outright statement in support of smoking. In fact, the complete opposite was the case ... those who could maintain proudly that they were non-smokers were seen to be more sensible, and to have more credibility with gullible readers who thought that political influence involved brass-bands and flag waving zealots.
    Small-town America did not trust Washington politicians or ivory-tower gurus, but they often would accept pronunciations by their own local academics. So writing economic and political op-ed pieces and letters to the editor were the easiest way for these regional academics to earn some quick cash without sticking their neck out enough to be noticed. They were to frame their arguments in economic terms (as the local expert) and in human-rights term (your right to smoke). In their articles they attacked the principle of cigarette taxes, not the taxes themselves; and they objected to the idea of the FDA extending its mandate to supervise nicotine as a drug, rather than question whether nicotine was actually addictive.
    However, since Clemson University had a number of network members looking after the local newspapers in South Carolina, Yandle was never given the sole franchise for his own state [most network economists had their own state to focus on]. He worked more erratically for the network, mainly serving the tobacco industry through paid speaking engagements at economists conferences, and writing chapters for tobacco-funded books.
    Payments were laundered through a couple of channels linked to the George Mason University's Center for Study of Public Choice and controlled by its director Robert D Tollison (administered by his wife Anna Tollison), but primarily through James Savarese & Associates with the assistance of some tobacco lawfirms.
    The scam ran very successfully for a couple of decades. It was considered influential enough for the Tobacco Institute to continue its funding when other projects suffered budget cuts. Savarese also created parallel networks of academic lawyers, air-quality experts, advertising lecturers, in addition to this group of about 130 economists. As a result of these corruption networks, many hundreds of op-ed articles appeared in many dozens of influential newspapers across America.
    For more background information on how Savarese, Tollison and the Tobacco Institute operated these networks, see:

Documents and Timeline

  • Professor of Economics, Clemson University.

Yandle worked closely with other cash-for-comments economists from Clemson University, particularly Richard B McKenzie. He was also closely associated with a number of corporate-friendly libertarian think-tanks and organisations:

1978: Bruce Yandle and Arnold Hite (both economists from Clemson University) publish a report "Market Share Stability in the Cigarette Industry" They acknowledge the help of Brown & Williamson, the Liggett Group and the Tobaco Merchants Association (but not the Tobacco Institute). [4]

1979: [Written on 1980 December 23] Richard Wagner and Robert D Tollison, writing on Consumer Protection, Public Policy and Cost-benefit Analysis, mention a book edited by Yandle and his comrade James Miller III. They are both members of the economists network.

Benefit-Cost Analyses of Social Regulation: Case Studies from the Council on Wage and Price Stability, ed. by James C. Miller III and Bruce Yandle (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1979) [5]

[Note:The American Enterprise Institute is a contractor to the tobacco industry for propaganda services.]

A memo to Sam Chilcote at the Tobacco Institute quotes from their book [in April 13 1982]. The quote is a warning for them to counter...

... the criticism most likely to be encountered in advocating a cost-benefit analysis on a health-related issue is that one cannot place a dollar value on suffering or illness.

The tobacco industry, the argument will state, is only interested in profits, to the detriment of the public health. [6]

1979 Feb 16: Fred Panzer (Federal Relations lobbyist) at the Tobacco Institute writes to the Federal Affairs Director John Mills Jack Mills on the subject of Excise Tax Legislation.

Basically what I have done is to position us to produce arguments and potential witnesses in case of hearings. Ihe following is a rundown of the steps I have taken so far:

  • Arranged for tobacco lawyers Covington & Burling (C&B) to prepare an analytical paper
  • Used C&B as a front to commission the Wharton School [Uni of Penn] to prepare tables on taxes
  • Prepare a list of questions for a member of the Ways & Means Committee in order to get them to ask for analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
[Note" they had 'friends' in the CRS]
  • Canvassed the field of economic experts with the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Enterprise Institute. The following are possible consultants:
    • Norman B Ture Inc., : [Note: used extensively by the tobacco industry.]
    • Arthur Anderson Inc. : [Note" Embroiled in Enron scandal]
    • Prof. Charles Meiberg (U. of Va.) [No sign of him in archives],
    • Prof. Bruce Yandle (Clemson U.)
    • Dr Rudolph G Penner, American Enterprise Institute.: [Note" The AEI provided commissioned services for tobacco] [7]

In a Confidential report at this time Jack Mills explained to the Institute's Board of Directors [re Federal taxes]

We oppose any increases of any variety for any reason under any circumstances.

To bolster this, we are contacting economists and experts in tax policy in order to prepare a strong position paper. (We have talked to nine so far, and have interest from three -- [[Norman B Ture, Bruce Yandle of Clemson, and Rudolph Penner of AEI. We have two more to contact).


1981 July: Regulation Magazine [Then part of the American Enterprise Institute] carries an article by Yandle attacking the FTC over its strict regulation of advertising. In this file the article is included as an example of clever public relations techniques [see the other material attached]
Another article here [From National Journal] is titled "Did Hill & Knowlton put one over on Us?" [9]

1983 May: ‘’Regulation’’ magazine (AEI) carries an article by Bruce Yandle, "Bootleggers and Baptists -- The Education of a Regulatory Economist." It promotes the line that Puritans like the Baptists can introduce draconian restrictions like alcohol prohibition... but the consequence is the Chicago crime families fostered by bootlegging.
This was a message that the tobacco industry was promoting at that time as a counter to threats to curtail public and workplace smoking -- so it is likely that this article was funded by the tobacco industry in some way. It is taken up and used by later cash-for-comment economists. [10]
Yandle was obviously making some spare cash writing for far-right-wing magazines.

1984 Apr 26-27: Proceedings of a Conference on "Consumer Protection Economics" sponsored by the FTC's Bureau of Economics.

[Note" Note Ryan Amacher his mentor at Clemson had just left the FTC]

This document contains a study by Richard S Higgins (then at the FTC) and Fred S McChesney (then with Emory University) "An Economic Analysis of the FTC's Ad Substatiation Program" which is an attack on the new principle that advertisers had to be able to prove that their claims were true -- as against the FTC being required to prove that they were false. Cigarette filters and health claims were one of the FTC's main focusses at this time. Both Higgins and McChesney were working for the Savarese/Tollison network,

The article carries the footnote

* The views expressed here are the authors'. They doubtless do not reflect the views of some Commissioners, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission itself.

We received helpful comments on earlier drafts from Ronald Bond, Gerard Butters, David Haddock, Cotton Mather Lindsay, Robert Mackay, Michael T Maloney, the late Steven Marston, Robert E McCormick, William F Shughart, Robert D Tollison and Bruce Yandle

: [Note" The two authors + Ryan C Amacher and the six [hotlinked] commentators were all tobacco network members.] [11]

1984 Apr 30: This 109 page DRAFT Tobacco Institute "Cigarette Excise Tax Plan" which was aimed at the Reagan Administration They had an immediate requirement of

  • One public finance economist for 10 days @ $1,000, [Total $ 10,000 ] including meetings with coalition members and/or the Governor's staff; research and preparation; and testimony.
  • One economist for a union workshop on the tax issue, [Total $5,000] including 3 or 4 training sessions over the course of a convention.
  • Six economists @ $5,000 and one senior economist 53,000 @ $20,000 for a tax symposium, including publishing of the proceedings at $3,000. [Total $53,000] The senior economist would play an oversight/organizational role and would be responsible for editing the proceedings. Such a symposium would be staged for regional or national impact.
  • One economist provided to a public employee union to do original research on the need for adequate services to be funded by broad-based taxes; this would include the final report and testimony. [Total $ 25,000]

It has draft the copy and designs for a couple of different booklets aimed at different states, and at labor/union and racial groups.

It also identifies the targeted Congress Committeemen and State Assembleymen most likely to be influenced, and adds an appendix which lists economists who can be enlisted to help.

Potential Economic Consultants

Following is a list of economists in key states who might assist us as consultants. We have begun contacting them to ensure their willingness and expertise. We are asking each about past experience; work with similar issues; previous work with the indusry; published articles or research; and speaking availability.
As discussed in the body of this program, our intent is to have a group of individuals who we can call upon regularly to testify, conduct special research projects, and discuss their research and/or views on excise taxes with the media.

(It remarks that …) Tollison is the most influential and prestigious on this list; he would be hired to consult on federal tax situations and to oversee efforts of the others throughout the country. (See last page) [12]

[Note: Yoram Barazel is the only name on this list who appears to have resisted the Tobacco Institute's overtures.]

1986: The Center for Policy Studies at Clemson University appeared to be publishing a series of studies by the tobacco industry's cash-for-comments economists. They were collected and edited by Mark L Mitchell (Assistant Professor of Finance on leave from the Office of the Chief Economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission) and J Harold Mulherin (Assistant Professor of Finance and Research Scholar, Center for Policy Studies, Clemson University.). The papers were by McKenzie, [[William Shughart, Tollison, Kimenyi, Yandle, Lindsay, Maloney, McChesney, Staaf, Laband -- and others who are not evident on the network. [13]

In July 1987 these were collected into a file "Finessing the Political System: The Cigarette Advertising Ban" by Mitchell and Mulherin the Tobacco Institute. They date from April-June 1986:

1986: Public Choice. "Regulating the Function, Not the Industry," by Bruce Yandle and Elizabeth Young

(Note: an Elizabeth Young from Tulane Medical School later billed American Tobacco $1050 for "Review of depositions, affidavits, documents 3 hrs @ $350/hour. She appears to be a specialist in the health effects of passive smoking. [15] [16]

1988 June: /E Excise Tax Letter-Writing Fact Sheet. This is a list of points that the Tobacco Institute wanted the economists to include in their op-ed articles.

  • Excise taxes are regressive
  • Excise taxes are fundamentally inequitable
  • Excise taxes are an unfair burden on minorities
  • Government data demonstrates the unfairness of excise taxes.
  • Excise taxes are arbitrary
  • Excise taxes are hidden taxes
  • Excise taxes are an unfair burden on businesses
  • Excise taxes are bad economic policy
  • Excise taxes are historically controversial.

This was followed by

- pages of data so that the economists got their facts right,
- a series of quotes that could be incorporated into the article.
- pages of State-by-State data including the number of jobs that the Tobacco Institute estimated would be lost by higher cigarette excises
- a chart of lost revenues for each State, due, it was claimed, to cross-state bootlegging and smuggling.
- a list of Congressmen to be contacted in every region.
- Bob Tollison's C/V (presumably if they want to quote him) [17]

1988 July 27: Richard Wagner, who is now writing on the letterhead of the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University, writes to James Savarese [as the surrogate for the Tobacco Institute] outlining a book-compilation/editing project being mounted by himself and Robert D Tollison. They are clearly looking for an out-of-channels grant from the TI.

The tobacco industry is fighting to block the 'ear-marking' of cigarette excise taxes for Federal health programs.

Bob and I both think we have an excellent chance of getting (libertarian journalist )Henri LePage, as well as having a strong chance of getting (Nobel laureate and General Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice) James M Buchanan.

You may not know of LePage. He is a prominent French journalist-economist, who several years ago had an international best seller that was translated into English as Tomorrow, Capitalism. LePage is presently conducting a major research project into pricing in French utilities, and finds that the actual conduct of French utilities bears no relation to the normative economics of user-charging : [Note: actually a gross overstatement], but bears a strong relationship to the theory of public choice.

I think you will agree that we have the makings of a strong and interesting book on user-charges and tax earmarking, one that will challenge very strongly the halo that seems to surround these terms in ordinary discourse about tax policy.

All of those involved [apart from LePage] were cash-for-comment economists. However Buchanan, as the movement's guru, appears to have never been paid directly.

  • Chapter 3 -- "User Charges, Rent Seeking, and Public Choice," by Bruce Yandle, alumni Professor of Economics, CIemson University.
    This chapter shows how government employs user fees and corrective taxes to change the behavior of consumers and producers. The author says user-charges are "the antithesis of capitalism." He also explains the economics behind pollution control user-fees [18].
[Note: The tobacco industry was facing the threat of an extra tax being imposed on cigarettes as 'user-fees' because burned-out cigarette butts were a major cleaning problem in a city. This and the health costs of smoking were components of the 'ear-marking' potential problem. The Tobacco Institute's Tax Hearing Readiness Plan in the following year had a note saying:

Several new excise tax-related studies are underway and will be completed by spring 1989. In addition, an update of the Chase economic impact study has been commissioned.

Due by mid-year, is a book examining earmarking and "user fees" from a public choice perspective. The treatise will contain 8-10 chapters written by respected economists, including, Henri LePage and Nobel laureate James Buchanan.

Preliminary research has been conducted assessing public attitudes toward excise taxes. [19]

The specialist PR firm Fleishman-Hilliard was then contracted to promote this book and its authors via a speaking-tour around the various states in the USA. [20]

1988 Oct: 6-9 Dwight Lee sends the Tobacco Institute a formal report on the Atlantic Economic Association meeting on "User Charges from a Public Choice Perspective" (in Philadelphia) which has a fair number of the tobacco industry network economists as speakers:

[Note: Dwight Lee now appears to be acting as the PR operator, promoting the group to the Tobacco Industry (via the CSPC). Also note that there are two speakers from Clemson (more later). This university seems to have been a stud-farm which bred tame network economists as a revenue source. There are a number of reports from this meeting which are in the archives, with about half of those stored in the files labeled '"Consultants - James Savarese Tax Economists."' [21]
See also the full speech by Yandle, as copied to the Tobacco Institute, entitled A Public Choice Interpretation of Environmental User Charges and Superfund." [
[Note: To his credit Yandle does mention (as an afterthought) that the Tobacco Institute 'supported the research'. However he doesn't say that it funded his whole operation, including paying him to speak.] [22] [23]

1988 Nov 28: Debbie Schoonmaker at the Tobacco Institute writes to Savarese about Social Cost Research Papers (she gives us a good insight into how much sub-editing and checking the industry performed before clearing an article for publication as an "independent opinion").

Enclosed are drafts of the Wagner and Ekelund social cost papers. Each has been reviewed and will not need further clearance provided the recommended changes are incorporated into the final versions of the papers. The legal comments are fairly straight-forward. If you or the authors need an explanation or wish to discuss further, please call.

You'll also see that I've enclosed a copy of the California Health Department's "social cost" study. We can discuss this example in our "SWAT team" meeting.

[Note: SWAT = Social Action Working Team -- the lobbyists

She also attaches three lists of cash-for-comments speakers who have been selected to talk at various meetings of local economic associations they wish to influence.
[See earlier list]:

  • Atlantic Economic Assn., Philadelphia, Oct 6-9 , meeting on User Charges: has
  • Western Economic Association, Los Angeles, June 30 -- July 3 meeting on Tax Earmarking and User Charges.

In May 1989 the Tobacco Institute report on the issue of Excise Taxes says that they were $50,000 over-budget because of unplanned payments to economist for presentation at the Southwest Social Science Association meeting -- which suggests that each economist was billing them about $9,000 + expenses for each lecture. (see next document)

1989 Aug-Dec Public Affairs Management Plan progress report: (a most revealing document) It mentions that:

Selected economists are preparing letters to forward to administration officials, asserting that excises are taxes, not user fees, and that they violate President Bush's campaign pledge.
Economists Robert D Tollison and Gary M Anderson have a state-by-state analysis. Also other contracted material by William F Shughart, James M Buchanan etc. and other papers/media tours …
CART (Coalition Against Regressive Taxation) is being mobilised,. It's president Tom Donohue has been sending letters in support of the industry position.
They have the mailing list from the American Agriculture Movement (AAM) (run by lobbyist David Senter) The AAM wants funding to run a media workshop.
The Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) is to be supported for four months of lobbying House Ways & Means committee members
Consumer Tax Alliance (CTA) will be airing ads on TV in six markets. They are building their membership and "in addition we modified two of the ads." [The TI was test marketing their ads, and developing their state fair mailing list.
Social-cost media tours are continuing; Tollison & Wagner are revising and expanding their book Smoking and the State. Site selection for future Tollison & Wanger social cost media tours in underway". They are promoting other T&W papers also.
Help is being given by the TI to the League of Rural Voters, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Texas Alliance for Human Needs to opposed cigarette excise increases.

[Note there are hundreds of more remarks and revelations in the same vein. This is a long document covering the last quarter of the 1989 year. They also reveal the costings: They spent approximately $2 million/year per division, and there were between 7 and 8 divisions in the Tobacco Institute. The economists were paid by three different divisions. [26]

1989 Jan: (Winter) Cato Journal has an article Taxation, Political Action, and Superfund. by Bruce Yandle. The tobacco industry is fighting against implementation of the Superfund clean up program.

1989 Jan 11: Carol Hrycaj at the Tobacco Institute writes to Debby Schoonmaker on the "Promotion of Economic Conference Papers."

Of the six papers presented during those sessions, only two that were discussed at the Western meeting may be suitable for public consumption: Lee's paper, "The Economics and Politics of Tax Earmarking; and Wagner's paper, "Fiscal Norms, Fiscal Practice and Tax Earmarking."

Paul W Wilson, Thomas E Brocherding and Bruce Yandle also submitted papers; (but) their relationship with our consultants is unclear. Regardless, the Wilson, Brocherding and Yandle papers are technical treatments of the subject matter and would be difficult to repackage for the general public. [27]

[Note: Remember that Tollison and Savarese organised these economists and kept them at a distance from the Tobacco Institute staff.]

1989 Mar 17-19: The Annual Meeting of the Public Choice Society together with the Economic Science Association. The speakers list mentions many active members of the economists network: -- some of whom spoke more than once. (William Hunter in particular.) It is clear that the ESA as well as the PCS were profitable recruiting ground for Tollison and Savarese.
This large group of speakers were all connected with Tollison's Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University, and Tollison's group completely dominated the conference session on Public Health.

This document contains a list of the Public Choice Society participants -- and they were also members of the economist's network.

Both Network and Public Choice Society members/professors
  • Bruce L Benson
  • Burton A Weisbrod
  • Bruce Yandle
  • Roger L Faith
  • Roger D Congleton
  • James M Buchanan
  • George Tullock
  • Gary Anderson
  • Peter J Boettke
  • Jeffrey R Clark
  • Robert J Staaf

  • 1989 May 31: Debbie Shoonmaker recommends funding Tollison & Wagner's Earmarking Book Proposal with a chapter by Yandle. [28]

    1989 June: The Tobacco Institute's Public Affairs progress report says:

    • Professor Bruce Yandle's review of Smoking and the State was published in the latest edition of the Public Choice Journal.
    • Next Month's Goals: Travel to Texas with [[Richard E Wagner|Richard Wagner]] for Smoking and the State media tour. [29]
    [Note: Yandle's review, the book and the promotional media tour were all commissioned by the Tobacco Institute]

    1989 July 27: An article, "Economists Criticise Notion of "Social Cost" in the Evening Post, Charleston is an interview by Claire Pooser with Robert D Tollison during his visit to Charleston SC. It also offers a review of the Tollison/Wagner book "Smoking and the State" eritten by Bruce Yandle.

    [Note: Yandle praises the fact that Tollison and Wagner have "acknowledged support of the Tobacco Institute in the Preface." But nowhere in this review does Yandle "acknowledge that Tobacco Institute paid him $3,000 to write and plant this review on the Evening Post. Nor does he mention that Tollison is, in fact, his immediate employer, and that Anna Tollison sends him his checks. This is close to the height of academic hypocrisy.] [30]

    1989 Dec: /E The Annual Report of the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University boasts that:

    Professor Wagner is editing a book on the benefit principle of public finance. In particular, these days numerous proposals for user charges and earmarked taxes are being justified not as taxes but as means of charging beneficiaries directly for the services they receive from government.

    This book will explore from several angles the discrepancy between justification and reality concerning proposals for user charges and earmarked taxes, and will include contributions by Gary Anderson, Dwight Lee, Henri LePage, Fred McChesney, and Bruce Yandle, as well as contributions by Professors Buchanan, Tollison, and Wagner.

    Roger D Congleton continued his work on the politics of public finance. Two papers (one with William F Shughart II of the University of Mississippi and one with William Hunter of Marquette University) assess the relative merits of median voter and special interest group models of the politics of Social Security benefit levels (forthcoming in Economic Inquiry) and state highway construction. [31]

    [Note: it goes without saying that every economist named here was then in the employ of the tobacco industry. And they were probably also working for other industries willing to pay for their propaganda services.]

    1990 Jan 23: Robert D Tollison sends Martin Gleason at TI the

    "Preface and first five chapters of the book + the 'third of the four billings for this project" = $36,250 (The Total must have been $145,000)

    This bundle of papers consists of the contributions from Richard E Wagner, Gary M Anderson, Bruce Yandle, Dwight R Lee, Henri LePage, Mwangi S Kimenyi, James M Buchanan and comments from Michael T Buckley a tobacco lawyer with Covington & Burling (the main tobacco industry law firm). Of Bruce Yandle's contribution it says

    Chapter 3, by Bruce Yandle, illustrates the potential disparity between common justifications for user charges and the actual practice, with particular attention give to environmental protection under the American "Superfund" program.
    Chapter 4, by Dwight Lee, examines how the actual operation of government bureau is influences by user charges, and builds upon some the issues treated by Yandle in the process.

    The main aim of this exercise was to discredit the idea that cigarette taxes were a version of 'user-fees' (additional charges made by governments on those who use a product or service (like road maintenance fee for truckers)). They wanted to rebrand them, as a 'sin tax' -- and then use the "prohibition leads to crime" and "New Puritanism" slogans and arguments.

    Yandle therefore made his comparison with the Superfund pollution tax, which was designed to fund the cleaning up of toxic waste dumps -- and therefore was opposed by many corporations and the Republican Party. [32]

    [Note" This book was eventually published simultaneously in the USA and Canada, with the title "Charging for Government: User charges and earmarked taxes in principle and practice."] [33]

    1990 Apr: /E Tollison and Savarese have sent the Tobacco Institute a proposal to run special tobacco-oriented sessions at various regional conferences of economists. They plan to run the first one at the Western Economic meeting in San Diego (June 30) an call it "Smoking and Public Policy", then another at the Atlantic Economic Society conference (October) on "User Fees" [Then a current Tobacco Institute obsession]
    They proposed to use six or seven cash-for-comments economists from their core pool consisting of: Robert D Tollison, Richard Wagner, Dwight Lee, Fred McChesney, Bruce Yandle, Kevin Grier (George Mason University) Gary Anderson, Dan Williamson (Cal Poly San Luis), and Benjamin Zycher (The Rand Corporation) [A couple of others are also listed in a later document]. [34]

    [Notes: that the letter from Martin Gleason, Carol Hrycaj and Susan M Stuntz shows that the Tobacco Institute did think this was a good idea … an opportunity for promotion. Carol Hrycaj is given the go-ahead and Ogilvy & Mather is to be employed to promote the project. James Savarese is asked to do further development work on groups like this.] [35]

    1990 Oct 14: The Tobacco Institute has funded some of the network economists to make presentations at the Atlantic Economic Association. Yandle's task was to act as a Discussant, to add credibility to the papers presented by Dwight Lee, Fred McChesney and Robert D Tollison.

    [Note: He had prepared his "Discussant" paper in advance, and sent it to the Tobacco Institute for clearance. He has has a tinge of pseudo criticism, but it is reasonably light-hearted -- and this avoids the pit-fall of being overly supportive or over-serious in a climate of economic disputation. The point is that even the discussion following a presentation was tightly controlled by the tobacco industry, and none of these academics saw anything wrong in acting as lobbyists for commercial interests. See below. [36]

    1990 Oct 19: Richard Wagner, as section-chairman of the Atlantic Economic Society [subtitled "Patriots of the Future", Williamsburg] reports to James Savarese on a session he has run on "User Fees and Budgetary Politics.This is a session where a group of the network economists have just promoted the propaganda at the meeting.

    I began the session with some introductory remarks about the kinds of normative arguments in support of user fees and how these arguments are being used profusely in budgetary discussions these days.
    The participants did the rest. Dwight Lee, Fred McChesney, and Robert D Tollison each presented their papers dealing with aspects of the session's theme, and Kevin Grier and Bruce Yandle offered some interesting observations in discussing the papers. Indeed, one of Bruce Yandle's comments was to the effect that the three papers together provided a quite coherent, alternative body of analysis to the conventional literature on user fees.


    1990 Oct 30: Savarese bills the Tobacco Institute for the services of his six economists, at $18,500 -- and expenses for each for their attendance and speeches at the Atlantic Economists meeting. Yandle has billed a modest $658 in airfares, hotel and meals (plus his 1/6th share of the $18.5k). [38]

    1991 Feb: This is the draft copy of a long media release to be used in Alaska when Richard Wagner is conducting his media tour of the state. He has been sent there to promote the institute-funded book on Smoking, with chapters by a number of the cash-for-comments economists. Yandle's contribution to the book is now being described as:

    Chapter 3 User Charges, Rent Seeking, and Public Choice, by Bruce Yandle, alumni Professor of Economics, Clemson University.
    This chapter shows how government employs user-fees and corrective taxes to change the behavior of consumers and producers. The author says user charges are "the antithesis of capitalism." He also explains the economics behind pollution-control user-fees. (ie the Superfund clean up) [39]

    1991 Apr: "Why Environmentalists Should Be Efficiency Lovers" by Bruce Yandle,: Washington University, Center for the Study of American Business, Formal Publication No. 103, (St. Louis, MO).

    1991 Nov: Yandle publishes "A Primer on Marketable Pollution Permits" in the Journal of Regulation and Social Costs -- which is run by The Independent Institute] The first chapter is by tobacco lobbyist Paul H Rubin, while the next chapter is by Thorne G Auchter, a life-long tobacco (and other) industry lobbyist (Federal Focus, Multinational Business Services and other think-tanks. (Auchter was the ex-head of OSHA who worked with James J Tozzi (ex OMB).
    The next chapter is by W Kip Viscusi, and equally notorious professional tobacco lobbyist who travelled the world promoting the tobacco industry view of risk analysis.
    This edition of the journal has every appearance of being a totally tobacco industry-funded and controlled project. [40]

    1991 Nov: Yandle's associate and fellow networker, Dwight R Lee, published an obviously-tobacco-funded booklet (37 pages) "The Next Environmental Battleground: Indoor Air" It is supposedly produced by the National Center for Policy Analysis in Texas, which is a long-standing tobacco-front organisation.

    It's theme is to promote the idea of the Sick Building Syndrome (which the tobacco industry deliberately confused with Legionaires' disease and toxic vapours) as a standard industry scapegoat for headaches and sinus problems in offices filled with tobacco smoke.

    In the workplace, Americans are exposed to hundreds of airborne toxic chemicals every day. Carpets, furniture and walls emit small quantities of the carcinogen formaldehyde. Laser printers and copiers emit ozone. And almost anything in the outdoor air may be brought indoors.

    Are we at great risk? Probably not. Human beings have always been exposed to carcinogens that occur naturally in the air we breathe and the food we eat. If small quantities of carcinogens could kill us, the human race would have been extinct long ago.
    However, there are problems. Poorly ventilated buildings have harboured Legionnaires' disease and tuberculosis. Largely because of federal policy, some excessively insulated buildings have become "sick" -- leading to increased absenteeism and lower productivity.

    Most indoor air problems are caused by poor ventilation, and building owners are discovering that improving ventilation is often profitable.

    [Note: The profitability angle lies with the cigarette companies when bans on workplace smoking bans don't cut down their sale of cigarettes.]
    Overnight, Lee has become an expert on indoor air quality, toxicology and building ventilation rates. He advocates the use of Boston firs and other plants which 'remove toxic chemicals from indoor air" and criticises the...

    ... new Clean Air Act [which] require that the private sector spend $6.5 billion for every life hypothetically saved.
    In one case, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed a rule that would require $5.7 trillion per life hypothetically saved -- which implies that the EPA is willing to spend the entire GNP to save a single life.

    He also uses a table from Bruce Yandle's "Why Environmentlists Should be Efficient Lovers" -- Wastefulness In the Regulation of Outdoor Air [41]

    1992 May: The South Carolina Superfund Experience: Assessing the Effects of the Statute on Local Communities by Brett A Dalton and Bruce Yandle for the Strom Thurmond Institute. He is opposing the Superfund toxic clean up legislation

    1992 Sept 14: An article in Forbes magazine "Should we abolish the EPA?" quotes many enthusiastic supporters of deregulation, including Yandle "whose most recent book is The Political Limits of Environmental Regulation: Tracking the Unicorn (Quorum Books). He is a free-market fanatical economist and neo-con anti-environmentalist from Clemson University who wanted the EPA to be corporatised and to 'sell its services.' This was entirely in accord with the prevailing ideology being promoted by Clemson University. [42] [43]

    1993 About this time Bruce Yandle appears to have dropped out of tobacco's cash-for-comments network. He was never given his own state to look after, and, at this time, the Tobacco Institute was cutting back on budget expenditures.

    1994 March 16: A group of academic economists including almost all the members of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network sent an "An Open Letter to President Clinton on Healthcare Reform." This had been organised by David J Theroux, the founder and operator of the Independent Institute apparently with the assistance of an academic network member, Simon Rottenberg. [The institute was well-funded by the tobacco industry]. They say:

    In The Open Letter to President Clinton, 565 economists and 76 other scholars from all 50 states and the District of Columbia state their firm opposition to any form of direct and indirect price controls in any healthcare program.

    Rationing Health Care: The New Threat of Price Controls, by Simon Rottenbergand David J Theroux

    They use the old public-relations straw-man/scare techniques of claiming that the sky is falling:

    In countries that have imposed these types of regulations, patients face delays of months and years for surgery, government bureaucrats decide treatment options instead of doctors or patients, and innovations in medical techniques and pharmaceuticals are dramatically reduced.

    [Note: as anyone who has lived in England, Canada, Australia, etc. knows from experience, this statement is pure rubbish]

    On this list of signatories along with Yandle, also were a number of think-tank lobbyists -- including most of the Hoover Institute -- and others who also worked for the tobacco industry. There is also the Research Director of the Independent Institute, Robert Higgs, who also provided a fill-in service for the network economist in Washington State.

    1994 Aug 1: Yandle was on the National Policy Forum of the Republican Center for the Exchange of Ideas -- run by professional lobbyist Haley R Barbour [who worked for tobacco], who doubled as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. [44]

    1994 Dec: /E Roy E Marden, who ran Philip Morris's corporate contributions operations (to maintain the suppot of grassroots allies) is involved with the Wise-Use movement -- as is Bruce Yandle, who has edited "The Land Rights Rebellion" for them.
    Between 1990 and 1994 a number of document show that Yandle was allied with the Scaife-funded legal institutes [[[Mountain States Legal Foundation]], etc. and organisations like the National Cattlemen's Association, in attempting to counter the growing tide of environmentalism. [45]

    1995: The Independent Institute has published a paper by Donald J Bourdreaux, Professor of Legal Studies, Clemson University, and Adam Pritchard, a Washington lawyer: "Civil Forefeiture As A Tax". They thank four network economists Bruce L Benson, Dwight Lee, Bill Shughart and Bruce Yandle for "instructive discussion and comments"
    The Tobacco Institute thought it was a paper worth keeping also. [46]

    1999 March: The Freeman journal carries promotional advertisement for an undergraduate seminar "Where Liberty and Learning Meet" (run by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)'s institution) to be held in New York. Fee paying students will be shipped in from other States.

    (Note: FEE is a subsidiary of the Independent Institute and also closely related to the Mackinac Center)

    The seminar begins with the Second Annual John Anthony Krogdahl Memorial Lecture, by Bruce Yandle of Clemson University, on Thursday evening. On Friday and Saturday students will participate in four one-hour lectures. Discussion sections will follow.

    Students can be sponsored to attend at $400 each. (Who by??)
    The magazine carries a book review on For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health by Jacob Sullum, reviewed by John Attarian. [47]

    The Independent Institute

    2000 /E: The Independent Institute publishes two books by tobacco lobbyists: one on Antitrust and Monopoly by Dominick Armento, and the other Regulation and the Reagan Era by Bruce Yandle and Roger Meiners with a foreword by Robert W Crandall and reviews by even more tobacco network economists. Crandall is an economic consultant to the tobacco industry now working through the Independent Institute (which has taken over the Tollison-Savarese Cash-for-comments network. He also works through Cato, Hudson, Heritage and (primarily) Brookings Institutes, and he is the brother-in-law of climate-denier guru S Fred Singer. (His sister Candace C Crandall is equally as notorious as her husband in the area of climate denial.)

    [Note: They keep it all in the family!] [48]

    2003: The Hoover Press published The Relation Between Net Carbon Emissions and Income by Robert E McCormick (Clemson Uni). He is in the camp of the climate deniers (as is the Hoover Institute and PERC -- the Private Enterprise Research Center of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, Texas.)

    [T]here is no universal agreement about the problem itself. Serious scholars have data on both sides of the question of global warming, and others have interpreted existing facts in myriad ways. The public seems to believe that the Earth is warming, unnaturally, but public perception, although politically important, is not always scientifically accurate. If all this were not enough, there is even disagreement about the impacts of global climate change, assuming it to be real.

    McCormick then concludes:

    The results presented in this chapter indicate that net carbon emissions will decline if economies grow and people get richer. The analysis supports the view that higher incomes are associated with a better natural environment. Fascination with emissions controls and the Kyoto Protocol is somewhat hard to understand in this context.
    One simple but profound fact remains. Even while US and global total gross emissions are on the rise, there is little or no growth in total or gross carbon emissions per person in either the United States or the world. Moreover, taking sequestrations into account, there is even less of an issue with carbon emissions.

    He gives credit for help in the article's preparation to a substantial section of the old cash-for-comments group. The credits say:

    Robert E. McCormick is professor and BB&T Scholar in the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University and a senior associate at PERC.
    This work borrows extensively from joint work coauthored with Joshua Utt and Walker Hunter (Utt, Hunter, and McCormick 2002). Terry Anderson particularly, but also Richard Stroup, Bruce Yandle, and Daniel Benjamin, provided the intellectual stimulation and insights that make this work presentable. I acknowledge a debt to all of them and to PERC while retaining residual rights to the effort. [49]

    Independent Institute
    The Independent Institute, which is itself a component of the Atlas Group (consortium) of ultra-free-market think tanks, which had links to the Alexis de Tocqueville , Cato, Heritage, and Brookings Institute [all heavily dependent on commissioned corporate funding - not just from tobacco], appears to have taken over the role of administrator of the Tobacco Institute's cash-for-comments network at the end of the 1990s.

    Their research director and journal editor, Robert Higgs, was already a member of the network. Tobacco funding continued to flow to the Independent Institute which appears to have taken on the role of 'warehousing' these academic supporters to insulate them from discovery. The Institute acquired the bulk of the cabal of cash-for-comments economists who were still operating, and some who had been retired:

    Senior Fellows

    Research Fellows

    Also dozens of other academics and writers who provided independent contract services to the tobacco industry -- like

    In the early 2000's (?) Bruce Yandle became a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center.[1] and he began to author or co-author a number of books denying climate change, then the need for CO2 regulation:, including Taking the Environment Seriously, The Political Limits of Environmental Regulation, Environmental Use and the Market, Land Rights, The Economics of Environmental Quality, and most recently, Common Sense and Common Law for the Environment. Articles include, "Bootleggers, Baptists and Global Warming."

    From 1976 to 1978, Dr. Yandle was a senior economist on the staff of the President's Council on Wage and Price Stability, where he reviewed and analyzed newly proposed regulations. From 1982 to 1984, he was executive director of the Federal Trade Commission. Before entering a career in university teaching, Dr. Yandle was in the industrial machinery business in Georgia for fifteen years. Dr. Yandle received his Ph.D. and M.B.A. from Georgia State University and his A.B. degree from Mercer University." (Mercatus Center bio)." [2]

    He has also recently coauthored a book with Terry L. Anderson.

    Resources and articles


    1. "Staff Biographies: Bruce Yandle", PERC, accessed March 2008.
    2. Bruce Yandle, Exxon Secrets, accessed July 21, 2007.

    Related SourceWatch Articles

    External links