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AEI Enterprise Report, February 2013

AEI Enterprise Report, February 2013

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The American Enterprise Institute is a community of scholars and supporters committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.
The American Enterprise Institute is a community of scholars and supporters committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.

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Published by: American Enterprise Institute on Feb 25, 2013
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During my time as AEI president, I’ve met a lot of entrepreneurs from around thecountry. The businesses they’ve created differ drastically—from brokerage firmsto home improvement chains and start-up universities—and their personalitiesare just as wide-ranging. But what unifies these men and women is the waythey think about obstacles. When many avoid uncertainty or discomfort,entrepreneurs embrace risk, welcome challenges, and seek out new waters.At AEI, we are applying an entrepreneurial mindset to public policy. Ourleadership has surveyed the policy landscape to identify the most pressingchallenges, and we’ve positioned AEI to meet them head-on. That’swhy we’ve
AEI—The “Entrepreneurial”Washington Think Tank
by AEI President Arthur Brooks
Issue No.1, February 2013
Enterprise Report
Restoring Liberty, Opportunity, and Enterprise in America
7
 years
Freedom.Opportunity.Enterprise.
 
bolstered our scholarship with new hires, including political journalists Ramesh Ponnuru andTim Carney and
New York Times
bestselling author Ed Conard. Ramesh and Tim are singlingout today’s greatest threats to free enterprise, and Ed is explaining how to reform our taxcode to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth.Of course, our policy challenges are not limited to the economy. That’s why I’m honoredand excited to announce the arrival of former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, who will study America’scommitment to global leadership as a visiting fellow. Sen. Kyl’s arrival, as well as the com-mencement of a new speaker series with the four Military ServiceChiefs, are testaments to the growing influence of AEI’s Marilyn WareCenter for Security Studies, which is not yet one year old.
AEI is delivering our work to those bestpositioned to make a difference.
AEI is delivering our work to those best positioned to make adifference. To do so, we rely on our government relations department,which is profiled in this issue of the
Enterprise Report.
In three years’time, the department has transformed AEI into a leading source of policy ideas for members of Congress. And like good entrepreneurs, the department iscontinually refining its best practices and developing new strategies to build on its success.The intersection of entrepreneurial thinking and public policy is familiar territory forAEI’s education policy studies program. That program just celebrated its 10th year at AEI,and director Frederick “Rick” Hess has released a groundbreaking new book,
Cage-BustingLeadership 
, which will change the conversation about education reform. Rick’s book, whichis the subject of the
Enterprise Report 
’s Spotlight, explains how educators and superintendentscan apply the same kind of entrepreneurial thinking as leaders in the private sector to breakthrough roadblocks and achieve real reform in America’s schools.Rick’s work reveals the obstacles imposed by bureaucratic largess and political rent-seekers that place their own interests above those of students. But more importantly, he setsforth a concrete, positive agenda to help ensure that every student has the opportunity tosucceed. Rick’s approach is a model that we can all follow to advance free enterprise ideasand reforms.Thank you, as always, for your support of AEI and for your dedication to America’s freeenterprise system. It is exciting to begin another year with you by our side.
2
AEI president Arthur Brooks with former senator andnew AEI visiting fellow Jon Kyl
 
Policy Focus
AEI on the Hill: An Inside Look at OurGovernment Relations Department
3
Scholar testimony before congressionalcommittees is public, prominent, andquantifiable. It is also a core strength of the Institute. AEI scholars testified 106times during the 112th Congress, morethan scholars from any other publicpolicy organization. But as John insists,that metric only hints at AEI’s role onCapitol Hill, overshadowing arguablymore important strategies to solidifyAEI’s position at the center of debate.Among these strategies is AEI’snew weekly gathering for SenateRepublican legislative directors. AEIscholars are leading lunchtime discus-sions that give context to the debates inCongress by tying policy specifics to thebroader fight for free enterprise. Thesediscussions not only inform policymak-ers—they are also part of a symbioticrelationship that provides AEI scholarswith an inside look at the foremostissues on Congress’s agenda.The gridlock that has characterizedcongressional politics in recent yearsbegs the question: is AEI’s presence onCapitol Hill all for naught? The answer,according to John, is a definitive no,although the divided Congress doesaffect the way AEI communicates ourwork. Indeed, progress on tax reform,entitlements, and defense spending—among other issues that AEI scholarsare watching closely—depends oncooperation between Republicansand Democrats.In response to that reality, AEI’snew “Left-Right Briefings” seriesengages both sides of the aisle tobuild agreement on contentious policyissues. That is not to say that AEI isany less committed to its free enterpriseprinciples. Rather, as John explains,“Our ideas shine when contrasted withothers, and AEI receives more buy-infor our work when audiences see thatcontrast.” Having held a recent Left-Right Briefing on entitlement reform,AEI is planning future installmentson education, housing policy, anddefense spending. John estimates thatDemocratic staffers represent at least40 percent of the audience at each AEIevent on Capitol Hill, making theseforums a powerful tool to forge consen-sus and drive the debate forward.With these initiatives gainingsteam and a greater number of policy-makers calling on AEI scholars, AEI’sgovernment relations department isbusier today than ever before. Thatwill only intensify in the months ahead.As one senior House member told Johnearlier this year, AEI scholars have noidea “how demanding we’ll be of them during this session of Congress.”But the team, as well as our scholars,are embracing that challenge withenthusiasm and aplomb. There isa reason, after all, why AEI is inWashington.“It’s all about creating relational feedback loops between AEI scholars and mem-bers of Congress,” John Cusey said from his office on AEI’s 10th floor. Relationshipbuilding is a key part of John’s role as the director of AEI’s government relationsdepartment, which has helped establish AEI as a dominant force on Capitol Hill.Efficient and entrepreneurial, the four-person department has begun to implementnew initiatives to leverage that influence and deliver AEI scholarship to leaders onthe front lines in the 113th Congress.
112TH
BY THE NUMBERS
106
AEI scholar testimonies
60
Percent increase in AEI scholartestimonies compared to110th Congress
20
Free Enterprise Messaging Sessionsfor members of Congress and seniorstaff, hosted by Arthur Brooks
549
Private meetings between AEIscholars and members of Congress
15,000
Capitol Hill staffers receivingregular AEI email updates

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