Eric Schnurer

Eric B. Schnurer is president of Public Works LLC, a public-policy and management-consulting firm that works with state and local governments across the country. He has served as a gubernatorial chief-of-staff and speechwriter or policy adviser to governors, senators, and presidential candidates.
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The State-Level Future of Healthcare Reform

April 10, 2015 The Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell, whatever it may be, won’t mark the end of Obamacare. On the other hand, Obamacare itself was never intended to be the last word on the country’s healthcare needs. At the state level—where, unlike Congress, elected officials actually have to govern—Republicans are...

When Government Competes Against the Private Sector, Everybody Wins

March 11, 2015 One day, I received a phone call out of the blue from the Chicago Federation of Labor asking if I could help it put together a study on how to cut that city’s budget. This is not the usual union request—nor is it the usual efficiency study I get asked...

Shrinking Prisons: Good Crime-Fighting and Good Government

October 29, 2014 Liberals have long advocated prison reforms like reduced sentence lengths and alternatives to incarceration. Recently, however, conservatives have put these ideas on the congressional agenda—and their inspiration comes from that bastion of tough-on-crime conservatism, Texas. Surprising? Perhaps. But seeing this coming didn’t require any sort of crystal ball. One had...

Don't Worry About the Size of the Government

September 15, 2014 Which is better: More government or less? Most people have an ideological answer ready, but from a practical standpoint, it’s a ridiculous question. Better is better. When I met Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, earlier this year, she was facing most government officials’...

There Is No 'Party of Ideas'

August 13, 2014 The last week or so has seen an efflorescence of assertions, on both the left and right, that Democrats are idea-less while the Republican Party is a font of policy innovation. All of this raises the question of what counts as an “idea”—or “new.” But more than anything, the debate...

How to Cut Defense Spending Without Hurting the Military

November 8, 2013 Every municipal police and fire department has mastered the oldest bureaucratic budget maneuver in the book: If told to cut your budget slightly, don’t eliminate unneeded positions, buy less fancy office furniture, or delay buying new cars and equipment. Just announce the closure of an entire police or fire station....

Analysis: Government Programs Don't Have Unusually High Fraud Rates

August 16, 2013 I’ll never forget the day after Christmas 2005, standing alongside my car, which was tilted at a 45-degree angle in the ditch that passed for a curb alongside a pitted, crumbling road. As the sky darkened, not a light glowed anywhere within sight; neither a single police car nor any...

Analysis: The Secret to Cutting Government Waste -- Savings by a Thousand Cuts

July 3, 2013 In 1991, Texas faced a whopping $4.6 billion budget deficit. The legislature asked state Comptroller John Sharp to review the budget to find some face-saving cuts before they raised taxes. Sharp assembled a crack team and not only found a few savings here and there: He found enough to close...

Analysis: What Small-Government Fans Should Learn From Walmart

June 26, 2013 Few people consider Walmart a paragon of public virtue. But no one would deny that Walmart is the avatar of low costs. That's what makes a recent piece on Walmart's employee health-care plan so interesting. The company long resisted providing benefits to employees at all. But then it discovered that...

Forget What Government Should Do—What Can It Do?

June 10, 2013 If you were trying to right a capsized business -- let's say a book company -- you wouldn't ask, in an ideal world, how much of the gross national product should be spent on books. Or how profitable the book business should be. Or whether, in the abstract, you should...

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