Fred's Raiders


Ralph Nader—watch out! Fred Smith and the Competitive Enterprise Institute are hot on your tail.

CEI's latest venture is the Washington Policy Analyst Training Institute, designed to become the market-oriented counterpart to "Nader's Raiders." Three times a year, four to six college seniors or recent graduates will roll into Washington and learn practical tactics for battling big government.

Unlike most Washington intern programs, in which starry-eyed students come to the capital and spend their summers toiling as Xerox jockeys or unpaid receptionists, the student research associates at CEI spend much of their time writing. The first group of associates, who earn $200 a week salary, have written on subjects ranging from the flaws of the value-added tax to a market-oriented interpretation of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle of operas. The best paper or article written by a CEI research associate will win a $500 prize.

Anthony Woodlief, a senior at the University of North Carolina, says he is learning far more working for CEI than his fellow students are in congressional offices or at larger foundations. "You get a lot of hands-on experience," Woodlief says. "You get to write op-eds and are taken seriously." Woodlief's first article, on the alcohol fuel program, was published in the Detroit News.

CEI president Smith predicts that his policy-analyst training program, although small, will eventually grow. It is very important, he says, to train the next generation of market-oriented policy analysts to counter the hundreds of students who imbibe socialism while working for Ralph Nader's countless organizations.

"On every issue, we are outnumbered 100-to-one by the left," Smith says. "I'd like to do something to even the odds."