Daniel Oliver (policymaker)

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Daniel Oliver
Daniel Oliver

(1939-03-10) March 10, 1939 (age 83)
New York City, United States
Occupation(s)Lawyer, writer, editor

Daniel Oliver (born March 10, 1939) is a former executive editor of National Review from 1973 to 1976 and chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 1986 to 1990.[1] He was chairman of the National Review board and a trustee of the magazine made so by William F. Buckley, Jr., founder of the publication.[2]


Oliver grew up in New York City. He graduated from Harvard College [1964] and Fordham Law School.[3]

Early career[edit]

From 1959 to 1962, Oliver served in the US. Army, stationed in California and Germany.

In 1965, he was a candidate[citation needed] for New York's state assembly while campaigning with William F. Buckley, Jr., in his New York City mayoral race.

In 1970, he worked as the Director of Research for James L. Buckley's successful New York senatorial race.[4]

Reagan Administration[edit]

Oliver was the General Counsel at the Department of Education from 1981 to 1983 under President Ronald Reagan. He was General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture from 1983 to 1986 before becoming the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, a position he held until 1990. He has an honorary doctoral degree from the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, an honor also bestowed upon former U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and former Czech President Vaclav Klaus.[5]

The Oliver-run Federal Trade Commission was known as one of the most anti-cartelist in the nation's history.[6]

Milk Cartel Battle[edit]

One of Oliver's more famous battles took place from 1986 to 1987 when he led the fight to deregulate the price of milk in New York.

He awarded a “National Consumer Fleece Award” to New York State Agriculture Commissioner Joseph Gerace for his support of the New York Milk Cartel which prevented a New Jersey dairy from selling milk in parts of New York City. After Oliver, on the steps of City Hall at Christmas time, said Gerace had “brazenly upheld one of the most anti-consumer monopolies in the country” Oliver wished the Commissioner a “Fleece Navidad.”[7] The quip garnered Oliver headlines nationwide, and shortly afterwards the state’s support for the dairy cartel collapsed, and Gerach resigned under pressure from the Cuomo administration.

Health Insurance Cartel Battle[edit]

Oliver tried to repeal the insurance anti-trust exemption in health insurance markets in 1987, provoking a long and costly battle that he ultimately lost.[8] Oliver's goal was to reduce the costs of American health insurance by removing barriers limiting competition—in this case, being the first FTC chairman to propose the destruction of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. However, the issue has again received national attention in the 2016 presidential election.[9]

Airline Competition Policy[edit]

Oliver defended airline deregulation in the 1980s and said it had allowed for more companies to enter the market and lower overall prices—saving Americans $100 billion.[10]

"The Oliver Effect"[edit]

Oliver's tenure at the FTC led some analysts to saying he sought to implement "The Oliver Effect" in product markets.[11] In this way, Oliver also argued against foreign trade restrictions, saying in 1986 that they cost Americans $50 billion a year.[12]

Post-Reagan Administration[edit]

Oliver is currently chairman Emeritus of the Pacific Research Institute, and chairman of the board of Education and Research Institute, an organization founded in 1974 by the late M. Stanton Evans, one of the founders of the modern conservative movement in America.

Oliver also writes a column as "The Candid American," which appears in a variety of publications including The Federalist, Daily Caller, Ricochet, The American Conservative, and The Washington Times.

He is also Senior Director of the Washington, D.C.-based White House Writers Group, a public policy and corporate consultancy. Oliver focuses particularly on anti-trust.

Previously, he served as president of the conservative Philadelphia Society, and was a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, as well as chairman of the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.[13][14]


Oliver is fluent in Russian and is a U.S. Army-trained linguist.[15]

He is married to Louise V. Oliver, US ambassador to UNESCO in Paris from 2004 to 2009.[16]

Oliver is a member of the Episcopal Church.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (June 29, 2004). "National Review Founder Says It's Time to Leave Stage". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Daniel Oliver".
  4. ^ "About – Daniel Oliver".
  5. ^ "Honorary Doctoral Degrees".
  6. ^ Caroline E. Mayer (April 27, 1987). "DANIEL OLIVER". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 1330888409.
  7. ^ "'Fleecing' New York Milk Consumers". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. December 23, 1986. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 1330888409.
  8. ^ "The Courier - Google News Archive Search".
  9. ^ http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article63786822.html[bare URL]
  10. ^ "Observer-Reporter - Google News Archive Search".
  11. ^ "Competition produces better products at lower costs. Regulations have made the health insurance markets of our states no different from the New York City milk market before chairman Oliver came along. Who but an ideologue can doubt lifting those restrictive regulations can produce the Oliver Effect in health insurance costs, too?" Clark Judge, US News & World Report, July 9, 2012
  12. ^ "Eugene Register-Guard - Google News Archive Search".
  13. ^ "Presidents of the Philadelphia Society | the Philadelphia Society".
  14. ^ "Daniel Oliver | WHWG | White House Writers Group". Archived from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Biography: Louise V. Oliver". US Department of Stat. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  17. ^ "Extra! Pope Denies Henry VIII Late Checkout. Crisis Looms". June 11, 2015.