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  • Author: James L. Buckley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: “The United States faces two major problems today,” writes James L. Buckley: “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence.” Contributing significantly to both, he argues, are the more than 1,100 federal grants-in-aid programs Congress has enacted—federal grants to state and local governments, constituting 17 percent of the federal budget, the third-largest spending category after entitlements and defense, with costs that have risen from $24.1 billion in 1970 to $640.8 billion in fiscal 2015. His “modest proposal”? Do away with them entirely, thereby saving Congress from itself while emancipating the states and empowering their people. If that sounds like a program for revising constitutional federalism, it is.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: George Selgin
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For a private-sector firm, success can mean only one thing: that the firm has turned a profit. No such firm can hope to succeed, or even to survive, merely by declaring that it has been profitable. A government agency, on the other hand, can succeed in either of two ways. It can actually accomplish its mission. Or it can simply declare that it has done so, and get the public to believe it.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence H. White
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Proposals abound for reforming monetary policy by instituting a less-discretionary or nondiscretionary system ("rules") for a fiat-money- issuing central bank to follow. The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee could be given a single mandate or more generally an explicit loss function to minimize (e.g., the Taylor Rule). The FOMC could be replaced by a computer that prescribes the monetary base as a function of observed macroeconomic variables (e.g., the McCallum Rule). The role of determining the fiat monetary base could be stripped from the FOMC and moved to a prediction market (as proposed by Scott Sumner or Kevin Dowd). Alternative proposals call for commodity money regimes. The dollar could be redefined in terms of gold or a broader commodity bundle, with redeemability for Federal Reserve liabilities being reinstated. Or all Federal Reserve liabilities could actually be redeemed and retired, en route to a fully privatized gold or commodity-bundle standard (White 2012). All of these approaches assume that there will continue to be a single monetary regime in the economy, so that the way to institute an alternative is to transform the dominant regime.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: While Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and private subprime lenders have deservedly garnered the bulk of attention and blame for the mortgage crisis, other federal programs also distort our mortgage market and put taxpayers at risk of having to finance massive financial bailouts. The most prominent of these risky agencies is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael B. Rappaport
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The constitutional amendment procedure of Article V is defective because the national convention amendment method does not work. Because no amendment can be enacted without Congress's approval, limitations on the federal government that Congress opposes are virtually impossible to pass. This defect may have prevented the enactment of several constitutional amendments that would have constrained Congress, such as amendments establishing a balanced budget limitation, a line-item veto, or congressional term limits. The increasingly nationalist character of our constitutional charter may not be the result of modern values or circumstances, but an artifact of a distorted amendment procedure. Article V should be reformed to allow two-thirds of the state legislatures to propose a constitutional amendment which would then be ratified or rejected by the states, acting through state conventions or state ballot measures. Such a return of power to the states would militate against our overly centralized government by helping to restore the federalist character of our Constitution. Moreover, a strategy exists that would allow this reform to be enacted.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Diane Cohen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: When a member of Congress introduces legislation, the Constitution requires that legislative proposal to secure the approval of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the president (unless Congress overrides a presidential veto) before it can become law. In all cases, either chamber of Congress may block it.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration's preference for funding transportation projects that promote "livability" (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation. Toward that end, the administration wants to eliminate cost-effectiveness requirements for federal transportation grants, instead allowing non-cost-effective grants for projects promoting so-called livability. In anticipation of this change, numerous cities are preparing to apply for federal funds to build streetcar lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government, Political Economy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas L. Hogan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Privately issued money can benefit consumers in many ways, particularly in the areas of value stability and product variety. Decentralized currency production can benefit consumers by reducing inflation and increasing economic stability. Unlike a central bank, competing private banks must attract customers by providing innovative products, restricting the quantity of notes issued, and limiting the riskiness of their investing activities. Although the Federal Reserve currently has a de facto monopoly on the provision of currency in the United States, this was not always the case. Throughout most of U.S. history, private banks issued their own banknotes as currency. This practice continues today in a few countries and could be reinstituted in the United States with minimal changes to the banking system.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Trevor Burrus
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Public broadcasting has been in critics' crosshairs since its creation in 1967. Assailed from all sides with allegations of bias, charges of political influence, and threats to defund their operations, public broadcasters have responded with everything from outright denial to personnel changes, but never have they squarely faced the fundamental problem: government-funded media companies are inherently problematic and impossible to reconcile with either the First Amendment or a government of constitutionally limited powers.
  • Topic: Government, Communications, Mass Media, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Morris A. Davis
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For decades U.S. housing policy has focused on promoting homeownership. In this study, I show that the set of policies designed to further homeownership has been ineffective and expensive and that homeownership as a public policy goal is not well supported.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although gasoline taxes have long been the main source of funding for building, maintaining, and operating America's network of highways, roads, and streets, the tax is at best an imperfect user fee. As such, Congress and the states should take action to transition from gas taxes to more efficient vehicle-mile fees.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Communications, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: News that the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, the highest level in nearly a decade, has set off a predictable round of calls for increased government spending on social welfare programs. Yet this year the federal government will spend more than $668 billion on at least 126 different programs to fight poverty. And that does not even begin to count welfare spending by state and local governments, which adds $284 billion to that figure. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Patric H. Hendershott, Kevin Villani
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The current narrative regarding the 2008 systemic financial system collapse is that numerous seemingly unrelated events occurred in unregulated or underregulated markets, requiring widespread bailouts of actors across the financial spectrum, from mortgage borrowers to investors in money market funds. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by the U.S. Congress to investigate the causes of the crisis, promotes this politically convenient narrative, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act operationalizes it by completing the progressive extension of federal protection and regulation of banking and finance that began in the 1930s so that it now covers virtually all financial activities, including hedge funds and proprietary trading. The Dodd-Frank Act further charges the newly created Financial Stability Oversight Council, made up of politicians, bureaucrats, and university professors, with preventing a subsequent systemic crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to delineate the legitimate functions of government in a free society. This exercise differs from determining the “optimal” size of government, which economists have estimated at 15 to 30 percent of gross domestic product. James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, was not primarily looking for an engine of economic growth; he was seeking an institutional design to limit the powers of government and protect individual rights. People would then be free to pursue their happiness and, in the process, create wealth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Official federal budget accounts are constructed exclusively in terms of current cash flows – receipts from taxes and fees and outlays on purchases and transfers. But cash-flows do not reveal economically relevant information about who benefits and who loses from government policies. Cash flows also do not reveal how changes in government's policies redistribute resources within and across generations, including reducing the tax burden on today's generations and increasing it on future ones. Because most government transact ions are targeted by age and gender, the federal government can bring about large resource transfers across generations. Intergenerational resource transfers will grow larger as the composition of budget receipts and expenditures changes with relatively faster growth of age-and-gender-related social insurance program. Intergenerational redistributions across generations through federal government operations could substantially affect different generations' economic expectations and choices and exert powerful long-term effects on economic outcomes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Human Welfare, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper confirms recent studies which find little or no sustained increase in the inequality of disposable income for the U.S. population as a whole over the past 20 years, even though estimates of the top 1 percent's share of pretax, pretransfer (market) income spiked upward in 1986-88, 1997-2000 and 2003-2007.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Marcus E. Ethridge
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the wake of the 2010 elections, President Obama declared that voters did not give a mandate to gridlock. His statement reflects over a century of Progressive hostility to the inefficient and slow system of government created by the American Framers. Convinced that the government created by the Constitution frustrates their goals, Progressives have long sought ways around its checks and balances. Perhaps the most important of their methods is delegating power to administrative agencies, an arrangement that greatly transformed U.S. government during and after the New Deal. For generations, Progressives have supported the false premise that administrative action in the hands of experts will realize the public interest more effectively than the constitutional system and its multiple vetoes over policy changes. The political effect of empowering the administrative state has been quite different: it fosters policies that reflect the interests of those with well organized power. A large and growing body of evidence makes it clear that the public interest is most secure when governmental institutions are inefficient decisionmakers. An arrangement that brings diverse interests into a complex, sluggish decisionmaking process is generally unattractive to special interests. Gridlock also neutralizes some political benefits that producer groups and other well-heeled interests inherently enjoy. By fostering gridlock, the U.S. Constitution increases the likelihood that policies will reflect broad, unorganized interests instead of the interests of narrow, organized groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics, Power Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Mark A. Calabria
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The recent financial crisis was characterized by losses in nearly every type of investment vehicle. Yet no product has attracted as much attention as the subprime mortgage.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Unless repeal attempts succeed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ObamaCare) promises to increase state government obligations on account of Medicaid by expanding Medicaid eligibility and introducing an individual health insurance mandate for all US citizens and legal permanent residents. Once ObamaCare becomes fully effective in 2014, the cost of newly eligible Medicaid enrollees will be almost fully covered by the federal government through 2019, with federal financial support expected to be extended thereafter. But ObamaCare provides states with zero additional federal financial support for new enrollees among those eligible for Medicaid under the old laws. That makes increased state Medicaid costs from higher enrollments by "old-eligibles" virtually certain as they enroll into Medicaid to comply with the mandate to purchase health insurance. This study estimates and compares potential increases in Medicaid costs from ObamaCare for the five most populous states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Markets, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, California, Florida
  • Author: Matthew Carr
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last 35 years, traditional public school student achievement in the United States has been stagnant, despite myriad reform efforts and a doubling in total expenditures on K–12 education (Ravitch 2000, Hanushek 1986, Greene 2005). The ramifications of this academic achievement plateau on human capital development and thus the country's global economic standing are of paramount importance (Heckman and Masterov 2007). Thus, one of the most important public policy questions that government and society faces is how to improve the academic performance and quality of the nation's public education system.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard L. Gordon
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Pennington undertakes a needed effort to provide a systematic, analytic critique of recent efforts to discredit what he terms “classical liberal economics.” His is effectively the standard but hard-to-sell proposition that prescient impartial counselors—Plato's philosopher kings—have failed to emerge from the development of modern knowledge. In particular, Pennington makes good use of Hayek's radical contrast between the competitive testing of concepts in a spontaneous market order and the construction of solutions by government monopolies. As Pennington's conclusions nicely summarize, skepticism of limited government is high and fostered by those who are seeking rents from intervention. Thus, ideas that committed libertarians see as obviously absurd need systematic debunking for a broader audience. Pennington, therefore, pretends that he is treating serious arguments and confronts them respectfully.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Aaron Yelowitz
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 2006, Massachusetts enacted a sweeping health insurance law that mirrors the legislation currently before Congress. After signing the measure, Gov. Mitt Romney (R) wrote, "Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced." But did the legislation achieve these goals? And what other effects has it had? This paper is the first to use Current Population Survey data for 2008 to evaluate the Massachusetts law, and the first to examine its effects on the accuracy of the CPS's uninsured estimates, self-reported health, the extent of "crowd-out" of private insurance for both children and adults, and in-migration of new Massachusetts residents.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: House and Senate Democrats have produced health care legislation whose mandates, subsidies, tax penalties, and health insurance regulations would penalize work and reward Americans who refuse to purchase health insurance. As a result, the legislation could trap many Americans in low-wage jobs and cause even higher health-insurance premiums, government spending, and taxes than are envisioned in the legislation.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Arnold Kling
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recently, the Federal Reserve has significantly altered the procedures and goals that it had followed for decades. It has more than doubled its balance sheet, paid interest to banks on reserves held as deposits with the Fed, made decisions about which institutions to prop up and which should be allowed to fail, invested in assets that expose taxpayers to large losses, and raised questions about how it will avoid inflation despite an unprecedented increase in the monetary base.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher J. Conover
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: A well-established principle of public finance holds that taxes impose costs on society beyond the amount of revenue government collects. Estimates vary depending on the type of tax, but the “marginal excess burden” of federal taxes most likely ranges from 14 to 52 cents per dollar of tax revenue, averaging about 44 cents for all federal taxes.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: George A. Selgin, Lawrence H. White, William D. Lastrapes
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As the one-hundredth anniversary of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act approaches, we assess whether the nation's experiment with the Federal Reserve has been a success or a failure. Drawing on a wide range of recent empirical research, we find the following: (1) The Fed's full history (1914 to present) has been characterized by more rather than fewer symptoms of monetary and macroeconomic instability than the decades leading to the Fed's establishment. (2) While the Fed's performance has undoubtedly improved since World War II, even its postwar performance has not clearly surpassed that of its undoubtedly flawed predecessor, the National Banking system, before World War I. (3) Some proposed alternative arrangements might plausibly do better than the Fed as presently constituted. We conclude that the need for a systematic exploration of alternatives to the established monetary system is as pressing today as it was a century ago.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: School voucher and education tax credit programs have proliferated in the United States over the past two decades. Advocates have argued that they will enable families to become active consumers in a free and competitive education marketplace, but some fear that these programs may in fact bring with them a heavy regulatory burden that could stifle market forces. Until now, there has been no systematic, empirical investigation of that concern. The present paper aims to shed light on the issue by quantifying the regulations imposed on private schools both within and outside school choice programs, and then analyzing them with descriptive statistics and regression analyses. The results are tested for robustness to alternative ways of quantifying private school regulation, and to alternative regression models, and the question of causality is addressed. The study concludes that vouchers, but not tax credits, impose a substantial and statistically significant additional regulatory burden on participating private schools.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Barack Obama, former U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, and others propose a new government agency that would evaluate the relative effectiveness of medical treatments. The need for “comparative-effectiveness research” is great. Evidence suggests Americans spend $700 billion annually on medical care that provides no value. Yet patients, providers, and purchasers typically lack the necessary information to distinguish between high- and low-value services.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vern McKinley, Gary Gegenheimer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: A financial-institution bailout involves government intervention through a transaction or forbearance targeted to a financial institution or group of financial institutions. The action is preemptive as the financial institution does not fail and go out of business, but remains a going concern, benefiting creditors, shareholders, or counterparties. In the absence of a bailout, the financial institution would either be forced to go through receivership or bankruptcy in the prescribed legal form, or have its role in financial intermediation disrupted.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Obama has made it clear that reforming the American health care system will be one of his top priorities. In response, congressional leaders have promised to introduce legislation by this summer, and they hope for an initial vote in the Senate before the Labor Day recess.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Z. Grossman
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Over the last 35 years, the U.S. government has embarked on several major projects to spur the commercial development of energy technologies intended to substitute for conventional energy resources, especially fossil fuels. Those efforts began with the 1973 energy crisis when President Nixon became the first U.S. leader to announce a plan for energy autarky. Presidents Ford and Carter followed Nixon's “Project Independence” with similar pledges. But beginning with Ford's 1975 energy act, plans for energy independence were tied directly to the development of new, alternative energy technologies. Under President Carter in particular, the federal government embarked on highly publicized, heavily funded efforts at developing new technologies with specific timetables for commercial entry and, in a few cases, a timetable for mass market substitution. Current mandates for ethanol and other biofuels fit this latter objective.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although neither the House nor the Senate passed a health care bill by President Obama's August deadline, various pieces of legislation have made it through committee, and they provide a concrete basis for analyzing what the proposed health care reform would and would not do. Looking at the various bills that are moving on Capitol Hill, we can determine the following: Contrary to the Obama administration's repeated assurances, millions of Americans who are happy with their current health insurance will not be able to keep it. As many as 89.5 million people may be dumped into a government-run plan. Some Americans may find themselves forced into a new insurance plan that no longer includes their current doctor. Americans will pay more than $820 billion in additional taxes over the next 10 years, and could see their insurance premiums rise as much as 95 percent. The current health care bills will increase the budget deficit by at least $239 billion over the next 10 years, and far more in the years beyond that. If the new health care entitlement were subject to the same 75-year actuarial standards as Social Security or Medicare, its unfunded liabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion. While the bills contain no direct provisions for rationing care, they nonetheless increase the likelihood of government rationing and interference with how doctors practice medicine. Contrary to assertions of some opponents, the bills contain no provision for euthanasia or mandatory end-of-life counseling. The bills' provisions on abortion coverage are far murkier.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Human Welfare, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jagadeesh Gokhale, Peter Van Doren
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many commentators have argued that if the Federal Reserve had followed a stricter monetary policy earlier this decade when the housing bubble was forming, and if Congress had not deregulated banking but had imposed tighter financial standards, the housing boom and bust—and the subsequent financial crisis and recession—would have been averted. In this paper, we investigate those claims and dispute them. We are skeptical that economists can detect bubbles in real time through technical means with any degree of unanimity. Even if they could, we doubt the Fed would have altered its policy in the early 21st century, and we suspect that political leaders would have exerted considerable pressure to maintain that policy. Concerning regulation, we find that the banking reform of the late 1990s had little effect on the housing boom and bust, and that the many reform ideas currently proposed would have done little or nothing to avert the crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The administration has likened President Obama's high-speed rail plan to President Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System. Yet there are crucial differences between interstate highways and high-speed rail. First, before Congress approved the Interstate Highway System, it had a good idea how much it would cost. In contrast, Congress approved $8 billion for high-speed rail without knowing the total cost, which is likely to be at least $90 billion.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The most hazardous health reform measure before Congress is not the so-called "public option," but proposals to make health insurance compulsory via an individual or employer mandate. Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama's pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Peter Z. Grossman
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Over the last 35 years, the U.S. government has embarked on several major projects to spur the commercial development of energy technologies intended to substitute for conventional energy resources, especially fossil fuels. Those efforts began with the 1973 energy crisis when President Nixon became the first U.S. leader to announce a plan for energy autarky. Presidents Ford and Carter followed Nixon's “Project Independence” with similar pledges. But beginning with Ford's 1975 energy act, plans for energy independence were tied directly to the development of new, alternative energy technologies. Under President Carter in particular, the federal government embarked on highly publicized, heavily funded efforts at developing new technologies with specific timetables for commercial entry and, in a few cases, a timetable for mass market substitution. Current mandates for ethanol and other biofuels fit this latter objective.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jim Harper
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In last summer's debate over immigration reform, Congress treated a national electronic employment eligibility verification (EEV) system as a matter of near consensus. Intended to strengthen internal enforcement of the immigration laws, electronic EEV is an Internet-based employee vetting system that the federal government would require every employer to use.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of the U.S. health care system frequently point to other countries as models for reform. They point out that many countries spend far less on health care than the United States yet seem to enjoy better health outcomes. The United States should follow the lead of those countries, the critics say, and adopt a government- run, national health care system.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Federal law requires metropolitan planning organizations in urban areas of more than 50,000 people to write long-range (20- to 30- year) metropolitan transportation plans and to revise or update those plans every 4 to 5 years. A review of plans for more than 75 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas reveals that virtually all of them fail to follow standard planning methods. As a result, taxpayers and travelers have little assurance that the plans make effective use of available resources to reduce congestion, maximize mobility, and provide safe transportation facilities.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In this paper we estimate the budgetary impact of the Cato Institute's Public Education Tax Credit model legislation on five states and presents a generalized spreadsheet tool (“the Fiscal Impact Calculator”) that can estimate the program's effect on any other state for which the necessary input data are supplied. It is estimated that, in its first 10 years of operation, savings from the PETC program would range from $1.1 billion for South Carolina to $15.9 billion for Texas. Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York are estimated to enjoy 10-year savings within that range.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Would large-scale, free-market reforms improve educational outcomes for American children? That question cannot be answered by looking at domestic evidence alone. Though innumerable “school choice” programs have been implemented around the United States, none has created a truly free and competitive education marketplace. Existing programs are too small, too restriction laden, or both. To understand how genuine market forces affect school performance, we must cast a wider net, surveying education systems from all over the globe. The present paper undertakes such a review, assessing the results of 25 years of international research comparing market and government provision of education, and explaining why these international experiences are relevant to the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence H. White
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics have raised a number of theoretical and historical objections to the gold standard. Some have called the gold standard a “crazy” idea. The gold standard is not a flawless monetary system. Neither is the fiat money alternative. In light of historical evidence about the comparative magnitude of these flaws, however, the gold standard is a policy option that deserves serious consideration.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Tanner
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Healthcare reform will be one of the top issues of the 2008 presidential election. In the face of widespread public demand for changes in the U.S. health care system, both Barack Obama and John McCain have offered detailed proposals for reform.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the past, the federal government has introduced moral hazard in the banking system through deposit insurance. Banks underpriced risk because of the federal guarantee that backed deposits. After banking crises in the 1980s and 1990s, deposit insurance was put on a sound basis and that source of moral hazard was mitigated. In its place, monetary policy has become a source of moral hazard. In acting to counter the economic effects of declining asset prices, the Federal Reserve has come to be viewed as underwriting risky investments. Policy pronouncements by senior Fed officials have reinforced that perception. These actions and pronouncements are mutually reinforcing and destructive to the operation of financial markets. The current financial crisis began in the subprime housing market and then spread throughout credit markets. The new Fed policy fueled the housing boom. Refusing to accept responsibility for the housing bubble, the Fed's recent actions will likely fuel a new asset bubble. The cumulative effects of recent monetary policy undermine the case for free markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: T.J. Rodgers
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has passed rules that it promises will make corporate accounting more transparent. In fact, its revised Generally Accepted Accounting Principles have made it difficult for investors — or even CEOs — to understand a company's financial report.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Arnold Kling
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac crisis may have been the most avoidable financial crisis in history. Economists have long complained that the risks posed by the government-sponsored enterprises were large relative to any social benefits.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Rising gas prices and concerns about greenhouse gases have stimulated calls to build more rail transit lines in urban areas, increase subsidies to Amtrak, and construct a large-scale intercity high-speed rail system. These megaprojects will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but they won't save energy or significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (IL) has proposed an ambitious plan to restructure America's health care sector. Rather than engage in a detailed critique of Obama's health care plan, many critics prefer to label it "socialized medicine." Is that a fair description of the Obama plan and similar plans? Over the past year, prominent media outlets and respectable think tanks have investigated that question and come to a unanimous answer: no.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Would large-scale, free-market reforms improve educational outcomes forAmerican children?That question cannot be answered by looking at domestic evidence alone. Though innumerable “school choice” programs have been implemented around theUnited States, none has created a truly free and competitive education marketplace. Existing programs are too small, too restriction laden, or both. To understand how genuine market forces affect school performance, wemust cast a wider net, surveying education systems from all over the globe. The present paper undertakes such a review, assessing the results of 25 years of international research comparing market and government provision of education, and explaining why these international experiences are relevant to theUnited States.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Shirley Svorny
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the United States, the authority to regulate medical professionals lies with the states. To practice within a state, clinicians must obtain a license from that state's government. State statutes dictate standards for licensing and disciplining medical professionals. They also list tasks clinicians are allowed to perform. One view is that state licensing of medical professionals assures quality. In contrast, I argue here that licensure not only fails to protect consumers from incompetent physicians, but, by raising barriers to entry, makes health care more expensive and less accessible. Institutional oversight and a sophisticated network of private accrediting and certification organizations, all motivated by the need to protect reputations and avoid legal liability, offer whatever consumer protections exist today. Consumers would benefit were states to eliminate professional licensing in medicine and leave education, credentialing, and scope-of-practice decisions entirely to the private sector and the courts. If eliminating licensing is politically infeasible, some preliminary steps might be generally acceptable. States could increase workforce mobility by recognizing licenses issued by other states. For mid-level clinicians, eliminating education requirements beyond an initial degree would allow employers and consumers to select the appropriate level of expertise. At the very least, state legislators should be alert to the self-interest of medical professional organizations that may lie behind the licensing proposals brought to the legislature for approval.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Chris Edwards
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Revenue poured into state governments as the U.S. economy expanded between 2003 and 2007, prompting the nation's governors to expand state budgets and offer the occasional tax cut. But now that the economy has slowed and revenue growth is down, governors are taking various actions to close rising budget deficits.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Timothy B. Lee
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: An important reason for the Internet's remarkable growth over the last quarter century is the “end-to-end” principle that networks should confine themselves to transmitting generic packets without worrying about their contents. Not only has this made deployment of Internet infrastructure cheap and efficient, but it has created fertile ground for entrepreneurship. On a network that respects the end-to-end principle, prior approval from network owners is not needed to launch new applications, services, or content.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard L. Gordon
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many politicians and pundits are panicked over the existing state of the oil and gasoline markets. Disregarding past experience, these parties advocate massive intervention in those markets, which would only serve to repeat and extend previous errors. These interventionists propose solutions to nonexistent problems.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence H. White
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As policymakers confront the ongoing U.S. financial crisis, it is important to take a step back and understand its origins. Those who fault "deregulation," "unfettered capitalism," or "greed" would do well to look instead at flawed institutions and misguided policies. The expansion in risky mortgages to under qualified borrowers was encouraged by the federal government. The growth of "creative" nonprime lending followed Congress's strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act, the Federal Housing Administration's loosening of down-payment standards, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's pressuring lenders to extend mortgages to borrowers who previously would not have qualified.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Some policymakers in the United States and Europe argue that it is possible to enjoy economic growth and also have a large welfare state. These advocates for bigger government claim that the so- called Nordic Model offers the best of both worlds. This claim does not withstand scrutiny. Economic performance in Nordic nations is lagging, and excessive government is the most likely explanation. The public sector in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland consumes, on average, more than 48 percent of economic output. Total government outlays in the United States, by contrast, are less than 37 percent of gross domes- tic product. Revenue comparisons are even more striking. Tax receipts average more than 45 per- cent of GDP in Nordic nations, a full 20 percent- age points higher than the aggregate tax burden in the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stephen A. Moses
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Seventy-seven million aging baby boomers will sink America's retirement security system if we don't take action soon. A few years ago, the problem went unrecognized by most Americans. Today, the prospect of a fiscal crisis has forced policymakers to focus on solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Medicaid occupies a special place among government programs for the poor. Public support for Medicaid is broader and deeper than for other safety net programs because the consequences of inadequate medical care can be much more immediate and severe than those of a lack of money or even food.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Chris Edwards
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: President Bush has established an advisory panel to study federal tax reform options. The panel is headed by former senators Connie Mack of Florida and John Breaux of Louisiana. Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom Delay, have also pledged their support for reform.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Florida, Louisiana
  • Author: Ilya Somin
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Fifth Amendment and most state constitutions prohibit government from condemning private property except for a “public use.”Traditionally, that has forbidden most condemnations that transfer property from one private owner to another.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael A. Einhorn, Bill Rosenblatt
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The term “peer to peer” (P2P) refers generally to software that enables a computer to locate a content file on another networked device and copy the encoded data to its own hard drive. P2P technology often attracts people who use it to reproduce or distribute copyrighted music and movies without authorization of rights owners. For that reason, the short history of P2P technology has been one of constant controversy and calls by many in the content industry to regulate or even ban P2P-based networks or software.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John C. Goodman
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Almost everyone agrees that the U.S. health care system is in dire need of reform. But there are differing opinions on what kind of reform would be best. Some on the political left would like to see us copy one of the government-run “single-payer”systems that exist in Western Europe, Canada, and New Zealand, among other places. Proponents of socialized medicine point to other countries as examples of health care systems that are superior to our own. They insist that government will make health care available on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. The rich and poor will have equal access to care. And more serious medical needs will be given priority over less serious needs.
  • Topic: Government, Human Welfare, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Canada, New Zealand
  • Author: Gary Wolfram
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As Congress debates the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, it should heed Friedrich Hayek's warning that democracy is “peculiarly liable, if not guided by accepted common principles, to produce over-all results that nobody wanted.” One result of the federal government's student financial aid programs is higher tuition costs at our nation's colleges and universities. Basic economic theory suggests that the increased demand for higher education generated by HEA will have the effect of increasing tuitions. The empirical evidence is consistent with that—federal loans, Pell grants, and other assistance programs result in higher tuition for students at our nation's colleges and universities.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jenifer Zeigler
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was signed into law, and the nation waited to see if welfare reform would truly “end welfare as we know it.” Block grant funding and administrative devolution gave the states a chance to move beyond pilot programs and prove that they could transition people off welfare more efficiently and effectively than the federal government. As a result, caseloads have dropped by more than half.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Lawrence J. White
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are the two dominant entities in the secondary residential mortgage markets of the United States. They are an important and prominent part of a larger mosaic of extensive efforts by governments at all levels to encourage the production and consumption of housing.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher J. Conover
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Students of regulation have known for decades that the burden of regulation on the U.S. economy is sizable, with the latest figures suggesting this cost may approach $1 trillion in 2004. Surprisingly, given that the health industry is often viewed as among the most heavily regulated sectors of the U.S. economy, previous estimates generally have ignored the cost of regulating health care services.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ilya Somin
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Democracy demands an informed electorate. Voters who lack adequate knowledge about politics will find it difficult to control public policy. Inadequate voter knowledge prevents government from reflecting the will of the people in any meaningful way. Such ignorance also raises doubts about democracy as a means of serving the interests of a majority. Voters who lack sufficient knowledge may be manipulated by elites. They may also demand policies that contravene their own interests.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John Samples
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of American politics and elections often focus on low voter turnout in the United States. They argue that voter turnout is steadily declining largely because of voter cynicism caused by big money campaigns and negative political advertising. Voter turnout is lower than it was in the 1960s, but almost the entire decline happened between 1968 and 1974. Sophisticated and detailed studies of both public trust in government and the consequences of political advertising show that neither factor has a negative effect on voter turnout.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Neal McCluskey
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since the 1965 passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which concentrated unprecedented authority over American education in the hands of the federal government, federal lawmakers have passed increasingly restrictive laws and drastically escalated education spending, which ballooned from around $25 billion in 1965 (adjusted for inflation) to more than $108 billion in 2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alan Reynolds
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government's swing from budget surpluses to budget deficits has raised concerns about possible negative economic effects. Some economists have argued that deficits will raise interest rates, reduce economic growth, increase trade deficits, and possibly create a financial crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Chris Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The federal government is headed toward a financial crisis as a result of chronic overspending, large deficits, and huge future cost increases in Social Security and Medicare. Social Security and Medicare would be big fiscal challenges even if the rest of the government were lean and efficient, but the budget is littered with wasteful and unnecessary programs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert A. Levy, Michael I. Krauss
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of federal tort reform have usually come from the political left and its allies among the trial lawyers, who favor a state-based system that can be exploited to redistribute income from deep-pocketed corporations to "deserving" individuals. We offer a totally different criticism—constitutional in origin—that embraces the need for reform but reaffirms this principle: The existence of a problem, however serious, does not justify federal remedies outside the scope of Congress's enumerated powers.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy, Richard W. Rahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Global economic growth and personal freedom are under attack by governments and international organizations seeking to squelch financial privacy and tax competition. Privacy rights and international tax competition are beneficial constraints on the monopoly power of governments. But high-tax nations and organizations such as the European Union are pressing for international agreements to remove those limits on government power at the expense of prosperity and freedom.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy, Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The threat of direct terrorist attack against the United States proved to be real. And the subsequent anthrax cases point to the possibility of a future bioterrorist attack, including use of the deadly smallpox virus. The nature of terrorism is such that it is impossible to accurately predict the probability of such an attack, but the potential consequences are catastrophic. Therefore, it is a serious threat that deserves serious attention.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The United States possesses the most powerful military on earth, one that has proved its potency in ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Yet, even as the military was gearing up to perform so well, some people were calling for a return to conscription or, more dramatically, for institution of mandatory national service for all young people.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, Taliban
  • Author: Gary T. Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, there have been calls from various quarters to embrace nation building as a tool for combating terrorism. The logic behind the idea is that “good” states do not do “bad” things, so Washington should build more “good” states. That idea, however, relies on several dubious assumptions—for example, that embarking on multiple nation-building missions will reduce the potential for anti-American terrorism. If anything, nation building is likely to create more incentives, targets, and opportunities for terrorism, not fewer. The nation-building idea also draws on false analogies with the past. For example, some people assert that Europe's experience under the Marshall Plan can be readily duplicated in a whole host of countries and that, with enough economic aid, trained bureaucrats, and military force of arms, “bad” states anywhere can be transformed into open, self-sustaining, peaceful states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Washington
  • Author: John Samples
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), joined by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), have introduced legislation adding new regulations on campaign finance. Their proposed law bans “soft money” going to political parties, restricts advertising by for-profit corporations and labor unions, and greatly increases the ambit of federal election law.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephen Moore, Stephen Slivinski
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This report presents the findings of the Cato Institute's fifth biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation's governors. The grading mechanism is based on purely objective measures of each governor's fiscal performance. Those governors with the most fiscally conservative records— the tax and budget cutters—receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ronald J. Sutherland
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Critics of the oil industry allege that the industry receives large and unwarranted government subsidies and that rival technologies, such as those for ethanol, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, deserve compensating government preferences. The evidence indicates that, on balance, the oil industry is not a net beneficiary of government subsidies. The facts point in the opposite direction. The oil industry is more harmed than helped by government intervention in energy markets.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gene Healy
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In his classic 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. warned that the American political system was threatened by “a conception of presidential power so spacious and peremptory as to imply a radical transformation of the traditional polity.” America's rise to global dominance and Cold War leadership, Schlesinger explained, had dangerously concentrated power in the presidency, transforming the Framers' energetic but constitutionally constrained chief executive into a sort of elected emperor with virtually unchecked authority in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alan Reynolds, Robert A. Levy
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's final judgment in the Microsoft case indicates that he has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the government's flawed arguments. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is unlikely to be so accommodating. The Justice Department's case will crumble as a result of procedural errors, flawed fact-finding, wrongheaded legal conclusions, and Jackson's preposterous plan to break up the software company most directly responsible for America's high-tech revolution.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ronald D. Rotunda
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The 1972 Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—often called the Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC—requires the signatories to renounce the development, employment, transfer, acquisition, production, and possession of all biological weapons listed in the convention.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William D. Hartung
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The defense and foreign aid budgets are the largest single source of government funding for private corporations. More than half of U.S. weapons sales are now being financed by taxpayers instead of foreign arms purchasers. During fiscal year 1996 (the last year for which full statistics are available), the government spent more than $7.9 billion to help U.S. companies secure just over $12 billion in agreements for new international arms sales. The annual $7.9 billion in subsidies includes taxpayer-backed loans, grants, and government promotional activities that help U.S. weapons makers sell their products to foreign customers. Also, the provision of low-cost facilities and extensive subsidies for research and development and mergers and acquisitions to major contractors fosters a “risk-free” environment in which weapons makers have little economic incentive to produce effective systems at affordable prices. Furthermore, a portion of the $120 billion the Pentagon spends each year on contracts with U.S. defense contractors is being wasted on defense pork—that is, redundant or unneeded weapons systems. Such subsidies and spending for defense pork can interfere with the fulfillment of legitimate security needs.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Climate Change, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States