War on Poverty Turns 50: Are We Winning Yet?

The War on Poverty is 50 years old. Over that time, federal and state governments have spent more than $19 trillion fighting poverty. But what have we really accomplished?  In a new paper, Cato scholars Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes argue that while the War on Poverty achieved some initial success, the programs it spawned have long since reached a point of diminishing returns. “Good intentions are not enough,” say Tanner and Hughes. “We should not continue to throw money at failed programs in the name of compassion.”

The Evidence on Universal Preschool

Calls for universal preschool programs have become commonplace, reinforced by President Obama’s call for “high-quality preschool for all” in 2013. But any program that could cost state and federal taxpayers $50 billion per year warrants a closer look at the evidence on its effectiveness.  In a new study, David J. Armor reviews the major evaluations of preschool programs, including both traditional programs such as Head Start and those designated as “high quality,” and argues that the evaluations do not paint a positive picture.

Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine? Revisited

Tort reform that limits medical malpractice (“med mal”) suits can affect healthcare spending in a couple of different ways. However, on theoretical grounds, it is not clear whether tort reform will reduce healthcare spending.  New research from Myungho Paik, Bernard Black and David A. Hyman revisits the impact of tort reform and med mal risk on healthcare spending.  They find that there is no evidence that adoption of damage caps reduces either Part A or Part B Medicare spending, and in fact, there is some evidence that specific caps lead to higher Part B spending.

New Regulation Looks at Emergency Care, E-Cigarettes, and Food Labeling

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA ), enacted in 1986, requires Medicare-contracting hospitals with emergency rooms to screen and stabilize anyone presenting for emergency care, regardless of ability to pay. An article in the new issue of Regulation proposes that EMTALA regularly violates the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Also in this issue, Michael L. Marlow argues that the FDA’s treatment of e-cigarettes jeopardizes public health, and Robert Scharff and Sherzod Abdukadirov say that there is little evidence that the FDA’s new food labels will improve Americans’ health.

Recent Commentary


October 22

A Dangerous World? Threat Perception and U.S. National Security

Featuring the editors John Mueller, Woody Hayes Senior Research Scientist, Mershon Center, Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University, and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; with comments by Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University; and James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic; moderated by John Samples, Vice President and Publisher, Cato Institute.

12:00pm Hayek Auditorium

Of Special Note

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32nd Annual Monetary Conference

32nd Annual Monetary Conference
Alternatives to Central Banking: Toward Free-Market Money

Thursday, November 6, 2014
9:00 a.m. — 6:15 p.m.

When the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, its powers were limited and the U.S. was on the gold standard. Today the Fed has virtually unlimited power and the dollar has no backing. Leading scholars and advocates for fundamental monetary reform will discuss the case for sound money and the reforms needed to realize it.

Details and registration