Cato University for Capitol Hill

August 20, 2014
10:00AM to 6:30PM
Policy Center with Foyer
Featuring John Maniscalco, Director of Congressional Affairs; Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Center for Constitutional Studies; Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies; Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies; Nicole Kaeding, Budget Analyst; Peter Van Doren, Senior Fellow; Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity; and Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow.

Cato University for Capitol Hill is a program designed for Capitol Hill staffers with an interest in liberty and all full-time staff are welcome to attend. The program will feature talks by Cato scholars designed to emphasize a better understanding of the importance of a free society, approaching public policy issues from a limited-government perspective, and maintaining a small-government philosophy in a big-government town.

9:45 a.m.


10:00 – 10:10 a.m.


John Maniscalco, Director of Congressional Affairs

10:10 – 10:50 a.m.

The Process of Government

How does the government grow and how does it alter the world we live in? Most people can’t imagine a world without many government services, but does the government play fair when it offers many of those services? Does it create its own necessities and justifications for new programs and expanded services? If we don’t like big government, is there anything we can do to get out of it.

Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow, Center for Constitutional Studies

10:50 – 11:30 a.m.

Austerity, Drones, and Whimsical Wars

Budgetary austerity and war weariness today limit U.S. military actions and spending, yet U.S. forces still ring the world in defense of wealthy allies. Special operations forces and drones attack targets in various nations. U.S. airpower helped overthrow the Libyan government, with only mild attention from Congress and the public, and may yet be used against Syria’s. This military strategy is overbroad and overly expensive—its costs are more than meets the eye. This talk discusses what might be done to improve U.S. military strategy, focusing particularly on how Congress can restrain it.

Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies

11:30 a.m.–12:10 p.m.

Financial Crises: Causes and Cures

The recent financial crisis has sometimes been painted as a 100-year flood, something “out of the ordinary.” However, crises have, in fact, been both frequent and costly. This session will take a step back from the recent U.S. crisis and look at some of the general features of global financial crises. What do they have in common and what policies might best help to avoid them?

Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies

12:10–1:20 p.m.


1:25–2:05 p.m.

The Ever-Growing Federal Budget

The federal budget continues to grow, spending $4 trillion this year. This session will discuss major federal spending programs, future projections, and the impending entitlement crisis.

Nicole Kaeding, Budget Analyst

2:05 – 3:10 p.m.

Public Choice

Public choice is a subfield of economics that examines the collective choices of government, using the same toolkit that economists use to study the decisions of individuals in markets. This session will review the formal properties of majority rule as a method of aggregating individual preferences for taxes and public goods into collective decisions and will examine the decisions confronting legislators as they face competing demands.

Peter Van Doren, Senior Fellow

3:10 – 3:50 p.m.

The Costs and Benefits of Liberalizing Immigration

Liberalized immigration policies impose both costs and benefits on the economy, but, while the costs are often exaggerated, the benefits are largely ignored or minimized. Using the tools of economics and drawing upon America’s deep history and current experience with immigration, this session will review the costs and benefits of increasing lawful immigration by examining its major criticisms.

Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

3:50 – 4:30 p.m.

A Brief Tour of the Surveillance State

The past decade has seen an unprecedented expansion of government surveillance capabilities—the result of both sweeping legal reforms enacted in the name of counterterrorism and new technologies for monitoring and analysis. This session will explore the long and continuing struggle to balance the government’s legitimate intelligence needs against fundamental civil liberties—from the Cold War era to the War on Terror, and from COINTELPRO to newly disclosed NSA surveillance programs.

Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow

4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Congressional Staff Happy Hour