Closing Pandora’s Box: The Growing Abuse of the National Security Rationale for Restricting Trade

Over its first two years, the Trump administration has aggressively reshaped U.S. trade policy. One of its most controversial initiatives is the expansive use of national security to justify imposing tariffs and quotas. Internationally, many U.S. trading partners responded immediately to the tariffs with tariffs of their own, and both the U.S. tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs are the subject of litigation that will test the limits of the WTO’s dispute settlement process and the trading system itself. In a new paper, Cato scholars Simon Lester and Huan Zhu suggest an alternative mechanism to handle these issues.

Remembering the Risks of Confrontation with Iran

President Trump’s last minute decision to abort a US military strike on Iran is a welcome sign that someone in the administration knows when to slam the breaks on the “maximum pressure” campaign. Backing out of the Iran nuclear deal and ratcheting up the pressure has only made Iran more risk acceptant and antagonistic.  Cato scholars have written extensively on the risks of confrontation with Iran, including the dangers of direct military intervention.

Bad Economic Justifications for Minimum Wage Hikes

What is the economic case for increasing the federal minimum wage? To even posit that question sounds odd. Proponents of a higher minimum wage claim that the policy change could alleviate all sorts of economic and social ills. But it’s worth assessing, from first principles, the economic arguments advanced for how the minimum wage level should be set. In a new brief, Cato scholar Ryan Bourne argues that the metrics that $15 minimum wage advocates use to make the case for substantial minimum wage hikes are not, on their own, economically sensible benchmarks by which to set minimum wage rates.

Immigration Wait Times from Quotas Have Doubled: Green Card Backlogs Are Long, Growing, and Inequitable

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised that although he would build a border wall, it would have a door open to those willing to come to America legally. A new study from Cato scholar David Bier shows how badly America needs that new door by providing the first calculation of how outdated quotas have increased the average wait times for immigrants. Congress should reform the antiquated quotas, enact a limit on wait times, and keep these pathways viable for legal immigrants in the 21st century.

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Crime Along the Border Is Historically Low

The most consistent argument wielded in support of stricter immigration laws is that those being apprehended are criminals who pose a serious threat to Americans. The number of criminals apprehended are lower than in previous years.

Events

Of Special Note

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America's Poor

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor energetically challenges the conventional wisdom of both the right and the left that underlies much of the contemporary debate over poverty and welfare policy. Author and national public policy expert Michael Tanner takes to task conservative critiques of a “culture of poverty” for their failure to account for the structural circumstances in which the poor live. In addition, he criticizes liberal calls for fighting poverty primarily through greater redistribution of wealth and new government programs.

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Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

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Home Study Resources

The Cato Institute offers a wealth of online educational audio and video resources, from self-paced guides on the ideas of liberty and the principles of economics, to exclusive, archived lectures by thinkers such as Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek. Browse through some highlights of our collections, for personal study or for use in the classroom.

Sphere Summit: Teaching Civic Culture Together

For more than four decades, the Cato Institute has introduced people, including millions of young people, to the ideas of freedom. Many Cato books are already taught in high school curricula across the country. To advance the ideas of liberal democracy and the rule of law, Cato has developed the Sphere Summit for educators. The opening Summit seminar, “Teaching Civic Culture Together,” will be held at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, on July 14–18, 2019.