- Georgia Examiner writer and blogger Jason Pye offered his thoughts on Ilya Shapiro’s post about the “Jefferson 1.”
- Wes Messamore finished his list of the top 100 libertarian blogs and Web sites.
- Free Marketeros editor James Barcia linked to Juan Carlos Hildalgo’s new report on the success of El Salvador’s free market reforms.
- Health care writer John Goodman discussed John Cochrane’s recent Policy Analysis on market‐based strategies to improve health security.
Here are a few highlights from Cato Today, a daily email from the Cato Institute. You can subscribe, here
- The new edition of Regulation examines the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the legal drinking age and climate change policies.
- In The Week, Will Wilkinson argues that the Obama administration should rethink its drug policy and that prominent marijuana users should “come out of the closet.”
- Gene Healy points out in the Washington Examiner why the Serve America Act (SAA) is no friend to freedom.
- The Cato Weekly Video features Rep. Paul Ryan discussing the Obama administration’s budget.
- In Wednesday’s Cato Daily Podcast, Patri Friedman discusses seasteading and the prospects for liberty on the high seas.
The Obama Administration plans to shift immigration enforcement from workers to employers, but the whole policy of “internal enforcement” of immigration law is the problem, says Cato scholar Jim Harper.
According to Harper, aligning legal immigration rates with the demand for new workers in the country is the only solution to the problem of illegal immigration.
He appeared on Fox News this week to debate this issue.
For more videos, subscribe to Cato’s YouTube channel.
The violence ripping across Afghanistan will not be stopped unless the problems in nuclear armed Pakistan are addressed, says Cato scholar Malou Innocent, who traveled to Pakistan late last year.
In a new Cato video, Innocent explains what the United States can do to protect its interests and return stability to the region.
Her forthcoming paper, “Pakistan and the Future of U.S. Policy” will be released next month.
The Washington Post reports, "Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner plans to propose today a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system... The administration also will seek to impose uniform standards on all large financial firms, including banks, an unprecedented step that would place significant limits on the scope and risk of their activities."
Calling Geithner's plan another "jihad against the market," Cato senior fellow Jerry Taylor blasts the administration's proposal:
What President Obama is selling is the idea that government must be the final arbiter regarding how much risk-taking is appropriate in this allegedly free market economy. It is unclear, however, whether anybody short of God is in the position to intelligently make that call for every single actor in the market.
Cato senior fellow Gerald P. O'Driscoll reveals the real reason behind the proposal:
Federal agencies have long had extensive regulatory powers over commercial banks, but allowed the banking crisis to develop despite those powers. It was a failure of will, not an absence of authority. If the authority is extended over more institutions, there is no reason to believe we will have a different outcome. This power grab is designed to divert attention away from the manifest failure of, first, the Bush Administration, and now the Obama Administration to devise a credible plan to deal with the crisis.
A new paper from Cato scholar Jagadeesh Gokhale explains the roots of the current global financial crisis and critically examines the reasoning behind the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve's actions to prop up the financial sector. Gokhale argues that recovery is likely to be slow with or without the government's bailout actions.
In the new issue of the Cato Policy Report, Cato chairman emeritus William A. Niskanen explains how President Obama is taking classic steps toward turning this recession into a depression:
Four federal economic policies transformed the Hoover recession into the Great Depression: higher tariffs, stronger unions, higher marginal tax rates, and a lower money supply. President Obama, unfortunately, has endorsed some variant of the first three of these policies, and he will face a critical choice on monetary policy in a year or so.
Obama Defends His Massive Spending Plan
President Obama visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to lobby Democratic lawmakers on his $3.6 trillion budget proposal. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on the plan next week.
In a new bulletin, Cato scholar Chris Edwards argues, "Sadly, Obama's first budget sets a course for more government bloat, more economic distortions, and ultimately lower standards of living for everyone who is not living off of federal hand-outs."
On Cato's blog, Edwards discusses Obama's misguided theory on government spending:
Obama's budget would drive government health care costs up, not down. But aside from that technicality, the economics of Obama's theory don't make any sense.
Obama's budget calls for a massive influx of government jobs. Writing in National Review, Cato senior fellow Jim Powell explains why government jobs don't cure depression:
If government jobs were the secret of success, then the Soviet Union wouldn't have collapsed, because it had nothing but government jobs. Communist China, glutted with government jobs, would have generated more income per capita than Hong Kong where, at least before the Communist takeover, there were hardly any government jobs, but Hong Kong's per capita income was about 20 times higher than that on the mainland.
Multiplying the number of government jobs did nothing then and does nothing now to revive the private sector that pays all the bills, in large part because of the depressing effect of taxes required to pay for government jobs.
Cato on YouTube
Cato Institute is reaching out to new audiences with our message of individual liberty, free markets and peace. Last year, we launched our first YouTube channel, which has garnered thousands of views and subscriptions. Here are a few highlights:
Here’s the latest round‐up of bloggers who are writing about, citing and linking to Cato research and commentary:
- Blogging about Real ID, AxXiom for Liberty posted Jim Harper’s piece about DHS officials who skirted open meeting laws to promote the program.
- The Club for Growth’s Andrew Roth interviewed Cato Chairman Bob Levy about his book, The Dirty Dozen.
- No Land Grab, a blog covering eminent domain abuse, posted the latest Cato video on the Susette Kelo case. Jason Pye, who wrote a commentary on the case for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, linked to it as well.
- Sights on Pennsylvania blogged about international health care systems, citing Michael D. Tanner’s January article on health care reform and a 2008 Hill Briefing that compared various systems around the world.
- Wes Messamore, AKA The Humble Libertarian, is compiling a list of 100 libertarian blogs/Web sites, and looking for recommendations. Last week, Wes penned his thoughts on the role of the U.S. in foreign policy, making heavy use of a recent Cato article by Benjamin Friedman and a 1998 foreign policy brief by Ivan Eland, citing military intervention overseas as a cause of terrorist activity against Americans.
- David Kirkpatrick shared an excerpt from the Cato Weekly Dispatch with his readers about Obama’s marijuana policy.
If you’re blogging about Cato, contact Chris Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org.
House Approves 90 Percent ‘Bonus Tax’
Sparked by outrage over the bonus checks paid out to AIG executives, the House approved a measure Thursday that would impose a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses for companies that receive more than $5 billion in federal bailout funds.
Chris Edwards, Cato’s director of tax policy studies, says the outrage over AIG is misplaced:
While Congress has been busy with this particular inquisition, the Federal Reserve is moving ahead with a new plan to shower the economy with a massive $1.2 trillion cash infusion — an amount 7,200 times greater than the $165 million of AIG retention bonuses.
So members of Congress should be grabbing their pitchforks and heading down to the Fed building, not lynching AIG financial managers, most of whom were not the ones behind the company’s failures.
Cato executive vice president David Boaz says this type of selective taxation is a form of tyranny:
The rule of law requires that like people be treated alike and that people know what the law is so that they can plan their lives in accord with the law. In this case, a law is being passed to impose taxes on a particular, politically unpopular group. That is a tyrannical abuse of Congress’s powers.
On a related note, Cato senior fellow Richard W. Rahn defended the use of tax havens in a recent Wall Street Journal op‐ed, saying the practice will only become more prevalent as taxes increase in the United States:
U.S. companies are being forced to move elsewhere to remain internationally competitive because we have one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates. And many economists, including Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas, have argued that the single best thing we can do to improve economic performance and job creation is to eliminate multiple taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends. Income is already taxed once, before it is invested, whether here or abroad; taxing it a second time as a capital gain only discourages investment and growth.
Obama to Stop Raids on State Marijuana Distributors
Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the president would end federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that were common under the Bush administration.
It’s about time, says Tim Lynch, director of Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice:
The Bush administration’s scorched‐earth approach to the enforcement of federal marijuana laws was a grotesque misallocation of law enforcement resources. The U.S. government has a limited number of law enforcement personnel, and when a unit is assigned to conduct surveillance on a California hospice, that unit is necessarily neglecting leads in other cases that possibly involve more violent criminal elements.
The Cato Institute hosted a forum Tuesday in which panelists debated the politics and science of medical marijuana. In a Cato daily podcast, Dr. Donald Abrams explains the promise of marijuana as medicine.
• A new video tells the troubling story of Susette Kelo, whose legal battle with the city of New London, Conn., brought about one of the most controversial Supreme Court rulings in many years. The court ruled that Kelo’s home and the homes of her neighbors could be taken by the government and given over to a private developer based on the mere prospect that the new use for her property could generate more tax revenue or jobs. As it happens, the space where Kelo’s house and others once stood is still an empty dustbowl generating zero economic impact for the town.
• Daniel J. Ikenson, associate director of Cato’s Center for Trade Policy Studies, explains why the recent news about increasing protectionism will be short‐lived.
• Writing in the Huffington Post, Cato foreign plicy analyst Malou Innocent says Americans should ignore Dick Cheney’s recent attempt to burnish the Bush administration’s tarnished legacy.
• Reserve your spot at Cato University 2009: “Economic Crisis, War, and the Rise of the State.”