Cato Events: Critics Flay Censorship, Energy Department, and Antitrust

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Direct Links to Specific Events.

January 10: A Policy Forum titled"The EPA Smog Charade: Illusionary Smoke and Regulatory Mirrors"examined the government's urban ozone nonattainment standards.Kay H. Jones of Zephyr Consulting argued that urban smog has disappearedfrom most places and that what remains in California is not bestaddressed by federal regulators. Jonathan Adler of theCompetitive Enterprise Institute commented that federalregulations are counterproductive and punish the general population, notthe polluters. He called for a decentralized market-orientedapproach.

January 13: The question "Timeto Pull the Plug on the Department of Energy?" was debatedat a Policy Forum by Jerry Taylor, Cato's director of naturalresource studies, and Ed Rothschild, director of public affairsfor Citizen Action. Taylor argued that the DOE is little morethan a source of corporate subsidies and a meddler in the energymarket. Rothschild countered that the department has subsidized worthwhiletechnological developments and is a good source of data onenergy.

January 20: At a Policy Forumentitled "Risk Assessment on Trial: What DirectionReform?" Steve Milloy, president of the Regulatory ImpactAnalysis Project and author of Choices in Risk Assessment, andFred Smith, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute,said that federal environmental risk assessment is actuallypolitics in scientific clothing. Since life is inherently risky, Smithsaid, the risk of new technologies must be weighed against thereal risk of economic stagnation.

January 23: A Book Forum honoredpublication of Defending Pornography by Nadine Strossen, presidentof the American Civil Liberties Union. Strossen said that thefeminists who wish to outlaw sexually explicit material wouldviolate the right to free expression as well as infantilizewomen, particularly those who consent to appear in pornographicmovies. Mark Tushnet, associate dean of Georgetown University LawCenter, said he found Strossen's civil libertarian arguments compelling, but hesaid her defense of participants' consent was inconsistent withthe ACLU's support of the minimum wage law, which prohibitspeople from consenting to work for a lower wage.

January 26: A conference in NewYork on "Arab-Israeli Peace: Prosperity or Politics?"explored how the change in Arab-Israeli relations could clear theway for market liberalization and economic development. Thepanels addressed the region's economies, foreign aid, prospectsfor free trade, and opportunities for investment. The speakersincluded Wall Street investor Jim Rogers, author of InvestmentBiker; Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institution; Yakir Plessnerof the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies inJerusalem; Ishac Diwan of World Development Report; BruceBartlett, a policy analyst; Hisham Awartani of An-Najah NationalUniversity, West Bank; Ephraim Kleiman of Hebrew University,Jerusalem; Karim Nashashibi of the International Monetary Fund;Cato chairman William A. Niskanen; Alan Walters of the AIGTrading Group; and David Malpass of Bear Stearns & Co.

February 6: The Cato Handbook forCongress was released at a news conference on Capitol Hill. HouseMajority Leader Dick Armey accepted a copy of the book from Catopresident Edward H. Crane and praised the Institute for its commitmentto reducing government power. Cato chairman William A. Niskanenand fiscal policy studies director Stephen Moore discussed theirchapter that sets out a balanced budget by 2000 with lower taxes.Roger Pilon, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies,explained how the Constitution was intended to limit federalpower. Foreign policy studies director Ted Galen Carpenterdescribed the Cato proposal for a foreign policy suited to thepost-Cold War era. An evening reception was held at the Instituteto celebrate publication of the Handbook.

February 8: Rep. Steve Gunderson(R-Wis.) defended his legislation to legalize labor-management cooperationin nonunion firms at a Policy Forum titled "IsWorker-Management Cooperation Illegal? The Electromation Decisionand the NLRA." Gunderson's bill would nullify a 1992National Labor Relations Board ruling that such cooperation in anonunion shop amounts to an illegal company union. DavidSilberman, chairman of the AFL-CIO's Task Force on Labor Law, respondedthat company unions were outlawed because they abuse workers andthat Gunderson's legislation would readmit abusive practicesthrough the back door.

February 9-12: The annualBenefactor Summit was held at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson,Arizona. Speakers included William Kristol, head of the Projectfor the Republican Future; Mrs. Shelby Collum Davis, an authorityon Russia; Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts; and Theodore J.Forstmann, CEO of the private investment firm Forstmann Little& Co. and a member of the Cato Board of Directors. Alsoaddressing the Institute's supporters were Cato president Edward H. Crane;chairman William A. Niskanen; executive vice president DavidBoaz; senior fellow Doug Bandow; and staff members Jerry Taylor,Michael Tanner, Stephen Moore, Edward L. Hudgins, and RogerPilon.

February 23: Economist Fred S.McChesney of Emory University described the political origins andeffects of the antitrust laws at a Book Forum honoring The Causesand Consequences of Antitrust: The Public-Choice Perspective (Universityof Chicago Press), which he edited with William F. Shughart II.

February 27: House Majority Whip TomDeLay of Texas talked about progress on the Republican Contractwith America at a Roundtable Luncheon with the Cato policy staff.