Recent Cato Events

May/​June 1996 • Policy Report

March 1: Mexico’s peso crisis is only the latest example of how misguided monetary policy can wreak havoc on economiclife and disrupt society. At a Book Forum, editors James A. Dorn and Roberto Salinas‐​León discussed their new book,Money and Markets in the Americas. The book provides a framework for thinking about how to end the monetary chaosthat has plagued Latin America and how to energize the market‐​liberal order that is now emerging in the Americas. SteveHanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University; Sir Alan Walters, former economic adviser to MargaretThatcher; and Ed Hudgins, Cato’s director of regulatory studies, provided comments.

March 7: At a Capitol Hill Policy Forum, “It’s Time to Tear Up the Tax Code: The National Retail Sales Tax,“cosponsored with the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens for an Alternative Tax System, Cato’s director of fiscal policystudies Stephen Moore led a discussion on completely replacing the tax code with a retail sales tax. The panel included Rep.Dan Schaefer (R‐​Colo.), Rep. Billy Tauzin (R‐​La.), David Keating of the National Taxpayers Union, David Burton of theArgus Group, and Vic Krohn of Citizens for an Alternative Tax System.

March 8: A debate over whether regulations, like legislation, should have to be signed by the president before they becomelaw was the centerpiece of a Cato Policy Forum on “Ending Regulation As We Know It: Legislative Deregulation inthe Dock.” Professor Marci Hamilton of Cardozo Law School discussed the highly controversial constitutional questionssurrounding legislative delegation, and Professor David Schoenbrod of New York Law School, author of Power withoutResponsibility: How Congress Abuses the People through Delegation, addressed the policy ramifications of executive‐​branchlawmaking. Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, explained how civil liberties are curtailed by theabrogation of legislative responsibility. David Hawkins, senior attorney at the National Resources Defense Council, spokeabout how ending the delegation of lawmaking power to the executive branch will affect regulatory practice; and Rep. J. D.Hayworth (R‐​Ariz.) described legislation he has sponsored to require all lawmaking regulations to be affirmatively adopted byCongress and signed into law by the president before they take legal effect.

March 18: Cato hosted a Capitol Hill Policy Briefing on the question, “Is the Immigration Bill in the NationalInterest?” A panel featuring Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute, Scott Hoffman of Americans for TaxReform, and Stuart Anderson and Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute addressed the economic, demographic, and politicalimplications of the pending legislation.

April 3: A Cato Book Forum celebrated publication of Oil, Gas, and Government: The U.S. Experience. Author RobertL. Bradley Jr., president of the Institute for Energy Research, debunked the “market failure” arguments for oil and gasregulation, including those based on a theory of natural monopoly, predatory pricing, and national security.

April 9: A Policy Forum, “The New Prohibition? Freedom and Tobacco under Siege by the FDA,” asked whether theFood and Drug Administration is acting outside its statutory authority and threatening free speech. Sam Kazman of theCompetitive Enterprise Institute, Larry Pilot of McKenna & Cuneo, L.L.P., Jack Calfee of the American Enterprise Institute,and Matthew Myers of the Coalition on Smoking or Health debated the issue.

April 9: The conflict over Taiwan is the latest in a series of rough spots in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. At a Policy Forumentitled “Tensions in the China Sea,” Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato’s vice president for defense and foreign policy studies;James Przystup, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation; and Selig Harrison, senior associate at theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace, discussed the steps that Washington could take to avoid a showdown overTaiwan.

April 10: The Honorable Vojt_​ch Cepl, a justice on the Czech Constitutional Court and currently E. L. WiegandDistinguished Visiting Professor of Democratization at Georgetown University, discussed the legal foundations of civil societyat a Roundtable Luncheon with Cato policy staff. Justice Cepl attributed the Czech Republic’s successful transition fromcommunism to capitalism to the combination of a tradition of civil society in Bohemia and Moravia and a carefully implementedpolicy of legal “lustration”: a clean legal break with the collectivist past.

April 11: The inclusion of medical savings accounts (MSAs) in Medicare reform proposals has sparked an intense debateover “adverse selection”–the notion that MSAs will appeal only to the young and healthy, leaving traditional Medicare to servethe elderly and sick. Proponents of MSAs maintain that they will appeal to everybody because they minimize theout‐​of‐​pocket costs of both the healthy and the sick. At a Policy Forum entitled “Medical Savings Accounts and AdverseSelection,” Leonard Burman, tax analyst at the Congressional Budget Office; Edwin Hustead, chair of the MSA WorkGroup of the American Academy of Actuaries; and Peter Ferrara, general counsel and chief economist at Americans for TaxReform, debated the issue.

April 17: Many Americans anticipate that the Federal Communications Commission will be doing less under theTelecommunications Act of 1996. The Clinton administration, however, has proposed increasing the FCC’s budget by almost$47 million. In light of those opposing expectations, Cato organized “The Future of the FCC,” a Policy Forum that askedwhat the administration’s policy bodes for proposals to phase out the FCC altogether. Discussants included Gregory Simon,chief domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore; James Gattuso, vice president of policy research at Citizens for aSound Economy; and Kenneth Robinson, attorney at law.

April 17: While the political tide of regulatory and statutory reform appears to have been stemmed for the time being by theenvironmental lobby, many people still criticize the centralized command‐​and‐​control regulatory structure of mostenvironmental laws. At a Policy Forum entitled “The Politics and Policy of Environmental Protection: Beyond the 104thCongress,” Kenneth Chilton, executive director of the Center for the Study of American Business, and Debra Knopman,director of the Center for Innovation and the Environment at the Progressive Foundation, discussed both what should be doneto reform the status quo and how to do it in the current political climate.

April 18: As the Senate prepares to consider congressional term limits, Sen. John Ashcroft (R‐​Mo.) has launched anunprecedented online petition drive to highlight popular support for that constitutional change. At a Policy Forum entitled“Emerging Technologies and the Fight for Congressional Term Limits,” Senator Ashcroft discussed the role that termlimitation and emerging technologies can play in promoting participation in the democratic process. Introductory remarks wereby Paul Jacob, executive director of U.S. Term Limits.

April 23: Recent Supreme Court opinions and the California Civil Rights Initiative have catapulted affirmative action to centerstage as we enter the political season. Not to be outdone, Congress itself will revisit its 30‐​year‐​old policy of groupentitlements this year as it debates H.R. 2128, the Equal Opportunity Act of 1995, a bill to end preferences in federalprograms, contracting, and employment. At a Capitol Hill Policy Forum entitled “An End to Preferential Treatment?“Cato’s director of constitutional studies Roger Pilon moderated a critical discussion of affirmative action. Panelists includedClint Bolick of the Institute for Justice, Faye Anderson Douglass of the Policy Institute, Linda Chavez of the Center for EqualOpportunity, Rep. Charles Canady (R‐​Fla.), and Rep. Tom Campbell (R‐​Calif.).

April 25: Cato hosted a Roundtable Luncheon with Hisahiko Okazaki, former Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia andThailand. Okazaki spoke about U.S.-Japanese relations and East Asian security issues.

April 26: The Institute hosted a City Seminar in New York City that featured a keynote address by John Stossel,investigative reporter for ABC’s 20/20. Other speakers included José Piñera, president of the Center for Pension Reform andcochairman of Cato’s Project on Social Security Privatization, and Cato’s president Edward H. Crane, director of fiscal policystudies Stephen Moore, and director of telecommunications and technologies studies Lawrence Gasman.