Cato Events

November/​December 1994 • Policy Report

August 8: “The Great Tax Revolt of 1994″ wasthe subject of a Policy Forum with economist Arthur Laffer,expositor of the curve that bears his name; Grover Norquist,president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Joel Fox, president ofthe Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Laffer compared 1994 to1978, the year Californians passed the Proposition 13 propertytaxcut, which ushered in a period of tax revolt that culminated inthe 1981 taxrate cuts under President Ronald Reagan. Norquistreported on the trend in the states toward using the initiativeand referendum to require legislative supermajorities or theapproval of the voters to raise taxes. Fox gave a history of Proposition13 and its results and called for public referenda on taxincreases.

August 11: David Frum, author of Dead Right (BasicBooks), lamented at a Book Forum that conservatives have given up thefight against big government and have thereby jeopardized their efforts torevitalize bourgeois virtues.

August 15: Americans need to rediscover the individualistvalues of reason, purpose, and self‐​esteem, said David Kelley, executivedirector of the Institute for Objectivist Studies, at a PolicyForum on“The Politics of Virtue: Individualist and CommunitarianPerspectives.” Communitarian theorist Amitai Etzionisaid that individual virtue is not enough and called for effortsto reinvigorate the community.

August 19: Sebastian Edwards, chief economist for the LatinAmerican and Caribbean region at the World Bank, assessed thesuccesses and setbacks of Latin American reform efforts at a Roundtable Luncheonwith Cato staff members and guests.

August 22: A “New Perspectives for the Nineties” seminarwas held in Newport Beach, California. Radio talk show hostLarry Elder gave the keynote address. Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.)was the luncheon speaker. Other speakers were Edward H. Crane;Roger Pilon, director of Cato’s Center for ConstitutionalStudies; and Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies.

August 25: Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, then anindependent candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke on “FederalFiscal Responsibility: The Virginia Model” at a PolicyForum. He described how he used budget cutting to bringVirginia’s fiscal chaos under control during his term as governor.

August 26: A Policy Forum titled “The UN Confab inCairo: Population Control in the Dock” examined thepolitics and economics of the International Conference onPopulation and Development. Cato adjunct scholar Julian Simon ofthe University of Maryland argued that, contrary to the predictions ofthe doomsayers, the long‐​term trend is toward longer, healthierlives; more abundant resources; and other improvements in thematerial condition of humanity. Cato senior editor Sheldon Richmansaid that population control programs, even if couched in therhetoric of women’s empowerment, are a form of culturalimperialism that victimizes women in the developing world.

September 1:“Requiring Good Deeds: Back to School andService” was the topic of a Policy Forum on theincreasingly common requirement that students perform communityservice in order to graduate from public high schools. ScottBullock, staff attorney with the Institute for Justice, which representstwo students in law suits against their school districts, arguedthat such requirements are unethical and violate the U.S.Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment ban on involuntary servitude. Sandy Horwitt,director of the Citizens Participation Project for People for theAmerican Way, said that the programs teach students the value ofpublic service.

September 13: Bill Emmott, editor of the Economist,discussed a wide range of political and economic issues withmembers of the Cato policy staff at aRoundtable Luncheon.

September 14: “U.S. Defense Spending: Extravagant orInadequate?” was debated at a Policy Forum featuringformer Defense Department officials Lawrence J. Korb, seniorfellow at the Brookings Institution, and Richard Perle, resident scholarat the American Enterprise Institute. Korb said the defensebudget is too high as a result of domestic politics and bad planning.Perle cautioned that it is better to err on the side ofoverinvestment in the nation’s security.

September 20: A“New Perspectives for theNineties” seminar was held in New York City with WayneAngell, chief economist at Bear Stearns & Company, as thekeynote speaker and John Stossel of the ABC News program“20/20″ as the luncheon speaker. Angell spoke on“The Prospects for Economic Growth under Clintonomics.“Stossel’s speech, “Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?” lookedat how people are made to fear things that statistically poselittle risk. Also speaking were Cato’s Edward H. Crane, MichaelTanner, and Stephen Moore.

September 21:“Cuban Conundrum: Time to Lift theEmbargo?” was the subject of a Policy Forum with twomembers of President Reagan’s National Security Council, RogerFontaine and Jose Sorzano. Fontaine said that ending the embargo wouldremove Fidel Castro’s last excuse for the failure of Cubancommunism. Sorzano countered that opening trade with Cuba wouldprobably be followed by calls for foreign aid.

September 26: The Institute hosted a reception to honor thepublication of Guns, Crime and Freedom by Wayne LaPierre. LaPierre,chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, spokeabout the importance to other freedoms of the right to bear arms.Alfred Regnery of Regnery Publishing Company, publisher of thebook, and Cato chairman William A. Niskanen also spoke.

September 29: Cato senior fellow Doug Bandow spoke about thetheme of his new book,The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theologyat a Book Forum. Bandow said that much of what motivates peopleto favor government regulation is the desire to deprive others ofwhat they have earned.

October 3:“Cutting through the Smoke: The Science andPolitics of Tobacco” was the subject of a Cato seminar. Speakingon the risk posed by secondhand smoke, the economic and socialcalculus of tobacco smoke, and cigarettes and civil libertieswere Gary Huber of the University of Texas Health Center, StevenBayard of the Environmental Protection Agency, economist JaneGravelle of the Congressional Research Service, Jacob Sullum of NationalReview, Cato senior editor Sheldon Richman, Robert Peck ofthe American Civil Liberties Union, and Cato Institute chairmanWilliam Niskanen. The seminar was televised nationally on C-SPAN.

October 5: Gerd Habermann, author of The Welfare State: TheHistory of the Wrong Way, talked about his activities with a pro‐​free‐​marketorganization of entrepreneurs in Germany at a Roundtable Discussionwith Cato policy staff.

October 5: Publication of the Cato book The Politics and Lawof Term Limits was celebrated at a Book Forum. Presentationswere made by coeditors Edward H. Crane and Roger Pilon and contributorsPaul Jacob, executive director of U.S. Term Limits; John G.Kester, who is representing U.S. Term Limits before the SupremeCourt, and Thomas E. Mann of the Brookings Institution. Also speakingwas attorney Louis R. Cohen of the firm Wilmer Cutler &Pickering, which has filed an amicus brief on behalf of opponentsof term limits.