Cato Events: “Education Reform, Test Ban Treaty Debated”

November/​December 1999 • Policy Report

August 1–7: As part of its Cato University program, the Cato Institute sponsored a seminar at the elegant Rancho Bernardo Inn near San Diego. Faculty at Cato University included Alan Charles Kors, Randy Barnett, Don Boudreaux, Paula Baker, and Tom G. Palmer. Guest lecturers included psychologist Nathaniel Branden and philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers. Cato’s Edward H. Crane, David Boaz, Ted Galen Carpenter, and Robert A. Levy also spoke. More than 200 people attended.

August 14: The Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Privatization held a special Forum, “The Future of Social Security,” in Ames, Iowa, hours before the state Republican Party’s nonbinding presidential preference straw poll opened. Presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes accepted invitations to exchange ideas about Social Security. Other speakers included Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at Cato; Lisa Davis of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Jim Hutter of Iowa State University; and Scott Hodge of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

September 9: The Cato Institute hosted a Capitol Hill Policy Forum, “Social Security and the American Voter,” to discuss the findings of a new nationwide poll conducted for Cato by Zogby International. John Zogby, president of Zogby International, announced that, by a margin of 54.9 to 31.4 percent, Americans prefer changing the Social Security system to allow people the choice of putting their payroll taxes in individual accounts similar to individual retirement accounts or 401(k) plans. Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at Cato, and Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) commented.

September 12: Ed and Kristina Crane hosted the 15th annual Salmonfest at their home. More than 500 friends of Cato attended.

September 13: Martin Gross discussed his book The Conspiracy of Ignorance at a Cato Institute Book Forum. Gross examined the educational abuse that is wrecking the chances of many youngsters for future learning. Cato executive vice president David Boaz contended that many problems in American schools are caused by a monopoly with captive customers.

September 14: The Cato Institute hosted a City Seminar, Liberty in the New Millennium, in Philadelphia. The speakers included syndicated columnist Robert Novak and Cato’s Edward H. Crane, Jerry Taylor, Michael Tanner, and Robert A. Levy.

September 15: The Cato Institute held a screening of the film Waco: The Rules of Engagement. The film, nominated last year for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary,” presents evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms illegally used lethal force in their raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. In a panel discussion about the ongoing investigation, Rep. Bob Barr (R‐​Ga.) and David Kopel, Cato associate policy analyst and coauthor of No More Wacos, said that it is important to the rule of law that the government answer troubling questions and be held accountable for what happened in Waco. David Thibodeau, a Branch Davidian survivor and author of A Place Called Waco, spoke about the circumstances leading up to the final battle.

September 16: At the Cato Institute Policy Forum “The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?” Steven P. Andreasen of the National Security Council defended the Clinton administration’s decision to ratify the CTBT—an international treaty that prohibits all explosive tests of nuclear weapons. Andreasen said that it is possible to have “zero‐​yield” because the technologies for verifying nuclear stockpiles have evolved. Marshall S. Billingslea of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee argued that the CTBT “was not carefully negotiated” and is more about creating an arms control legacy for the Clinton administration than about making America more secure.

September 17: On the 212th anniversary of the Constitutional Convention’s passage of the Constitution, the Cato Institute hosted a Policy Forum, “The Court Rediscovers Federalism.” After decades of ignoring the principles of federalism, the Supreme Court handed down on the final day of its last term a number of opinions that move toward restoring the constitutional balance among states, individuals, and the federal government. Ronald D. Rotunda of the University of Illinois College of Law examined the historical move away from federalism and the recent cases. Lyle Denniston, Supreme Court correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, discussed some of the implications of the new federalism for Congress.

September 22: Contributors to Empowering Health Care Consumers through Tax Reform discussed their contributions at a Cato Book Forum. The speakers included Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at Cato; Robert B. Helms of the American Enterprise Institute; economist C. Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute; Robert E. Moffit of the Heritage Foundation; and Grace Marie Arnett, president of the Galen Institute.

September 23–26: The Cato Institute hosted its annual Cato Club 200 retreat in Carefree, Arizona. Speakers included Frederick W. Smith, chairman of FDX Corporation; Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago School of Law; and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington. Cato’s Solveig Singleton, Stephen Moore, Michael Tanner, Jerry Taylor, and Robert A. Levy also spoke.

September 29: Experts from across the United States and Asia gathered at the Cato Institute’s conference “Whither China? The PRC at 50” to discuss future relations between America and the People’s Republic of China. James R. Lilley, former U.S. ambassador to the PRC, gave the conference’s keynote address, and Martin Lee, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, gave the luncheon address. The conference was organized by Cato’s James A. Dorn and Ted Galen Carpenter. Speakers included Mao Yushi, director of the Unirule Institute in Beijing; Liu Junning of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; David Li of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and Robert Manning of the Council on Foreign Relations.

This article originally appeared in the November/​December 1999 edition of Cato Policy Report.