Cato Events

August 8: "The Great Tax Revolt of 1994" was the 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 of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Laffer compared 1994 to 1978, the year Californians passed the Proposition 13 propertytax cut, which ushered in a period of tax revolt that culminated in the 1981 taxrate cuts under President Ronald Reagan. Norquist reported on the trend in the states toward using the initiative and referendum to require legislative supermajorities or the approval of the voters to raise taxes. Fox gave a history of Proposition 13 and its results and called for public referenda on tax increases.

August 11: David Frum, author of Dead Right (Basic Books), lamented at a Book Forum that conservatives have given up the fight against big government and have thereby jeopardized their efforts to revitalize bourgeois virtues.

August 15: Americans need to rediscover the individualist values of reason, purpose, and self-esteem, said David Kelley, executive director of the Institute for Objectivist Studies, at a Policy Forum on"The Politics of Virtue: Individualist and Communitarian Perspectives." Communitarian theorist Amitai Etzioni said that individual virtue is not enough and called for efforts to reinvigorate the community.

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

August 22: A "New Perspectives for the Nineties" seminar was held in Newport Beach, California. Radio talk show host Larry 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 Constitutional Studies; and Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies.

August 25: Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, then an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke on "Federal Fiscal Responsibility: The Virginia Model" at a Policy Forum. He described how he used budget cutting to bring Virginia's fiscal chaos under control during his term as governor.

August 26: A Policy Forum titled "The UN Confab in Cairo: Population Control in the Dock" examined the politics and economics of the International Conference on Population and Development. Cato adjunct scholar Julian Simon of the University of Maryland argued that, contrary to the predictions of the doomsayers, the long-term trend is toward longer, healthier lives; more abundant resources; and other improvements in the material condition of humanity. Cato senior editor Sheldon Richman said that population control programs, even if couched in the rhetoric of women's empowerment, are a form of cultural imperialism that victimizes women in the developing world.

September 1:"Requiring Good Deeds: Back to School and Service" was the topic of a Policy Forum on the increasingly common requirement that students perform community service in order to graduate from public high schools. Scott Bullock, staff attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents two students in law suits against their school districts, argued that 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 the American Way, said that the programs teach students the value of public service.

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

September 14: "U.S. Defense Spending: Extravagant or Inadequate?" was debated at a Policy Forum featuring former Defense Department officials Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Richard Perle, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Korb said the defense budget is too high as a result of domestic politics and bad planning. Perle cautioned that it is better to err on the side of overinvestment in the nation's security.

September 20: A"New Perspectives for the Nineties" seminar was held in New York City with Wayne Angell, chief economist at Bear Stearns & Company, as the keynote 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?" looked at how people are made to fear things that statistically pose little risk. Also speaking were Cato's Edward H. Crane, Michael Tanner, and Stephen Moore.

September 21:"Cuban Conundrum: Time to Lift the Embargo?" was the subject of a Policy Forum with two members of President Reagan's National Security Council, Roger Fontaine and Jose Sorzano. Fontaine said that ending the embargo would remove Fidel Castro's last excuse for the failure of Cuban communism. Sorzano countered that opening trade with Cuba would probably be followed by calls for foreign aid.

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

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

October 3:"Cutting through the Smoke: The Science and Politics of Tobacco" was the subject of a Cato seminar. Speaking on the risk posed by secondhand smoke, the economic and social calculus of tobacco smoke, and cigarettes and civil liberties were Gary Huber of the University of Texas Health Center, Steven Bayard of the Environmental Protection Agency, economist Jane Gravelle of the Congressional Research Service, Jacob Sullum of National Review, Cato senior editor Sheldon Richman, Robert Peck of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Cato Institute chairman William Niskanen. The seminar was televised nationally on C-SPAN.

October 5: Gerd Habermann, author of The Welfare State: The History of the Wrong Way, talked about his activities with a pro-free-market organization of entrepreneurs in Germany at a Roundtable Discussion with Cato policy staff.

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