José Piñera, co-chairman of the Cato Institute's Project on Social Security Privatization, received the insurance industry's top honor for his work in creating Chile's successful private pension system and for his efforts in promoting privatization of state-run retirement systems around the world. The International Insurance Society presented Piñera with its Founders Award Gold Medal for Excellence at its annual meeting in Berlin, Germany. Ironically, Berlin is the city where German chancellor Otto von Bismarck created the world's first state-run, tax-based social security system in the 19th century. John P. Meyerholz, president and CEO of the International Insurance Society, said that the Chilean system created by Piñera "was a pioneering private system and is now widely studied and copied as a model around the world. That system has proved successful not only for Chileans but has provided significant economic benefits to Chile's economy." The society noted in a statement that "because it improved the functioning of both the capital and labor markets of Chile, Social Security privatization has been one of the key reforms that has pushed the growth rate of that economy upward from a historical three percent a year to seven percent in the past 12 years. Further, the Chilean savings rate has increased to 25 percent of GNP since reform was undertaken."
Cato scholars testifying on Capitol Hill were a common sight this summer: June 16: Cato executive vice president David Boaz testified on drug prohibition before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the House Committee on Government Reform.
June 30: Stephen Moore, Cato's director of fiscal policy studies, testified on corporate welfare before the House Budget Committee.
July 13: Solveig Singleton, Cato's director of information studies, testified on Internet privacy before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection.
July 15: Cato Institute adjunct scholar Michael Gough testified on data access before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology.
July 21: Roger Pilon, Cato's vice president for legal affairs and director of the Center for Constitutional Studies, testified on forfeiture reform before the Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight.
July 22: Pilon testified on campaign finance regulation before the Committee on House Administration.
July 27: Jerry Taylor, Cato's director of natural resource studies, testified on plumbing standards before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
Most Cato testimonies are on the Cato Web site.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 1999 edition of Cato Policy Report.