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CATO at Liberty 01/15/2019 15:20
A reporter called the other day to ask what I thought about the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) giving subsidies to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. The government appears to have given the cowboy poets hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars over the years. As the symbol of rugged individualism in the American West, I’m surprised cowboys aren’t embarrassed to take government hand-outs. The amount of money is not large, but when private groups get hooked on subsidies they become tools of the state. They lose their independence and may self-censor. From the government’s perspective, subsidies placate dissent and encourage subservience. I’m not just talking about cowboys, but recipients of all the federal governme.
CATO at Liberty 01/15/2019 12:26
Deregulation and profits are unpopular ideas in some quarters these days. In a major speech last summer , Senator Elizabeth Warren lashed out at the Trump administration’s deregulatory efforts:. Deregulation is code for ‘let the rich guys do whatever they want’ … The Trump administration and an army of lobbyists are determined to rig the game in their favor, to boost their own profit, the cost of the consumer be damned. … Regulations are about setting the rules of the road, plain and simple. Done right strong fair regulations protect the freedom of every American. Warren’s comments are internally inconsistent and divorced from the actual workings of politics and the economy. On politics, her latter comments assume that the government works i.
CATO at Liberty 01/14/2019 14:45
The Trump Administration’s trade warfare with China began in earnest last March 22 nd (following steel and aluminum tariffs that primarily hit other countries). U.S. and Chinese tariffs on each other’s goods then escalated repeatedly through September 18 with threats of much more the same by May 1 of this year. The effect so far has been quite different from what President Trump first promised and still keeps pretending. In fact, U.S. goods exports to China (excluding services) fell by 26.3% from March through October , while U.S. imports from China rose by 36.5% . U.S./China trade data were supposed to be updated for November on January 8, but that potential embarrassment was mercifully postponed by President Trump’s government shutdown. Y.
CATO at Liberty 01/14/2019 14:15
As the government shutdown drags on, it is starting to damage activities across the economy because federal tentacles are in everything. But we better get used to it because with rising deficits and growing partisan discord such disruptions will probably become more frequent and damaging. Sadly, the expansion and centralization of government power in recent decades has made our $20 trillion economy dependent on a small group of self-interested and often ill-informed politicians. Centralization and dysfunction at the core is a toxic mix. The shutdown is affecting activities that the government needlessly monopolizes —such as air traffic control. It is affecting activities that the government needlessly regulates and subsidizes—from Smuttynos.
CATO at Liberty 01/14/2019 10:21
In a recent speech , Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren made this claim:. When I was a kid, a minimum-wage job in America would support a family of three …It would pay the mortgage, it would keep the utilities on; it would put food on the table. Today, a minimum-wage job in America will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty. Think about that difference. Warren’s factual claim is accurate: the federal minimum wage, times 52 weeks, times 40 hours, would have yielded an amount above the poverty line for a household with 1 adult and 1 child in the early 1960s, but not today. But several factors suggest her larger point is exaggerated or wrong. First, the official poverty level does not mean the same thing now as in the 1960.
CATO at Liberty 01/14/2019 10:07
This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. In this entry, I discuss the World Bank’s implicit embrace of occupational licensing restrictions. In the next entry, I will discuss the World Bank’s dim view of private, contractarian approaches to corporate governance. I. Introduction. The World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report represents an invaluable resource to researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and investors. It comprehensively ranks how well each country in the world has managed to achieve John Adam’s elusive aphorism: “the rule of law, not of man”. Its findings are cited thousands of times each year by academics and are directly incorporated into regression models to form the basis of a substantia.
CATO at Liberty 01/11/2019 17:02
This week Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed mandating paid personal leave benefits for all employees in New York City. The policy, which applies to both full and part-time workers, would make New York City the first city to mandate personal leave in the country. The policy is billed as benefiting the 500,000 workers in New York City that currently have no personal days off. Although the idea may sound fresh and New Yorkers no doubt like the sound of paid time off, they may be less enthused if they understood the economics of mandated benefits. Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 32 percent of an average U.S. employee’s compensation is in employee benefits, while 68 percent of an average U.S. employee’s total compensation is.
CATO at Liberty 01/11/2019 16:35
Many advanced democracies face slowing growth of GDP because their birth rates are low, implying aging populations. For example :. Because demographics are supposed to be destiny, Japan was long ago consigned to stagnation with its aging population and rock-bottom birthrate. But in recent years Japan has defied destiny.
CATO at Liberty 01/11/2019 15:44
Democrats are making waves in tax policy by promising to reverse some of the 2017 Republican reforms. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for raising the top federal individual income tax rate to 70 percent, which was the rate before Ronald Reagan came to office. I noted that the global economy has dramatically changed in recent decades, and such a high rate would be even more damaging today. Democrats are also calling for a higher federal corporate tax rate, partly reversing the GOP’s cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. Democratic House Budget chair John Yarmuth, for example, is proposing to raise the rate to 28 percent. The problem, again, is that the global economy has changed and U.S. businesses face a more intense competitive climate t.
CATO at Liberty 01/11/2019 13:54
Last Friday, President Trump threatened to declare a national emergency and build his border wall using “the military version of eminent domain.” By Tuesday, Trump seemed to have climbed down somewhat, declining to repeat the threat in his televised Oval Office address. But the week’s end found the president declaring it would be “very surprising” if he didn’t pull the trigger. So is the emergency-powers gambit a live option or—like the executive order revoking birthright citizenship Trump floated before the midterms—another pump-fake designed to thrill the base and rile the media? Either way, it’s a noxious, thuggish proposal. Using the army to do an end-run around Congress is not how constitutional government is supposed to work. Imagine
CATO at Liberty 01/11/2019 09:30
According to Paul Krugman , the government shutdown amounts to a potentially big libertarian experiment. With nine departments and multiple agencies closed, maybe for months, the New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate envisages a coming test of whether the country can live without the Food and Drug Administration, the Small Business Administration and farm subsidies. So are those of us at Cato who believe in the abolition of these programs celebrating?
CATO at Liberty 01/10/2019 17:20
President Trump’s proposed border wall would cut across nearly a thousand miles of privately owned land, so to build this project, the administration would need to use eminent domain to seize the land—something that the president is eager to do . Aside from the unpleasantness of taking people’s property without their consent, federal eminent domain use comes with it a particularly obnoxious component: the government can take the land but not provide just compensation until years later. New legislation would stop this practice. As I wrote in 2017:. Right now, when Border Patrol wants to take someone’s land, they send them a letter offering them a nominal low sum of money for their land and threatening to file condemnation proceedings against
CATO at Liberty 01/10/2019 12:19
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has consulted with conservative individuals and groups about its content moderation. Recently I suggested that social media managers would be inclined to give stakeholders a voice (though not a veto) on content moderation policies. Some on the left were well ahead in this game, proposing that the tech companies essentially turn over content moderation of “hate speech” to them. Giving voice to the right represents a kind of rebalancing of the play of political forces. I argued earlier that looking to stakeholders had a flaw. These groups would be highly organized representatives of their members but not of most users of a platform. The infamous “special interests” of regular politics would thus c.
CATO at Liberty 01/10/2019 11:51
Welcome to the Defense Download! This new round-up is intended to highlight what we at the Cato Institute are keeping tabs on in the world of defense politics every week. The three-to-five trending stories will vary depending on the news cycle, what policymakers are talking about, and will pull from all sides of the political spectrum. If you would like to recieve more frequent updates on what I’m reading, writing, and listening to—you can follow me on Twitter via @CDDorminey . “ Trump, Heading to the Border, Suggests He Will Declare and Emergency to Fund Wall ,” Michael Tackett. The most pressing story of this week is undoubtedly the continued government shutdown, and President Trump’s threat to declare a state of emergency. This would all.
CATO at Liberty 01/09/2019 16:16
Each year thousands of small and large businesses, non-profits, and organizations are hit with drive-by ADA claims, typically batch-produced affairs in which a complainant out of the blue claims to have found something not fully accessible to disabled users about the target’s operations and goes on to negotiate a settlement that includes ample attorneys’ fees.
CATO at Liberty 01/09/2019 09:22
Some prominent economists have begun to analyze formally the market for a privately issued outside money that they associate with Bitcoin. Rodney Garratt and Neil Wallace (2018) (ungated version here ) model the relative values of (exchange rates between) “Bitcoin 1” and other hypothetical cryptoassets (“Bitcoin 2,” etc.). Linda Schilling and Harald Uhlig (2018) take a related approach to the exchange rate between “Bitcoin” and “the US dollar.” I use quotation marks here to indicate that the authors’ subjects are modeling entities, named after but not the real things. Their correspondence to the real things should not be taken for granted. Both pairs of authors draw on a well-known theoretical result by Kareken and Wallace (1981) : when two.
CATO at Liberty 01/08/2019 17:00
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit headlines last week for advocating marginal income tax rates “as high as 60% or 70%” on those earning $10 million plus per year. Under her plan, revenues from such a policy would be put towards funding a “Green New Deal.”Matt Yglesias , Paul Krugman and Noah Smith were quick out of the blocks to defend the idea of massive marginal tax hikes on high earners as simply sensible, mainstream economics. They appealed to the work of economists Peter Diamond, Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty and others, who have set out the case for very high marginal tax rates on top incomes in academic journals over the last two decades. These economists have indeed recommended the optimal marginal tax rate for the top 1% of income earn.
CATO at Liberty 01/08/2019 16:54
Crime along the border and national security will be major themes in President Trump’s upcoming address where he will likely make the case for declaring a national emergency to build his wall. Shocking images and anecdotes of crime along the border fuel this narrative, but rarely are facts deployed to make the case. We’ve addressed the terrorism and crime arguments frequently , but only rarely touch on border crime . Border counties have far less crime per capita than American counties that are not along the border. If the entire United States in 2017 had crime rates identical to those in counties along the U.S.-Mexico border, there would have been 5,720 fewer homicides, 159,036 fewer property crimes, and 99,205 fewer violent crimes across
CATO at Liberty 01/08/2019 16:15
On January 7 a paper by Veronika Eyring and 28 coauthors, titled "Taking Climate Model Evaluation to the Next Level" appeared in Nature Climate Change , Nature’s journal devoted exclusively to this one obviously under-researched subject. For years, you dear readers have been subject to our railing about the unscientific way in which we forecast this century’s climate: we take 29 groups of models and average them.
CATO at Liberty 01/08/2019 14:29
The deaths of two children in custody in recent weeks have led to a justifiable focus on the numbers of children who enter Border Patrol custody every year. The Department of Homeland Security told Congress this week that “more children and families are being apprehended between the ports of entry than ever before.” While the large numbers of children are certainly alarming, it is incorrect that it is the largest number ever. President Bush’s administration apprehended more children with far fewer resources. Figure 1 shows the number of children who Border Patrol apprehended from 2001 to 2018. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, Border Patrol brought into their custody 114,222 people under the age of 18. The number of minors proceeded to nosedive, bo.

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