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The top federal capital gains tax rate is increasing this year. A new bulletin from Cato scholar Chris Edwards describes why policymakers should keep capital gains taxes low. If the U.S. capital gains tax rate rises next year as scheduled, these higher rates will harm investment, entrepreneurship, and growth, and will raise little, if any, added federal revenue. “Advantages of Low Capital Gains Tax Rates,” by Chris Edwards “Six Reasons to Keep Capital Gains Tax Rates Low,” by Chris Edwards [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
With new laws legalizing marijuana use on the books in Colorado and Washington, everyone is waiting to see how the Justice Department will react. Meanwhile, House legislation has been introduced to get the feds to back off states that pass legalization measures. A new Cato study and a forum featuring the former DEA chief examine where marijuana laws are headed nationwide. “On the Limits of Federal Supremacy: When States Relax (or Abandon) Marijuana Bans,” by Robert A. Mikos “Amendment 64 Becomes Law in Colorado,” by Tim Lynch “The Law and Politics of Marijuana Legalization,” Cato Event [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
The deal raises tax rates on entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, and other “rich” taxpayers, and postpones the sequester budget cuts. Cato scholar Daniel J. Mitchell comments, “This deal is not good for the economy. It doesn’t do anything to cap the burden of government spending. It doesn’t reform entitlement programs. …This is sort of like a late Christmas present, but we must have been naughty all year long and taxpayers are getting lumps of coal.” “Grading the Fiscal Cliff Deal: Terrible, but Could Be Worse,” by Daniel J. Mitchell “The Spending Cliff,” by Michael D. Tanner “A CEO’s Advice to Congress,” by John A. Allison “On to the Next Manufactured Fiscal Crisis,” by Tad DeHaven [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
The Cato Institute would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Amidst your celebrating, please take a moment to remember the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. “Holiday Book Recommendations,” from Cato Scholars and Staff “Things to Be Thankful For,” by David Boaz Make a Year-End Gift to Cato [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
As the one hundredth birthday of the Federal Reserve System approaches, it seems appropriate to once again take stock of our monetary system. In the latest issue of Cato Policy Report, economists George Selgin, William D. Lastrapes, and Lawrence H. White survey the relevant research and conclude that the Federal Reserve System has not lived up to its original promise. Also in this issue, new president John A. Allison shares his thoughts on joining the Cato Institute. November/December 2012 Issue of Cato Policy Report [...]
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Until the last quarter of a millennium, mankind depended on living nature for all its food and clothing, most of its energy, and much of its material and medicines. Then mankind began to develop technologies to augment or displace living nature’s uncertain bounty. In a new study, author Indur Goklany shows how fossil fuels not only saved humanity from nature’s whims, but nature from humanity’s demands. “Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity,” by Indur Goklany [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
Cato relies on tax-deductible contributions from generous Sponsors who share our commitment to a free and prosperous society. When you support the Cato Institute, you are more than a contributor—you are a valued colleague. As our colleague, you’ll be sent the latest Cato publications, reports, and invitations to special Cato events. We hope you’ll consider making a year-end gift to reinforce our mission. Thank you for your support and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season! Support Cato Cato’s Impact The Gift of Stock [...]
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In recent days, several senior Republicans have allowed that they would be willing to compromise on a pledge they made to oppose tax increases. At least one of those lawmakers, Senator Lindsey Graham, has said that he would negotiate on “revenue generation” because he is unwilling to let sequester budget cuts “destroy the United States military.” But Cato scholars have long argued that the proposed cuts in military spending would allow the United States to maintain a substantial margin of military superiority, and would in fact pay dividends for the U.S. economy over the long run. “Budget Hawks or Military Hawks?,” Cato Video with Grover Norquist “The Bottom Line on Sequestration,” by Christopher Preble “The Pentagon Will Survive the Fiscal Cliff,” by Justin Logan [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
The United States faces two economic challenges: slow growth and an ever-increasing ratio of debt to GDP. Many policymakers believe they face a dilemma because the policy solutions to the two problems are opposite – lower taxes and/or Keynesian stimulus spending to spur growth only exacerbates the long-run fiscal imbalance. But in a new paper, Cato scholar Jeffrey A. Miron says that policymakers are wrong to see this as a dilemma. Argues Miron, “The United States has a simple path to a brighter economic future: slash expenditures and keep tax rates low.” “Should U.S. Fiscal Policy Address Slow Growth or the Debt? A Nondilemma,” by Jeffrey A. Miron [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES
In his compelling new book, Ted Galen Carpenter details the growing horror overtaking Mexico and explains how the current U.S.-backed strategies for trying to stem Mexico’s drug violence have been a disaster. The only effective strategy, says Carpenter, is to defund the Mexican drug cartels by abandoning the failed drug prohibition policy, thereby eliminating the lucrative black-market premium and greatly reducing the financial resources of the drug cartels. [...]
Source: CATO HEADLINES

Doug Bandow America has now passed the 17-year mark in Afghanistan. U.S. troops have been fighting there for longer than the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II combined. Yet Washington is further away than ever from anything that might pass for victory. More than 2,300 American military personnel and 3,500 contractors have died in Afghanistan. The latest death occurred last week—Specialist James A. Slape from Morehead City, North Carolina. Another 1,100 allied soldiers have been killed, almost half of them from the United Kingdom. More than 20,000 Americans have been wounded. The direct financial cost has amounted to $2 trillion, with another $45 billion budgeted for this year. And for what? After so many years of senseless combat, Erik Prince’s proposal to turn the conflict over to contractors almost sounds reasonable. His lobbying efforts in Kabul have not been notably successful, but some day American personnel will come home. And then Washington’s friends in Afghanistan will find themselves on their own. And the Taliban are in their strongest position in just that many years. Seventeen years ago the Bush administration was forced to act. After the 9/11 attacks, it was imperative to disrupt if not destroy al-Qaeda and punish the Taliban regime for hosting terrorist training camps. Washington quickly succeeded: al-Qaeda was degraded and dispersed, the Taliban was overthrown and [...]
Thu, Oct 11, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
David Bier and Alex Nowrasteh The Trump administration recently unveiled a plan to prevent immigrants who the government predicts might be unable to support themselves financially from entering the country. But the proposal relies too much on guesswork. A bill introduced by Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman, which would allow immigrants into the country without giving them access to the welfare system, is a preferable alternative. The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed regulation— the “public charge” rule—poses a major problem for legal immigrants. It would bar them from entry if a bureaucrat predicts that they might use some welfare here. But because the law makes them eligible for it, legal immigrants could always potentially use welfare at some point, even if they never have and never would. It may be difficult for many to convince the government otherwise. If the administration’s goal is truly to prevent overuse of welfare benefits, however, Grothman’s bill provides a better strategy to support immigrant self-sufficiency and protect taxpayers. It bans access to all means-tested welfare and entitlement programs for immigrants until they become citizens. That means verified U.S. citizens could access federal welfare benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare, but no noncitizens would be able to. A bill introduced by Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman would allow immigrants into the country without giving them access to the welfare system. According to our estimates using [...]
Thu, Oct 11, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Chris Edwards The U.S. economy is booming, and state governments are benefitting from strong revenue growth. Many governors are using the opportunity to expand spending programs, while others are cutting tax rates. Some governors are hiking taxes despite already overflowing coffers. Which governors are the most frugal and which the most spendthrift? The Cato Institute’s new “fiscal report card” calculates the answer based on recent tax and spending changes, and assigns letter grades of “A” to “F.” The report awarded an “A” to five governors. Susana Martinez of New Mexico has been steadfast in opposing tax increases over eight years in office. Many GOP governors break their promises not to raise taxes, but not Martinez. Last year, she vetoed $350 million of tax hikes. She has also kept a lid on budget growth and has repeatedly vetoed wasteful spending. The focus of governors should be delivering efficient state services at lower costs to create budget room for competitive tax rates. Henry McMaster of South Carolina is off to a conservative start as governor since 2017. He has also vetoed tax hikes and proposed cutting income tax rates across the board. Doug Burgum of North Dakota entered office in 2017 after North Dakota’s energy boom had turned to a bust. With falling state revenues, Burgum pursued broad spending cuts to balance the budget, not tax increases. Paul LePage [...]
Wed, Oct 10, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Michael D. Tanner There’s less than a month until the midterm elections, and, despite an uptick in Republican enthusiasm following the spectacle of the Kavanaugh nomination, it still seems likely that Democrats will capture control of at least one chamber of Congress. And as Election Day draws nearer, we can expect both parties to cast the stakes in increasingly apocalyptic terms. But what would a Democratic Congress actually mean for the future direction of the country? First, despite the hopes or fears of both sides, we can forget about the big-ticket items on the Democratic left. We are not going to see single-payer health care, guaranteed jobs for everyone, or free college. While the loonier elements of the Democratic party have been campaigning on the idea of “Make Venezuela Great Again,” most of the party is united on little more than opposition to President Trump. And, even if some of the more extreme Democratic proposals made it through the House, they would then have to face the Senate, which, as we all know, is where bills go to die. Republicans are still favorites to keep control of the Senate, however narrowly, and even if they don’t, the Democratic majority will be far short of the 60-seat threshold to break filibusters. More big spending, pushback on deregulation, heavy investigation of administration officials, but no big-ticket [...]
Wed, Oct 10, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Ilya Shapiro Even though Brett Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court, while Merrick Garland’s nomination expired alongside the Obama presidency, there’s no question that the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit was treated better than the newest justice has been. Set aside the debate over whether it was proper for Senate Republicans to hold open the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing, whether norms were broken and institutions sacrificed on the altar of power politics. Nobody’s mind will change on that. Democrats’ anger at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s tactics is understandable, even if they would’ve done the same thing in his place. But this was a black swan event. The last time the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee of a president of the opposite party to a vacancy arising in a presidential election year was 1888. Focus instead on how the Senate treated each nominee personally. McConnell announced his “no hearings, no votes” stance within hours of Scalia’s death, without waiting for President Obama to pick a nominee (which didn’t happen for another month). He argued that, since the country was embroiled in a heated election campaign and the next justice could shift the balance of the Supreme Court, the American people should decide who gets to fill that seat—when they chose a new president less than nine months later. Brett [...]
Tue, Oct 09, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
John A. Allison When the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was proposed ten Septembers ago, I was the only large financial company CEO who was adamantly opposed and publicly tried to persuade Congress not to pass the law. After bailouts in the 1970s and 80s, many large businesses already had the expectation they’d be bailed out despite bad behavior or a faulty business model. I was also worried the money would flow to companies that didn’t need it. In other words, I thought it was very possible that TARP would end up being more subsidy than savior and, in doing so, would deepen a legacy of corporate government dependency. A decade later, it’s proved to be that way. While businesses should take risks in order to innovate, too many companies are operating today with the notion that, if things don’t work out, Uncle Sam will be there to bail them out. While businesses should take risks in order to innovate, too many companies are operating today with the notion that, if things don’t work out, Uncle Sam will be there to bail them out. Americans recognize the role TARP played in building this belief. According to a recent Charles Koch Institute (CKI) survey, while a plurality of Americans ultimately think TARP helped the United States, they also see the bailout as no different [...]
Tue, Oct 09, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi moved to the United States after he was pressured to stop criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s new authoritarian order. He explained his decision a year ago in the Washington Post : “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.” Khashoggi, who once advised members of the royal family, appears to have paid the ultimate price for living his principles. On Tuesday he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, seeking to complete paperwork to facilitate his remarriage. He never exited. Alive, anyway. The Saudi authorities insist that he had left and they also are looking for him. It first appeared likely that he had been kidnapped, a common tactic used by Riyadh against dissident princes and other critics. The Turkish police noted the departure of several diplomatic vehicles from the building, in which he could have been taken, drugged and/or bound. However, Ankara now concludes that Khashoggi was murdered by a special hit squad brought in for that purpose. Did journalist Jamal Khashoggi fall prey to the tyrannical regime in Saudi Arabia? Stated an anonymous official: “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate.” If [...]
Tue, Oct 09, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Ted Galen Carpenter It’s nearly impossible to read major newspapers, magazines, or online publications in recent months without encountering a plethora of articles contending that the United States is turning inward and “going alone,” “abandoning Washington’s global leadership role” or “retreating from the world.” These trends supposedly herald the arrival of a new “isolationism.” The chief villain in all of these worrisome developments is, of course, Donald Trump. There is just one problem with such arguments; they are vastly overstated bordering on utterly absurd. President Trump is not embracing his supposed inner isolationist. The policy changes that he has adopted regarding both security and international economic issues do not reflect a desire to decrease Washington’s global hegemonic status. Instead, they point to a more unilateral and militaristic approach, but one that still envisions a hyper-activist U.S. role. For instance, it’s certainly not evident that the United States is abandoning its security commitments to dozens of allies and clients. Despite the speculation that erupted in response to Trump’s negative comments about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other alliances during the 2016 election campaign (and occasionally since then), the substance of U.S. policy has remained largely unchanged. Indeed, NATO has continued to expand its membership with Trump’s blessing—adding Montenegro and planning to add Macedonia. If you look at his actions and not his words, you won’t find [...]
Tue, Oct 09, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Ryan Bourne For those of us whose first exposure was Monty Python’s song about him, it’s difficult to get animated about whether Oliver Cromwell’s statue should continue to adorn the parliamentary estate. But the legacy of the seventeenth century Lord Protector does seem to upset many, not least Brits of Irish descent. The historian Jeremy Crick recently renewed calls for the memorial to be removed, likening Cromwell’s anti-religious zeal to the Afghani Taliban. A new front in the twenty-first century statue culture war has been opened. Recent years have seen an unsuccessful campaign to remove a statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes from Oxford University. An application for a statue of Margaret Thatcher to be installed in Westminster was rejected. After campaigners slammed the lack of female statues in Parliament Square, a £5m taxpayer-funded memorial to suffragist Millicent Fawcett was introduced. In the US, meanwhile, protests to remove statues commemorating Confederate soldiers on public land have proliferated. Divisions in all cases arise due to differing answers to the question: who is it appropriate to “celebrate”? Divisions in all cases arise due to differing answers to the question: who is it appropriate to “celebrate”? But this is, surely, the wrong question. Private entities, buildings, or parks can host whatever they like. It’s the public sphere where it gets tricky. And our first consideration here ought to be: why should [...]
Tue, Oct 09, 2018
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who routinely promotes the agendas of friendly dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, recently stepped out as a defender of liberty to denounce repression in Venezuela. She evidently wants regime change, via means unstated. Furthermore, President Donald Trump supports military action. But intervention in Venezuela is a dumb idea. The Maduro government is a disaster. Little pretense remains that the country is a democracy; the regime maintains power through brutality and violence. At the same time, President Nicolas Maduro has proved to be an enemy of the poor. Social services, including health care, have collapsed. Getting enough to eat has become a major challenge in this oil-rich nation, with roughly 90 percent of the population now falling below the poverty line. Amazingly, the ruling regime has “turned natural resource wealth into a curse,” as noted my Cato Institute colleague Juan Carlos Hidalgo. Millions of Venezuelans have fled in despair. The result is a widespread desire to free the nation from incompetent dictatorship. Haley joined demonstrators outside the UN and declared that “we are not just going to let the Maduro regime backed by Cuba hurt the Venezuelan people anymore.” How she planned to stop Caracas, however, she did not say. It would be another nation-building disaster. But Haley sounds moderate compared to others. For instance, last year the president, who [...]
Sun, Oct 07, 2018
Source: OP-EDS

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