Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Cato Institute

Governor Corbett’s Last Chance: Signing a Pro-gun Bill into Law

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 30, 2104:

English: Tom Corbett at the McCain rally at th...

Tom Corbett at the McCain rally at the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport

On Tuesday, one week before the election which will determine whether Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett (shown) gains a second term, he signed into law a state-wide “preemption” law that ensures that all gun laws across the state’s 2,639 counties and municipalities cannot be more restrictive than the state allows. In its announcement of Corbett’s signing of the bill, the National Rifle Association (NRA) urged its members to “thank Governor Corbett for being a steadfast advocate of your Second Amendment rights and for signing [the bill] into law.”

The NRA might better have asked its members to show their appreciation by voting for him next Tuesday: He’ll need every vote he can get.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets a “B” from Cato

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 29, 2014:

In a remarkable display of pure unadulterated pragmatism, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in 2014 an unheralded tax reform bill that has won approval from two conservative think tanks: the Cato Institute and the Tax Foundation. In Cato’s “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” released earlier this month, the authors were positively ecstatic about him:

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Eric Cantor Handily Defeated by Virtually Unknown College Professor

Eric Cantor headshot

In a primary election that Paul Rothenberg, a non-partisan political analyst, called “the political version of the San Francisco earthquake,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost overwhelmingly to obscure economics professor Dave Brat. This is the first time since 1899 that a House Majority Leader has lost his reelection bid in his party’s primary. Despite being outspent by Cantor by more than 25-to-1, Brat breezed to victory on Tuesday, capturing 55 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.

Virtually ignored by establishment Republican groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action, Bart won by basing his campaign on

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The War on Poverty Continues to be a War on the Family

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 6, 2014:

 

Family 1

In less than three months, the War on Poverty announced by then-President Lyndon Johnson in August 1964 will be 50 years old. There ought to be some victors in this war that has cost the American taxpayer more than $17 trillion. And indeed, there are: the initial program, the Economic Opportunity Act, was funded by (in today’s diluted money) $178 billion. Today, there are 126 federal welfare programs and numerous state ones spewing forth taxpayer monies at the rate of a trillion dollars a year. That means government jobs for millions to monitor, track, follow, and spend, and then request additional funds for next year.

But what about the intended beneficiaries? How are they doing?

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The NRA, 19 States, 34 Congressmen sue New Jersey over its gun laws

On February 12, 2014, the National Rifle Association (NRA), 19 states and 34 members of the House of Representatives asked the Supreme Court to review a New Jersey court’s decision restricting Second Amendment rights of its citizens. Leading the requests is Attorney General of Wyoming, Peter Michael, who sees the danger in letting the decision by the 3rd District Court in New Jersey stand: it could require that every other state

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Progressivism’s Proof: American Indian Poverty

Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him, better take a close look at the American Indian.    – Henry Ford

Using their portable forge, members of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery fabricated various iron implements and traded them to the Mandan and Hidatsa Indian tribes in what is now North Dakota, in exchange for corn, beans, squash and tobacco to sustain them during the winter of 1804-5. Several months and a thousand miles later the Corps was surprised to see that one of their implements, an axe,

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Tracking America’s Decline

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 30th, 2013:

For years, both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation have published studies purporting to measure just how much freedom countries around the world enjoy, based on a number of indices. Heritage tracks how closely countries hew to the rule of law, how they apply principles of limited government, how onerous the regulatory state is, and how extensively open and free markets are embraced.

Cato, on the other hand, looks at how much personal choice each country’s citizens enjoy, how free they are to engage in voluntary exchange, and how secure their rights in private property are.

Both have recently published their results for 2013, based on the latest available data. The news isn’t good. In some cases, it is

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More Americans Say Country is Headed in the Wrong Direction

Last week’s poll from Bloomberg show that 68 percent of Americans – two out of every three – say that the country is heading in the wrong direction, the most in two years and a substantial increase just since the first of the year. In addition, it appears that more Americans are blaming President Obama as the cause,

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How to resist Leviathan

I heard Robert Higgs speak at a Cato conference in California a few years ago and found him winsome, humble and bright. His resume is remarkable: Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, Editor of The Independent Review, senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He’s best known for his tour de force, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, which was first published in 1987 and was just republished a few months ago.

He has been inveighing against big government for decades and, happily, has condensed his methods of resistance into a short article,

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Calls to Privatize the FAA Follow Controller Furloughs and Airport Delays

It didn’t take long for calls to privatize the FAA to surface following the agency’s announcement on Sunday that due to sequester cuts of $637 million (out of its $16 billion budget), all 47,000 of its employees, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, were being furloughed. The resulting delays were especially noticeable at high-traffic centers like

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Horse Sense from Robert Higgs

I heard Robert Higgs speak at a Cato Institute seminar a couple of years ago. He is a mild-mannered Clark Kent sort of fellow: self-effacing and humble.

But when he gets his dander up, watch out! He asks this rhetorical question:

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The War on Drugs is Ending

d war on drugs birthday

d war on drugs birthday (Photo credit: dmixo6)

And none too soon, either. The War on Drugs has been an epic failure, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and huge invasions of privacy. A Harvard professor has estimated that the war costs US taxpayers $100 billion a year. And The New York Times has tallied up the rest of the cost. It concludes that “the struggle on which [the government has] spent billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of lives over the last four decades has failed.

Doug Bandow from the Cato Institute is joyful over the victories in Colorado and Washington:

The most important vote on November 6 was not reelecting Barack Obama as president. It was legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Drug prohibition is the latest addition to the endangered species list. The fight over drug policy will go on for a long-time. But the Drug War is ending.

Surprisingly the battle against the war has been going on for forty years!

Opposition to the Drug War has been steadily rising. The first mini-wave began with Oregon in 1972 and resulted in a dozen states decriminalizing marijuana use. Over the years the process continued to slowly advance; in June Rhode Island joined the club. The measures varied, but in general turned personal use of pot into a criminal misdemeanor or a civil offense and/or made marijuana prosecution a low priority.

The fight has been gaining significant momentum. One could almost call it a

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Obama Intends to Bring Down Capitalism

ENEMY OF THE ECONOMY

ENEMY OF THE ECONOMY (Photo credit: SS&SS)

I have great respect for the work done by the Cato Institute. I attended one of their week-long economic seminars a couple of years ago, thanks to my generous brother, and was greatly impressed and informed by their work. I still refer to the copious notes I took there.

But Alan Reynolds fails to see that Obama intends the results of his actions. Reynolds explains Obama’s actions through abysmal economic ignorance:

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed (November 2) President Obama wrote that “in the eight years after” Bill Clinton left office, “we followed a different path. Bigger tax cuts for the wealthy we couldn’t afford. . . . The result of this top-down economics? Falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis . . .”

Obama had taken up that theme during the first presidential debate, arguing that “The approach that Governor Romney’s talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003, and we ended up with . . . the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

This is a remarkably imaginative theory — albeit one that reveals appalling economic illiteracy. Who else would have imagined that the housing bust and subprime-mortgage crisis were actually caused by cutting the top two tax rates in mid-2003?

He goes on say that at least Obama is consistent in his

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Jeffrey Sachs Decries Coming Government Shrinkage under Obama or Romney

JAKARTA/INDONESIA, 13JUN11 - Jeffrey D. Sachs,...

JAKARTA/INDONESIA, 13JUN11 – Jeffrey D. Sachs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his article in London’s Financial Times, professor Jeffrey Sachs laments the inevitable shrinkage in America’s federal government, regardless of which political party takes the White House in November. Calling the national elections “a full-throated ideological brawl…the small-government agenda has already prevailed. No matter who is elected on November 6, dangerous cuts in public goods and services are already in train.”

Sachs’ point of view is that government is the central provider of goods and services, especially for those who can’t afford them. According to Sachs,

Mr. Ryan’s budget plan…would…slash transfer programs for the poor, such as Medicaid and food stamps…[and] would also eliminate Mr. Obama’s healthcare legislation.

[This is] Radical stuff.

But the Obama administration, if it is returned to power, would be no different, he says. Obama “has also already accepted a brutal shrinkage of government programs in coming years. The similarities of the Obama budget and Mr. Ryan’s are striking.” For instance: 

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Charles Koch: Covert Libertarian No Longer

A statement for the Koch Brothers at the Occup...

A statement for the Koch Brothers at the Occupy Wall Street protests. (Photo credit: Caroline Schiff Photography)

In Jane Mayer’s expose of Charles Koch, the billionaire conservative running Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas, she made it sound as if she were shedding the light on Koch’s political activities for the very first time. Titled “Covert Operations,” Mayer noted that the growth of Koch Industries since Charles and his brother David took over its operations after the death of their father, Fred Koch, in 1967, has made each of them multi-billionaires—somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 billion each. Koch Industries operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, 4,000 miles of pipeline, along with Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpets, the spandex product Lycra and generates an estimated $100 billion a year in revenues.

But the real lowdown, according to Mayer, is how they are investing their wealth:

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

And they are doing it with a flourish. Mayer quotes Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity—calling it a “non-partisan watchdog group” which in fact is funded by internationalist socialist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others, to “reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions…”—as saying:

The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart…

Charles Koch’s efforts are based on both the short-run—determined to keep President Obama a one-term president and turn control of the Senate back to the Republicans, as well as the long-run—by

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John Stossel Coddles Paul Ryan

John Stossel: Who Is Paul Ryan?

I wanted to like Paul Ryan.

Before he was nationally known, Rep. Ryan visited me at ABC, and we went to lunch. He was terrific. He was a rare politician, one who actually cared about America’s coming debt crisis and the unfairness of entitlements. He even talked about F.A. Hayek‘s “The Road to Serfdom“! If only more politicians thought that way.

But then the housing bubble burst. Ryan voted for TARP. Then he voted for the auto bailout. Who is this guy? I thought he believed in markets!

John Stossel

John Stossel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy for me to throw grenades, especially because my voice is so small and my opinion often discounted. And Stossel is one of my favorite libertarians. In fact I often question why Fox allows him on the network at all, given their statist mindset.

But Stossel has done the libertarian movement a disservice here, I think. He expresses admiration for Paul Ryan as an economic conservative: “He [Ryan] even talked about F.A. Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’”!

But it didn’t take. I read it in the sixth grade, and it took. Especially the chapter “Why the Worst Get On Top.” And I am in distinguished company. Gerald O’Driscoll of the Cato Institute wrote this:

In perhaps the best chapter of The Road to Serfdom, Hayek details “Why the Worst Get on Top” in totalitarian societies. The chapter begins with a quotation from Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Hayek then elaborates the Actonian insight.

From that chapter which has informed my outlook on government and politicians ever since I have nothing but contempt for those who try to “fix things,” and interfere with our lives as a result. Many of them are, in the words of Mr. Welch—the founder of the John Birch Society—just “useful idiots” in the employ of darker forces bent on establishing a totalitarian dictatorship. I put Paul Ryan into that camp.

And now, unfortunately, so do I put John Stossel.

Ryan voted for TARP and the auto company bailouts and now regrets it. Stossel thinks that’s OK: Ryan has changed his mind: “I wish he had voted against those bills, but the political class was in near panic, and Ryan is a politician.”

That’s little comfort to me. Paul Ryan is an enemy of freedom. And any enemy of freedom is an enemy of mine. To have Stossel coddle Ryan and say, well, he meant well, all is forgiven, is treacherous.

Color me disappointed.

Who Ever Heard of the OECD?

Here’s an eye-opener! Who ever heard of the OECD? It has morphed into an interventionist tool of the insiders, as Rahn explains.

I have the greatest respect for writers like Rahn, a senior fellow at Cato. His discovery is important.

Wealthy Conservatives Working to Unseat Obama, Take Back Senate

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson announced his intention on Friday to give $10 million to political action committees controlled by Charles and David Koch who in turn are themselves giving substantial sums to unseat President Obama and turn control of the Senate back to the Republican Party.

Earlier this year, Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation which owns and operates the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, and who is reputedly worth $25 billion, attended a Koch brothers-sponsored gathering of super-wealthy conservatives in Palm Springs, and after listening to the action plans and strategies to influence the November elections, decided to support their efforts.

Adelson’s intentions are to give upwards of $100 million in support of conservative causes. He explained:

What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything.

This is music to the ears of the Koch brothers, who have been providing support for conservative causes for years, starting with their father’s establishment of the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation in 1953. The senior Koch was an early member of The John Birch Society and noted in a speech in 1963 his concern about “a takeover” of the United States government by communists who would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

In a lengthy and controversial “exposé” of the Koch brothers in a 

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Feisty, Fearless Economist Anna Schwartz Dead at 96

Anna Schwartz by David Shankbone

Best known as the co-author, along with Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Freidman, of A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, Anna Jacobson Schwartz died on Thursday, June 21, in New York City at age 96.

A brilliant economist in her own right, she provided the background, the research, and so much of the thinking behind the 859-page A Monetary History that Friedman claimed that “Anna did all the work, and I got most of the recognition.” Considered by many classical economists as the magnum opus on monetary policy (the impact of money supply on economic behavior), by itself it shifted the blame for the Great Depression from the statists’ claim that it was due to excessive laissez-faire capitalism in the 1920s to the interventions by the Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression and that greatly exacerbated both its depth and duration. So powerful were the conclusions that one of the book’s chapters, “The Great Contraction, 1929-33,” was published as a stand-alone paperback in 1965, and the book itself was hailed by the Cato Institute as one of the most influential economics books of the 20th century. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that A Monetary History “transformed the debate about the Great Depression.”

Accolades abounded following the announcement of her passing, even from those who parted ways with her on the role of central banking in a modern economy and the Federal Reserve in particular. George Selgin, a senior fellow at Cato, remembers Schwartz as being candid and uncompromising: “Anna never held a punch, and when she threw one, it landed square on target.” Robert Higgs, a scholar at the Independent Institute, noted, 

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Attacks on Local Police Could Lead to National Police Force

Photo of a police officer, Boston, USA

The conservative think tank Cato Institute has announced its latest effort to hold local police accountable by establishing its National Police Misconduct Reporting Project. Its purpose is to “determine the extent of police misconduct in the United States, identify trends affecting police misconduct, and report on issues about police misconduct in order to enhance public awareness on issues regarding police misconduct in the U.S.”

Its website, www.policemisconduct.net, currently lists an increasing number of incidents involving police officers who have stepped outside the bounds of their duty. One after another, incidents such as “Lanagan, MO police chief, officer indicted, suspended for forgery“; “Denver police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop”; and “Dallas City Council approves $500,000 for settlement for motorcyclist whose beating was caught on police dash-cam” are presented on its website in its attempt to educate citizens about such illegal behavior by the men in blue.

Cato says its purposes are honorable: “Only a small fraction of the 17,000 law enforcement agencies [in the country] actually track their own misconduct…and even when they do, the data…is generic and does not specify what misconduct occurred, who did it, and what the end result was.”

The institute obtains its data from all media sources, and the facts are verified by its staff before being posted on the website. Further, the staff working on the project want

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.