V ‐​Shaped Recovery
Chris EdwardsThe Bureau of Economic Analysisreleased estimates of third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) today. The headline is that GDP jumped 33.1 percent from the second quarter at an annualized rate.That statistic is hard to appreciate, so I  charted the underlying GDP data from BEATable 1.1.6. The chart shows GDP in the BEA ’s 2012 constant dollars.You can see the sharp drop in the second quarter of 2020 and the sharp rise in the third quarter. It is a  V‐​shaped recovery so far. However, we’ve still got more climbing to get to the peak reached in the fourth quarter of 2019. (Source: Cato-at-liberty)
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 29, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

America Ranked Low Among OECD Countries for Employment ‐​Based Immigration Rate Before Trump
David J. BierThe United States allowed very few immigrants for work compared to other countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co ‐​operation and Development (OECD) even before Trump took office. Of the 24 countries for which data are available from the OECD, the United States ranked 21st for employment ‐​based permanent immigration in 2016.Figure 1  shows the inflow of new employment‐​based permanent immigrants as a share of the country’s population for the 24 OECD members withavailable data as of 2016. The U.S. rate was 0.02 percent of its population in 2016. The United Stat...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 29, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

Department of Labor Misuses Older Economic Research to Justify New H-1B Regulations. Here Is the Newest Research
ConclusionThe DoL justified its IFR to increase the minimum wages for H-1B migrants by arguing that they 1) reduce the wages of native ‐​born Americans and 2) H-1B migrants displace native‐​born American workers. The only peer‐​reviewed economics articles where they cited hard estimates of the effect of immigrants on the wages and hours worked by native‐​born American workers is a 2003 article by George J. Borjas.Using Borjas ’ methods from his 2003 paper, his later 2014 book, and changing the period analyzed to when the H-1B visa was created to the present day, we find that the relative wages an...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 29, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Biden ’s Radical Capital Gains Tax Increase
Chris EdwardsJoe Biden is planning large tax increases if elected president next week. He says that the increases would be just for high earners, but his proposals would hit all of us by damaging investment, entrepreneurship and job opportunities.Perhaps Biden ’s worst idea is to raise the top federal capital gains tax rate from 23.8 percent to 43.4 percent. That is a radical proposal. Congress has kept long term capital gains tax rates below rates on ordinary income for most of the past century, and nearly all other advanced economies provide favorable tax rules for gains. The current top U.S. capital gains tax...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 29, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Marijuana on the Ballot
Chris EdwardsRecreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State, and the District of Columbia.Four other states —Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota—have measures on the ballot in November to legalize recreational sales. Polls summarized by Ballotpedia show thatProposition 207 in Arizona,Initiative 190 in Montana,Question 1 in New Jersey, andAmendment A in South Dakota are all likely to pass.One incentive for states to legalize marijuana is to raise tax revenues. Most of the states with legal recreat...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 27, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

California Watch: 2020 November Ballot Initiatives
Michael D. TannerCalifornia ’s ballot measures can be more than a little confusing. Commonly referred to by their numbers, and sometimes referencing previous propositions, even knowledgeable voters can be forgiven for having trouble keeping track of which proposition does what. Take this year ’s Prop. 15, for instance: it would roll back 1978’s Prop. 13, which limited property taxes, and which is unrelated to March 2020’s Prop. 13, which would have authorized the state to issue bonds for schools. Some propositions are quite obscure: this year’s Prop. 23 deals with regulations for kidney d...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 26, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Michael D. Tanner Source Type: blogs

How the Media Report on Preexisting Conditions
Michael F. CannonHealth reporters have difficulty writing about preexisting conditions accurately.Thisarticle, for example, commits a number of errors when it states: “About 54 million, or 27%, of U.S. adults under age 65 had a pre ‐​existing condition in 2018 that would have rendered them uninsurable on the individual insurance market before Obamacare, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.”First, it is not accurate to say those conditions were uninsurable on the individual market. The individual marketcould have insured maybe 99.99 percent of them withsecure, long ‐​term c...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 23, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Michael F. Cannon Source Type: blogs

Wealthy Donors and Tax Ballot Questions
Chris EdwardsRyan Bourne and I examined the economics and politics of wealth inequality inthis 2019 study. We considered whether the wealthy tilt our political system in a conservative direction, which many liberals worry about. We found that the political preferences of the wealthy are not much different than other Americans, and that plenty of top wealth is plowed into liberal causes.That reality struck me in examiningincome,sales, andproperty tax measures on state ballots. Two ‐​thirds of income and sales tax questions on ballots are for higher taxes, not lower taxes, and wealthy liberals often fund the ta...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 23, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Tariffs, Michigan, and the Perils of “Political Protectionism”
Scott LincicomeConventional wisdom among the D.C. punditocracy is that protectionism, while likely bad economics, is good politics because it can boost critical “Rust Belt” swing states that have large manufacturing sectors and have been hit hard by globalization. A new St. Louis Fed study, however, shows why this rudimentary calculus is misguided.Examining the effect of President Trump ’s “trade wars” (i.e., tariffs and foreign retaliation) on U.S. manufacturing industries and states that are disproportionately dependent on imports or exports, authors Ana Maria Santacreu and Makenzi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 23, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

21 People Died in Immigration Detention in 2020
Alex NowrastehThe detention of illegal immigrants is an important part of immigration enforcement. Immigrants who are apprehended at the border or in the interior of the United States are detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities until they are removed from the United States. In recent years, manyreportshavesurfacedofimmigrantswhohavediedwhileindetention or shortly after being released tomedical facilities for treatment. This problem has worsened during theCOVID-19 pandemic. The rate of death in ICE detention facilities is an important metric of how humane those facilities are.There are two primary p...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 22, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

To Improve Content Moderation, Formalize the Collaborative Appeal
Will DuffieldBanned social media users have long petitioned for reinstatement via informal appeals amplified by prominent supporters. They may be public campaigns, involving supportive hashtags and mass retweets, or private pleas to platform staff known to the banned user or a verified friend. While platforms provide some formal appeal mechanisms, they rarely provide opportunities to solicit support, clarification, or additional context from other users. At scale, reversing an erroneous ban often seems like a matter of making enough noise to demand a second hearing. Sonya Mannpresents this phenomenon as pseu...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 22, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Will Duffield Source Type: blogs

Property Taxes on the Ballot
Chris EdwardsThe most famous ballot question on fiscal policy is California ’s Proposition 13 passed in 1978. Voters passed the constitutional change to limit property taxes statewide by a large margin, 65 percent to 35 percent.Howard Jarvis led the drive for Proposition 13 and made the cover ofTime magazine, as shown. California property taxes are generally capped at one percent of purchase price plus an annual inflation factor. The large margin forProposition 13 passage was impressive given that only some voters are property owners while many are renters.This year Californians will decide whether to partly scr...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 21, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Searching for Monopolies
Julian SanchezThe Justice Department announced Tuesday that itwas launching an antitrust lawsuit against Google alleging that the search giant ’s deals with browser and operating system developers to make Google a default search engine amounted to anticompetitive behavior. The suit bears all the hallmarks of a political stunt —an unnecessary government intervention in the online search market that has little chance of yielding any meaningful benefit to consumers.Oddly, the suit does not target Google ’s dominance in the online advertising space, which hasoften been the focus of critics, but...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 21, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Julian Sanchez Source Type: blogs

America ’s Truck Shortage Reveals the Folly of Pandemic Protectionism
Scott LincicomeShortages during the onset of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic caused many politicians and pundits toembrace protectionism as a  means of boosting the United States’ “resilience” to economic shocks and, by extension, Americans’ access to essential goods during the next crisis. Current shortages of pickup trucks, however, show why such plans are not only ineffective but could actually make thing worse.According to a  recent CNBCreport, the pandemic is causing Americans to travel across the country and pay record prices for new and used trucks (emphasis mine):Two factors tied to ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 21, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

A New Threat to Online Speech?
Flemming RoseThere seems to be a growing consensus among legal experts and free speech activists that international human rights law (IHR) should provide the framework for social media ’s content moderation. In anew essay titled “But Facebook’s Not a Country, ” Dangerous Speech Project founder Susan Benesch joins this growing chorus.What is IHR? It is a modern phenomena. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is considered its foundational document. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. It has provided the basis for a set of treaties, covenants and conventi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 20, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Flemming Rose Source Type: blogs

Sales and Excise Taxes on the Ballot
Chris EdwardsThere have been 20 questions to increase, cut, or limit income taxes on statewide ballots over the past decade, as compiled byBallotpedia. I examined those ballotshere and found that voters favored the small ‐​government side 60 percent of the time.What about sales and excise taxes? In November,Oregon voters will decide on Measure 108, which would increase taxes on cigarettes by $2 per pack. Governor Kate Brown —who received an “F” on this year’sCato fiscal report—has pushed for the increase.Cigarettes are a demonized product and the pro ‐​tax campaign in Oregon ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 19, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

More Taxpayer Money for More Sheepskins? Bad Idea
Neal McCluskeyIt hasn ’t been much discussed in the presidential campaign—personality, scandal, and COVID-19 have dominated that—but the idea of spending big taxpayer bucks for “free” college still looms. The Biden campaignis proposing free tuition at four ‐​year public colleges for anyone in families earning less than $125,000 a year, and free community college for all, among many promises to lavish taxpayer money on ivory towers. The basic justification seems intuitive: education is good, more education must be better.But “intuition” and “reality” are not alw...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 19, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

Maryland Lawmakers ’ Task Force Urges Repeal of Police “Bill of Rights”
Walter OlsonA working group of Maryland lawmakers appointed by House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jonesyesterday recommended that the state repeal its first ‐​in‐​the‐​nation Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, a law that I andothers haveinveighed against for years.As I wrote in 2015:Maryland was the first state to pass a LEOBR, in 1972, and by now many states have followed, invariably after lobbying from police unions and associations. Often the bills are sponsored by Republicans, whoseem to forget their normal skepticism of public employees as an interest group when uniformed ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

Going Postal? Proposals for Post ‐​Office Banking in 2020
Conclusion: The Strange Persistence of Postal BankingTo paraphrase the USPS's unofficial motto, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night —nor the evidence from unbanked surveys—have yet managed to dissuade contemporary proponents of postal banking. But there is no reason to believe that postal banking would significantly lower the number of Americans without bank accounts. That does not mean there are no suitable remedies, but th ese are more likely to come from innovative tech firms and retailers in the private sector, and from the removal of regulations that have raised the cost of keeping a bank acc...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Diego Zuluaga Source Type: blogs

Criminal Border Patrol Apprehensions Are Down Along the Border
Alex NowrastehBorder Patrol made405,036 apprehensions of approximately 324,029 unique individuals in the 2020 fiscal year, down from859,501 apprehensions of approximately 799,336 unique individuals in 2019. In 2020, Border Patrol arrested2,438 criminal aliens convicted of 3,150 crimes. Of those 3,150 convictions, 40 percent were for immigration offenses while the remainder were for more serious crimes. Thus, approximately 1,463 of the 2,438 criminal aliens arrested for Border Patrol had committed non ‐​immigration crimes. Of the 324,029 unique individuals apprehended by Border Patrol, the 1,463 criminal aliens with non...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Accusations of Social Media “Election Interference” Put Online Speech at Risk
Matthew FeeneyEarlier this week, the New York Post published articles containing information about alleged emails between Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and employees at Chinese and Ukrainian energy firms. Twitter and Facebook both took steps to limit the spread of the articles, prompting accusations of “election interference.” Prominent Republican lawmakers took to social media to condemn Twitter’s and Facebook’s decisions. These accusations and condemnations reveal a misunderstanding of policy that could result in dramatic changes to online speech.Accordin...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 15, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Matthew Feeney Source Type: blogs

Opioid Policymakers Keep Tilting at Windmills, Striking Patients in the Process
Jeffrey A. SingerThe American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychologydefines“denial” as “adefense mechanism in which unpleasant thoughts, feelings, wishes, or events are ignored or excluded from conscious awareness. It may take such forms as refusal to acknowledge the reality of a terminal illness, a financial problem, an addiction, or a partner ’s infidelity…”Many policymakers, including many in Congress, remain in a state of denial about the true cause of the overdose crisis:drug prohibition.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ’s October...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 15, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey A. Singer Source Type: blogs

DOL Said Its H-1B Wage Rule Should Cost Many Employers $0 But It Imposed Billions in Costs Anyway
David J. BierThe Department of Labor (DOL) releaseda  rule last week that raised the “prevailing wage”—the minimum wage that employers must pay to H-1B and other foreign workers. In justifying the rule, DOL claimed that most employers were paying more than the current prevailing wage, so raising it shouldn’t affect them. Indeed, DOL said that the prevailing wage should appro ximate the wages that many H-1B employers were already paying to their workers. But it then went ahead and imposed prevailing wage rates that are far higher than the wages that H-1B workers are now receiving.DOL summarizesi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 15, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

DOL Said It ’s H-1B Wage Rule Should Cost Many Employers $0 But It Imposed Billions in Costs Anyway
David J. BierThe Department of Labor (DOL) releaseda  rule last week that raised the “prevailing wage”—the minimum wage that employers must pay to H-1B and other foreign workers. In justifying the rule, DOL claimed that most employers were paying more than the current prevailing wage, so raising it shouldn’t affect them. Indeed, DOL said that the prevailing wage should appro ximate the wages that many H-1B employers were already paying to their workers. But it then went ahead and imposed prevailing wage rates that are far higher than the wages that H-1B workers are now receiving.DOL summarizesi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 15, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

The New Deal and Recovery, Part 8 (Supplement): The Brookings Report
George SelginIn assessing the New Deal's contribution to economic recovery, I've naturally tended to draw on fairly recent research. That keeps me from being accused of being out of date. But it makes me vulnerable to the charge of overlooking the testimony of experts who studied the New Deal's consequences at first hand.To that charge, I plead an emphatic Not Guilty! Those who know me will back me up when I say that I'm actually an antiquarian at heart, who'd much rather read a musty old report than any recent journal article. So I've read plenty of contemporary writings on the course of the depression and recovery, and t...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 14, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: George Selgin Source Type: blogs

Jurisprudence Questions for Judicial Nominees That Are Actually Interesting
Jay SchweikertSo far, the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings are proceeding in the way most people probably expected. Judge Barrett is confidently and calmly discussing her approach to judging, ably explaining past comments and decisions, and — in accordance with the long‐​standing practice of prior nominees — refusing to give commitments or comments about particular issues or cases. And the Senators are largely using the hearing to make political speeches. Democrats have mostly made policy arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act, criticized President Trump, and asked case‐​specific questio...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Jay Schweikert Source Type: blogs

Joe Biden ’s Tired Old Infrastructure Plan
Randal O'TooleTheinfrastructure plan recently released by the Biden campaign is a  collection of tired ideas that have consistently failed in the past. Too much of the plan is based on last year’s groupthink and not enough of the plan recognizes the new realities that have emerged from the pandemic.A large part of the plan is based on getting people out of their cars and onto transit and bicycles. American cities have been trying to do this for the last fifty years, spending $1.5 trillion subsidizing transit, and ithasn ’t worked anywhere. The plan calls for connecting low ‐​income workers to jobs by b...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Randal O'Toole Source Type: blogs

New Research on Illegal Immigration and Crime
Alex NowrastehAndrew Forrester, Michelangelo Landgrave, and I  published a new working paper on illegal immigration and crime in Texas. Our paper is slated to appear as a  chapter in a volume published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Like ourother research on illegal immigration and crime in Texas, this working paper uses data collected by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) that records and keeps the immigration statuses of those arrested and convicted of crimes in Texas. As far as we ’ve been able to tell, and we’ve filed more than 50 state FOIA requests to confirm, Texas is th...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Samuel Brittan, RIP
David BoazI am saddened to hear that Samuel Brittan has died at the age of 86. He wrote columns on economics and politics in the Financial Times that were often described as “essential reading” for almost 50 years, as well as essays and books. He described himself as a “sort of individualist liberal,”writes the FT, with “lasting hostilities: to politicians (with rare exceptions), the Treasury and economic forecasting.”In 1973 he wrote a  brilliant essay titled “Capitalism and the Permissive Society,” which is included in his book by that name (later reissued asA &nb...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

No Year Has Seen Legal Immigration Cut Like the 2nd Half of FY 2020
David J. BierThe United States has welcomedmore than 85 million legal immigrants to the United States since its founding. But at no time since it has maintained records has the country witnessed as fast a  decline in legal immigration as it has seen in the second half of fiscal year 2020 (which finished September 30). Overall, the second half of FY 2020 saw 92 percent fewer immigrants from abroad than the first half, which was larger than any annual decline in the history of the United States. Figure 1  shows the monthly immigrant visa issuances under the Trump administration since March 2017. As it shows, l...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

Update on The State of Private Schools under COVID-19
ConclusionPrivate schools are not folding at the rate we feared, but they are hurting, even as they haveresponded more quickly to families than have public schools. To retain these diverse institutions —and much more importantly, the ability to choose—money needs to follow children, whether it is via any federal relief that might come down the pike, or state education funding. We need to stop funding institutions and start funding children. (Source: Cato-at-liberty)
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

COVID-19 Vaccines Depend on Globalization (And, Therefore, So Does the Trump Administration)
Scott LincicomeLast week, theWall Street Journalexamined government efforts to secure early access to doses of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccines, and how this access could prove to be a game‐​changer for these economies in 2021. As shown in the following WSJ chart, many governments have contracted with multiple pharmaceutical companies in order to ensure that they have access to at least one vaccine that successfully completes “Phase III” trials, which are now underway for most of the listed drugs. Among these governments is the United States, which has thus far secured vaccine co...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 12, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

Treehouse Terror
Chris EdwardsThey ’ve caught all the thieves and rapists in Fairfax County, Virginia, and now it’s full steam ahead against the other big menace to suburban tranquility: 9‐​year‐​old girls and their treehouses.The Annandale blogreports thatErwan Dapoigny built a  treehouse in May for his daughter Ana’s ninth birthday.But Ana and her friends were having so much fun they were terrorizing the entire neighborhood. The government had to put a  stop to it. Fairfax County sent the family “a letter saying they need to pay a $913 fee and get special approval to keep the treehouse &ndas...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 12, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

New Hampshire ’s Fiscal Advantages
Chris EdwardsNew Hampshire has one of the most restrained governments in the nation. The state ’s relatively small government is unique in the Northeast.Less government means more freedom for New Hampshire residents. In Cato ’sFreedom in the 50 States report, which assesses economic and social freedoms, New Hampshire is ranked #2, while Massachusetts is #23, Maine is #39, Vermont is #46, and New York is #50.New Hampshire has thefifth lowest state and local tax burden in the nation as a  percent of income. By this measure, New Hampshire taxes are 14 percent lower than Massachusetts, 27 percent lower than Ma...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 12, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

You Shouldn ’t Get Sued for Petitioning the Government
Ilya Shapiro andMichael CollinsIt is the right of all citizens to petition the government without fear of punishment or retaliation. This is not only an essential individual right, but often necessary for the government to remain informed and make better decisions. Yet, when Maggie Hurchalla reached out to her county commissioners about a development plan and expressed her environmental concerns about the project, she was hit with a lawsuit.Ms. Hurchalla is an environmental activist in Florida. She heard that the Lake Point development project may not be meeting environmental standards and emailed the county comm...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 11, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro, Michael Collins Source Type: blogs

A Flawed Proposal for Presidential Disability
Andy CraigSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, together with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), held a press conference on Friday to introduce a bill to create a new body with an unwieldy name: the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office. Widely perceived as a largely symbolic action to highlight President Trump ’s muddled handling of his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, this bill would invoke Congress’s power under the Twenty‐​fifth Amendment. In spite of the obvious timing, Pelosi insisted this bill is not about the current president. Raskin has proposed similar...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 9, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Andy Craig Source Type: blogs

DOL ’s H-1B Wage Rule Massively Understates Wage Increases by up to 26 Percent
David J. BierThe Department of Labor ’s (DOL)new rule changes how it calculates the mandatory minimum wage —called the prevailing wage—for employers of H-1B and permanent foreign workers. DOL adopts a fundamentally flawed methodology as its basis to inflate the prevailing wage. But a bigger issue is that DOL itself failed to understand how much its methodological changes would artificially raise th e required wages. DOL estimated the wage effects of its rule using completely erroneous assumptions, and so it understates to the public the wage increases by, in many cases, as much as 26 percent.The...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 9, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

Income Taxes on the Ballot
Chris EdwardsThis election, Americans will not only be choosing politicians for office but also whether to increase or decrease taxes in many places.In Arizona, voters will decide onProposition 208, which would raise income taxes by 3.5 percentage points on high earners. Polls areshowing the proposition may pass.In Illinois, voterswill decide whether to amend the state constitution to convert the state ’s flat individual income tax into a multi ‐​rate system. The current income tax rate of 4.95% would be replaced by a six ‐​rate system with a top rate of 7.99%.The Illinois ballot measure was sp...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 9, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

The Long History of Official Lies about Presidential Health
Gene HealyLet ’s hope President Trump’s health is as sound as he says it is and he’s well on the road to recovery. He certainly seems…chipper, at any rate. Still, you ’d be a fool to take such professions on faith—not just because of the non‐​stop frenzy ofdissembling and double talk we ’ve seen since Friday, when the president revealed he was COVID-positive—but because of the long history of official lies about presidents’ health. When I  saw the headline“Medical Spin in Past Undermines Trust” in Sunday ’sNew York Times, ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 7, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Gene Healy Source Type: blogs

Before Reopening, California Counties Must Meet “Equity” Standard
Walter OlsonThis seems as if it ought to be more controversial: yesterday the state of California implemented a COVID-19 “health equity” metric mandating that counties demonstrate that they are investing in “eliminating disparities in levels of transmission” affecting disadvantaged communities, or have already eliminated such disparities, as a condition of being allowed toreopen economic activity any further. Simply achieving a satisfactory overall low rate of transmission will not be enough.Notice that the rationale for the policy cannot be simply a concern that a county is...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 7, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

Blatant Misrepresentations of Qualified Immunity by Law Enforcement
In conclusion, a troubling proportion of the statements that the law enforcement lobby makes in support of qualified immunity are not just misguided or misleading, but outright false. Whether these misrepresentations are the product of bad faith or genuine ignorance, they show that the law enforcement lobby isn ’t a reliable source of information on qualified immunity. As members of Congress and state legislatures continue to debate policing reform, they ought to be highly skeptical of any such sources. (Source: Cato-at-liberty)
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Jay Schweikert Source Type: blogs

The Reality of Incomes, Taxes and Redistribution in America
Scott LincicomeAs my Cato colleague Chris Edwardsmentioned last week, the Congressional Budget Office on Fridayreleased its annual report on trends in U.S. household income, means ‐​tested transfers, and federal taxes between 1979 and 2017 (the most recent year for which tax data were available). The CBO report is, as usual, chock‐​full of interesting information, but today I’d like to focus on three findings that challenge common claims regarding taxes, middle clas s incomes, and wealth redistribution in the United States.First, and echoing Chris ’ post from last week, the CBO shows that total annual f...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

Rights Against Speech
John SamplesWhy do social media companies have the right to suppress speech on their platforms? In the United States, theymay do so because the U.S. Supreme Court has said the First Amendmentdoes not apply to private companies. But the companies want more than sheer discretion, and they seem unwilling to say, “we’re maximizing shareholder value which requires suppressing speech.” Indeed, they seem to want an answer to the question: whyshould we suppress speech?This desire for a broader foundation for content moderation has led Facebook to the door of the United Nations and international law. Need to ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: John Samples Source Type: blogs

The Low ‐​Income Housing Tax Credits Scam
Randal O'TooleSince 1986,low ‐​income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) are the main way in which the federal government tries to increase the amount of affordable housing for low ‐​income families. Yet they have become an enormous scam that allows non‐​profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to pad their budgets building expensive housing that is mostly rented to middle‐​income people.As described in this2017 Cato Institute bulletin, the Internal Revenue Service allocates tax credits to state housing agencies each year. The agencies then give them to developers that are often non ‐​profit org...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Randal O ' Toole Source Type: blogs

We Can Help You, Samantha Bee!
Neal McCluskeyDearcomedian and television host Samantha Bee,Fromthis new video, I  see you have worries about school choice. I get it. We all hear lots ofscary stories about freedom. But I  have good news for you – we have what you need to sleep well at night (other than watching your show, of course)!This Wednesday, you could get a  free copy of Cato’s new bookSchool Choice Myths, signed by editors Corey DeAngelis and me, that will give you everything you need to see that school choice isn ’t the boogeyman. It’s much more like Hulu, Apple TV, and YouTube—those terrific thi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

Cato Releases Fiscal Report on Governors 2020
Chris EdwardsThe Cato Institute has released its15th biennial Fiscal Report Card on America ’s Governors. The report grades state governors on their tax and spending records since 2018. Governors who have restrained taxes and spending receive higher grades, while those who have substantially increased taxes and spending receive lower grades.Four governors were awarded an A: Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.Seven governors were awarded an F: Ralph Northam of Virginia, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Phil Murphy of New Jer...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

My New Book on Supreme Court Confirmation Battles
Ilya ShapiroWhen Justice Charles Evans Whittaker retired in March 1962 after just over five years on the Supreme Court, John F. Kennedy had his first opportunity to shape the high court. The youthful president selected a man of his own generation, Byron White. White had met JFK in England while on a Rhodes Scholarship —after having been runner‐​up for the Heisman Trophy and spending a year as the highest ‐​paid player in the NFL—and the two became fast friends.White was a vigorous 45 and serving as the deputy attorney general under Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy formally nominated him on...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro Source Type: blogs

Federal Tax Changes Since 1979
Chris EdwardsThe Congressional Budget Officereleased a  report today on changes in income, benefit payments, and federal taxes by income group since 1979. The following are three tax charts from the report. The CBO included individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and excise taxes.The first chart shows that tax rates have fallen the most at the bottom end. Average tax rates are total taxes paid by each income group divided by that group ’s income as defined by CBO. CBO says, “Average federal tax rates declined most sharply among households in the lowest quintile, falling from a ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Would Judge Barrett ’s Confirmation Call Same‐​Sex Marriage Into Question?
Walter OlsonSupreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is likely to face Senate questioning regarding her views ofObergefell v.Hodges, the Court ’s 2015 decision finding that the Constitution guarantees a right to same ‐​sex marriage. Critical senators may point to a public letter Barrettsigned five years ago expressing agreement with Catholic Church teachings on sexuality and the family. Barrett, for her part, has repeatedly stated in interviews and writings that a judge ’s religious faith should not influence her rulings “at all.” More relevant, perhaps, than whether a Justice...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

“They Can’t Subsidize Our Farmers; Only We Can Subsidize Our Farmers”
Scott LincicomeBloomberg today (emphasis mine):Midwest prices for diammonium phosphate, or DAP, jumped 29% in the third quarter, the most since 2010, according to a  Green Markets index. Prices for a lower concentration phosphate fertilizer also surged the most in a decade, by 34%. The two chemicals make up the primary component for many phosphate‐​based fertilizers used by American crop farmers.Prices spiked after U.S. fertilizer firm Mosaic Co. petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission in June, saying that fertilizer imports from Morocco and Russia were unf...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2020 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs