Should We Fear Stablecoins?
Lawrence H. WhiteA “stablecoin” is a cryptocurrency whose value is pegged to a fiat currency, gold, or another continuously traded asset. USD Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC), the two stablecoins with the largest values in circulation, are each managed to maintain a price centered on and close to $1.00 (usually w ithin 1 cent). Both Tether and USDC claim to be fully backed by USD assets held in reserve, enabling their parent companies to buy back as many units as needed to maintain the peg. They differ in some other respects, as discussed below. Some other stablecoins are managed by “algorithmic central ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 24, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Lawrence H. White Source Type: blogs

The Appointments Clause After Arthrex
Thomas A. BerryYesterday inUnited States v. Arthrex, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 –4decision that Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) possess too much “unreviewable authority” for officers who have not been appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. While the decision is unquestionably a win for democratic accountability, it also leaves some unanswered questions. In this post I ’ll examine one issue that lower courts will be left to grapple with in the wake ofArthrex: the interplay of final decision ‐​making authority and tenure protection in Appointments Clause cases.Ar...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 22, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas A. Berry Source Type: blogs

Don ’t Confuse Mandates With Changing Behavior
Ryan BourneOne of the key themes ofEconomics In One Virusis that it can be very difficult to disentangle the effects of voluntary behavioral change from public policy. Another way of putting this is that “defining the counterfactual” is hard. In a world in which public policies can crowd out private action, or else merely codify it, you should not judge the wisdom of an action by the outcomes associated with that action being mandated.An interesting example of this in the pandemic relates to mask mandates and mask wearing. Studies on the effectiveness of government mask mandates have so far produced mixed ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 21, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ryan Bourne Source Type: blogs

A Patent Victory for Democratic Accountability
Thomas A. BerryToday inUnited States v. Arthrex, the Supreme Court held that there is a serious constitutional flaw in the organization of the Patent and Trademark Office. Specifically, the case concerned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which the Court described as an “executive adjudicatory body within the PTO.” Although the Court did not go as far as it could have, this case is still an important win for democratic accountability within the executive branch.This case was about the “Appointments Clause” of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that all “officers of the United S...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 21, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas A. Berry Source Type: blogs

Robert C. O ’Brien Supports the Jones Act. But Does he Understand it?
Colin GrabowFormer National Security Advisor Robert C. O ’Brien recently waded into the Jones Act debate by penningan op ‐​ed in support of the law. But anyone expecting a rich vein of evidence for the Jones Act ’s necessity is likely to be disappointed. Indeed, the piece raises the question of whether O’Brien fully understands the law, with misleading and inaccurate information in abundance. This blog post will sort through the various claims made and provide a more complete picture.O ’Brien:Before World War I, the United States relied on a combination of U.S.-flagged vessels and foreign vessel...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 21, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Colin Grabow Source Type: blogs

Supreme Court to NCAA: “Show Them the Money!”
Ilya ShapiroThe Supreme Court ’sunanimous holding that the NCAA violated antitrust laws —colluding to deny certain education‐​related benefits to student-athletes—heralds a revolution in college sports. Just as a ruling in the NCAA ’s favor three years ago (Murphy v. NCAA) removed the federal impediment to sports gambling across the country, today ’s case likely ushers in compensation of “amateur” athletes in all but name.Indeed, Justice Kavanaugh ’s concurrence—recall that he was a collegiate athlete, and remains a big fan and youth coach &mdash...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 21, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro Source Type: blogs

New Government Programs to Fix Failed Government Programs
David BoazScott Lincicomepoints out that “U.S. law and regulation are littered with attempts to ‘fix’ problems caused by other government policies—not by reforming or eliminating those policies but through even more subsidies, tariffs, regulations, or waivers.” He focuses especially on industrial policy proposals that propose to use government action to counter existing government policies — not to repeal those existing policies but to pile on new interventions. But that’s not the only place where we can see the phenomenon.Take, for instance, the California legislature ’s vot...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

Public Schooling, Not Just Opportunist Right ‐​Wingers, Fuels the Critical Race Theory Fire
Neal McCluskeyOn Tuesday, NBC News ran along piece essentially declaring that there is little legitimate reason for people to be worried about critical race theory (CRT) in public schools. The debate is largely the creation of right-wing political opportunism and astroturfing, the reporters suggested. TheWashington Post ’sPhilip Bump soonjoined in. And these arenot theonly pieces that have made the “Republicans pounce” assertion.There are likely some Republicans seizing on CRT for political gain. But that is probably a small part of what is happening, even if many reporters and commentators fixate on it. ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

The Bitcoin Law: Counterfeit Free Choice in Currency
George Selgin“Why should we not let people use freely what money they want to use? [They] ought to have the right to decide whether they want to buy or sell for francs, pounds, dollars, D-marks, or ounces of gold. I have no objection to governments issuing money, but I believe their claim to amonopoly, or their power tolimitthe kinds of money in which contracts may be concluded within their territory …to be wholly harmful.”—F.A. Hayek,Choice in Currency: A Way to Stop Inflation, p. 17.So, it has happened: a country —an honest to God,bona fide, country, complete with its own flag, coat of arms...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: George Selgin Source Type: blogs

Thoroughly Questioning U.S. Industrial Policy
Scott LincicomeAs discussed here repeatedly, " industrial policy " is having a(nother) big moment in the United States. Just this month, for example, the Senate passed theU.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which provides tens of billions of dollars for domestic semiconductor manufacturing and the commercialization of " key technologies " ; the Biden administration released a lengthynew report urging new federal actions on “supply chain resiliency”; and lawmakersinched closer to a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill - each promising to counter China's rise and/or revitalize the U.S. economy...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

Pluralism In Foster Care Wins Unanimously At the Supreme Court
Walter OlsonEveryone wasexpecting the Supreme Court to use Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the foster care case, to rethink its approach to religious accommodation. No one was expecting a unanimous decision. Butthe foster agency won just such a victory today, confirming that today ’s Supreme Court, conservatives and liberals alike, takes seriously its defense of religious Free Exercise under the First Amendment.Chief Justice John Roberts held together a liberal ‐​to‐​moderate 6‐​justice bloc on two theories: First, Philadelphia did not have a neutral and generally applicable rule, as r...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

Obamacare Survives Again, But That Was to Be Expected
Ilya ShapiroThis morning, the Supreme Courtruled 7 –2 that neither the states nor individual plaintiffs had standing to challenge the Affordable Care Act at this stage in the game. Ho ‐​hum.Those who hoped or feared thatCalifornia v. Texas was the case where the Court would finally rid us of Obamacare were either disingenuous or misunderstood the state of play. That was never going to happen, because by leaving the rest of the ACA undisturbed after zeroing out the penalty for not complying with the individual mandate to buy health insurance —which John Roberts had transmogrified into a tax to save the ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro Source Type: blogs

Get Ready for Price Controls if Inflation Accelerates
James A. DornNearly 50 years ago, in the heat of August 1971, President Richard M. Nixon issuedExecutive Order 11615 to impose the first wage and price controls since World War II. They were intended to suppress inflation, which at the time was less than 5 percent. But just as they did during wartime, the 1971 price controls went on to distort market prices and led to shortages.When the controls were lifted, after 90 days, inflation continued its upward trend due to the still rapid monetary growth and, by 1975, stagflation reared its ugly head. However, the price controls, low interest rates, and fast money growth were sti...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: James A. Dorn Source Type: blogs

On The Eve of The 50th Anniversary of President Nixon Declaring War on Drugs, Two Members of Congress Propose an Armistice
Jeffrey A. SingerYesterday Representatives Cori Bush (D-MO) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced theDrug Policy Reform Act, which would federally decriminalize drug possession and redirect federal funds to harm reduction, substance abuse disorder treatment, and education programs. Furthermore, the bill would expunge and seal the records of people with federal drug violation records within one year of enactment.Among some of the bill ’s other praiseworthy provisions are a ban on civil asset forfeitures related to personal drug possession cases, and preventing individuals in the U.S. from being denied legal...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 17, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey A. Singer Source Type: blogs

Sending the Wrong Message on Immigration
Jeffrey Miron and Erin PartinVice President Kamala Harris ’ recent warning to Central American migrants –“Do not come”– suggests the current administration endorses the same wrongheaded approach to immigration as previous administrations.Immigration is not a drain on the resources of the receiving country. Rather, immigrationgenerates economic growth,entrepreneurship, and otherbenefits. Research has found immigration to have both positive and negative fiscal effects depending on underlying assumptions; plus fears of negative effects can be addressed by requiring legal immigrants to wait s...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 16, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey Miron, Erin Partin Source Type: blogs

DHS Should Un ‐​ban Legal Dreamers from DACA
David J. BierMany immigrants come first to the United States as children of foreign workers in various temporary statuses, such as the H-4 for children of H-1B workers. They can remain in the United States in legal status until they turn 21 when they lose eligibility as a dependent “child” of the foreign worker. Many children will spend almost their whole young lives here in a temporary status, but never receive legal permanent residence —only the worst 21st birthday present imaginable. At least 100,000 kidswill meet this fate and probably more than twice as many already have.On June 15, 2012, n...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 15, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

Do Antirust Concerns Imply More or Less Privacy?
Jeffrey Miron and Pedro Braga SoaresU.S. authoritieshave recentlyfiled complaints against Big Tech companies for both enabling and for omitting user privacy features on their respective products. According to theFTC, Facebook privacy settings deceived users about the ability to control their privacy. At the same time, state Attorney Generals accuse Google of harming competition in the ad business by blocking cookies used to track and target users of its Chrome browser. Together, these cases suggest a fundamental incoherence in current antitrust enforcement.From a consumer welfare standpoint, it is not clear that ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 15, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey Miron, Pedro Braga Soares Source Type: blogs

The Biden Administration Flirts with Section 232. It Will Backfire.
Inu Manak andScott LincicomeThe Biden administration ’s newreport on U.S. supply chain “vulnerabilities” contains a lot of bad-but-expected ideas, but it was both surprising and dismaying to see it tacitly endorse arguably the worst trade law on the books.The 250-page report resulted from President Biden ’s February 2021Executive Order calling for an interagency review “to strengthen the resilience of America’s supply chains.” Given the administration’s past statements and the current winds in Washington (blowing towards industrial policy and away from economic openness), the...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 10, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Inu Manak, Scott Lincicome Source Type: blogs

ProPublica Analysis of Taxes on Wealthy
Chris EdwardsProPublica is running a  series ofarticles based on federal tax returns for 25 wealthy individuals which were illegally obtained. The articles present selective information and dubious metrics to push a  narrative that rich people pay little tax. Data from four authoritative sources show that tax payments by these 25 individuals are not representative of high earners generally.Let ’s focus on ProPublica’s click‐​friendlyheadline: “You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire.” The article says that a “typical” worker with $45,000 in wag...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 10, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

The United States Should Welcome Immigrants from China
Alex Nowrasteh andJohn GlaserCompetition with China is dominating America ’s foreign policy discourse in a way reminiscent of Cold War hysteria. Our politics haven’t descended into McCarthyite crusades to purge federal departments of alleged communist infiltrators, but there are already examples of making policy out of paranoia.In addition tofueling wasteful defense spending, fear of China has led policymakers to push for cuts to Chinese immigration. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) believes dramatically reducing immigration from China is necessary to protect against Chinesespies stealing American secrets. Senator Ted...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 10, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh, John Glaser Source Type: blogs

Another Massive Drug Bust —Will It Make Any Difference?
David Boaz“Law enforcement officials— some of whom Tuesday could barely contain their glee — announced they had arrested more than 800 people” along with “the seizure of 8 tons of cocaine and more than $48 million. ”Hooray!At last we ’ve turned the corner in the war on drugs. Right? Don ’t bet on it. When Americans read about ever‐​larger drug busts, or when we watch television shows about drug enforcement, we get the impres­sion that drug enforcement agents are clever and innovative, always staying one step ahead of the sinister pushers. But in reality the drug ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 9, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

Controversy Over New Alzheimer ’s Drug Challenges FDA Efficacy Requirement
Jeffrey A. SingerYesterday the Food and Drug Administrationauthorized Biogen to marketAduhelm, the first anti-Alzheimer ’s Disease drug it has approved in 20 years. This monoclonal antibody has been shown to reduce the amyloid plaque that accumulates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer ’s disease. While stillcontroversial, most researchers believe the build ‐​up of this plaque is somehow responsible for the progression of dementia in these patients. The FDA approval came despite the fact that its advisory panel recommendedagainst it, contending that the clinical data did not convince them that the...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 9, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey A. Singer Source Type: blogs

Minimum Wages Encourage Uneconomic Automation
Ryan BourneFox Business reports today:McDonald ’s current CEO Chris Kempczinski confirmed during Alliance Bernstein’s Strategic Decisions Conference last week that the company is testing an automated, voice‐​recognition based drive‐​thru ordering system at 10 of its Chicago locations. Kempczinski noted that the artificial intelligenc e technology has 85% accuracy with filling orders, with workers having to step in for approximately one in five orders.Businesses in competitive markets like McDonald ’s face strong incentives to harness labor‐​saving technologies to improve efficiency, at least w...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 8, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ryan Bourne Source Type: blogs

COVID and Cruises
Julian SanchezI ’vewritten previously about the unhelpful state of public discussion around what are misleadingly dubbed “vaccine passports”—a discussion that tends to conflate Orwellian visions of immunization papers being demanded at every pub and corner bodega with the far more plausible scenario: a few categories of businesses exercising their freedom of association when they deem it necessary, given their specific circumstances, to operate safely.One example I offered was cruise lines, because several had already announced their intention to restart operation for fully vaccinated pass...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 8, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Julian Sanchez Source Type: blogs

G-7 Corporate Tax Agreement
Chris EdwardsLeaders of the G-7 countries agreed on the weekend to pressure other countries to impose corporate tax rates of at least 15 percent. They also agreed to reallocate the earnings of some multinational corporations if too much was deemed to be in low ‐​tax countries. The impetus for the agreement is a claimed revenue shortage caused by corporate tax dodging, especially by large technology companies. The G-7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States.At the G-7 meeting, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenalleged that the agreementwould “end the race t...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 8, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Amazon Eliminates Marijuana Screening for New Hires
Jeffrey Miron and Pedro Braga SoaresAmazon recentlyannounced that it will no longer include marijuana in the company ’s drug screening program for new hires (other than for positionsregulated by the Department of Transportation). Amazon says marijuana will instead be treated like alcohol, which means “impairment checks” on the job site and testing for all drugs and alcohol after job incidents.Drug screening and testing arewidespread in the US, covering nearlyhalf of all workplaces. But Amazon ’s announcement, and the recent spate ofmarijuana medicalizations and legalizations, have prompted discussio...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 8, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey Miron, Pedro Braga Soares Source Type: blogs

House Democrats Propose 80% Increase in Transport Spending
Randal O'TooleDemocrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee areproposing to increase transportation spending from $305 billion over the last five years to $547 billion over the next five years. Although this is supposed to be a  five‐​year bill, it will really be a six‐​year bill spending at least $656 billion, as Congress is never able to pass a major bill during an election year and will simply extend it a sixth year at the then‐​current rate of spending.Many megaprojects, such as Boston ’s Big Dig and Dulles MetroRail (shown here) are built not because they...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 7, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Randal O ' Toole Source Type: blogs

Two Cheers for the Center for American Progress ’ Report on EU Defense
Justin LoganIn U.S. foreign policy debates, Europe gets short shrift. Not without justification, the continent is seen as mostly at peace, a  place where people in well‐​tailored suits and dresses can convene various boring panels about bureaucracy and cooperation in beautiful buildings. To be sure, Russia gnaws away here or there at parts of Ukraine or Georgia, but the large industrialized democracies of Western Europe are wealthy, strong, and at peace. It is understandable that the Middle East and Asia‐​Pacific win more attention in Washington.At the same time, the United States maintains large, costly commi...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 7, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Justin Logan Source Type: blogs

Efforts to Solve California ’s Homeless Crisis Will Fall Short Without Housing Reforms
Michael D. TannerLate last month, Lester Holt ofNBC News interviewed Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti about the city ’s growing homeless population.In response, Garcetti pointed to the city ’s increased level of spending on efforts to house the homeless, including $5.6 million for a 39 ‐​unit tiny home project.When Holt pressed him on $144,000 per unit price tag for the project, an extremely high amount for tiny homes and higher than the median home price in most US counties, Garcetti defended himself by saying, “Everybody can point to the cost of building things, I point to the cost of not b...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 7, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Michael D. Tanner Source Type: blogs

Economics vs. Epidemiology
Ryan BourneWhy should we listen to economists when making or evaluating pandemic ‐​related policy, rather than just, say, epidemiologists? I’ve been asked that question a lot in interviews on my book,Economics In One Virus.Epidemiology is, of course, a rich discipline, so it is easy to overstate its limits when looking at the application in COVID-19 alone. But during this pandemic, epidemiological models have been famously prominent in predicting disease trends which have then led to major policy changes. A new working paper by Nicholas Papageorge summarizes some of the key problems with such model...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 7, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ryan Bourne Source Type: blogs

Call for Papers: Smart City Symposium
Matthew FeeneyToday, more than 80 percent of United States residents live in urban areas, up from64 percent in 1950. The trend towards increased urbanization is expected to continue. Oneanalysis estimates that by 2050 almost nine out of every ten people in the United States will be living in urban areas.This trend will be accompanied by technological innovations that will change urban life. Many of these innovations include “Smart City” technology such as inter‐​connected devices, intelligent infrastructure, data analysis tools, and much more. This technology has the potential to improve urban transport, ed...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 7, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Matthew Feeney Source Type: blogs

Unemployment Insurance Waste and Fraud
Ryan BourneUnemployment Insurance has been the hot economic policy debate topic for a while. This week ’s jobs figures again showedlabor supply failing to keep up with a soaring demand for workers as the economy reopens, leading tosharply rising wages in pandemic ‐​hit sectors and thehighest unfilled opening rate among small businesses ever. As I ’ve written before, there is good indicative evidence that the $300 per week UI supplement has been slowing rehiring rates by disincentivizing returns to work. Hence why 25 states so far have opted out of the program from June onwards.Lesser commented on ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 4, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Ryan Bourne Source Type: blogs

Steel Tariffs and Why We Can ’t End Failed Government Programs
David BoazCatherine Rampell of the Washington Postwonders why President Biden has not repealed President Trump ’s costly tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from “our close economic and military allies, including the European Union, Canada and Japan.” If both the United States and our allies recognize the damage these trade barriers are doing, what are the obstacles to removing them?For one, the stakeholders that benefit from the tariffs — the steel sector — arelobbying to keep the trade restrictions. It ’s a “political inertia problem,” says Cato Institute senior fellow S...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 4, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

The VA Admits It Failed to Protect Veterans from Deadly Doc
Michael F. CannonTwo days after Memorial Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a report admitting that for years one of its own doctors — Robert Morris Levy — misdiagnosed patients, falsified pathology reports, repeatedly reported to work intoxicated, and defeated substance‐​abuse screens. TheWashington Postreports:When a team of outside pathologists reviewed almost 34,000 cases Levy had diagnosed since his hiring, they found that more than 3,000 had errors, 589 of them major mistakes that caused medical harm to veterans. At least 15 died.The VA admitted its quality controls were wholly i...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 3, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Michael F. Cannon Source Type: blogs

The CDC ’s Eviction Moratorium Is Unconstitutional
Josh Blackman andIlya ShapiroDuring the pandemic, many states halted residential evictions. Texas did not. The Lone Star State allowed landlords to use the legal eviction process to remove nonpaying tenants —until the federal government intervened. The Trump administration, and now the Biden administration, criminalized eviction. Yes, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made it a federal offense for a landlord to use the legal eviction process in state court.That unprecedented executive action was premised on an inferential house of cards: if people are evicted, they will live in closer quar...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 3, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Josh Blackman, Ilya Shapiro Source Type: blogs

California Inequality and the Limits of Redistribution
Michael D. Tanner andKelly LesterA recentstudy from the Urban Reform Institute is sounding an alarm about rising inequality and decreasing upward mobility in California. In fact, the report found four of the nation ’s top ten worst metro areas to live in for upward mobility for African‐​Americans and Latinos are in California. Those regions include Los Angeles, Stockton, San Francisco and Bakersfield for African‐​Americans and Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, Stockton, and Modesto for Latinos.The study goes on to point out that minority populations are disproportionately likely to live in poverty and are far less lik...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 1, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Michael D. Tanner, Kelly Lester Source Type: blogs

Restarting the Economy Requires Less Government, Not More
Jeffrey Miron andErin PartinLast Friday, President Biden unveiled his$6 trillion budget proposal. Under his plan, government spending will rise to levels not seen since World War II. Large investments in climate change, transportation, and education headline the proposal.“Build back better” has been a common refrain of the Biden administration. The COVID-19 pandemic crashed much of the economy, but with increasing vaccination rates and recent promisingjobs reports it appears that America is ready to reopen.The federal government can encourage economic growth; mainly, however, this involves doing less, not ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - June 1, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Jeffrey Miron, Erin Partin Source Type: blogs

President Biden ’s Proposed Budget
Chris EdwardsThe Biden administration hasreleased its federal budget for 2022, which envisions a  large increase in the size of government. As the pandemic recedes and economic growth resumes, policymakers should be paring back spending and deficits to normal levels. Unfortunately, the Biden spending plan risks following last year’s crisis with a new fiscal crisis as it tries to sustain spe nding and borrowing at dangerously high levels.The chart below shows federal spending and revenues as a  percent of gross domestic product. Federal spending trended up from 17.7 percent under President Clinton in 20...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Does the DEA Have to Allow Psilocybin Access for Terminally Ill Patients?
Trevor BurrusA case at the Ninth Circuit is seeking to compel the DEA to allow psilocybin (magic mushrooms) use by terminally ill patients. The case,Advanced Integrative Medical Science Institute v. DEA, has been brought by a research institute, a doctor, and two terminal cancer patients who wish to use psilocybin.A lot has changed in psilocybin research in recent years. In 2018 and 2019, the FDAdesignated two psilocybin trials as “breakthrough therapies” for treating severe depression.Breakthrough ‐​therapy status can be granted by the FDA when a new drug shows significant improvement over c...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Trevor Burrus Source Type: blogs

We Need Flexibility in Country of Origin Labelling for Online Products
Simon LesterSome consumers prefer to buy domestically ‐​made products rather than foreign ones, due to a personally held belief in economic nationalism. That ’s their choice, and this sort of “personal protectionism” — prohibiting themselves from buying foreign products, in a sense — should not be equated with government intervention in the market, through tariffs or similar measures, to push people towards buying domestic products.Sometimes the government tries to push in a more subtle manner than tariffs, taking advantage of people ’s personal preferences by requirin...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Simon Lester Source Type: blogs

“Letterlocking” and 1600s Postal Surveillance
Walter OlsonThe arms race between governments intent on surveillance and governed persons intent on not being surveilled goes back a long way. In a new piece at Atlas Obscura, Abigail Cain observes that “letters in the 1600s didn’t look exactly like letters today. Mass‐​produced envelopes weren’t invented until the 1830s, meaning that most 17th‐​century letter writers folded their correspondence in such a way that it became its own envelope —a process [MIT conservator and researcher Jana] Dambrogio had dubbed ‘letterlocking.’ Letterlocks could be simple, just ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

‘Following the Science’ and Risk Aversion
Peter Van DorenIn March I discussed what I described as a positive trend in the discussion of the Covid ‐​19 pandemic policy: theNew York Timesquoted an infectious disease expert about the six ‐​foot social distancing rule who admitted “There’s risk at six feet, there’s risk at three feet, there’s risk at nine feet. There’s risk always.” He added: “The question is just how much of a risk? And what do you give up in exchange? ” His characterization of the decision problem is exactly correct but does not seem to recognize that calculation of the trad...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Peter Van Doren Source Type: blogs

The Dangers of Replacing the 2001 AUMF
John GlaserPresident Biden ’s announcement in April, and again in his first State of the Union address, that the U.S. military will be withdrawing from Afghanistan must have seemed to many Americans to be an inflection point. But if pulling out of Afghanistan is thought to mark an end to the post‐​9/​11 wars, think ag ain.Almost as soon as Biden could give the official orders to withdraw, reporting clarified that the new policy was by no means equivalent to ending the war. “With withdrawal preparations ramping up,” theWall Street Journalreported in March, “U.S. military commanders want bases f...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: John Glaser Source Type: blogs

Oversight Board Comment on Facebook ’s Removal of Abdullah Öcalan Content
Will DuffieldI submitted the following public comment to the Oversight Board regarding their review of Facebook ’s decision to remove an American user’s Instagram post, which included a picture of Kurdish leader Abdullah O ̈calan and text discussing his isolated imprisonment. Facebook justified the removal under its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.The Oversight Boardrequested comments addressing “whether the decision consistent with Facebook’s stated values and human rights commitments, including on freedom of expression,” and “the impact of censorship of Kurdish pol...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 28, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Will Duffield Source Type: blogs

The Biden Administration Has Reduced Deportations More than the Trump Administration, but Not by Much
Alex NowrastehThe number of monthly removals, also known as deportations, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has dropped to 2,962  in April 2021 from a recent high of 28,118 in October 2019. President Trump’s changes in immigration enforcement policies can explain 90 percent of the drop in removals over that time while actions taken during the Biden administration can explain about 10 percent of the drop.Many are blaming President Biden ’s deportation policies for this slowdown in removals, but the downward trend in removals started before he took office. Figure 1 shows the total n...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 27, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Should You Have to Pay for Their Truth?
Neal McCluskeySuppose you have an open patch of ground in your yard and you think, “I’d like some flowers. But which ones?” Suddenly a landscaper arrives and says, “Flowers? I’m a landscaper, and the truth is you need weeds. ” An assistant then takes your wallet and gives the landscaper your money, telling you, “Be happy – you just got truth from an expert.”Would your reaction be, “He’s an expert so he can keep the money and I should be grateful ”? Or, “I didn’t ask for this, I still want flowers, and I am calling t...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 26, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

Do Economists Support the Biden Plan?
David BoazAsI wrote in March, President Biden repeatedly claimed that essentially all economists supported his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan: “The American Rescue Plan … will generate economic growth for the entire nation. That’s why major economists — left, right, and center — support this plan.” “Every single major economist out there — left, right, and center — supported this plan.” And in a CNN Town Hall:This is the first time in my career — and as you can tell, I’m over 30 — the first time in my career that there is a co...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 25, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

Subsidizing Research and Technology
Chris EdwardsCongress is considering “The United States Innovation and Competition Act,” which includeslarge new subsidies for research and technology industries. The bill includes $81 billion for the National Science Foundation, $52 billion for semiconductors, and billions for various other programs. President Biden ’s Jobs Plan similarly proposednew subsidies for research and technology.America faces competitive challenges, but a lack of research spending does not seem to be a weakness. Scott Lincicomeshows that U.S. R&D spending has been trending upward in recent decades as a share o...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 25, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

USCIS Should Allow DOL to Certify H-2A and H-2B Recurring Jobs for up to Three Years
David J. BierSummary: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should allow the Department of Labor (DOL) to certify H-2A and H-2B recurring jobs for up to three years, and DOL should certify those jobs for up to 3 years.H-2A agricultural and H-2B nonagricultural employers almost always need workers to return annually to perform the same job.[1] Employers hire for a season, and they bring back the same H-2 workers seasonally year after year. To employers, these “returning workers” are just existing employees who have taken a seasonal hiatus.[2] Yet USCIS and DOL refuse to recognize this ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 25, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs

USCIS Should Automatically Approve H-2 Unnamed Petitions
David J. BierSummary: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should defer to the Department of Labor ’s determination of whether an H-2A or H-2B job is “temporary” and automatically approve all H-2 petitions without substantive review if the employer plans to name the specific worker only at the consulate abroad.H-2A agricultural or H-2B nonagricultural employers must receive a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) showing that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the job. As part of its review, DOL first determines whether the job is “temporary&rdqu...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - May 25, 2021 Category: American Health Authors: David J. Bier Source Type: blogs