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Pruitt: No More Regulation By Settlement at the EPA
Welcome news from the Environmental Protection Agency: Administrator Scott Pruitt is curbing often-collusive deals ( “sue and settle”) by which the agency, sued by outside groups, agrees to adopt new policies or enact new regulations. (It also usually agrees to pay the outside groups handsomely in legal fees.)  AsThe Hill puts it, the new policy (full EPA release  here)  focuses especially on transparency:“We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency by special interest groups where doing so would cir...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 17, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Walter Olson Source Type: blogs

International Relations at China's 19th Party Congress
Discussion on the North Korea problem will probably happen during the Party Congress, but absent a significant escalation on the peninsula North Korea will likely not be featured prominently in the official documents produced by the congress. Instead, Xi and the Chinese leadership will likely wait untilTrump ’s visit to Asia in early November to issue any adjustments to China ’s policy toward North Korea. (Source: Cato-at-liberty)
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 17, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Eric Gomez Source Type: blogs

Monetary Freedom: Lessons from the Western Han Dynasty
During the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 9), the question of monetary freedom was vigorously debated. There were as yet no banks or paper money in China — money consisted solely of coin.  Private mints competed with government mints, either in the shadow market or legally. In 81 B.C., the issue of whether the state or the marke t would be the best guardian of sound money came to a head in the famous “Discourses on Salt and Iron,” which were compiled by Huan Kuan in his bookYantie lun. The relevant chapter for our study ischapter 4, “Cuobi” ( “Discordant Currencies&rdquo...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 17, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: James A. Dorn Source Type: blogs

Tax Reform: Ending Forced Retirement Withdrawals
As Republicans flesh out details of their tax plan, one target for reform should be the “required minimum distribution” (RMD) rules for retirement accounts. The rules generally require that people begin withdrawing from their 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and traditional IRAs at age 70½ whether they need the cash or not.The RMD rules are misguided, and policymakers should repeal them.In writingthis study on savings, I came across aWall Street Journal piece arguing for liberalizing the RMD rules. Accountant Ed Slottsays that the “government should raise the age for required minimum distributions to at least 80&...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 17, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

When a Lawyer Creates His Own " Evidence, " It Shouldn't Help Him Win Millions
Should judges consider evidence that ’s inadmissible at trial when deciding whether to certify a class for class-action litigation? Particularly given the serious consequences of certification—most defendants settle class actions to avoid greater liability, and non-certified cases are often not worth pursuing—due process should r equire that evidence presented at the class-certification stage meet the same standards as that presented at trial.One case out of California illustrates how allowing inadmissible evidence in any part of a legal proceeding not only violates the due-process rights of defendants an...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Andrew M. Grossman, Ilya Shapiro, Meggan DeWitt Source Type: blogs

Corporate Tax Cuts and Tax Revenues
The Republicantax reform framework envisions cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. There may be pressure in coming weeks to scale-back some of the framework ’s pro-growth provisions in order to hit revenue targets, but policymakers should stick with their corporate rate target.Various groups have modeled the revenue effects of proposed corporate rate cuts, but they generally do not account for the full dynamic effects of reform. We can get an idea of the full effects by looking at actual reforms abroad.Sharp corporate tax rate cuts inCanada andBritain do not seem to have lost those governments...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Financial Regulatory Reform is In the Air
A decade after the start of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and seven years after the passage of Dodd-Frank, it seems both the legislative and executive branches may be making small steps toward financial regulatory reform. Earlier this month, the Treasury Departmentreleased the second in a series of reports on the U.S. financial sector, this one focused on the capital markets. And last week, the House Financial Services Committee passed asuite of bills aimed at reforming many areas of financial regulation.  While passing out of committee is only the first of many steps toward legislation, it is encouraging that sever...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 16, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Thaya Brook Knight Source Type: blogs

Florida's Regulatory Takings Are for the Birds
As any child of five can tell you, taking a toy away in exchange for the promise of some future benefit does not change the fact that the toy was taken in the first place. This is also true of real property: A token gift of potential unknown value in no way changes the character of the initial taking. Under Supreme Court precedent, when all value of real property is regulated away, a taking has occurred and just compensation is due.Gordon and Molly Beyer found themselves in just such a situation when they were informed that the nine-acre island in the Florida Keys they bought in 1970 for $70,000, intending to build a retir...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 14, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro, Meggan DeWitt Source Type: blogs

Veterans Health Failure
This study explored why there is so much failure and mismanagement in the federal government. Federal agencies lack incentives for efficiency and quality, and the environment in some workplaces seems to breed unethical behavior. The government has also become far too large to manage effectively and for Congress to oversee adequately.A new investigation byUSA TODAY reveals a pattern of rather disgraceful mismanagement in the Department of Veterans Affairs:… the VA—the nation’s largest employer of health care workers—has for years concealed mistakes and misdeeds by staff members entrusted with the ca...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 13, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Trump Executive Order Could Save Millions from ObamaCare
President Trump todaysigned anexecutive order that urges executive-branch agencies to take steps that could free millions of consumers from ObamaCare ’s hidden taxes, bring transparency to that law, and give hundreds of millions of workers greater control over their earnings and health care decisions.Background: ObamaCare ’s Hidden TaxesSince the Affordable Care Act took full effect in 2014, premiums in the individual market have more thandoubled. The average cumulative increase is 105 percent, equivalent to average annual increases of 19 percent. Family premiums have increased140 percent. In Alabama, Alaska, a...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 12, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Michael F. Cannon Source Type: blogs

Licensing the Press: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come Again?
Yesterday, the President tweeted:With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)October 11, 2017He then followed up with this:Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)October 12, 2017It is true that the U.S. Supreme Court has long upheld the awarding or withholding of broadcasting licenses by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 1968, Richard Ni...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 12, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: John Samples Source Type: blogs

Impeachment for " Impulsive, Ignorant Incompetence " ?
In Sunday ’s episode of “Reality-Show Presidency,” we found out what happens when the president and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee“stop being polite… and start getting real.” After President Trump blasted him in a series of tweets early Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) shot back: Senator Corker is hardly the only highly placed Republican to express grave doubts about Trump ’s stability and competence. Daniel Drezner has assembled a list—now at 115 items and counting—of news stories in which the president’s own aides or political allies ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 11, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Gene Healy Source Type: blogs

The Hydra-Headed Drug Business
With television cameras rolling and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on hand in San Diego, the Coast Guardannounced late last month that it had set a new record for cocaine seizures at sea —more than 455,000 pounds through September 11, topping last year’s record.  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. Bu...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 11, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: David Boaz Source Type: blogs

Some Promising Anti-SLAPP Legislation
Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman (R) has introduced anti-SLAPP legislation, titled theOhio Citizen Participation Act, which includes novel protections of anonymous internet speech. If approved by the legislature, it will stand as a new gold standard for anti-SLAPP laws.SLAPP suits, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, refer to a category of vexatious libel or defamation lawsuits intended to chill unwanted speech by subjecting speakers to arduous and costly legal battles. In most cases, plaintiffs have little chance of succeeding on the merits of their claims, and instead hope to force a settlement or deter future crit...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 10, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: John Samples Source Type: blogs

Tax Reform Goals
The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are refining theirtax reform plan and ramping up their marketing efforts. It is a good plan so far, but  comments by some GOP leaders suggest that reforms may veer off-course as more details emerge.To keep policymakers focused on true reform, the table below summarizes five tax reform goals and the policy changes needed to achieve each.Tax reform is sometimes portrayed as a balancing act with various goals in conflict. But the table indicates the opposite. By adopting a lower, flatter rate structure and a more neutral tax base, policymakers would further multiple ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 10, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

Seven of the Many Problems with Trump ’s Immigration Principles
The White House releaseda list of immigration priorities for Congress yesterday. These ideas would render a broken immigration system even more dysfunctional, and the president ’s team justifies these expensive and unnecessary proposals with distortions and falsehoods. President Trump may never have reviewed them, so we should not necessarily view these ideas as set in stone, but they do demonstrate how farcertain members of the administration are willing to go to underminethe growing bipartisan consensus on allowing young undocumented immigrants to stay.Here are some problems with the priorities:1) Not a single pro-...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 9, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: David Bier Source Type: blogs

Travel Ban Is Based on Executive Whim, Not Objective Criteria
ConclusionFor countries on the list, and for any country wishing to remain off the list, it is vitally important that they understand which factors led to their inclusion or exclusion. If the United States is acting in good faith —seeking to change behavior as opposed to looking for an excuse to ban people—its criteria should be clearly explained and understood. The Iran nuclear deal, for example, hasvery precise requirements for Iran to avoid sanctions, down to the exact percentage of purity for its enriched uranium. This is very far from the case here.No consistent combination of factors or mitigating factors...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 9, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: David Bier Source Type: blogs

There is No Public Safety Justification for the " Travel Ban "
The Trump administration ’snewest argument in favor of the travel ban is that foreigners from the eight banned countries are disproportionately crime prone. Indeed, the administration ’s new travel banproclamation references “criminal” risks or “public safety threats” from foreigners from those eight banned countries a total 34 times. However, the incarceration rate for people from the travel ban countries is below that of native-born Americans and foreign-born folks from countries that were not on the travel ba n list.The average incarceration rate for those born in the travel ban count...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 7, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

With Back-to-Back Bombshells, Trade Terrorism Hits the Global Aircraft Industry
This afternoon, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced thepreliminary results of its antidumping investigation in large civil aircraft from Canada, launched at the request of the Boeing Company in May. Commerce “calculated” dumping margins of 79.82 percent for Bombardier—the only Canadian aircraft producer in this market—which becomes the rate of duty that any U.S. purchaser would have to post with U.S. customs upon importation. This penalty comes on top of last week’s assessment of 219.63 percen t subsidy margins in the companioncountervailing duty case.It goes without saying that neither ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Daniel J. Ikenson Source Type: blogs

What's Good and What's Missing in the 702 Reform Bill
My colleague Pat Eddington has already taken afirst pass at thenewly unveiled legislation aimed at reforming Section 702, the controversial foreign intelligence surveillance authority that empowers warrantless surveillance of foreigners outside the United States.  While Pat focused primarily on the defects of the bill, I’d like to start by briefly surveying what I think it gets right, and then note a few other elements I was disappointed not to see included.  Probably the two most salient features of the “USA Liberty Act” for civil libertarians are that it partially closes the so-calle...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 6, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Julian Sanchez Source Type: blogs

Singapore's Free Trade Success Story
Viewers of Anthony Bourdain ’s CNN seriesParts Unknown last weekend were treated to the raconteur’s visit to the city-state of Singapore. Along with Bourdain’s usual noshing, imbibing, and bantering about the food culture with knowledgeable locals, he also made time for drinkswith Donald Low to discuss the country’s economic and political culture. Among Singapore’s hallmarks according to Low, an Associate Dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, was the desire to attract foreign capital and an “understanding that free trade is good for everyone.” Low &r...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Colin Grabow Source Type: blogs

Iran, Decertification, and the Dangerous Alternatives
Late on Thursday afternoon,the Washington Post reported that President Trump plans to undermine American involvement in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by “decertifying” Iranian compliance with the deal and kicking the issue to congress.This move is hardly unexpected: when he last certified Iranian compliance with the deal 90 days ago, President Trumpreportedly told staff“he wants to be in a place to decertify 90 days from now and it’s their job to put him there.” Yet as that quote suggests, the President’s decision is not based in any reality-based assessment of the deal....
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Emma Ashford Source Type: blogs

Data Breaches -- It's Not Just Equifax
 All eyes have been on Equifax these past few weeks, as the extent of its data breach hasunfolded.   But, private entities like Equifax are not the only ones collecting huge swaths of data.  The federal government also has extensive personal data on large numbers of Americans.  And the government is no more secure than Equifax or any other company.  In fact, government employees found out in2015 that the Office of Personnel Management had been breached, exposing the most sensitive personal data to hackers.   Just lastweek, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that its online f...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Thaya Brook Knight Source Type: blogs

Recognizing the Upside of China's Infrastructure Push
The Atlantic Council has  released a new report on a key Chinese effort to develop infrastructure in Asia and beyond which deserves the attention of policymakers in Washington. Entitled “Silk Road 2.0: US Strategy toward China ’s Belt and Road Initiative, ” the Gal Luft-authored paper highlights some of the direct economic benefits U.S.-based businesses may realize through the China-led project:The Trump administration is deeply committed to the development and upgrade of US domestic infrastructure, but little attention has been paid to the benefits for the US economy offered by infrastructure develo...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Colin Grabow Source Type: blogs

When's The Student Loan Money Coming Back?
A newreport on federal student loans from the National Center for Education Statistics came out today, and it is troubling. Much of the media attention is likely to focus on the default rates of borrowers who attended for-profit colleges —and they are atrocious—but the report’s contents condemn the entire system.Delving into the data reveals that there is a whole lot of defaulting going on —among first-time students who began school in 1995-96 and took out federal loans, 13.7 percent had defaulted on their most recent loan—but there’s been a whole lot of deferring payment, too. The share...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

Can the Government Destroy Bitcoin?
China-based cryptocurrency exchangeBTCC suspended all domestic trading in yuan last weekend. The decision came on the heels of a September 5statement from regulatory authorities in China, which required all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges publish closing announcements, stop registering new users, and establish a schedule to cease yuan-denominated trading by September 15. Huobi and OKCoin — two other exchanges based in China — haveannounced similar plans to stop trading. To be clear: China has not banned the use of cryptocurrencies. It has banned cryptocurrency exchanges andinitial coin offerings (ICOs). Even ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 5, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: William J. Luther Source Type: blogs

FISA Section 702 Reauthorization Bill Circulated
Earlier this afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee circulated itsdraft FISA Sec. 702 reauthorization bill. This is a preliminary readout of the major problems I see with this legislation.Mandatory Data Destruction Not MandatoryOne of the biggest vulnerabilities Americans face today is the growing volume of their personal data being stored on servers in the private sector and in government. In the government counterterrorism (CT) context —and CT intelligence collection was the original rationale for this authority—there is simply no reason for the government to continue the collection and storage of the infor...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Patrick G. Eddington Source Type: blogs

BREAKING: FISA Section 702 Reauthorization Bill Circulated
Earlier this afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee circulated itsdraft FISA Sec. 702 reauthorization bill. This is a preliminary readout of the major problems I see with this legislation.Mandatory Data Destruction Not MandatoryOne of the biggest vulnerabilities Americans face today is the growing volume of their personal data being stored on servers in the private sector and in government. In the government counterterrorism (CT) context —and CT intelligence collection was the original rationale for this authority—there is simply no reason for the government to continue the collection and storage of the infor...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Patrick G. Eddington Source Type: blogs

E-Verify Has Low Compliance Rates in States Where It Is Mandated
E-Verify is the supposed silver-bullet of immigration enforcement. Despite itsserious and unsolvable problems, the House Judiciary Committee was going to have a markup today on theLegal Workforce Act (LWA) that would mandate E-Verify for all new hires in the United States. Although they canceled the markup at the last moment, this is still a wonderful opportunity to explore the main reason why E-Verify is ineffective: employers ignore it.E-Verify is a government system whereby employers enter the identity information of new hires via an online portal. The system compares these data with information held in the Social Secur...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Seizure of Private Border Land Without Just Compensation (Until Years Later)
The House Homeland Security Committeewill markup and likely pass the Border Security for America Act (H.R. 3548) today. Among thebill ’s 95 pages is this:The Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary (including the removal of obstacles to detection of illegal entrants) to construct, install, deploy, operate, and maintain tactical infrastructure and technology in the vicinity of the United States border to deter, impede, and detect illegal activity in high traffic areas.Media outletsare describing this as codifying Trump ’s “border wall.” I havepreviously detailed the...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: David Bier Source Type: blogs

Boeing-Bombardier Round II: Blame Trade Remedy Laws, Not Trump
The other shoe is about to drop in theBoeing-Bombardier trade row.   But first, some background…Last week, smack dab in the middle of the third round of the NAFTA renegotiations taking place in Ottawa, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination in a countervailing duty case brought by the Boeing Company in May. The Countervailing Duty Law provides “relief” (usually in the form of import duties) to domestic industries that can demonstrate that they are “materially injured” or threatened with material injury by reason of sales of subsidized imports.  In ea...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 4, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Daniel J. Ikenson Source Type: blogs

Shake Shack Planning for Higher Minimum Wages
CNBC reports that the burger chainShake Shack is planning to trial a new restaurant in New York which will not have a traditional cashier ’s counter. Instead, “guests will use digital kiosks or their mobile phones to place [and pay for] orders.” Their order will be processed immediately to the kitchen and the guest will receive a text message when their food is ready.Great, you might think. Shake Shack is investing in innovations which could improve the productivity of remaining workers, increasing wages (indeed, they want to pay the lower relative number of staff in this restaurant at least $15 an hour)....
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 3, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Ryan Bourne Source Type: blogs

High Earners Pay Bulk of Income Taxes
President Trump and his advisors are stressing that they want tax cuts for the middle class, not high earners.Trump said, “the rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” while Treasury SecretarySteve Munchin said, “Our objective is not to create tax cuts for the wealthy. Our objective is about creating middle-income tax cuts.”The problem is that high earners, not those in the middle, pay the vast bulk of federal income taxes. As the chart below shows, the share of federal income taxes paid by the highest-earning 10 percent has steadily risen —from 49 percent in 1980 to 71 percent by 2014...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 3, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

The Strange Official Economics of Interest on Excess Reserves
In a note tomy last post, I observed thatLiberty Street Economics,the blog of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, promised a follow-up to its post addressingthe advantages of the Fed ’s interest payments onrequired reserves. The follow up would address the benefits of paying interest on banks ’excess reserves and of thereby establishing a “reserve-abundant regime.”That follow-up post has since appeared, under the title “Why Pay Interest on Excess Reserve Balances?” As I’d anticipated, it answers the question it poses by outlining some supposed benefits of having banks sit on immense ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 3, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: George Selgin Source Type: blogs

Signs of Shifting Directions by the U.S. and China on Trade Policy
As the rankings in the recently-released  Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report make clear, the United States and China find themselves in very different places on the matter of trade policy. Occupying the somewhat middling overall position of number 63 (of the 159 jurisdictions ranked) in the “Freedom to Trade Internationally” category, the U.S. is nonetheless significantly ahead of China at number 108. Worth noting, however, are incipient signs that the two countries may be trending in different directions. Traditionally a relatively closed and protectionist economy, China through i...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 3, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Colin Grabow Source Type: blogs

Overpromising “Middle-Class” Tax Cuts
As Republicans unveiled their tax reform plan last week,President Trump said, “We will cut taxes tremendously for the middle class.” Trump advisorGary Cohn said, “We are giving tax cuts to middle- and lower-income Americans.” And House SpeakerPaul Ryan said, “The entire purpose of this is to lower middle-class taxes.”The problem is that “middle-class” Americans pay little in federal income taxes, while “lower-income” Americans pay virtually nothing. So Republican leaders are making promises that will be difficult to keep, and they are distracting themselves from t...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

The Jones Act: It's Worse than You Think
Ike Brannon ’s recent post on the Jones Act is excellent, and those who have not done so already shouldgive it a read. He notes some of the many economic hardships imposed by the law, which are shielded from proper scrutiny because its large costs are spread across the population and benefits concentrated among a relatively limited number of entities such as shipbuilders.  Brannon ’s concluding sentences, however, may be too kind to the political process:[P]laces like Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Alaska would benefit most of all [from getting rid of the Jones Act], since they are overly dependent upon shipping ...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Colin Grabow Source Type: blogs

NAFTA Renegotiation Roundup
Round 3 of the NAFTA renegotiation wrapped up last Wednesday. Round 4 is scheduled for October 11-15 in the Washington, DC area. How have things been going so far?Here ’s one assessment:The United States, Canada and Mexico said at the end of a five-day session in Ottawa there had been progress made in the talks but acknowledged that much work remained to conclude the negotiations by the end of the year.The next round might be a big one.Inside US Tradenotes that “controversial ideas for investor-state dispute settlement and a sunset clause tied to the trade deficit” will be “finalized and proposed at...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - October 2, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Simon Lester Source Type: blogs

Scaring Ourselves to Death over Impeachment
Richard Cohen ’s latest column is sillier than usual, which is really saying something. (Hat tip to Jason Kuznicki, who sums up Cohen ’s argument as “Trump is SO bad that we must not impeach him.”)In purple, paid-by-the-metaphor prose, Cohen calls our 45th president “a dust storm of lies and diversions with the bellows of a bully and the greasy ethics of a street-corner hustler,” someone whose “possible crimes line up like boxcars being assembled for a freight train.” And yet, “we would impeach Trump at our peril. ” Why? Because the president ’s hardcor...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Gene Healy Source Type: blogs

A Self-Determination Fa çade: The Kurdish Referendum
On September 25, 2017,Iraqi Kurds voted in favor ofindependence from Iraq in a historic referendum. Out of the 3.3 million Kurds and non-Kurdswho voted, 92% voted in favor of independence, which is not surprising. The international community ’s reaction is also not surprising:Iraq, Turkey,Iran, Russia, France, and theUnited States were all against the referendum, cautioning the Kurdish leadership about theregional impact from various strategic angles. In its quest to secure more non-Arab allies,Israel is the only country that has backed the referendum. The international community ’s lack of support is seen...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Sahar Khan Source Type: blogs

The Trump Administration Isn't Sabotaging ObamaCare--That Was Democrats
To the relief of many Democrats and the consternation of many Republicans, Congress will not be repealing ObamaCare this month. But that doesn ’t mean Democrats are riding high or that ObamaCare is doing well. Premiums are still rising rapidly (Miami Herald:  ”Obamacare Premiums in Florida to Rise 45 Percent on Average Next Year”), insurers are still leaving the Exchanges (Healthcare Marketplace: “Nearly Half of the Country Left with One Carrier Option in 2018”), and ObamaCare coverage is still becoming a worse and worse deal for the sick (Wall Street Journal/yours truly: “How Obama...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Michael F. Cannon Source Type: blogs

In Afghanistan, the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops is Long Overdue
Donald Trump announced a mini-surge of U.S. forces into Afghanistan a month ago. This week theLong War Journal reported the Taliban now control or contest45 percent of Afghanistan ’s districts, up from 40 percent three months prior, which was an increase from 34 percent a yearearlier, and you get the idea. The Taliban control more territory today than at any point since 2001, and they have the momentum.Sixteen years after invading Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban, and routing Al Qaeda elements there, U.S. goals remain as far out of reach as ever.However, rather than surge additional forces and fall victim to the &ld...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Erik Goepner Source Type: blogs

FAIR ’s “Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration” Study is Fatally Flawed
ConclusionFAIR ’s report argues for increased immigration restrictions as a way to address the federal budget deficit.  However, it relies on poor methodology and contains numerous errors that undermine its credibility.  Many years ago, I wrote acriticism of an earlier version this report by FAIR.   It’s disheartening to see that this later version written by different authors is even more sloppy and makes more errors than the older version.  The immigration debate deserves higher quality research than this recent FAIR report.       (Source: Cato-at-liberty)
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Alex Nowrasteh Source Type: blogs

Is It “Banning” To Reject the Book in the First Place?
We hear a lot about book “banning,” especially when “we” maintain Cato’sPublic Schooling Battle Map, but probably lots of other people hear it, too. Indeed, it just so happens that we are inBanned Books Week right now, an event that highlights challenges to books stocked by public libraries, including in public schools. But what is suddenly getting attention is not the Week, but a Cambridge, Massachusetts public school librarianrejecting a bunch of Dr. Seuss books that First Lady Melania Trump selected the district to win. Which raises two questions: Is it not just as much “banning&rdquo...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 29, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Neal McCluskey Source Type: blogs

Hidden Tax Hike in GOP Plan?
The Republican tax framework released yesterday wasgenerally excellent. However, it appears to include a sneaky and invisible tax hike. The framework “envisions the use of a more accurate measure of inflation for purposes of indexing the tax brackets and other tax parameters.”The individual income tax is indexed for inflation, meaning that the dollar split points between the rate brackets and other parameters are set to rise a bit each year. Without those adjustments, Americans would lose ground to the government over time, as more of their income would be taxed at higher rates due to the general rise in prices...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 28, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Chris Edwards Source Type: blogs

New Economic Freedom Report on Prosperity, Gender Equality and Populism
TheEconomic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Reportis out today. Co-published in the United States by the Fraser Institute (Canada) and the Cato Institute, it continues to find a strong relationship between economic freedom on the one hand, and prosperity and other indicators of human well-being on the other.The United States ranks 11 out of 159 countries, indicating a slight improvement recently in its rating, but its economic freedom remains far below what it was in the year 2000, when it began a long decline. Since 1970, the index has typically ranked the United States among the top four countries. The top countries in...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 28, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Ian V ásquez Source Type: blogs

The Dubious Defense of the Jones Act
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, is impossible to defend with a straight face. The Act requires that all people and goods travelling from one U.S. port to another be carried on U.S. owned, flagged and crewed ships. The rationale usually offered these days in support of the Act is that it protects American jobs, and that our military needs to have a fleet of ships it can borrow in case of some sort of emergency. Neither can be taken seriously.For starters, the Jones Act probably costs us jobs. The high shipping costs engendered by the Jones Act encourage businesses to ship more things via ra...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 28, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Ike Brannon Source Type: blogs

In Regulation: The Jones Act's Bloody Cost
Aftersomesorelyneededscrutiny, the Trump administration has just announced thatit will temporarily suspend an ugly piece of corporate welfare in order to speed aid to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico.The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, requires that all people and goods transported by water between U.S. ports be transported on U.S.-built ships, with U.S. owners, registered and sailing under the U.S. flag, and crewed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The law originally was justified as ensuring a robust U.S. merchant marine in wartime, but it really is (and probably always has been) a cynica...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 28, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas A. Firey Source Type: blogs

India's Failed Demonetization Program and Its Retreating Economic Defenders
Dormant for a while, the debate over India ’s demonetization program of last fall has been revived by new evidence. The new evidence on note returns and GDP vindicates the critics, and has the defenders in strategic retreat.To recap: On November 8, 2016, India ’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the nation by announcing the immediate “demonetization” of the two largest rupee currency notes (Rs 500, worth about $7.50, and Rs 1000, worth about $15). Noteholders would have only 50 days to turn them in for new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes. The move, Mod i promised, would sharply penalize holders of unac...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 28, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Lawrence H. White Source Type: blogs

When Statutes Conflict, Agencies Shouldn't Get to Pick Which One They Like More
One federal statute says that Rony Estuardo Perez-Guzman, who claims refugee status, isn ’t eligible for asylum. Another one says that he is. Whose duty is it to reconcile this glaring legislative contradiction, and how should it be remedied?Mr. Perez-Guzman fled to the United States to escape violence and persecution in Guatemala. He was stopped by border patrol agents and deported, but reentered the United States because he still feared for his life. The asylum statute (8 U.S.C. § 1158) guarantees the right of “any alien … physically present in the United States … irrespective of such alien...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - September 27, 2017 Category: American Health Authors: Ilya Shapiro Source Type: blogs