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  • Author: David Boaz
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Democrats accuse President Trump of abuse of executive power and “thinking he is a dictator.” But then, Republicans made similar charges about President Obama. They all have a point. At least since the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, there has been a flow of power from civil society to government, from the states to the federal government, and from Congress to the executive branch. But a recent newspaper headline reminded me of some other headlines that tell a story.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Gene Healy
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: For the past 17 years, presidents have used the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as a blank check to wage war whenever and wherever they please. Congress is now debating several replacement AUMFs—but these, too, pose the danger of granting the president far broader war powers than the Constitution envisioned. At a Capitol Hill Briefing, Cato’s GENE HEALY and JOHNGLASER made the case for repealing, rather than replacing, the AUMF.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The most hazardous health reform measure before Congress is not the so-called "public option," but proposals to make health insurance compulsory via an individual or employer mandate. Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama's pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Will Wilkinson
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: “Happiness research” studies the correlates of subjective well-being, generally through survey methods. A number of psychologists and social scientists have drawn upon this work recently to argue that the American model of relatively limited government and a dynamic market economy corrodes happiness, whereas Western European and Scandinavian-style social democracies pro- mote it. This paper argues that happiness research in fact poses no threat to the relatively libertarian ideals embodied in the U.S. socioeconomic system. Happiness research is seriously hampered by confusion and disagreement about the definition of its subject as well as the limitations inherent in current measurement techniques. In its present state happiness research cannot be relied on as an authoritative source for empirical information about happiness, which, in any case, is not a simple empirical phenomenon but a cultural and historical moving target. Yet, even if we accept the data of happiness research at face value, few of the alleged redistributive policy implications actually follow from the evidence. The data show that neither higher rates of government redistribution nor lower levels of income inequality make us happier, whereas high levels of economic freedom and high average incomes are among the strongest correlates of subjective well- being. Even if we table the damning charges of questionable science and bad moral philosophy, the American model still comes off a glowing success in terms of happiness.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Daryl Press
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many Americans have lost confidence in their country's “energy security” over the past several years. Because the United States is a net oil importer, and a substantial one at that, concerns about energy security naturally raise foreign policy questions. Some foreign policy analysts fear that dwindling global oil reserves are increasingly concentrated in politically unstable regions, and they call for increased U.S. efforts to stabilize—or, alter-natively, democratize—the politically tumultuous oil-producing regions. Others allege that China is pursuing a strategy to “lock up” the world's remaining oil supplies through long-term purchase agreements and aggressive diplomacy, so they counsel that the United States outmaneuver Beijing in the “geopolitics of oil.” Finally, many analysts suggest that even the “normal” political disruptions that occasionally occur in oil-producing regions (e.g., occasional wars and revolutions) hurt Americans by disrupting supply and creating price spikes. U.S. military forces, those analysts claim, are needed to enhance peace and stability in crucial oil-producing regions, particularly the Persian Gulf.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ted Galen Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. military occupation of Iraq has now lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II. Yet there is no end in sight to the mission. Staying in Iraq is a fatally flawed policy that has already cost more than 3,000 American lives and consumed more than $350 billion. The security situation in that country grows increasingly chaotic and bloody as evidence mounts that Iraq has descended into a sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Approximately 120 Iraqis per day are perishing in political violence. That bloodshed is occurring in a country of barely 26 million people. A comparable rate of carnage in the United States would produce more than 1,400 fatalities per day.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, America, Middle East
  • Author: Neal McCluskey
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: It is all too often assumed that public education as we typically think of it today—schooling provided and controlled by government—constitutes the “foundation of American democracy.” Such schooling, it is argued, has taken people of immensely varied ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds and molded them into Americans who are both unified and free. Public schooling, it is assumed, has been the gentle flame beneath the great American melting pot.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Demographics, Education
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Jim Harper, Jeff Jonas
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, spurred extraordinary efforts intended to protect America from the newly highlighted scourge of international terrorism. Among the efforts was the consideration and possible use of “data mining” as a way to discover planning and preparation for terrorism. Data mining is the process of searching data for previously unknown patterns and using those patterns to predict future outcomes.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, National Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Moeletsi Mbeki
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Economic growth in Africa, as in the rest of the world, depends on a vibrant private sector. Entrepreneurs in Africa, however, face daunting constraints. They are prevented from creating wealth by predatory political elites that control the state. African political elites use marketing boards and taxation to divert agricultural savings to finance their own consumption and to strengthen the repressive apparatus of the state. Peasants, who constitute the core of the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa, are the biggest losers. In order for Africa to prosper, peasants need to become the real owners of their primary asset—land—over which they currently have no property rights.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Subodh Atal
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Despite progress in the return of refugees and the prevention of humanitarian disasters, stability in Afghanistan is threatened by ethnic tension, feuding warlords, and violence perpetrated by regrouping elements of the Taliban and their allies. The United States is being asked to increase its level of commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan as a means of stabilizing the country, even as American troops battle the resurgent Islamic extremists who operate along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, America, Middle East, Taliban, Arabia
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The rationale for missile defense put forward by its advocates is often a “doom and gloom” picture: America and its citizens are defenseless against the threat of ballistic missiles, and missile defense is supposed to protect the American people. The administration's vision of missile defense is not just a global system that protects the United States against long-range missiles but a global system capable of engaging all classes of ballistic missiles to protect U.S. forces deployed worldwide, U.S. allies, and other friendly countries. Thus, the purpose of missile defense is extended well beyond protecting America and Americans.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ivan Eland
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: China's economy is four times the size of Taiwan's and apparently growing at a faster rate; that economic disparity between China and Taiwan could eventually lead to a military disparity as well. Nonetheless, even an informal U.S. security guarantee for Taiwan against nuclear-armed China is ill-advised. Taiwan is not strategically essential to America's national security. Moreover, China has significant incentives to avoid attacking Taiwan. Perhaps the most crucial is that hostile behavior toward Taiwan would jeopardize China's increasing economic linkage with the United States and other key countries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Gary T. Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, there have been calls from various quarters to embrace nation building as a tool for combating terrorism. The logic behind the idea is that “good” states do not do “bad” things, so Washington should build more “good” states. That idea, however, relies on several dubious assumptions—for example, that embarking on multiple nation-building missions will reduce the potential for anti-American terrorism. If anything, nation building is likely to create more incentives, targets, and opportunities for terrorism, not fewer. The nation-building idea also draws on false analogies with the past. For example, some people assert that Europe's experience under the Marshall Plan can be readily duplicated in a whole host of countries and that, with enough economic aid, trained bureaucrats, and military force of arms, “bad” states anywhere can be transformed into open, self-sustaining, peaceful states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Although the House of Saud, Saudi Arabia's royal family, has long leaned toward the West, it is a corrupt totalitarian regime at sharp variance with America's most cherished values. Despite the well-publicized ties between the two governments, Saudi Arabia has seldom aided, and often hamstrung, U.S. attempts to combat terrorism.
  • Topic: Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: To prosecute the war on terrorism, President Bush has assembled a diverse coalition of countries for political, diplomatic, and military support. Some of those countries are long-standing friends and allies of the United States. Others have new or changing relationships with the United States. Although there may be a price for their support, America should not pay an excessive price—one that could be detrimental to longer-term U.S. national security interests. And though it may be necessary to provide a certain amount of immediate aid (directly or indirectly) as a quid pro quo for the support of other nations in our war on terrorism, the United States needs to avoid longer-term entanglements, openended commitments, and the potential for an extreme anti-American backlash.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: As the world becomes a less dangerous place for America, U.S. officials work more desperately to preserve America's pervasive international military presence. This policy is evident in the Philippines, with which Washington recently concluded a Visiting Forces Agreement.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stephen Moore, Stephen Slivinski
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This report presents the findings of the Cato Institute's fifth biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation's governors. The grading mechanism is based on purely objective measures of each governor's fiscal performance. Those governors with the most fiscally conservative records— the tax and budget cutters—receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Gene Healy
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In his classic 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. warned that the American political system was threatened by “a conception of presidential power so spacious and peremptory as to imply a radical transformation of the traditional polity.” America's rise to global dominance and Cold War leadership, Schlesinger explained, had dangerously concentrated power in the presidency, transforming the Framers' energetic but constitutionally constrained chief executive into a sort of elected emperor with virtually unchecked authority in the international arena.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Alan Reynolds, Robert A. Levy
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's final judgment in the Microsoft case indicates that he has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the government's flawed arguments. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is unlikely to be so accommodating. The Justice Department's case will crumble as a result of procedural errors, flawed fact-finding, wrongheaded legal conclusions, and Jackson's preposterous plan to break up the software company most directly responsible for America's high-tech revolution.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Victor M. Gobarev
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: American interest in and concerns about India rose sharply after that country carried out underground nuclear tests in May 1998. Clinton administration officials belatedly acknowledged that developing a good working relationship with India should be one of America's top foreign policy priorities. President Clinton's visit to South Asia in March 2000 was an important symbolic step.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South Asia, Washington, India
  • Author: Christopher Layne, Benjamin Schwarz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: One year after NATO ended its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, the Clinton administration's Kosovo policy is a conspicuous failure. Kosovo is now the scene of a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by NATO's erstwhile de facto ally, the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization profoundly inimical to America's interests and professed values. The KLA is also currently fomenting an insurgency elsewhere in Serbia, which promises to destabilize the Balkans even further.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Genocide
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Aaron Lukas
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The “anti-globalization coalition” that paraded through the streets of Seattle in November and stormed police barricades in Washington, D.C., in April contends that international trade and investment are “lose-lose” propositions. On the one hand, organized labor argues that low-wage workers in developing countries will gain employment at the expense of American workers. On the other hand, self-appointed advocates of the developing world claim that trade with and investment from Western countries lead only to exploitation and continued poverty abroad. Given that negative view of globalization, it is not surprising that anti-trade activists are calling to “shrink or sink” the World Trade Organization.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Political Geography: America, Washington