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New Policy Banning H-2A Sheepherders Shows Need for Congress to Act

Yesterday, the Trump administration announced it would end a decades-old practice of allowing sheep and goat herders to enter the United States as guest workers under the H-2A program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a policy memo that overturn its historical practice of allowing sheepherders to receive three consecutive, back-to-back grants of H-2A status for 364-days (or similarly lengthy periods). Congress should protect the herding industry. The bipartisan Farm...

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Illegal Immigrants in Europe

Pew Research Center recently released a wonderful new report that estimates the illegal immigrant resident population in European Union and European Free Trade Association (EU-EFTA) countries. This is the first systematic report to estimate Europe’s illegal immigrant population along the lines that Pew and others use to estimate the U.S. illegal immigrant population. Illegal immigrants are a much larger population in the United States than in Europe. Pew estimates that there are 3.9 million...

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Deval Patrick: Tax and Spending Record as Governor

Deval Patrick announced that he is entering the 2020 race for the White House. Patrick was a Democratic governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015. Cato scores the nation’s governors every two years on their fiscal policy records, assigning grades of “A” to “F” from a limited-government perspective. We assigned Patrick an “F” in 2014, a “B“ in 2012, and a “D” in 2010. The grades cover tax and spending policies only, not other economic policies. Here’s what we concluded on the 2014 report:...

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Rich Earn Wealth Slashing Prices for Poor

The Albrecht family of Germany is one of the richest in the world. They earned their wealth from innovations in price-slashing for European grocery shoppers. Their Aldi grocery chain is now spreading across the United States and bringing savings to millions of lower- and middle-income families. I profiled Aldi in this recent post.Rather than bashing the rich, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other liberals should be praising wealthy entrepreneurs and corporations, such as Aldi, that are...

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Stop the Presses! or, How the Fed Can Avoid Reserve Shortages without Bulking-Up, Part 2

You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.–the Good Witch of the East, to Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz (This is the conclusion of a two-part essay. For Part 1 click here.) Equipped with some historical background, we can now consider ways in which the Fed might get the Treasury and Foreign Official Institutions (FOIs) to revive their pre-crisis practice of parking surplus dollars somewhere other than at the Fed. In fact, most of the necessary means are already at hand. Fed officials...

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Supreme Court Won’t Intervene In Connecticut Gunmaker Case, For Now

Without comment or dissent, the Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a certiorari petition asking it to review a suit against gunmaker Remington over the Sandy Hook massacre, thus allowing the suit to proceed for now. The current suit, as green-lighted by the Connecticut Supreme Court earlier this year over a dissent from three of its seven justices, claims that Remington violated the broad provisions on deceptive marketing of a state unfair-trade-practices law, the Connecticut Unfair Trade...

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A Looming Crackdown in Hong Kong?

For months, transfixed populations around the world have watched as anti-government, pro-democracy demonstrations continue to convulse Hong Kong. The frequently violent disruptions are producing highly negative economic effects. More than a month ago, data indicated that hotel bookings in Hong Kong were down 40 percent from a year earlier, as both business travelers and tourists sought to avoid being caught up in the turmoil. Demonstrations—and sometimes pitched battles between protesters...

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Keep the Relationship with Turkey, with Carrots, Sticks & Principles

As Turkey’s President Erdogan is coming to Washington DC to visit President Trump in the White House, there are two broad views about Turkey in the U.S. Capital: The more hawkish view, popular in Congress, considers Turkey an authoritarian Islamist regime which unjustly attacked the U.S. allies in Syria, and which must be punished with various U.S. sanctions, and perhaps even be kicked out of NATO. The more dovish view suggests that while Erdogan has indeed been a troubling actor, both at...

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Assessing the Jones Act’s National Security Rationale

The Jones Act has been a blight upon the United States for nearly 100 years. That the law survives despite its well-documented costs can in large part be ascribed to frequently-made claims it is vital to U.S. national security. Such claims should be greeted with a skeptical eye. As I explain in a new paper, decades of evidence suggest any contributions made by the law to national security are vastly overstated. In fact, there is considerable reason to think the Jones Act is a net national...

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Is Amtrak Guilty of Securities Fraud?

A press release issued by Amtrak last week would, if it were published by publicly traded firm, be a violation of securities laws and regulations. The press release claimed that Amtrak's FY 2019 annual financial report, which has yet to be published, would show that passenger revenues covered 99 percent of operating costs. Amtrak officials further projected that the company would show a profit for the first time in its history in 2020. Neither of these claims are true because they grossly...

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