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Agriculture Purchase Commitments Under the U.S.-China Trade Deal: The Case of Beef

Yesterday, President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a "phase one" U.S.-China trade deal. A "phase two" deal may be coming, although the timing is unclear, and many people (including us) are skeptical that it will happen any time soon. There are some technical and complicated parts of the phase one deal, and it will take some time to digest it all and come up with an overall evaluation. But it's worth exploring some specific aspects right away. One of the most talked about parts...

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New York Shortchanged but NY Politicians No Help

I reported that state and local governments in New York spend twice as much as governments in Florida. New York also has a larger bureaucracy. Carl Campanile of the New York Post reported on these findings yesterday and captured a retort from the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “Sounds like this ginned-up study from a group of right-wing 19th century robber baron wannabes fail to mention that New York is Washington’s favorite ATM, paying $26.6 billion more in federal taxes than we...

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The Democrats’ Search for a New Foreign Policy

Cato will be hosting a panel discussion on January 28, The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy: 2020 and Beyond, featuring Kate Kizer from Win Without War, Loren DeJonge Schulman from the Center for a New American Security, Dan Nexon from Georgetown University, Adam Mount from the Federation of American Scientists, and Mena Ayazi from the Alliance for Peacebuilding. To provide some broad perspective for the discussion, we are sharing a slightly updated version of an article we published in...

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USMCA Races Across the Finish Line, but Uncertainty Remains

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed the Senate by a vote of 89-10 today. Last week, it was unclear whether or not the vote could take place before the president’s impeachment trial due to the fact that seven Senate committees were tasked with reviewing the deal first. The process by which the deal is reviewed is referred to as a “mock markup” where the bill is discussed and voted on, but no amendments can be made. It was largely expected that the committees would quickly advance...

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Raising Wages via Policy Is Hard or Destructive. It’s Time to Focus on Living Costs

A Presidential election year will bring with it plenty of good, bad, and ugly policy ideas to help struggling families. With the unemployment rate extremely low, much focus will be on real wage growth for workers. This is not currently disastrous – real wages are growing at around 1.4 percent per year (see Chart below). But after 15 years of relatively sluggish performance in GDP per capita growth, politicians will be trying to think of ways to broadly raise living standards further. Over...

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When Debating Base Closure, Look at the Data

Despite years of calls from the Pentagon for a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Congress has refused to authorize one since 2005. With the Department of Defense running at 22 percent excess capacity and constant calls for more money for operations and modernization, Congress should allow the Pentagon to reallocate funds away from unnecessary bases into more urgent projects. But fears of communities losing their bases and watching their local economies suffer as a result has...

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New York vs. Florida on Bureaucracy

New York and Florida have similar populations of 20 million and 21 million, respectively. But state and local governments in New York spent twice as much ($348 billion) as governments in Florida ($177 billion), as discussed here. New York’s excess includes spending more on handouts such as welfare. Another cause of New York’s high spending is employment of more government workers and paying them more than in Florida. We can examine this factor using Census data for 2018. In the table below on...

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Elizabeth Warren: Taxpayer-Funded Student Debt Jubilee, Meet Pen and Phone

We already know that Elizabeth Warren’s massive student loan forgiveness proposal is atrocious policy that would saddle taxpayers with at least $640 billion in debt that millions of students freely accepted to greatly increase their lifetime earnings. That’s private profit, socialized cost. Now Warren is declaring that she’ll combine bad policy with even more dangerous government, promising to start forgiving student debt “on day one” of her presidency, as she declares in the tweet below. She...

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Trump Clearly Doesn’t Care to Get His Facts Straight. Neither Do His Critics.

The public debate over how to protect patients with expensive medical conditions is so muddled and uninformed that sometimes President Trump's critics end up matching his ignorance and muddle-headedness. The most recent controversy concerns (what else?) a pair of missives by the Tweeter-in-Chief. Mini Mike Bloomberg is spending a lot of money on False Advertising. I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare, you have it now, while at the same time winning the fight...

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It’s the Knick of Time for States to Revisit Overbearing Land Use Regulations

It’s January, so most state legislatures are kicking off their sessions. Across state capitols, one issue to monitor is the fallout from the Supreme Court’s 2019 landmark decision in Knick v. Township of Scott, a holding which may compel many local governments to rethink how they regulate private property. Professor Ilya Somin coauthored an amicus brief to the Knick Court on behalf of the Cato Institute and other organizations, and he summarized the controversy as follows: The main point at...

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