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Podcast of policy and book forums, Capitol Hill briefings and other events from the Cato Institute

Podcast of policy and book forums, Capitol Hill briefings and other events from the Cato Institute
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Podcast of policy and book forums, Capitol Hill briefings and other events from the Cato Institute




What Should School Choice Look Like?

The school choice debate has largely focused on whether society should have any school choice at all. But not all choice programs are identical. And they certainly do not all produce the same outcomes for students. If school choice policies are to pass, what should they look like? Should we embrace public charter schools, private school choice options, or both? Should financing be through vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts? Should funding be public or private? Should the...


What Europe Can Teach the United States about Free Speech

After three decades of constant gains, global respect for free speech has been in decline since 2004. In the recent past even Europe’s liberal democracies have contributed to the decline by adopting increasingly restrictive measures in the name of national security, the countering of hate speech, and, most recently, standing against “fake news.” Does Europe’s model of “militant democracy” offer promising lessons for embattled democracies or a dangerous abandonment of first principles?...


Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition

In his new book, Republic in Peril, David C. Hendrickson advances a critique of American policy since the end of the Cold War. America’s outsized military spending and global commitments, he argues, undermine rather than uphold international order. They raise rather than reduce the danger of war, imperiling both American security and domestic liberty. An alternative path lies in a new internationalism in tune with the United Nations Charter and the philosophy of republican liberty embraced...


Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech

Free speech is under attack at colleges and universities today, with critics on and off campus challenging the value of open inquiry and freewheeling intellectual debate. Too often speakers are shouted down, professors are threatened, and classes are disrupted. Constitutional scholar Keith E. Whittington argues that universities must protect and encourage free speech because vigorous free speech is the lifeblood of the university. Without free speech, a university cannot fulfill its most...


Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In his new book, Directorate S, author Steve Coll explains how Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is partly responsible for the United States’ struggles in neighboring Afghanistan. Coll, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, sheds light on Pakistan’s policy of aiding, supplying, and legitimizing the Taliban, a policy President Trump has openly criticized. With an investigator’s precision, Coll also walks readers through the mistakes and...


Legal Immigration Reforms for the 21st Century

Congress has not overhauled America’s legal immigration system in nearly three decades. While legal immigrants overwhelmingly benefit the United States, the system is unfair to those who go through it, and its arbitrary and outdated rules undermine the economic and social benefits that legal immigrants contribute to America. With Congress now in the midst of a wide-ranging debate over which reforms to adopt, innovative approaches will be critical to pushing reform across the finish line....


The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone

Popular legend has it that before the Federal Radio Commission was established in 1927, the radio spectrum was in chaos, with broadcasting stations blasting powerful signals to drown out rivals. Tom Hazlett, a distinguished scholar in law and economics and former chief economist at the FCC (the commission’s successor), debunks that idea. Instead, regulators blocked competition at the behest of incumbent interests and, for nearly a century, have suppressed innovation while quashing...


#CatoConnects: NAFTA and the Trump Tariffs

The President has linked tariffs on aluminum and steel to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, although he has exempted Canada and Mexico for now. Negotiations on a new NAFTA had been looking positive, but linking the trade deal to tariffs could undermine that progress. What is the future of continental free trade? And how should a renegotiated NAFTA be different?


The Future of BRAC: A Conversation

Representative Smith and Christopher Preble will discuss the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, including their findings from a new article they are copublishing in Strategic Studies Quarterly about BRAC, its impact on defense communities, and the future. For a number of years, the U.S. military — with support of presidents from both parties — has sought congressional authorization to rid itself of excess infrastructure. Unfortunately, Congress continues to stand in the way,...


International Women’s Day #CatoDigital: Free Women, Free Markets, Free World

Each year since the early 1900s, the world has recognized March 8th as International Women’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements while calling for global gender equality. What is the state of global gender equality? How free are women around the world today? What role has government historically played in women’s oppression and liberation? How have market-driven innovations and the unprecedented economic growth of the last decades...


Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the...


Qualified Immunity: The Supreme Court’s Unlawful Assault on Civil Rights and Police Accountability

One of our most important federal civil rights statutes allows individuals to sue state and local officials who violate their constitutional rights. This remedy is crucial not just to secure relief for individual claimants whose rights are violated, but also to ensure accountability and professionalism in law enforcement. But the Supreme Court has created a major hurdle for civil rights plaintiffs through the judge-made doctrine of “qualified immunity.” This doctrine holds that law...


Political Speech at the Polling Place: A Preview of Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

On February 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, an important First Amendment case that could clarify voters' speech rights nationwide. Lead plaintiff Andy Cilek (executive director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance) voted in the 2010 election in a Tea Party T-shirt that said "Don't tread on me." Because Minnesota prohibits badges, buttons, or other insignia that promote a group with "recognizable political views," at polling places an...


#CatoConnects: The Nunes Memo, Surveillance, and Secret Courts

The infamous “Nunes memo” has landed. Produced by Congressional staff and declassified by the President, the document alleged surveillance warrants on Trump campaign officials from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) were obtained without providing the court with important information. Intelligence experts have generally been skeptical of the memo’s conclusions, but the fight over this document may do long-term damage to attempts to provide important oversight for the...


Should Public-Sector Workers Be Forced to Pay Union Fees?: A Preview of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

On February 26, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a case that has the potential to overturn a 40-year-old precedent (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education) that allows public-sector unions to charge nonmembers “agency fees.” Currently, half the states have laws that enable such fees. Mark Janus—an Illinois state employee but not a union member—objects generally to being required to pay AFSCME, as well...


Statecraft and Liberal Reform in Advanced Democracies

How can advanced democracies modernize their economies and reform their welfare states? Drawing on the successful experiences of Sweden and Australia, Nils Karlson will explain the ways in which competing political parties can promote more dynamic economies and more flexible and open societies. He will discuss how distinct reform strategies, the development of new ideas, and policy entrepreneurship can overcome barriers to reform. John Samples will discuss the book's relevance to the rise...


You May Be a Sex Offender if...

In 1994, responding to a terrible murder, Congress passed a law requiring all 50 states to set up sex offender registries. Now many states closely control where and with whom persons on the registries may live, while public maps showing offenders’ places of residence lead to social shunning and occasional harassment. They also scare parents from letting their children play outside. But does the registry make kids any safer? Lenore Skenazy, the New York newspaper columnist famous for...


Overturning the FDA’s Gag Rule

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration exists to certify the safety and efficacy of medical technologies. Yet all too often, the FDA polices not drugs and medical devices, but speech. The agency prohibits many people from sharing truthful and non-misleading information about lawful uses of FDA-approved products. When the FDA restricts what people can say about drugs and medical devices, it violates the free-speech rights of patients and guarantees they will not learn about new treatments....


Islamic Education in the United States

It has long been believed that the education system must assimilate new and different groups into American society. Public school assimilation efforts, however, have often been wrenching for students and families, seemingly based on an assumption that some groups will refuse to assimilate or will even rebel against prevailing norms. This worry has animated opposition to school choice and may be particularly acute when it comes to Muslims, especially since 9/11. But are fears that Islamic...


The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money

Education is important, and the more of it you and everyone else get, the better. More years in school, more college degrees, means a better economy, country, and world for everyone. Right? Wrong, argues Bryan Caplan in a brand new book that challenges almost all the understandable, powerful—but perhaps ultimately damaging—assumptions people make about education. We hope you’ll join us for a lively debate about this assault on education orthodoxy, and the premiere of this new book.


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