Friday Feature: The Ferguson School
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Colleen Hroncich
1d ago
Colleen Hroncich “A progressive Christian school that offers a culturally inclusive education designed to foster creativity and collaboration and critical thinking, and also a love for Christ,” is how founder Tiffany Blassingame describes The Ferguson School. A fourth-generation educator, Tiffany taught in public and private schools for more than 20 years before creating her microschool. “My mom, my grandmother, and my great grandmother were all educators, and that’s where the name Ferguson comes from—it’s our maternal line,” she explains. She was head of school at a private school during ..read more
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No Customers, No Success: The Postal Banking Failure Exposed
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Nicholas Anthony
2d ago
Nicholas Anthony It has been three years since the postal banking pilot program made headlines in 2021, but it hasn’t had a single customer in at least two years (Table 1). It is long past time to put this idea to rest. For those who missed the news when it originally made headlines, the US Postal Service (USPS) launched the program in September 2021. By taking advantage of a loose reading of the law, the program allows customers to transfer business and payroll checks up to $500 to gift cards for a flat fee of $5.95 at locations in Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Washington, DC. To say the ..read more
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The Debt Delusion: Why Modern Monetary Theory Is a Luxury Belief
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Romina Boccia
2d ago
Romina Boccia While Fed Chair Jerome Powell made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, discussions about the Federal Reserve’s expectations for inflation have once again come to the forefront. Unsustainable government spending is raising inflationary pressures with potentially devastating consequences for the US economy. In this context, the belief that debt doesn’t matter, especially championed by proponents of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), appears more detached from reality than ever. This notion, prevalent on the political left, claims that a government that issues its own currency can nev ..read more
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Powell v. SEC: Judges Should Strike Down the SEC's Unconstitutional "Gag Rule"
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Thomas A. Berry, Brent Skorup, Christopher Barnewolt
3d ago
Thomas A. Berry, Brent Skorup, and Christopher Barnewolt Americans pride themselves on their freedom to criticize the government. Indeed, there is widespread agreement that the First Amendment was added to the Constitution to protect the right of Americans to criticize the conduct of government officials. But for over fifty years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has wielded an immense power to silence the speech of its potential critics: The SEC will not settle a regulatory investigation with someone unless that person agrees to never deny the SEC’s accusations. This “no-admit-no-deny ..read more
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Prohibition Kills
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Jeffrey Miron
3d ago
Jeffrey Miron Over the past few years, multiple claimants have accused opioid manufacturers and related companies of misleading patients and doctors into believing their products are relatively safe; this allegedly caused expanded prescribing, addiction, and overdoses. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against an $8 billion settlement that gave the owners of Purdue Pharma — the Sacklers — protection from future lawsuits. The court ruled that such protection is not authorized by bankruptcy law.  These lawsuits, regardless of their legal merits, are unlikely to diminish the opioid overdo ..read more
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Election Policy Roundup
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Walter Olson
3d ago
Walter Olson Here’s a roundup of election law and policy items I wish there were time to do as single posts: Confirming the intuitive: when people are lied to about elections supposedly having been stolen, they become more willing to countenance political violence. [James A. Piazza, American Politics Research 2024] Those who falsely portray elections as stolen bear a heavy moral responsibility. Count on the Illinois legislature to pull a stunt like changing the rules to yank the rug out from under adversaries who’d already committed to a ballot access method [Chicago Sun-Times editorial, Dere ..read more
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Taiwan Arms Backlog, June 2024: First Arms Sales to the Lai Ching-te Administration and New Information about Delays
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Eric Gomez, Benjamin Giltner
4d ago
Eric Gomez and Benjamin Giltner The backlog of US arms sales to Taiwan grew in June 2024 to $20.5 billion, an increase of almost $840 million from the previous month. As shown in Figures 1 and 2, asymmetric capabilities account for the backlog’s growth in June. June 2024 featured two major developments: the first arms sales under the newly inaugurated Lai Ching-te administration, and the release of a Ministry of National Defense (MND) report to Taiwan’s legislature that provides new information about several delayed arms packages. For a detailed list of the arms packages in the backlog, see ..read more
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The Fate of Millions of People with PTSD Is in the Hands of the FDA
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Jeffrey A. Singer
4d ago
Jeffrey A. Singer Last month, an advisory panel convened by the Food and Drug Administration reviewed the results of phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA (midomafetamine, known colloquially as “ecstasy” or “molly”) in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The committee recommended, by a vote of 9–2, against the FDA approving the drug to treat PTSD. The committee based their vote on an analysis by FDA scientists that concluded it is impossible to conduct truly double-blinded placebo-based randomized controlled trials on the drug. For a study to be double-blinded, neither the participants ..read more
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Is Argentina’s Sale of Puts on Treasury Bonds Less Risky than Dollarization?
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Daniel Raisbeck
4d ago
Daniel Raisbeck During his speech at a June 12 event in Buenos Aires, held by the Cato Institute and local think tank Libertad y Progreso, Argentina’s President Javier Milei pointed to the sale of puts on Treasury bonds as part of the ruinous inheritance he received from the last government. Puts are options in which the seller agrees to buy a security at a lower price (the strike) than when the contract is agreed upon if the buyer so chooses, whereas the buyer risks losing the cost of the option if the strike price does not materialize before the expiration date. The puts strategy, Milei arg ..read more
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New Paper Examines Jones Act’s Cost to Puerto Rico
Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace Blog
by Colin Grabow
4d ago
Colin Grabow Perhaps no part of the United States is more impacted by the Jones Act than Puerto Rico. Thanks to the 1920 law, the struggling territory’s approximately 3.2 million people must use some of the world’s most expensive shipping for commerce with the US mainland (by far its top trading partner). One would intuit such protectionism inflicts no small cost to the island’s economy given its heavy dependence on ocean transport. But exactly how significant is it? A recently released working paper from two Purdue University economists may have gotten us closer to the answer ..read more
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