Everything Old Is New Again

With America in trouble, I’ve been pleased to see some fresh, innovative thinking emanating from Washington.  What can brighten the country’s future? Anne Applebaum proposes that Institutions should do what they are good at. And the expansion of NATO is one of the few true post-Cold-War foreign-policy success stories… We could continue that process. The […]

WikiLeaks, the Law, and Common Sense

With the third WikiLeaks dump now before us, and more promised down the road, two questions that arise are whether prosecutions of those responsible are possible and what can be done to better protect classified material. Neither question admits of easy answers. One can start, however, by noting that overclassification is a perennial problem in government, and correcting that […]

Wikileaks Sheds Light on Government Ineptitude

For years I have told anybody who would listen how U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan contribute to Pakistan’s slow-motion collapse. Well it appears that my take on the situation was not so over-the-top. Amid some 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables released by online whistleblower Wikileaks, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson warned in cable traffic that U.S. policy in South […]

No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks Are Not Transparent

This morning the full Senate voted down a proposed rule that would have barred earmarks for the next two years. Part of the reason? Earmarks are transparent. Here’s Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), quoted in a Hill article: There is full disclosure in my office of every single request for an appropriation. We then ask those […]

Voters Recognize U.S. Military Spending Tops Other Countries

That is the headline of a press release announcing the results of a recent Rasmussen poll. The survey of likely voters finds that 58 percent recognize that the United States spends more on its military than any other country in the world. The headline writers have obviously taken this as a positive. I think one can just as easily spin it […]

Social Security Disability Benefits Unsustainable

The disability insurance component of Social Security was created in 1956 to provide income support to individuals aged 50 to 64 who were permanently disabled. As is typical with government programs, eligibility and benefits were greatly expanded over the subsequent decades. SSDI, which is funded through a 1.8 percent payroll tax on all workers, was […]

“Public Schools Have to Take Everyone…

…and don’t privilege the wealthy who can pay for special access.” Well, no — those are two great myths exploded in this piece about Chicago’s public schools. Remember the article next time you hear that school choice is unacceptable because it keeps everyone from having equal access to great schools. “Public Schools Have to Take Everyone… is a […]

Supreme Court Accepts Another Chance to Reverse Ninth Circuit, Uphold First Amendment

Today, the Supreme Court agreed to review McComish v. Bennett (consolidated with Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett), which challenges Arizona’s public financing of elections as an unconstitutional abridgment of speech. Because the case concerns a crucial new battleground in the fight between free speech and “fair” (read: government-controlled) elections, Cato filed an amicus brief supporting […]

Random Thoughts on WikiLeaks

I’ve fielded some questions today about the WikiLeaks story, and I’m feeling pretty conflicted. I’m aware of the fact that the leak of classified information could pose a short-term risk to national security, but it is my sense that most of the claims of dire harm are overwrought. There is considerable evidence that much — […]

Three Cheers for Switzerland as Voters Reject Class-Warfare Tax Hike in National Referendum

I’ve always had a soft spot for Switzerland. The nation’s decentralized structure shows the value of federalism, both as a means of limiting the size of government and as a way of promoting tranquility in a nation with several languages, religions, and ethnic groups. I also admire Switzerland’s valiant attempt to preserve financial privacy in […]