Deirdre McCloskey, a distinguished economic historian and author of many books, including The Rhetoric of Economics, The Bourgeois Virtues, and Bourgeois Dignity, will receive CEI’s Julian Simon Memorial Award on June 20 at CEI’s annual dinner. CEI Founder and Chairman Fred Smith talks about how McCloskey’s work embodies the same joie de vivre and optimistic spirit that animated Simon’s thought.
The twentieth anniversary edition of Ten Thousand Commandments was released this week. The annual report gives a big-picture overview of the federal regulatory state. Author Wayne Crews discusses his main findings, how he started Ten Thousand Commandments, how the regulatory state has evolved over the last 20 years, and what the future holds for regulation.
The bitter fight over Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee for EPA Administrator, is headed to the Senate floor under a potential filibuster threat. Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment, explains that the deeper cause of this political fight is a startling lack of transparency at the EPA that McCarthy is unlikely to fix.
Action is heating up on the next farm bill, as the Senate Agriculture Committee today completed its markup of their bill which will go to the Senate for consideration. The House is scheduled to release its markup on Wednesday. No surprise – the Senate bill is replete with subsidies and support programs that cost tens of billions of dollars.
Yesterday, in anticipation of the markup, eleven taxpayer and policy groups sent a letter to the House and the Senate with its listing of the “Terrible Twelve” – the twelve most egregious farm policies. The groups urged policymakers to reform or eliminate these costly and distorting programs:
- Direct payments
- Federal crop insurance
- Shallow loss program
- USDA Trade Promotion programs
- Sugar program
- Diary Market Stabilization Plan
- Target prices
- Rural broadband
- Mandatory assessments
- Cotton program
- Ethanol’s Feedstock Flexibility Program
- Biomass Crop Assistance Program
Last week, a coalition organized by CEI sent a letter to policymakers urging reform of the U.S. sugar program, which costs consumers an estimated $4 billion a year in extra costs.
Amendments are likely to be introduced on the floor in both the House and the Senate to reform some of these wasteful programs. But the farm programs are a classic example of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. In addition, because nutrition and food stamp programs make up the majority of the costs of the farm bill, both urban and rural policymakers form an unholy bipartisan alliance to push farm bills through. Bipartisanship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
A high-level panel of experts yesterday pointed out the mutual economic benefits of a broad transatlantic trade pact between the United States and the European Union. At the event, co-sponsored by Meridian International Center, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish think tank Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES), the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress, and the Ronald Reagan Building and Trade Center, the speakers emphasized the significant contributions to jobs and growth a trade agreement between the two parties would bring. They noted that the title of the proposed agreement endorsed by both the U.S. and the EU is “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
Leading off the program was the former president of Spain, José María Aznar, who spoke of the need to bring the U.S. and the EU together in a trade partnership to formalize the strong economic and cultural ties that already exist and to remove still existing trade barriers. He noted that such an agreement would not only enhance the competitiveness of these developed countries, but also could help promote the free exchange of goods and services throughout the world. Aznar pointed to the just-published report by FAES, “TAFTA: The Case for an Open Transatlantic Free Trade Area,” which provides a roadmap for removing tariff and non-tariff barriers.