Cato Daily Podcast

The Cato Daily Podcast allows Cato Institute scholars and other commenters to discuss relevant news and libertarian thought in a conversational, informal manner. Hosted by Caleb O. Brown.


  • An Overdue Pardon for the 'Groveland Four'

    Jan 19 2019

    Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America details the decades-old wrongful arrest of four young black men on rape charges in Florida and the work of Thurgood Marshall and other attorneys to assert basic Constitutional rights on behalf of the defendants. The last of the Groveland Four died in 2012, but thanks in large part to the book, they have now been officially pardoned.

  • The Myth of the Cyber Offense

    Jan 18 2019

    Do cyber operations among rival states achieve their stated objectives? What are the escalation risks? Brandon Vareriano is co-author of the new Cato paper, "The Myth of the Cyber Offense: The Case for Restraint."

  • Defining 'National Emergency' Down

    Jan 16 2019

    What does the Constitution have to say about national emergencies, both real and imagined? Gene Healy comments.

  • The Case for an Immigration Tariff

    Jan 16 2019

    As a pressure valve against our broken immigration system, why not let immigrants pay for the privilege? Alex Nowrasteh makes his case in a new Cato paper.

  • Dark Money and 'Lawless Prosecutions'

    Jan 14 2019

    A new documentary showcased by PBS presents Montana as a success story of campaign finance reform and Wisconsin's John Doe investigations as a failure. Steve Klein of the Pillar of Law Institute details some omissions in the Dark Money documentary. Related podcasts: Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ Raids Two Years Later October 2, 2015 “John Doe” Prosecutors Lose Big in Wisconsin October 6, 2016

  • Pharmaceutical Freedom: Why Patients Have a Right to Self Medicate

    Jan 12 2019

    The right to self medicate has a long history. It's time Americans rediscovered it. Jessica Flanigan makes her case in the new book Pharmaceutical Freedom: Why Patients Have a Right to Self Medicate.

  • Excessive Fines and Timbs v. Indiana

    Jan 11 2019

    What makes a government fine excessive? Timbs v. Indiana, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, may provide some important clarification. Sam Gedge is an Institute for Justice attorney representing Tyson Timbs before the high court.

  • Wisconsin's State-Run Butter Taste Test

    Jan 10 2019

    Tasting butter is a matter of, well, taste. In Wisconsin, certified butter tasters are a part of the normal regulatory process. Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Legal Foundation is handling an ongoing legal case on behalf of a small butter maker.

  • A Simple State-Level Reform for Prescription Drugs

    Jan 08 2019

    One big cost associated with prescription drugs is going to a doctor for a prescription. Naomi Lopez Bauman of the Goldwater Institute describes one reform that could drive those costs down.

  • What Drives Drug Prices? What Should Change?

    Jan 07 2019

    Prescription drug prices continue moving up. What can discipline the process of setting drug prices? Charles Silver is coauthor of the Cato Institute book, Overcharged.

  • How States Can Protect Data Privacy

    Jan 04 2019

    The feds have a poor record of protecting data privacy, but there are moves that states can make to do so. Connor Boyack discusses one such effort in Utah.

  • Monetary and Fiscal Policy Errors and Corrections

    Jan 04 2019

    Why is it so hard to get monetary and fiscal policy right in troubled economic times? Jeffrey Frankel of Harvard's Kennedy School comments.

  • Why Are American-Made Ships So Expensive?

    Jan 03 2019

    The Jones Act is supposed to protect U.S. shipbuilders. So why does the industry fail to compete globally? Economist Thomas Grennes comments.

  • Abusive Market Concentration in the Jones Act

    Jan 01 2019

    Manuel Reyes, head of the Puerto Rico Food Marketing, Industry and Distribution Chamber, argues that the costs of the Jones Act have accelerated. We spoke during Cato's conference on the Jones Act this month.

  • Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech on Private College Campuses

    Dec 30 2018

    When private universities pledge to enshrine academic freedom and freedom of speech, how much teeth does that promise have? Rick Esenberg is with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

  • When Unions Want to Stop Paying Dues

    Dec 30 2018

    When a local union wants to escape the expense of its state affiliate, what recourse do they have? David Osborne is with the Fairness Center. He discusses the case of a firefighter's union in Pennsylvania that has had enough.

  • If You're Middle Class, Are You in Poverty?

    Dec 29 2018

    What does it mean for policy and welfare programs when the definition of poverty creeps up into the middle class? Jarrett Skorup of the Mackinac Center comments.

  • False Promises of the Jones Act

    Dec 27 2018

    How does the Jones Act make some American industries less competitive? Bryan Riley of the National Taxpayers Union comments.

  • Radical Weirdness and the English Civil War

    Dec 26 2018

    We can trace some powerful advances in human freedom to the ideas pushed by marginalized people and groups. Anthony Comegna walks us through the weirdos who stood up for freedom during the English Civil War.

  • Stoicism for Troubled Times

    Dec 26 2018

    Control what you can control and don't let the rest trouble you. The great stoics of centuries past have much to offer our contemporary lives. Ryan Holiday comments on engaging with what matters.

  • How Trump Changed Political Comedy

    Dec 25 2018

    Donald Trump has altered political comedy, and not for the better. Comedian and satirist Andrew Heaton argues that it may be a short-term phenomenon, but it's up to comedians to adjust.

  • Judicial Deference and Kisor v. O’Rourke

    Dec 23 2018

    A new case headed to the Supreme Court may challenge a great deal of deference courts currently afford federal agencies. Andrew Grossman comments.

  • The Federal Reserve's Ongoing Mission Creep

    Dec 21 2018

    What problem was the Federal Reserve meant to solve? How does that compare with its assumed mandate today? Jeffrey Lacker is a former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He discusses the original Fed charter and the powers it now claims.

  • Why Exiting Syria is the Right Move

    Dec 20 2018

    American participation in the conflict in Syria was never approved by Congress, and the benefits of being involved are far from clear. The President has ordered an end to U.S. participation in the conflict. Cato's John Glaser and Chris Preble believe it’s the right move.

  • FIRST STEP Act Passes the Senate

    Dec 20 2018

    What makes the FIRST STEP Act the most significant criminal justice reform in years? Shon Hopwood teaches law at Georgetown University. He discusses what he believes ought to be the next steps in criminal justice reform.

  • How Legalizing Marijuana Is Securing the Border

    Dec 19 2018

    How effective would a border wall be against drug smugglers? The answer can tell us a lot about how effective it would be against illegal migrants. Cato's David Bier is author of a new policy analysis on the subject.

  • Home-Based Businesses and the Long Arm of the Law

    Dec 18 2018

    As home-based businesses grow, regulators should try to get out of the way. Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute comments.

  • Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi War in Yemen, and Modern Journalism

    Dec 17 2018

    The death of a U.S. journalist may have been the last straw for members of the Senate in considering the U.S-Saudi relationship. Spencer Ackerman of The Daily Beast discusses journalism and its risks in fraught times. We spoke at the 2018 Cato Institute Surveillance Conference.

  • Creativity in Advancing Liberty

    Dec 15 2018

    Data, numbers, charts, and white papers are fine, but advancing liberty in the future will require humor, creativity, and art in crafting compelling stories. John Papola comments on art as a tool to advance freedom.

  • Human Freedom Index 2018

    Dec 14 2018

    The Human Freedom Index continues to show the strong relationship between economic freedom and political and social freedom. Ian Vasquez discusses the latest edition of the report.

  • The New York Response to Janus

    Dec 14 2018

    The Janus ruling curtailing union power is not self-executing. Ken Girardin of The Empire Center discusses how New York has reacted to the ruling.

  • FDA's Overcaution Carries Deadly Consequences

    Dec 11 2018

    When the FDA sets out to evaluate a potential new drug, the agency's overcaution makes the exercise more expensive and potentially deadly from patients who might benefit. Mark Flatten of the Goldwater Institute comments.

  • The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America's Poor

    Dec 07 2018

    The Inclusive Economy, the new book by Cato’s Michael Tanner, examines welfare from the perspective of how government keeps many Americans poor. The book is available now.   You can support the Cato Daily Podcast and the Cato Institute by becoming a Podcast Sponsor.

  • The Simon Abundance Index

    Dec 07 2018

    Are we measuring resource availability properly? The Simon Abundance Index is an attempt to give the world a clearer picture of the abundance that surrounds us. Marian Tupy comments.   You can support the Cato Daily Podcast and the Cato Institute by becoming a Podcast Sponsor.

  • Bank Stability Ten Years after the Financial Crisis

    Dec 06 2018

    How has the banking system performed a decade after the financial crisis? Are there still reasons to worry? Tobias Adrian is Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the International Monetary Fund.

  • Open Police Complaints

    Dec 05 2018

    It's difficult to file a complaint with many police departments. In some cases, it's hard to know even how to file one. Steve Silverman of Flex Your Rights discusses the group's new project, Open Police Complaints, which aims to smooth the process and bring transparency to the process of registering a complaint against cops. You can support the Cato Daily Podcast and the Cato Institute by becoming a Podcast Sponsor.

  • What Is Classical Liberal History?

    Nov 30 2018

    History isn't merely a set of facts and events, and history doesn't emerge from a singular perspective. Michael J. Douma is co-editor of What is Classical Liberty History?

  • New Mexico Begins Innovative Fix to Occupational Licensing

    Nov 29 2018

    It outgoing New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has her way, New Mexicans will soon have a much bigger say in which businesses are allowed to serve them. Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation discusses the beginnings of a new and substantial occupational licensing reform.

  • A Daunting Brexit Sales Pitch

    Nov 29 2018

    A Brexit deal is on the table. How ugly could it be? Ryan Bourne discusses the challenging sales pitch and complicated politics of Britain leaving the European Union.

  • In Weyerhaeuser, the Frog Never Had a Chance

    Nov 28 2018

    The Weyerhaeuser decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court was nominally about protecting a frog's (potential) habitat. Holly Fretwell of the Property and Environment Research Center says protecting endangered species requires a deeper dive into the workings of the Endangered Species Act. We spoke in October before the decision was handed down.

  • Understanding the Real Rate of Interest

    Nov 27 2018

    How should we think about the real rate of interest? What changes can alter or obfuscate it? Claudio Borio of BIS comments.

  • Teacher Outrage, Teacher Compensation

    Nov 23 2018

    Do the claims that drove teacher protests in 2018 bear scrutiny? Victor Riches is President of the Goldwater Institute. He discusses some of the data on teacher compensation.

  • Dental Therapy and Health Care Monopolies

    Nov 22 2018

    Dental therapy offers a way to extend dental care to more Americans. Why isn't it more available? Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute comments.

  • In the Pursuit of Self Government, Does Quality News Matter?

    Nov 21 2018

    How much does quality newsgathering matter if the goal is self government? Anthony Comegna says it's not as important as we might hope.

  • Wild Horses, Property Rights, and Public Lands

    Nov 21 2018

    Wild horses don't care who owns the land under their hooves, but the apparent conflict between horses and property owners isn't as intractable as you might think. Hannah Downey of the Property and Environment Research Center explains.

  • Bail Reform and Public Safety

    Nov 20 2018

    Criminal defendants sometimes pose a risk to the public and should not be released, but that risk often doesn't correlate with bail that a judge might set. Daniel Dew of the Buckeye Institute comments on how bail works in courtrooms and how it might be reformed.

  • The Impeachment of Andrew "Tennessee" Johnson

    Nov 17 2018

    The impeachment of Andrew Johnson might offer a few lessons for today. Gene Healy is author of "Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power.”

  • Disciplining China's Trade Practices at the WTO

    Nov 15 2018

    China's trade practices are questionable, but are tariffs the proper response? Simon Lester is author of the new Cato paper, "Disciplining China's Trade Practices at the WTO: How WTO Complaints Can Help Make China More Market-Oriented."

  • Trump Endorses Serious Sentencing Reform

    Nov 15 2018

    President Trump has endorsed legislation that would make some federal drug sentencing reform retroactive. Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums discusses the proposal and what a new Congress should focus on in the next term.

  • Debt, Credit, and Consumer Protection

    Nov 13 2018

    Some of the large drivers of financial problems facing consumers are the regulators who are trying to protect us. New Cato senior fellow Todd Zywicki comments.

  • Social Media and the Pipe Bomber

    Nov 13 2018

    Before Cesar Sayoc sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, he threatened Cato adjunct scholar Ilya Somin.

  • Sex Worker Freedom in Nevada Holds Steady

    Nov 09 2018

    Voters in Lyon County, Nevada rejected a proposal to ban brothels there. Meanwhile, brothel owner Dennis Hof won election to state office despite his death weeks earlier. Alice Little, a sex worker in Nevada, describes what's next for defending and advancing sex worker freedom.

  • The 'Protectionist Moment' That Wasn’t

    Nov 08 2018

    Donald Trump's protectionist tendencies may have reached their natural limit. Scott Lincicome discusses his new trade bulletin on the subject.

  • Jeff Sessions "Fired for Doing the Right Thing"

    Nov 08 2018

    Jeff Sessions has resigned as Attorney General, a move that opens up many questions about the future of investigations into the White House and harsh federal law enforcement. Trevor Burrus and Alex Nowrasteh comment.

  • Divided Government Won in 2018

    Nov 07 2018

    Democrats will run the U.S. House and Republicans will hang onto the Senate. What does that mean for limited government? What were the bright spots for liberty at the state level? Michael Tanner comments.

  • New Polling on Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage Costs and Benefits

    Nov 07 2018

    Democrats have pinned some of their hopes on protecting Americans from pre-existing conditions from losing certain coverage mandates. What does polling have to say about it? Emily Ekins comments.

  • What Does the U.S. Get out of New Sanctions on Iran?

    Nov 05 2018

    What benefits does the U.S. derive from new sanctions on Iran? Iranian leaders have long said they are willing to negotiate, and the U.S. has already poked holes in its own hard line toward the regime. John Glaser and Emma Ashford comment.

  • The Threat of Creeping Overcriminalization

    Nov 03 2018

    Shon Hopwood is both a former felon and a professor of law at Georgetown. At Cato Club 200, he detailed his case for sweeping criminal justice reform.

  • Walling Off Liberty

    Nov 02 2018

    Federal tactics aimed at enforcing immigration law should be very concerning to law-abiding American citizens. Matthew Feeney discusses the findings of his new paper.

  • What Do Parents Think of Private School Choice?

    Nov 01 2018

    A large survey of parents who make use of private school choice in Florida reveals that, yes, parents really do like school choice. Jason Bedrick of EdChoice comments.

  • Trump Claims Power to End Birthright Citizenship

    Oct 31 2018

    The President may not understand the substantive requirements to alter the Constitution, but his desire to end birthright citizenship with a mere executive order is wrongheaded for a number of other reasons, as well. Alex Nowrasteh comments.

  • Regressive Regulation and Economic Opportunity

    Oct 29 2018

    Regulations that disproportionately harm the poor should get special scrutiny. Cato's Ryan Bourne and Vanessa Brown Calder joined Diane Katz of the Heritage Foundation for a live Cato Daily Podcast at Cato Club 200.

  • U.S. Plans to Abandon Nuclear Treaties

    Oct 26 2018

    Nuclear nonproliferation has long been viewed as an admirable goal. Is there a security benefit to casting aside agreements that limited the U.S. nuclear arsenal? Caroline Dorminey and Eric Gomez discuss the likely end of some longstanding limits on nuclear weapons.

  • Impeach Kavanaugh?

    Oct 25 2018

    What's the history of impeachment of judges, specifically justices of the Supreme Court? And what are the specific claims people would use to impeach Brett Kavanaugh? Gene Healy comments.

  • Does Trump Have a Trade Strategy?

    Oct 25 2018

    It's hard to figure just what the White House believes are the long-term benefits of trade protectionism and stunted trade deals? Simon Lester comments.

  • Have Republicans Given Up on Limited Government?

    Oct 23 2018

    Given Congressional Republicans' abdication on the nuts and bolts of limited government, does the GOP deserve an electoral beat-down in November? Republican U.S. Representative Mark Sanford comments.

  • Defending Free Speech in the 21st Century

    Oct 23 2018

    Big internet platforms for speech are privately owned, but those who would pressure private firms to restrict speech are often the same people who would substantially restrict the rights of people to speak. John Samples and Emily Ekins discuss how Americans think about free speech today and ways to defend it in the modern age. We spoke at Cato Club 200 in Middleburg, Virginia.

  • A Libertarian Case for Class-Action Lawsuits

    Oct 19 2018

    The class-action lawsuit should become a tool for people who have been wronged by their governments, according to Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center in Ohio. We spoke last week in Salt Lake City.

  • FDA’s Roadblocks to Self-Driven Health Care

    Oct 19 2018

    If you want to try an unapproved drug in the United States, you must be wealthy or lucky. Naomi Lopez Bauman of the Goldwater Institute discusses some promising reforms. We spoke at the State Policy Network Annual Meeting.

  • Jamal Khashoggi and the Necessary U.S. Divorce from Saudi Arabia

    Oct 17 2018

    The U.S./Saudi relationship should be under the microscope like never before following the probable death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Emma Ashford comments.

  • Union Fees after Janus

    Oct 17 2018

    Unions will not go gently following the Janus Supreme Court decision. Robert Alt of the Buckeye Institute discusses a few cases that follow on the Janus ruling.

  • Cannabis Reform Comes to Utah

    Oct 15 2018

    Utah is a conservative state, but the legislature is poised to begin the process of loosening restrictions on medical cannabis, a response to a medical marijuana ballot initiative voters will face this November. Connor Boyack of the Libertas Institute comments.

  • The False Promise of Native American Tribal Sovereignty

    Oct 13 2018

    Just how sovereign are Native American tribal lands? Terry L. Anderson is a cofounder of the Alliance for Renewing Indigenous Economies and the author of Free Market Environmentalism.

  • Adam Smith: Father of Economics

    Oct 12 2018

    Is it proper to consider Adam Smith the father of social psychology as well as economics? Jesse Norman MP discusses his new book, Adam Smith: Father of Economics.