In case you missed it…Happy Thanksgiving!


As Cato Senior Fellow Michael Tanner wrote this week in the National Review Online, the election cycle’s “dismal and often apocalyptic campaign rhetoric” may have obscured just how much we Americans have to be thankful for. It’s an important observation. After all, despite the good and bad political outcomes over the last several decades, America remains a place where most people around the world would be thankful to visit, let alone live. Despite the depressing daily headlines of the 24-hour news cycle, it’s worth remembering that currently poverty is on the decline, the economy is growing, Americans remain incredibly charitable toward those in need and individual freedom is far greater today than throughout the rest of human history. Indeed, we have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend. (Read more)


Economic progress

Indeed, the standard of living continues to rise quickly in the United States. In fact, by many measures, Americans are richer today than we’ve ever been before. Technology, household appliances and luxury goods that once used to require months — if not years — of savings to afford are available for a literal fraction of what they once cost. Our free-market system has so vastly improved not only our wealth, but what such wealth can purchase, that it regularly boggles the mind. In 1968, for example, an Admiral Color 23-inch TV cost roughly $350 in the dollars of the day, or about $2,500 in today’s dollars. Keep in mind, this TV had access to only three networks, an incredibly low-resolution screen and required crossing the room to change the channel or the volume. Today, consumers can find a high-definition 24-inch smart TV — which allows for live-streaming from a phone or laptop, plus access to more entertainment options than ever before imagined — for as little as $140. (Read more)


Labor unions

Thanks to the Janus ruling this year, public sector workers throughout the nation now have the same right that Nevada workers have had for decades: to opt-out of union membership if they so choose. However, just as the teacher-union locals have done in the Silver State, unions in other states are doing their best to make opting-out as difficult as possible. Opt-out windows are nothing new to Silver State teachers who are given a mere two-week window in the middle of summer to drop their membership. However, in states where workers are able to exercise their right to opt out for the first time, such windows are taking many workers by surprise. At least two employees in the northeast are now suing their unions for limiting when and how workers can drop their membership. (Read more)


Free markets

Even in so-called “Red States” such as Idaho and Nebraska, voters recently showed support for growing the government’s role in healthcare. In fact, the concept of “Medicaid for all” has gone mainstream in the Democrat party, and even Republicans have moved toward expanding the program in one fashion or another. In short, Americans seem to think that one of the problems of healthcare in the United States, is that the government is simply not spending enough money on it — a view that is greatly divorced from reality. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, U.S. per capita government spending on health care is the fourth highest in the world! The truth is, that huge level of government spending in American healthcare is a major reason for the system’s expense and failures. (Read more)


Free speech

The online publication Vox recently used a poll that ostensibly shows broad support for the concept of free speech to demonstrate that Americans truly believe in the spirit of the First Amendment. However, maybe Vox should have looked a little closer. While it’s true that Americans largely support the concept of free speech, that principle starts to fall apart when respondents are asked about things like “hate” speech, offensive speech or politically unpopular speech  —  with many respondents showing a willingness to become censors. Indeed, a look into the data shows that many self-proclaimed “champions of free speech” actually have a pretty confused view of the principle. (Read more)