At the Cato Institute we take a different view. We propose that passing more laws — that is, more mandates, bans, regulations, taxes, subsidies, boondoggles, transfer programs, and proclamations — is at best a dubious accomplishment. In fact, given that the American people pondered the “least productive Congress ever” twice, and twice kept the government divided between the two parties, it just might be that most Americans are fine with a Congress that passes fewer laws.
Sometimes, indeed, the wisest course for Congress is to repeal a law, or to refrain from passing a proposed law. In part, that view reflects one major theme of this agenda: that even many vitally important things in American society are not the province of the federal government. We stand firmly on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, on the bedrock American values of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. And throughout our 38 years we have been willing to criticize officials of both parties when they sought to take the country in another direction. But we have also been pleased to work with officials of both parties when they seek to expand freedom or limit government.
In this document, Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress, we outline modest and practical steps Congress and the administration could take in the next two years in that direction — reforms of health care, financial regulation, taxes, surveillance, marijuana policy, civil asset forfeiture, war powers, immigration, transportation, and more.