2020 has demonstrated that even a pandemic will not slow the pace of news and the chaos on Capitol Hill. To help you stay on top of recent developments (and to give you something new to watch!), the Niskanen Center is tackling the most pressing issues and policy developments associated with the elections and news—but also working to prepare us for the future.
We’ve finished up this year’s briefings and look forward to 2021’s agenda!
ELECTION FORECASTING & THE ROLE OF MODERATION IN A BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
Hosted by Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Niskanen’s Rachel Bitecofer, Steve Teles, Brink Lindsey, and Geoff Kabaservice
Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 11 AM EDT [view recording here]
Rachel Bitecofer leads off this webinar with a review of her highly-anticipated election forecast, the methodology and assumptions that underlie her predictions, and the various factors—including COVID-19—that could influence turnout and results in November. For purposes of this webinar, we assume a Biden victory in November, and allow Steve Teles, Brink Lindsey, and Geoff Kabaservice to discuss various scenarios for the correlation of political forces in 2021. In particular, they consider factional rivalries between moderates and the left in the Democratic party and the possibility of some Republicans joining with moderate Democrats in a centrist coalition.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REFORMS FOR A PANDEMIC AND BEYOND: CASH ASSISTANCE AND UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
Co-hosted by Niskanen and the University of San Diego’s Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy, with Niskanen’s Ed Dolan
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 11 AM PDT / 2 PM EDT [view the recording here]
Together with the University of San Diego’s Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy, Ed Dolan will discuss why our social safety net was woefully unprepared for this pandemic, and how a program of Integrated Cash Assistance, including features from universal basic income, negative income taxes, and wage subsidies, could help us do better. An important requirement of a pandemic-ready safety net is permanent universal enrollment, so that the government knows where to send cash to those in need. Such a program would provide policymakers with a basic framework to ramp up payments for special purposes in an emergency.
The University of San Diego’s Center for Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy is an interdisciplinary center that promotes research and education about the institutional and moral framework of a free society. The Center brings together these disciplines to help students, faculty, and the public better understand important issues of public policy and is committed to fostering open dialogue among a wide range of competing viewpoints, and to fostering the skills of critical thinking and independent thought necessary for the development of a free and responsible citizenry.
WEAKNESSES OF OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM REVEALED BY COVID-19
Hosted by Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Niskanen’s Ed Dolan and Jeffrey Flier
Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 1 PM EDT [view recording here]
Crises have a way of revealing the weak points in critical systems. For the American health insurance system, weaknesses exposed by the COVID-19 crisis include coverage that disappears when people lose their jobs, inadequate provision for pandemic risk, and incomplete coverage of screening and prevention. Ed Dolan and Jeffrey Flier will discuss how three reform proposals: 1) Joe Biden’s Democratic healthcare plan; 2) Bruce Westerman’s Republican Fair Care Act; and 3) Niskanen’s nonpartisan Universal Catastrophic Coverage would help address these problems.
NISKANEN’S ORIGINAL RESEARCH: HOW OUR WORK IMPACTS CLIMATE, IMMIGRATION, AND POVERTY POLICY
Hosted by Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Niskanen’s Jeremy L. Neufeld, Shuting Pomerleau, and Robert Orr
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1 PM EDT [view recording here]
Niskanen’s original research is widely recognized for its accuracy and importance to our policy work. Niskanen’s Jeremy L. Neufeld, Shuting Pomerleau, and Robert Orr will discuss their ongoing research projects moving forward. Jeremy L. Neufeld recently published research investigating how immigration to countries like the United States improves the well-being of immigrants and those they leave behind. The research also explored what factors control the scale and distribution of those gains and what that means for informing policy decisions.
Shuting Pomerleau will discuss the border adjustment mechanisms in a number of recent carbon bills, why they are important for a carbon tax, and what are some key policy design considerations. And finally, Robert T. Orr’s ongoing research concerns barriers to providing affordable healthcare services and promising strategies to address these. Robert’s research pulls together promising solutions to these costly impediments, drawing from both domestic and international experiences. These solutions include: health licensing reforms, streamlining health worker education, and expanding practice authority for non-physician health providers. This research is pertinent to policymakers at both the state and federal levels.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND WILDFIRES: WHAT DOES SCIENCE TELL US?
Hosted by Niskanen’s Dr. Joseph Majkut, with guest speaker Dr. Zach Zobel (additional panelists TBD)
Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 1 PM EDT [view recording here]
Recent years have seen record fire seasons in many parts of the globe, including California, the Amazon Rainforest, and Australia. These wildfires have burned millions of acres of land, forced businesses to go bankrupt, and caused dramatic costs for response efforts and in lives lost. Scientists are actively researching how the effects of climate change are changing the incidence and severity of wildfires. In this briefing, our panel of scientists—including project scientist Dr. Zach Zobel from the Woods Hole Research Center—will discuss recent research developments in the science of climate change and wildfires and their implications for the U.S. and globe.
A DECLINE IN NATURALIZATIONS AND IMMIGRATION POLICY IN THE FAST LANE
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kristie De Peña, with Matthew La Corte and guest speaker Doug Rand
For public health reasons, many in-person immigration services—like naturalizations—were paused in early spring (although some still continue nationwide). In just a few short weeks, the administration has made countless changes to immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, and we expect more to come. Our discussion with Doug Rand, the co-founder of Boundless Immigration and senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists, and Matthew La Corte will focus on what those changes are, and how they will impact both our foreign-born population and America’s economic recovery.
DRUG PATENTS AND COVID-19
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Brink Lindsey and Dan Takash
Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 1 PM EDT [view recording here]
Our patent discussion with Brink Lindsey and Dan Takash will focus on general pharma policy, and the debate about IPR/USPTO functioning. Our experts will discuss vaccines and treatments, how small inventors compete with large drug companies in today’s market, and how patent reform should be part of a post-pandemic economic recovery.
TRUMPOCALYPSE AND THE FUTURE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY: A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID FRUM
Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 3 PM EDT [view recording here]
Please join us for a virtual conversation with acclaimed political commentator David Frum about his new book, Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy. In this sequel to the 2018 bestseller Trumpocracy, the Atlantic magazine senior editor and former presidential speechwriter assesses the state of our democracy in the wake of Trump’s presidency. David Frum and the Niskanen Center’s Geoffrey Kabaservice will discuss the book with particular attention to the state of the Republican Party and the ways that Trump’s influence on the party may outlast his presidency.
NOVEMBER ELECTIONS PREDICTIONS AND PREPARATIONS
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Rachel Bitecofer, Kristie De Peña, and Geoff Kabaservice [view recording here]
As November elections near, Rachel Bitecofer, Kristie De Peña, and Geoff Kabaservice will discuss changes to election processes, predictions in contested states and districts, and how new election modalities and funding may impact turnout.
CARES II AND COVID-19 RECOVERY
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis, with Will Wilkinson and Sam Hammond
Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 11 AM EDT [view recording here]
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY – HOW CAN THESE POLICIES CHANGE THE CURRENT WORLD ORDER?
First of a three-part series with the Takshashila Institution.
Wednesday July 8, 2020, 9 AM EDT/6:30 PM IST [view recording here]
In the current circumstances, what’s the best-case argument in favour of liberal democracy? Why do the populists have the upper hand today? Where have liberal democracies gone wrong? Will Wilkinson, Nitin Pai, and Manoj Kewalramani discuss these and many other questions in the first session of our “Beyond the Pandemic: The Battle for Ideas” discussion series, hosted with the Takshashila Institute.
FREE MARKETS – WHAT DOES ECONOMIC PROSPERITY LOOK LIKE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD?
Second of a three-part series with the Takshashila Institution.
Wednesday July 15, 2020, 9 AM EDT/6:30 PM IST [view recording here]
Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis and Steve Teles join with the Takshashila Institution’s Anupam Manur to discuss the changes that might occur to the market system after the pandemic.
OPEN SOCIETIES – HOW DOES THE NEED FOR TOLERANCE IMPACT GOVERNMENT ACTION
Second of a three-part series with the Takshashila Institution.
Wednesday July 22, 2020, 9 AM EDT/6:30 PM IST [view recording here]
Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis and Geoffrey Kabaservice chat with the Takshashila Institution’s Narayan Ramachandran about the benefits of free speech, public dialogue, and diversity in India and the U.S.
COPYRIGHT DURING THE PANDEMIC
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis
Thursday, October 8, 2020, 11 AM ET [view recording here]
The ability to work, learn, and interact online during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a blessing for those who can do so. But the current structure of copyright law means that many of the ways people are interacting during the pandemic—including shifting in-person activities online—could be copyright infringement. Joined by Public Knowledge’s Senior Counsel Meredith Rose, Niskanen’s Daniel Takash will discuss what commonplace activities exist in a legal grey area, and how copyright law should adapt to the current situation.
REPUBLICANS MAKE THE CASE FOR ADMITTING MORE REFUGEES
Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 2 PM ET [watch recording here]
The Trump administration has decreased refugee resettlement to a record low level, upending decades of bipartisan support. Historically, Republican administrations have resettled high numbers of refugees in furtherance of national security, foreign policy, and humanitarian objectives. Moderated by Niskanen’s Matthew La Corte, Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute; former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Olivia Enos of the Heritage Foundation; and Niskanen’s Kristie De Peña, will explore the policy and politics of improving and expanding our refugee resettlement system, and how to rebuild bipartisan support for refugees.
HIGH ROAD, HIGH PERFORMANCE: A VISION FOR FASTER, FAIRER GROWTH
With Niskanen Center President Jerry Taylor and hosted by Geoff Kabaservice
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 11 AM ET [view recording here]
We believe the case for the Niskanen policy synthesis–dedicated both to liberating the private sector from unnecessary restraints and expanding and upgrading the public sector’s capacity to provide social insurance and other public goods–has taken on new and critical urgency in light of recent events. Niskanen Center President Jerry Taylor will be joined by Brink Lindsey and Samuel Hammond to discuss our new reform agenda paper, which seeks to translate our broad policy vision into a concrete, wide-ranging agenda for policy reform. Our goal is to apply our principles to the problem of restoring inclusive prosperity, that is, revitalizing flagging economic dynamism while ensuring that the rewards of such dynamism are broadly shared.
INTERPRETING THE EARLY RESULTS OF THE 2020 ELECTION WITH MATT GROSSMANN AND G. ELLIOTT MORRIS
Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 2 PM ET [view recording here]
What will the 2020 election teach us about polling and politics? Join us on the afternoon following Election Day for the first ever live edition of the Science of Politics podcast as host Matt Grossmann interviews G. Elliott Morris, data journalist at The Economist, to review the early results, compare them to the polls and models, and start thinking about how the results should revise our theories and models of American voting and elections.
NOVEMBER ELECTION TAKEAWAYS
Hosted by Niskanen’s Kodiak Hill-Davis
Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 11 AM EST [view recording here]
While we countdown to Election Day, we must also prepare for the aftermath—whatever that may be. Niskanen’s Kristie De Peña, Will Wilkinson, and Geoff Kabaservice will discuss the legal, policy, and political ramifications of the elections and their aftermath.