Cato Institute

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Cato Institute
Catologo.PNG
Founder(s) Edward H. Crane, Charles G. Koch, Murray Rothbard
Established 1974[1]
Mission To increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace.[2]
President (and CEO) John A. Allison IV[3]
Chairman Robert A. Levy[3]
Executive Vice-President David Boaz[4]
Faculty 46
Adjunct faculty 70
Staff 100
Budget Revenue: $33,097,063
Expenses: $22,344,728
(FYE March 2012)[5]
Slogan "Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace"
Location

1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., United States

(38°54′12″N 77°01′35″W / 38.90333°N 77.02639°W / 38.90333; -77.02639Coordinates: 38°54′12″N 77°01′35″W / 38.90333°N 77.02639°W / 38.90333; -77.02639)
Website Cato.org

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch,[6] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries.[nb 1] In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[6][7] Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8] According to the 2011 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 14 in the "Top Thirty Worldwide Think Tanks" and number 6 in the "Top Fifty United States Think Tanks".[9]

The Institute's website states, "The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace."[10]

Cato Institute building in Washington, D.C.

History[edit]

The institute was founded in December 1974 in Wichita, Kansas and initially funded by Charles G. Koch.[nb 2][11] The other members of the first board of directors included co-founder Murray Rothbard, libertarian scholar Earl Ravenal, and businessmen Sam H. Husbands Jr. and David H. Padden.[6][12] At the suggestion of Rothbard,[12] the institute changed its name in 1976 to Cato Institute after Cato's Letters, a series of British essays penned in the early 18th century by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.[13][14]

Cato relocated first to San Francisco, California in 1977, then to Washington, D.C. in 1981, settling initially in a historic house on Capitol Hill.[15](p446) The Institute moved to its current location on Massachusetts Avenue in 1993. Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of think tanks by James G. McGann, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in "producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research".[16]

Activities[edit]

Various Cato programs were favorably ranked in a survey published by the University of Pennsylvania in 2012.[9]

Publications[edit]

The Cato Institute publishes numerous policy studies, briefing papers, periodicals, and books. Peer-reviewed academic journals include the Cato Journal[17][18][19] and Regulation.[20][21][22] Other periodicals include Cato's Letter,[23] Cato Supreme Court Review,[24] and Cato Policy Report.[25] Cato published Inquiry Magazine from 1977 to 1982 (before transferring it to the Libertarian Review Foundation)[26] and Literature of Liberty from 1978 to 1979 (before transferring it to the Institute for Humane Studies).[27]

Notable books from Cato and Cato scholars include:

Web projects[edit]

In addition to maintaining its own website in English and Spanish,[28] Cato maintains websites focused on particular topics:

  • "Downsizing the Federal Government" contains essays on the size of the US Federal Government and recommendations for decreasing various programs.[29]
  • "Libertarianism.org" is a website focused on the theory and practice of libertarianism.
  • Cato Unbound, a web-only publication that features a monthly open debate between four people. The conversation begins with one lead essay, followed by three response essays by separate people. After that, all four participants can write as may responses and counter-responses as they want for the duration of that month.
  • The "PoliceMisconduct.net" contains reports and stories from Cato's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project and the National Police Misconduct News Feed.[30]
  • "Overlawyered" is a law blog on the subject of tort reform run by author Walter Olson.

Social media sponsored by Cato includes "Daily Podcasts" (through iTunes and RSS feeds), plus pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.[31]

Conferences[edit]

Speakers at Cato have included Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato.[32][33][34] In 2009 Czech Republic President Václav Klaus spoke at a conference.[35]

Ideological relationships[edit]

Conservatism[edit]

The Cato Institute officially resists being labeled as part of the conservative movement because "'conservative' smacks of an unwillingness to change, of a desire to preserve the status quo".[36]

Cato scholars Gene Healy and Tim Lynch were critical of the expansion of executive power under President George W. Bush[37] and the Iraq War.[38] In 2006 and 2007, Cato published two books critical of the Republican Party's perceived abandonment of the limited-government ideals that swept them into power in 1994.[39][40] For their part, only a minority of Republican congressmen supported President George W. Bush's 2005 proposal to partially privatize Social Security, an idea strongly backed by the Institute. And in the 109th Congress, President Bush's immigration plan – which was based on a proposal by Cato scholar Dan Griswold[41] – went down to defeat largely due to the eventual opposition of conservative Republican congressmen.[42]

Some Cato scholars disagree with conservatives on drug liberalization,[43] liberal immigration policy,[44] energy policy,[45] and LGBT rights[46] – including the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.[47] Former Cato President Ed Crane had a particular dislike for neoconservatism. In a 2003 article with Cato Chairman Emeritus William A. Niskanen, he called neoconservatism a "particular threat to liberty perhaps greater than the ideologically spent ideas of left-liberalism".[48] In 1995, Crane wrote that neoconservatives "have a fundamentally benign view of the state", which Crane considers antithetical to libertarian ideals of individual freedom.[49] In 2004, Cato's foreign policy team criticized neoconservative foreign policy,[50] albeit the opposition to neo-conservative foreign policy has not always been uniform.[51]

Selected positions of Cato scholars[edit]

Many Cato scholars advocate support for civil liberties, liberal immigration policies,[44] drug liberalization,[43] and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and laws restricting consensual sexual activity.[46][47]

In 2006, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos proposed the term "Libertarian Democrat" to describe his particular liberal position, suggesting that libertarians should be allies of the Democratic Party. Replying, Cato vice president for research Brink Lindsey agreed that libertarians and liberals should view each other as natural ideological allies,[52] and noted continuing differences between mainstream liberal views on economic policy and Cato's "Jeffersonian philosophy". Cato has stated on its "About Cato" page:

The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato's work has increasingly come to be called "libertarianism" or "market liberalism." It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.[53]

Objectivism[edit]

Further information: Libertarianism and Objectivism

The relationship between Cato and the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) improved with the nomination of Cato's new president John A. Allison IV in 2012. He is a former ARI board member and is reported to be an "ardent devotee" of Rand who has promoted reading her books to colleges nationwide.[54]

Cato positions on political issues and policies[edit]

Some Cato scholars advocate policies that advance "individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace". They are libertarian in their policy positions, typically advocating diminished government intervention in domestic, social, and economic policies and decreased military and political intervention worldwide. Cato was cited by columnist Ezra Klein as nonpartisan, saying that it is “the foremost advocate for small-government principles in American life" and it "advocates those principles when Democrats are in power, and when Republicans are in power".[55]

Specific policy proposals advanced by Cato scholars include such measures as abolishing the minimum wage,[56] and abolishing affirmative action.[57] Eric Lichtblau thinks Cato is presently "one of the country’s most widely cited research organizations".[58]

On foreign policy[edit]

Cato's non-interventionist foreign policy views, and strong support for civil liberties, have frequently led Cato scholars to criticize those in power, both Republican and Democratic. Cato scholars opposed President George H. W. Bush's 1991 Gulf War operations (a position which caused the organization to lose nearly $1 million in funding),[15](p454) President Bill Clinton's interventions in Haiti and Kosovo, and President George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq. As a response to the September 11 attacks, Cato scholars supported the removal of al Qaeda and the Taliban regime from power, but are against an indefinite and open-ended military occupation of Afghanistan.[59]

Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato's Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, criticized many of the arguments offered to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. One of the war's earliest critics, Carpenter wrote in January 2002: "Ousting Saddam would make Washington responsible for Iraq's political future and entangle the United States in an endless nation-building mission beset by intractable problems."[60] Carpenter also predicted: "Most notably there is the issue posed by two persistent regional secession movements: the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south."[60] Cato's Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Christopher Preble, argues in The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, that America's position as an unrivaled superpower tempts policymakers to constantly overreach and to redefine ever more broadly the "national interest".[61]

Christopher Preble has said that the "scare campaign" to protect defense spending from cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011 has backfired.[62]

On domestic issues[edit]

Cato has published strong criticisms of the 1998 settlement which many U.S. states signed with the tobacco industry.[63] In 2004, Cato scholar Daniel Griswold wrote in support of President George W. Bush's failed proposal to grant temporary work visas to otherwise undocumented laborers which would have granted limited residency for the purpose of employment in the U.S.[64]

The Cato Institute published a study proposing a Balanced Budget Veto Amendment to the United States Constitution.[65]

In 2003, Cato filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the remaining state laws that made private, non-commercial homosexual relations between consenting adults illegal. Cato cited the 14th Amendment, among other things, as the source of their support for the ruling. The amicus brief was cited in Justice Kennedy's majority opinion for the Court.[66]

In 2006, Cato published a Policy Analysis criticising the Federal Marriage Amendment as unnecessary, anti-federalist, and anti-democratic.[67] The amendment would have changed the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage; the amendment failed in both houses of Congress.

Cato scholars have been sharp critics of current U.S. drug policy and the perceived growing militarization of U.S. law enforcement.[68] Additionally, the Cato Institute opposes smoking bans[69] and mandatory use of safety belts.[70]

Criticism of corporate welfare[edit]

In 2004, the Institute published a paper arguing in favor of "drug re-importation".[71] Cato has published numerous studies criticizing what it calls "corporate welfare", the practice of public officials funneling taxpayer money, usually via targeted budgetary spending, to politically connected corporate interests.[72][73][74][75]

Cato president Ed Crane and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope co-wrote a 2002 op-ed piece in the Washington Post calling for the abandonment of the Republican energy bill, arguing that it had become little more than a gravy train for Washington, D.C. lobbyists.[76] Again in 2005, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor teamed up with Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club to attack the Republican Energy Bill as a give-away to corporate interests.[77]

On Copyright Issues[edit]

A 2006 study attacked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[78]

On environmental policy[edit]

Cato scholars have written extensively about the issues of the environment, including global warming, environmental regulation, and energy policy. The Cato Institute lists "Energy and the Environment" as one of its 13 major "research issues",[79] and global warming is one of six sub-topics under this heading.[80] The Institute has issued over two dozen studies on energy and environmental topics in recent years.[81]

Some experts, including writers cited by PolitiFact.com and Scientific American, have criticized Cato's work on global warming.[82][83] Cato has held a number of briefings on global warming with global warming skeptics as panelists. In December 2003, panelists included Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and John Christy. Michaels, Balling and Christy agree that global warming is, in fact, related at least some degree to human activity but that some scientists and the media have overstated the danger. The Cato Institute has also criticized political attempts to stop global warming as expensive and ineffective:

No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame (i.e., 50 years or so), even with full compliance.[84]

In response to the Worldwatch Institute Report in May 2003[clarification needed] that linked climate change and severe weather events, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor said:

It's false. There is absolutely no evidence that extreme weather events are on the increase. None. The argument that more and more dollar damages accrue is a reflection of the greater amount of wealth we've created.[this quote needs a citation]

Three out of five "Doubters of Global Warming" interviewed by PBS's Frontline were funded by, or had some other institutional connection with, the Institute.[85][not in citation given] Cato has often criticized Al Gore's stances on the issue of global warming and agreed with the Bush administration's skeptical attitude toward the Kyoto protocols.

Cato scholars have also been critical of the Bush administration's views on energy policy. In 2003, Cato scholars Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren blasted the Republican Energy Bill as "hundreds of pages of corporate welfare, symbolic gestures, empty promises, and pork-barrel projects".[86] They also spoke out against the former president's calls for larger ethanol subsidies.[87]

With regard to the "Takings Clause" of the United States Constitution and environmental protection, libertarians associated with Cato contend that the Constitution is not adequate to guarantee the protection of private property rights.[88]

Other commentaries of presidential administrations[edit]

George W. Bush administration[edit]

Cato scholars were critical of George W. Bush's Republican administration (2001–2009) on several issues, including education,[89] and excessive government spending.[90] On other issues, they supported Bush administration initiatives, most notably health care,[91] Social Security,[92][93] global warming,[84] tax policy,[94] and immigration.[64][95][96][97]

2008 Election campaign commentaries[edit]

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.[98][99]

Barack Obama administration[edit]

Cato has criticized President Obama's stances on policy issues such as fiscal stimulus,[100] healthcare reform,[101] foreign policy,[102] and the drug-related matters,[43] while supporting his stance on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell[47] and liberal immigration policy.[44]

Funding and structure[edit]

The Cato Institute is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization under U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Institute performs no contract research and does not accept government funding. For revenue, the Institute is largely dependent on private contributions.

According to its annual report, the Cato Institute had fiscal year 2008 income of $24 million. The report notes that 77% of Cato's income that year came from individual contributions, 13% from foundations, 2% from corporations, and 8% from "program and other income" (e.g., publication sales, program fees).[103]

Shareholder dispute[edit]

According to an agreement signed in 1977, there were to be four shareholders of the Cato Institute. They were Charles and David H. Koch, Ed Crane,[104] and William A. Niskanen. Niskanen died in October 2011.[105] In March 2012, a dispute broke out over the ownership of Niskanen's shares.[104][105] Charles and David Koch filed suit in Kansas, seeking to void his shareholder seat. The Kochs argued that Niskanen’s shares should first be offered to the board of the Institute, and then to the remaining shareholders.[106] Crane contended that Niskanen's share belonged to his widow, Kathryn Washburn, and that the move by the Kochs was an attempt to turn Cato into "some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P.... It's detrimental to Cato, it's detrimental to Koch Industries, it's detrimental to the libertarian movement."[58]

In June 2012, Cato announced an agreement in principle to settle the dispute by changing the institute's governing structure. Under the agreement, a board replaced the shareholders and Crane, who at the time was also Chief Executive Officer, retired. Former BB&T bank CEO John A. Allison IV replaced him.[107][108] The Koch brothers agreed to drop two lawsuits.[109]

Foundation support[edit]

In 2008 Cato received 13% of its support from foundations.[103] In 2010, Cato reported contributions by some 60 plus foundations[110] including:

Corporate support[edit]

In 2011 Cato received just under 2% of its support from corporations. According to the group's annual report, the following corporations gave more than $5000:[111]

Criticism of corporate support to Cato[edit]

The advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights accused Cato of being too tied to tobacco industry corporate funders. They reported that Cato received funding from Philip Morris and other tobacco companies in the 1990s and that at one point Rupert Murdoch served on the boards of directors of both Cato and Philip Morris.[112]

Associates in the news[edit]

  • Cato senior fellow Robert A. Levy personally funded the plaintiffs' successful Supreme Court challenge to the District of Columbia's gun ban (District of Columbia v. Heller), on the basis of the Second Amendment.[113]
  • In January 2008, Dom Armentano wrote an op-ed piece about UFOs and classified government data in the Vero Beach Press-Journal.[114] Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz wrote that "I won't deny that this latest op-ed played a role in our decision..." to drop Armentano as a Cato adjunct scholar.[115]

Nobel laureates at Cato[edit]

The following Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates are associated with Cato:[116]

Milton Friedman Prize[edit]

Since 2002, the Cato Institute has awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty every two years to "an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom."[117] The prize comes with a cash award of US$500,000.

Friedman Prize Winners
Year Recipient Nationality
2002 Peter Thomas Bauer[118]  British
2004 Hernando de Soto Polar[119]  Peruvian
2006 Mart Laar[120]  Estonian
2008 Yon Goicoechea[121]  Venezuelan
2010 Akbar Ganji[122]  Iranian
2012 Mao Yushi[123]  Chinese
2014 Leszek Balcerowicz[124]  Polish

Board of directors[edit]

As of December 2012:[125]

* Also listed as a Cato Policy Scholar

Notable Cato experts[edit]

Notable scholars associated with Cato include the following:[127]

Policy scholars[edit]

Adjunct scholars[edit]

Fellows[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States. "Forbes List". Forbes. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ Koch is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States. "Forbes List". Forbes. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kansas Secretary of State Business Entity Name Search for "Cato Foundation" gives entity no. 0385872, established in Kansas December 19, 1974.
  2. ^ "Cato's Mission". Cato Institute. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Cato Institute listing of Board of Directors, accessed September 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Cato Institute website profile of David Boaz, accessed September 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.  Also see "Quickview data". GuideStar. "Total Revenue: $24,865,000; Total Expenses: $25,554,000 [FYE March 2013]" 
  6. ^ a b c "25 years at the Cato Institute: The 2001 Annual Report". Retrieved August 19, 2013.  OCLC 52255585
  7. ^ "Articles of Incorporation Charles Koch Foundation and Restated Articles of Incorporation". December 19, 1974 and April 30, 1994. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ Cobane, Craig T. (2005). "Think Tanks". Americans at War. Gale. Retrieved August 18, 2013 from HighBeam Research. 
  9. ^ a b James G. McGann (Director) (January 20, 2012). "The Global Go To Think Tank Report, 2011". Retrieved August 18, 2013.  Other "Top Thirty Think Tank" rankings include #17 in International Development, #6 in Health Policy, #3 in Domestic Economic Policy, #8 in International Economic Policy, and #2 in Social Policy. By "Special Achievement" Cato's rating is #6 in Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals, #6 in Outstanding Policy-Oriented Public Policy Research Programs, #3 in Best Use of the Internet or Social Media to Engage the Public, #8 in Best Use of the Media (Print or Electronic) to Communicate Programs and Research, #11 in Best External Relations/Public Engagement Programs, and #8 in Greatest Impact on Public Policy (Global).
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  11. ^ "Articles of Incorporation Charles Koch Foundation and Restated Articles of Incorporation". December 19, 1974 & April 30, 1994. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
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  13. ^ The essays, named after Cato the Younger, the defender of republican institutions in Rome, expounded on the political views of philosopher John Locke, that had a strong influence on the American Revolution's intellectual environment. See: Mitchell, Annie (July 2004). "A Liberal Republican "Cato"". American Journal of Political Science 48 (3): 588. doi:10.1111/j.0092-5853.2004.00089.x. 
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  17. ^ ISSN 0273-3072
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  25. ^ ISSN 0743-605X
  26. ^ ISSN 0148-5008; OCLC 3456688
  27. ^ ISSN 0161-7303; OCLC 4007467 (Literature of Liberty ended publication in 1982.)
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  29. ^ Downsizing the Federal Government
  30. ^ PoliceMisconduct.net
  31. ^ Cato Daily Podcast
  32. ^ Bleier, Karen (October 27, 2008). "International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato". Getty Images. Retrieved August 18, 2013, from HighBeam Research. "file photo taken on November 30, 2006" 
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  38. ^ Christopher Preble, "Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda", Cato Institute
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  44. ^ a b c Shapiro, Ilya. "One Cheer for Obama’s New Immigration Policy". Cato@Liberty. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
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  46. ^ a b Pilon, Roger. "Government Shouldn't Police Morals – or Sexual Practices". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
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  49. ^ Crane, Edward H. "The Government Habit". Cato Policy Report. November/December 1995.
  50. ^ Preble, Christopher and Justin Logan. "Neocons Forced to Face Reality". July 26, 2004.
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  60. ^ a b Carpenter, Ted Galen. "Overthrow Saddam? Be Careful What You Wish For". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
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  67. ^ Carpenter, Dale (June 1, 2006). "The Federal Marriage Amendment: Unnecessary, Anti-Federalist, and Anti-Democratic". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
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