The Cato Institute

Founded in 1977 by Charles Koch and Edward H. Crane, the Cato Institute moved to Washington, D.C. in 1981 in a bid to become an influential player in Washington policy circles.

Today (1997), Cato is a multi-million dollar, multi-issue research and advocacy organization with a staff of 40-plus senior managers, policy analysts, and communications specialists. It is also assisted by the work of over 75 adjunct Cato scholars, including ultra-conservative law professors Richard Epstein (University of Chicago) and Henry G. Manne.

The Cato Institute is a non-profit public policy research foundation (think tank) with strong libertarian leanings, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The Cato Institute is named after Cato's Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that Cato's founders say helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.

Its stated mission is "to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace" by seeking greater involvement of the "lay public in questions of public policy and the role of government." Despite its decidedly ideological agenda on many topics, members of the Cato Institute are often cited as non-partisan experts on news programs.

Following the November 1994 elections, the Institute published and delivered to every member of Congress The Cato Handbook, a 358-page, 39 chapter volume containing policy reforms and proposals in every vital public policy area, including budget and tax reduction, social security, Medicare, education, environmental reform, and foreign and defense policy.

One year later, the Institute launched its Project on Social Security Privatization, co-chaired by Jose Pinera, Chile's former minister of labor and welfare, and William Shipman, of State Street Global Advisors, which has been actively promoting private alternatives to social security, both financially and via an extensive public relations campaign.

Cato in 1983 published an article calling for privatization of the system. The article argued that companies that stand to profit from privatization -- 'the banks, insurance companies and other institutions that will gain' -- had to be brought into alliance. Second, the article called for initiation of 'guerrilla warfare against both the current Social Security system and the coalition that supports it.'"

The Cato Institute has been a tireless defender of the tobacco industry. Robert A. Levy, a Senior Fellow at the Institute, has published numerous editorials in support of the tobacco industry. In one 1999 piece written with Cato fellow Rosalind Marimont and published in the Cato magazine Regulation, Levy claimed that the public health estimate of over 400,000 Americans dying each year from smoking was a lie.

In line with the organization's libertarian principles, Cato scholars have been vocal in defense of civil liberties in the face of encroachments by the Bush administration.

However, one Cato scholar, Roger Pilon, has been known to set aside libertarian principles to endorse the Bush administration's moves to restrict civil liberties as part of the war on terror. In 2002, a Cato news release endorsed new Justice Department guidelines giving greater latitude to FBI agents to monitor Internet sites, libraries and religious institutions. "As reported in the press, the new FBI surveillance guidelines present no serious problems," declared Cato legal affairs analyst Roger Pilon, a former Reagan administration official who writes frequent Cato commentaries.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch previously served on the board of directors of Cato, which has numerous ties to the Republican Party.

Cato Institute scholar Arnold Kling writing at TCS Daily:
"I believe that what we need going forward is a policy of disarming Muslims. I believe that we must keep devout Muslims away from weapons, and keep weapons away from devout Muslims. I can work with Muslims, send my children to school with Muslims, and be friends with Muslims. I do not have an issue with their religion, as long as they do not have weapons. However, the combination of weapons and Islam poses unacceptable danger to the rest of us."


The Cato Hypocrisy
The Cato Institute: "Libertarian"In A Corporate Way
Cato: Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman
Rumsfeld: Tribute to Milton Friedman
Media Moguls on Board-Murdoch, Malone and the Cato Institute
The Cato Institute or Anarchism seen through the Multinationals’ Eyes
Criticisms of the Cato Institute.
Plotting Privatization?
Howie Rich Exposed
Et tu, Cato?
Et Tu, Cato? Pt. 2
The Beltway Loves Cato