The Cato Institute was founded in 1977 by the Koch Brothers. According to it’s website it is a “public policy research organization — a think tank – dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues”. It sounds reasonable, but most of that statement is not true.
Most notably the CATO Institute is the leading “authority” of the anti climate change movement. When President Obama, in a 2008 speech, described the science on global warming as “beyond dispute,” the Cato Institute took out a full-page ad in the Times to contradict him. Cato’s resident scholars have relentlessly criticized political attempts to stop global warming. Patrick Michaels is Cato’s sole climate change expert. A review of claims made Patrick Michaels over the last quarter century shows that he has repeatedly been proven wrong. Michaels estimated that “40 percent” of his funding comes from the oil industry.
The Cato Institute is not nonpartisan. One of CATO’s main funders is the Koch Brothers, who push the Libertarian agenda. While there has been some conflict between the Libertarian agenda and the Conservative agenda it is decidedly a right wing organization. Doug Bandow, a senior scholar at the Cato Institute, resigned after revelations that he took payments from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for writing columns favorable to his (right wing) clients.
The Cato Institute frequently publishes articles against some of our country’s most beneficial programs. Often these articles are based on facts that the Cato Institute makes up to support their agenda. One example is a report that said that Welfare families received $25,000 a year plus housing assistance. The typical welfare family makes $9,000, which is $3,000 below the poverty line.
When CATO says it wants a limited government, what it really means is that they want corporations to run (make money off of) governmental programs. The Center for Media and Democracy has called this push “a hostile takeover of our schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, and even government itself”. We have seen the damage privatization has done to our prison system. And what the Voucher System (privatization) has done to our Public school system. Taking money from Public schools to pay for exclusive private schools for the rich. They even want to privatize Social Security.
Another reason behind their “limited” government agenda is the reduction of legislation that reduces corporate profits. A top priority is slashing the authority of the EPA, so corporations can pollute more. They stand against Wall Street reform, so it can steal more from us. And of course they are against Campaign Finance reform. They like the idea of the rich being able to buy elections.
And as for “Individual Liberty”, as you can see from their policies, that only seem to apply to the rich and corporations.
I think that the only conclusion that can be made is that the Cato Institute is just a front organization that tries legitimize the right wing agenda by pretending to be a non biased, non partisan, independent “think tank”.