The Cato Institute's nationally and internationally recognized Centers and Projects tackle a wide range of topics, including health care, education, environment and energy, foreign policy, and international human rights. Scholars in these Centers and Projects vigorously apply America's founding principles to key issues of the day, and are committed to countering the continued expansion of government beyond its constitutional constraints, and to confronting escalating attacks on individual rights.
Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
The Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity was established to promote a better understanding around the world of the benefits of market-liberal policy solutions to combat some of the most pressing problems faced by developing nations. In particular, the Center seeks to advance policies that protect human rights, extend the range of personal choice, and support the central role of economic freedom in ending world poverty. Scholars in the Center address a range of economic development issues including economic growth, international financial crises, the informal economy, policy reform, the effectiveness of official aid agencies, public pension privatization, the transition from socialism to the market, and globalization .
Every year, the Center works with the Fraser Institute in Canada and more than 70 think tanks around the world to produce the Economic Freedom of the World report, which seeks to measure the consistency of the institutions and policies of various countries with voluntary exchange and the other dimensions of economic freedom.
Center for Representative Government
Taking its inspiration from James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the Cato Institute's Center for Representative Government is dedicated to promoting limited, representative government. Today, government offers many new threats to individual freedom and the virtues needed for its preservation. Unfortunately, career politicians, an ever-expanding government and massive regulatory constraints dominate American political life. The Center and its scholars are working through books, conferences, forums, op-eds, speeches, congressional testimony, and TV and radio appearances to bring the ideals of individual liberty, civil society, limited government and citizen legislators back to the forefront of American political life.
- John Samples, Director, Center for Representative Government
- Patrick Basham, Adjunct Scholar, Center for Representative Government
Downsizing the Federal Government
The federal government is running massive budget deficits, spending too much, and heading toward a financial crisis. Without a change of direction in Washington, average working families will be faced with huge tax increases and a lower standard of living.
Downsizing the Federal Government, a project of the Cato Institute, helps policymakers and the public understand where federal funds are being spent and how to reform each government department. Project scholars describe the failings of federal agencies and identifies specific programs to cut. They also discuss the systematic reasons why government programs are often obsolete, mismanaged, or otherwise dysfunctional.
Project on Criminal Justice
Cato's criminal justice scholars address a wide range of constitutional and legal issues — civil liberties, property rights, civil rights, criminal law and procedure, police tactics and misconduct, and the nanny state, to name just a few. Cato expects the judiciary to be the "bulwark" of our liberties, as James Madison put it, neither making up nor ignoring the law but interpreting and applying it through the natural rights tradition we inherited from the founding generation.
- Tim Lynch, Director of the Project on Criminal Justice
Project on Social Security Choice
Social Security is not sustainable without reform. Simply put, it cannot pay promised future benefits with current levels of taxation. Yet raising taxes or cutting benefits will only make a bad deal worse. However, allowing younger workers to privately invest their Social Security taxes through individual accounts will improve Social Security's rate of return; provide better retirement benefits; treat women, minorities, and low-income workers more fairly; and give workers real ownership and control of their retirement funds.