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Cato Institute senior fellow, Michael Tanner heads research into a variety of domestic policies with a particular emphasis on poverty and social welfare policy, health care reform, and Social Security.

Tanner is the author of numerous other books on public policy, including Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis, Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It, The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society, and A New Deal for Social Security.

Under Tanner’s direction, Cato launched the Project on Social Security Choice, which is widely considered the leading impetus for transforming the soon-to-be-bankrupt system into a private savings program. Time magazine calls Tanner, “one of the architects of the private accounts movement,” and Congressional Quarterly named him one of the nation’s five most influential experts on Social Security. The New York Times refers to him as “a lucid writer and skilled polemicist.”

More recently Tanner has undertaken a major project to develop innovative solutions to poverty and inequality.

Tanner’s writings have appeared in nearly every major American newspaper, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He writes a weekly column for National Review Online, and is a contributing columnist with the New York Post. A prolific writer and frequent guest lecturer, Tanner appears regularly on network and cable news programs.

More from Michael D. Tanner


Divided by Party, United in Spirit

National Review (Online). November 7, 2018.

Midterm Ballot Initiatives Matter, Too

National Review (Online). October 24, 2018.

Ben Carson Takes on High Housing Costs

National Review (Online). October 17, 2018.

Cato Studies

Five Myths about Economic Inequality in America

Policy Analysis No. 797. September 7, 2016.

The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: Europe

Policy Analysis No. 779. August 24, 2015.

The Pros and Cons of a Guaranteed National Income

Policy Analysis No. 773. May 12, 2015.


The Real Impact of the New Health Care Law

Cato's Letter. Vol. 8. No. 4. Fall 2010.

Public Filings

Cato Reviews & Journals

Running Out of Other People’s Money

Policy Report. May/June 2015.

Is America Becoming Greece?

Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.

Introduction: Europe’s Crisis and the Welfare State

Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.


Cato Institute Policy Perspectives 2019

February 5, 2019. City Seminar.

Opportunities for Reform in 2018: The Domestic Agenda

January 23, 2018. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Cato Institute 40th Anniversary Celebration

May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2017. Special Event.

Downsizing Government