A Think Tank is an organization that engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology issues and in the creative and cultural field.
They are generally private, tax-exempt, research institutes. Their tax-free status depends on their ability to maintain a superficial appearance of political independence, so they present themselves as providing impartial, disinterested expertise. However, they are generally partisan, politically or ideologically motivated and practice the art of “directed conclusions”.
These think tanks aim to influence government and set the agenda in a variety of policy arenas.Think tanks often employ former government officials and politicians, as this gives them influence in government and credibility in the media.
TOP 5 THINK TANKS – FUNDING SOURCES
1. The Heritage Foundation, is an extremely influential think tank which promotes deregulation of industry and unrestrained free market and privatization, including sell off of public lands. It is funded by the Koch brothers and clients in the tobacco industry taking positions favorable to their industry, such as opposition to raising tobacco taxes and regulations on vaping.
2. Cato Institute, apposes environmental regulation and promotes free-market environmentalism and has clients like, The American Petroleum Institute, Exxon, Monsanto, Philip Morris, Coca-Cola.
3. The Brookings Institute, a larger and more respectable left or center think-tank, less dependent on corporate funding it has a large endowment . Nevertheless it has been moving to a more conservative stance for some years with an antigovernment free-market economics mindset.
4. American Enterprise Institute, is another influential think tank that advocates for lower taxes, fewer protections for consumers and the environment, and cuts to the social safety net, clients include the tobacco industry.
5. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, main concerns are such things as ‘welfare reform’ (dismantling social programs), ‘faith-based initiatives’ (blurring the distinction between church and state), and ‘education reform’ (destroying public education).