The so called Cato inststitute experts!!

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The so called Cato inststitute experts!!
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:50 AM

According to this a^& h%^&   California highjacked highway funds to build rail empires!!!

Where does Cato get these people? The string ties should give this away...

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:02 AM
As I've mentioned elsewhere, the Cato Institute is well-known as a libertarian (rugged individualism to the extreme and minimal government) think tank so the opinions that come from there should not be too surprising.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:07 AM
Foundation support

The Cato Institute has been supported by:


[edit] Corporate support

Like many think tanks, Cato receives support from a variety of corporations, but corporations are a relatively minor source of support for the Institute. In fiscal year 2007, for example, corporate donations accounted for only three percent of its budget.[1]

According to Cato supporters, the relative paucity of corporate funding has allowed the Institute to strike an independent stance in its policy research. In 2004, the Institute angered the U.S. pharmaceutical industry by publishing a paper arguing in favor of "drug re-importation."[62] A 2006 study attacked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[63] Cato has published numerous studies criticizing what it calls "corporate welfare", the practice of public officials funneling taxpayer money, usually via targeted budgetary spending, to politically-connected corporate interests.[64][65][66][67] For example, in 2002, Cato president Ed Crane and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope co-wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post calling for the abandonment of the Republican energy bill, arguing that it had become little more than a gravy train for Washington, D.C. lobbyists.[68] Again in 2005, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor teamed up with Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club to attack the Republican Energy Bill as a give-away to corporate interests.[69]

Still, some critics have accused Cato of being too tied to corporate funders, especially in the 1990s. Critical sources report that Cato received funding from Phillip Morris and other tobacco companies in the 1990s, and that at one point Rupert Murdoch served on the boards of directors of both Cato and Phillip Morris.[70] The Knight Ridder newspapers reported that in the late 1990s Cato received financial contributions from the American International Group, "an insurance and financial services company whose business includes managing U.S. retirement plans" as Social Security reform emerged as a more prominent issue. Between 1998 and 2004 the Cato Institute received $90,000 of its funding from ExxonMobil - about a tenth of a percent of the organization's budget over that period.[71]

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Posted by b&ofan on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 10:39 AM

Regardless of its sources of funds (and several of those named have, in the past, shown a definite lean towards highways at the expense of anything rail), Mr. Randal (One "L") O'Toole has been at the forefront of opponents to modern, efficient rail services, use of any sort of vehicle that doesn't involve personal driving as opposed to public transit, and any attempt to limit sprawl and outgrowth (which he considers essential to the well-being of the world). Much of what Cato has produced vis-a-vis transit and rail has come from Mr. O'Toole and his disciples, and hammer those same themes over and over. While they don't necessarily agree on every point, very similar arguments using similar questionable statistical analyses have come from the Reason Foundation and its subsidiaries (Mr. Robert Poole, Director of Transportation Studies), Mr. Wendell Cox, and Mr. Tom Rubin, all of whom have an interest in fighting any expansion of any rail systems far out of proportion to their objectivity. These people travel all over the world to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) into any planning discussions that could result in the development of another light rail or streetcar system. I consider their positions to be in many cases leaning slightly towards anarchist, but with some very strange twists as to what they consider the involvements of government in the lives of US citizens should be.

For one example of Cato Institute financial backing, the Scaife Foundations, from the following URL:



Sarah Scaife Foundation 

Financed by the Mellon industrial, oil, and banking fortune. At one time its largest single holding was stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation. Became active in funding conservative causes in 1973, when Richard Mellon Scaife became chairman of the foundation. In the 1960s, Richard had inherited an estimated $200 million from his mother, Sarah. Forbes Magazine has estimated his personal net worth at $800 million, making him the 138th richest person in the U.S. He controls the Scaife, Carthage, and Allegheny Foundations. In 1993, Scaife and Carrthage reportedly gave more than 17.6 million to 100 conservative think tanks. As of December 31, 1992, Scaife assets were $212,232,888 and Carthage assets were $11,937,862.


Note that the principle assets of Scaife for a number of years centered on the Gulf Oil Corporation.  What's good for the petroleum industry was good for the Scaife Foundations. In turn, that was good for whomever supported the welfare of the petroleum companies. I think that speaks to the objectivity involved here.

Here's another: The Koch Companies specialize in petrochemical suppy, research, and development of both petrochemical and forest products. They own a huge share of pipelines and refineries in the US. Again, what is good for the petroleum industry is good for Koch, and for those who support their beliefs.

The list goes on and on. 

There's nothing wrong with supporting foundations that support your own interests. However, to agree that the foundations' leanings are not contingent to a significant measure upon their sources of support would stretch belief nearly to the breaking point. I prefer to gather with the organizations that don't have quite such lavish supporters who may have specific agendas to press forward.

Personal opinions, bolstered by what I have seen and read on both sides of many of these arguments over a number of years standing. 

Regards: Tom Fairbairn 

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 1, 2008 7:57 AM

Richard Mellon Scaife is related to Tim Mellon who is a princiniple in GUILFORD RAILROAD...

The worst run railroad in the USA

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, May 12, 2008 12:17 PM
"Libertarian" is often a code-word for "Conservative". The people, companies and organizations supporting "Libertarian think tanks" are most likely also going to be supporting conservative Republican candidates.
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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, May 12, 2008 1:14 PM

Cato starts at the answer and works backward to the question picking and choosing facts along the way...

...just like the transit/passenger rail/HSR/Amtrak advocates do!Evil [}:)]

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else?

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Posted by al-in-chgo on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 1:47 AM
 oltmannd wrote:

Cato starts at the answer and works backward to the question picking and choosing facts along the way...

...just like the transit/passenger rail/HSR/Amtrak advocates do!Evil [}:)]

You know, here in Chicago our commuter rail line, Metra, gets only about 35% of its budget out of the fare box.  This was compared in a local article a few months ago (that I wish I'd saved) to the big eastern systems which are at almost twice that level -- Metro-North from Gunhill Road in the Bronx to GCT nine dollars (!) if you don't have ticket in hand. 

In Illinois, the gasoline tax is higher in Greater Chicago Metro (a/k/a the "Six County Area") due in part, at least, to a certain percentage of tax (sorry can't be more explicit) that goes to Metra, Pace (suburban buses) and CTA.  A consumption tax on that probably hits the working poor disproportionately high, because the subsidy lowers the ticket price (in part) to the train-commuting public, which is more skewed to middle- and upper-income white-collars and professional people with jobs in the Loop and adjacent areas.  Nonetheless this seeming perversity stopped upsetting people years ago. 

That relatively minor injustice notwithstanding, Metra has been very successful in growing its ridership.  I've seen downtown Chicago go in the last twenty-five years from a place where car commuters, if they really wanted to, could drive to the edge of the downtown and park somewhat reasonably -- now to a place where the vast majority of people simply have to take some form of public transportation to their work downtown.  Also, the Interstates are overcrowded with people, many of them driving themselves from suburb-to-suburb or city-to-suburb for their own jobs.  Sharply escalating gasoline prices will help feed the subsidy kitty, which is fine with most folks (the subsidy, not the rising gas pricesBlush [:I]).

The CATO party line about the government "always" fouling things up and free enterprise or that beast they anthropomorphize as "the market" being the best and most efficient -- that's pure cant IMO.  I am a fiscal conservative and social liberal, and that should put me in the best Libertarian tradition, but their dogmatic approach serves them ill IMHO. 




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