The libertarian think tank we lead qualifies as a small business that can apply for loans under the recently passed Cares Act—an acronym for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. But...we’re choosing to leave those dollars on the shelf.
We wouldn’t criticize others for taking aid. In our communities and across the nation, millions have lost jobs and paychecks, while vital needs persist. Small-business owners struggle to preserve their life’s work and to sustain their employees. And we can’t say these loans wouldn’t help us right now. We’re wholly funded by private donations, the overwhelming majority of which come from individuals who will suffer material losses from the pandemic. Financial pressures and difficult choices lie ahead.
Why, then, are we not applying for a Cares Act loan? Because doing so would undermine the principles that underlie the Cato Institute’s mission and animate its policy work. Central to this mission is our view that the scope and power of government should be limited. Our ability to make that case with credibility and integrity would be irreparably compromised if we accepted a loan right now. We’ve never taken money from any government.
Most think tanks are established as nonprofits, which are eligible to access funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In fact, Think Tank Watch is aware of several think tanks that have already received loans/grants.
New provisions to aid nonprofits, which could greatly benefit think tanks, are currently being discussed for the next round of stimulus money.