Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Rise of the Manhattan Institute

Here is more from Bloomberg:

Over the past decade, business figures led by hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer have poured nearly $200 million into a New York think tank that’s now projecting its own vision for Trump’s America. Powered by wealthy donors, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research has become an intellectual staging ground for the American right.

One head-spinning result: a growing number of Republican statehouses are effectively outsourcing the job of drafting laws about race and gender to policy wonks centered in Manhattan, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10:1. 

Over the years, the Manhattan Institute has counted among its well-heeled backers hedge-fund managers Cliff Asness, Dan Loeb and John Paulson. Others include Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and Breitbart super-conservatives Robert and Rebekah Mercer

By the institute’s own count, 11 states – Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming – have codified into law ideas from “model” legislation the institute has drafted since January 2023. In all, more than 60 separate bills touching on those anti-DEI proposals for universities have been introduced in 25 states.


Reihan Salam has been president of the think tank since 2019.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Think Tank Quickies (#499)

  • New report from ETZ Zurich's Center for Security Studies: China is targeting the US with hacking contests.
  • The Chinese Embassy in Washington dispatches officials to almost all of the key DC think tank seminars that cover foreign affairs these days.
  • The Heritage Foundation celebrated its newly-renovated Barb Van Andel-Gaby building with a ribbon-cutting.  The think tank now has office space for 400+ employees.
  • Why Chinese think tanks' reports will only escalate South China Sea tensions.
  • Tony Jonson, currently special assistance and intelligence adviser to the deputy secretary of Defense, will be president and CEO of The Truman National Security Project and Truman Center.
  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies: "A think tank funded by America's defense department."
  • New Argentine President Javier Milei served as a financial analyst for think tanks, banks, and private companies. 
  • ECFR: Imagining 6 Trump 2.0 scenarios.
  • Flashback: The issue attention cycle was described in 1972 by Brookings economist Anthony Downs.  The 5 phases of the cycle mark the rise, peak, and decline in public salience of major environmental (and other) problems.
  • David Boaz, senior fellow and EVP of Cato Institute, dies.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Think Tank Gets Donation from Heiress Giving Away Her Money

Here is more from Time:

Marlene Engelhorn, an Austrian heiress who inherited tens of millions of euros from her grandmother, opted to let strangers decide where to give away €25 million ($27 million)—at least 90% of her fortune—over the past six weeks. Engelhorn has long criticized the Austrian policy of not placing any taxes for inheritances, since she feels being born into a wealthy family is a matter of luck and she did not earn the money.

In an attempt to give away her fortune in as democratic of a way as possible, Engelhorn sent out emails to approximately 10,000 randomly selected Austrians, and chose 50 people who were designed to be as representative as possible of Austria’s demographics in terms of gender, ethnicity, and income. 

The group was developed into an organization called the Good Council for Redistribution, and chose 77 different organizations, revealed on Tuesday, to which Engelhorn’s wealth would be distributed. 

The largest distribution of cash went to the Austrian society for nature conservation, which received the equivalent of $1.7 million. The second largest distribution of $1.6 million went to an organization called Neunerhaus, which offers aid to homeless people. Other organizations that received money included climate charities, the left-wing think tank Momentum Institute, and religious organizations. 


The Momentum Institute, based in Vienna, Austria, was founded in 2019.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Former House Candidate Launches Crypto Think Tank

Here is more from Punchbowl News:

A prominent D.C. crypto advocate and one-time Republican House candidate in New York is launching a think tank focused on crypto policy.

Michelle Bond, who lost a Republican primary to Rep. Nick LaLota (N.Y.) in 2022, will lead Digital Future. The think tank will focus on “promoting the development of the next generation of the financial services industry,” per a news release.

Prior to this launchBond led a crypto advocacy organization called the Association for Digital Asset Markets.

Here is a press release about the Digital Future launch.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Canadian Report Warns of US Civil War

Here is more from Politico:

When Justin Trudeau meets Joe Biden at the G7 summit in Italy this week, Trudeau will probably not ask whether the United States is at risk of erupting in civil war in the next few years.

A think tank housed within Trudeau’s government is already pondering that question.

In a spring report titled “Disruptions on the Horizon,” a quiet office known as Policy Horizons Canada proposed American civil war as a scenario that Ottawa should consider preparing for.

This hypothetical was tucked into the middle of the 37-page document, which sketched the possibility in 15 spare words: “U.S. ideological divisions, democratic erosion, and domestic unrest escalate, plunging the country into civil war.”


Dr. John McArthur, a Canadian citizen and Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution, sits on the Policy Horizons steering committee and is the only US think tanker to do so.