OOOPublic policy - the decisions that affect such things as health care, defense, environment and taxes - is not merely a conversation between politicians, the public and "special interests". It is also the product of the many foundations - the "think tanks" - dedicated to discovering what is best for all, or at least most of us. What they bring to the process is not only honest research, but also heart-felt ideology and what is often a dedication to differing priorities and outcomes.
OOOThese are not empty arguments. Because it is often the think tanks which best articulate policy, and which both inspire and inform our nation's leaders, they have often been likened to America's shadow government. It is high time the discerning citizen paid attention.


Accuracy in Media
Less about media than general criticism of the Left.
American Policy Center
Pro property righs, anti United Nations, anti-immigration, anti-globalismn and, .....anti-Bush.
The Discovery Institute
Offers the conservative viewpoint on a number of issues, and has lately spear-headed the campaign against "neo-Darwinism" in advocating "Intelligent Design".
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Applies conservative Catholic Judeo-Christian values to public policy.
Family Research Council
Defending, as they say, "family, faith and freedom", the FRC addresses a host of subjects including marriage and family, bioethics, abortion, religion, culture, economics and taxes
The John Birch Society
They believe what they believe, no matter who stands in their way - right, left or center. In a strange way, it just wouldn't be America without them.
Media Research Center
Committed to exposing "liberal bias" in the media, MRC appears much more focused and effective that AIM, above.
Town Hall
"Conservative news and information". An "all hands on deck" of conservatives and conservative opinion.


Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
Libertarianism explores the links between liberty, morality, Capitalism and Judeo-Christian culture.
The Ayn Rand Institute
Materialism, Capitalism, Individualism.
Cascade Policy Institute
Libertairian and oriented toward Oregon, there are broader issues under "Policy Areas".
The Cato Institute
Influential Libertarian advocate of free markets, limited government and individual rights.
Free Congress Foundation
Libertarian advocates for free markets, judicial conservatism and Judeo-Christian culture.
The Future of Freedom Foundation
"Individual liberty, free markets, private property and limited government." The FFF takes its libertarianism very seriously, so much so that even liberals may find themselves nodding while reading.
The Heartland Institute
Moderate libertarianism, go to "PolicyBot".
Independence Institute
Colorado-centered, but addresses general issues.
Independent Institute
Aims to eliminate government influence and interference in all aspects of life.
Institute for Policy Innovation
With the usual emphasis on "lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a smaller, less-intrusive government" pertaining to social security and healthcare, the IPI also addresses intellectual property and technological issues.
Lexington Institute
Libertarian views on defense, education, regulation, homeland security, immmigration, Cuba and postal reform.
Thumbnail discussions of what libertarianism really is, with links to more in-depth information.
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Devoted to the economics of classical liberalism and libertarian political theory.
The Objectivist Center
For you Rand fans, all things objectivist, including a detail statement of philosophy and issue positions.


The American Enterprise Institute
Influential mainstream conservative organization.
Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
Much, on the whole reasonable, often intelligent, not infrequently amusing, conservative opinion.
Capital Research Center
Conservative brick bat.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute
Free-market, anti-regulatory corporate conservatism.
The Federalist Society
Conservatism and Libertarianism; an excellent source site for readings in both.
Foreign Policy Research Institute
A sophisticated Regan redux generally critical of neo-conservatism.
The Forum for International Policy
Advocate for the spread of American leadership in the world.
The Heritage Foundation
Influential, mainstream conservatism: anti-regulatory, anti-tax, traditional values.
The Hoover Institution
Moderately conservative advocate of free enterprise and small government. Look under "Publications" for the Hoover Digest and Policy Review. Uncommon Knowledge is also very good, and the H is fairly generous is giving access to its books in BooksOnline.
The Hudson Institute
Mainstream conservatism.
The Independent Institute
Advocates free markets and deregulation. Non-interventionist foreign policy perspective. Look in the Archive.
The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
The Institute, associated with Rice University, conducts research and programs in many areas, the majority of which have to do with foreign policy and economics. Its research bias is conservative, though its papers (under "Publications") offer views not always associated with conservatism.
The Manhattan Institute
Under "Scholars" is an extensive listing of the members' writings.
Mercatus Center
Market-oriented. Extensive publications on government accountability, regulation and market-based social change.
The National Center for Policy Analysis
Its goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, including reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation.
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Conservative views on a wealth of issues, occasionally drawn from other organizations.
The Center for the National Interest
Formerly the Nixon Center. Focused on foreign policy.
The Pacific Research Institute
Market solutions to environmental and educational problems.
Project for the New American Century
Neo-Conservative blueprint for the future. Significant influence over the present administration, though no publications since 2005.
Reason Foundation
Seeks solutions for major national problems in privatization and the market.
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
A "left" Republican take on a wide variety of issues.
Tax Foundation
Excellent source for the conservative viewpoint on taxes.


The Annenberg Public Policy Center
Concerned with the media and the press, and their influence in society and politics.
The Aspen Institute
Covers a wide range of issues. Follow the links from "Policy Programs" for documents.
Brennan Center for Justice
In the tradition of the late Justice, issues in democracy, poverty and criminal law.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Analyses of international issues of significance to American foreign policy.
Center for National Policy
Primary areas of focus include national security, budget policy, economics and education. Reports come from a variety of sources.
Center for Public Integrity
Generously critical of many things. Look under "The Public I".
Center for Responsive Politics
Excellent resource for who gives and who gets campaign contributions.
Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments
Includes stragetgy analysis and simple statistics on U.S. military budgets.
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Thorough "Iraq Briefing Book".
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Issues concerning the executive, including policy initiatives and analysis. Not everything is free.
Committee for Economic Development
The business angle (not always what you would expect) on a host of issues impinging on the domestic economy, including education, aging, healthcare and campaign finance reform.
Council on Competitiveness
Analyzes America's status in the world, its strengths and weaknesses. Topics included R&D, education and investment Look under "Data Central".
Council for Excellence in Government
Dedicated to improving government performance and its connections with citizens, the Center runs such programs as the ceneter for Evidence-Based policy and offers a number of on-line papers under both "Programs" and "Polls & Publications".
Council on Foreign Relations
Pre-eminent resource for all sides of policy and opinion on foreign affairs.
Economic Strategy Institute
In a sustained critique of globalization, the ESI is dedicated to restoring the health of the U.S. economy and maintaining U.S. competitiveness.
Employee Benefit Research Institute
Presents all side of the many aspects of this issue.
European Institute
Tracks relationships within Europe and the European relationship with the U.S.. Influential participants.
Institute for International Economics
Pro-globalization, but assiduous in analyzing it effects and ready to suggest melioritive government policies.
Institute for Science & International Security
Focus on international nuclear issues.
International Crisis Group
Analyses of international conflict with implications for American foreign policy.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Excellent source of information on health care and health policy.
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Research on health, labor, welfare, education and nutrition.
National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
Research on the current state of higher education.
National Coalition on Health Care
Data on major issues.
National Health Policy Forum
Reports on major issues.
New America Foundation
Seeks to transcend partisanship for creative ideas. A wealth of articles.
Pew Charitable Trusts
In addition to its funding activities, the PCT are active fact-gathering organizations. Look under "Informing the Public".
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
No matter our politics, we cannot escape our beliefs. This site examines the meaning of that idea.
Public Agenda
Devoted to public opinion research, Public Agenda also offers issue guides which not only presents competing ideas, but analyzes them as well.
The Rand Corporation
Venerable research institution focused on a multitude of areas.
Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
Reports on a variety of topics.
The Urban Institute
Addresses issues related to low-income and minority Americans.
United States Institute of Peace
Analysis of conflicts and their ramifications around the world.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Reports address many current issues.
Woodrow Wilson Center
Current and enduring issues in the "Wilson Quarterly".


The Brookings Institution
Covers a wide range of issues. Look under "Publications".
The Carter Center
Former President Jimmy Carter's organization focuses on international human rights, elections and healthcare. The Center is more an activist/advocacy than a research organizations. Its papers, including President Carters op/eds can be found under "News and Publications".
Center for American Progress
Liberal/progressive organization headed by President Clinton's ex-Chief of Staff, John Podesta and Washington perennial, Morton Halperin. Fellows include Eric Alterman and Matt Miller. The CPA covers a variety of issues.
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Progressive free trade from people who at least seem to do their homework. The Center's talent is their frequent debunking of misleading and manipulated statistical information.
The Center for Law and Social Policy
Advocates government reform and involvement in policies affecting the poor.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Oriented toward policy affecting low- and moderate-income families and individuals. A wealth of commentary and analysis on federal budgets, fiscal and tax policies and their likely consequences
The Century Foundation
Covers a diversity of issues, from civil rights and education, to the media and election reform.
Citizens for Tax Justice
CTJ promotes progressive tax policies.
The Commonwealth Institute
Currently focused on three projects: Project on Defense Alternatives, Project on Inequality and Poverty, and the Progressive Strategies Project. The site also includes indices of press articles on selected subjects, notably the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as homeland security, and Chinese military power
The Economic Policy Institute
Sustained critique of conservative economic assumptions. Backed by labor unions.
Institute for Research on Poverty
Statistics, definitions, causes and effects.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Broad-based research into the state of black Americans.
The Levy Economics Institute
Keynesian advocate of a greater government role in the economy and society.
Progressive Policy Institute
New Democrat, "Third Way", progressivism.
Project on Government Oversight
Liberal for the class of issues they choose to investigate and their focus on government corruption and accountability.
World Policy Institute
For past issues of The World Policy Journal.


Campaign for America's Future
Progressive policy.
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Mostly concerned wuth health and nutrition.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
Committed to exposing "conservative bias" in the media.
People for the American Way
Primarily oriented toward civil and individual rights.
Public Citizen
Founded by Ralph Nader focusing on consumer health, safety, world trade and democracy. It also provides a Whitehouse-for-sale website and Tools for Smart Consumers.
The Institute for Policy Studies
Progressive organization supporting "human rights, diversity, fair trade and environmental justice".
The Institute for Public Accuracy
Seeks to connect policy research to journalism in order to bring new perspectives to the major issues of the day. "News releases" covering the economy, elections and the Iraq War are achived back to 1998.
International Action Center
Pacifist organization founded by Ramsey Clark.
Longview Institute
Progressive ideas covering a wide diversity of issues.
National Priorities Project
Concentrates on the social impacts of budgetary policy, and examining how taxes are spent. Some good graphs and tables, but the authors might provide a more detailed breakdown of spending categories.
United for a Fair Economy
Focuses on wealth and income distribution.