American Enterprise Institute

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The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a think tank in Washington DC, founded in 1938 as a joint project by a number of business executives. It functions as schmooze central for Beltway insiders and something of the more "mature," less "nutty," older brother to other conservative think tanks like CEI or Cato.

You might be executives, but you're not very smart[edit]

The neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol became affiliated with AEI in the late 1960s, after bailing from another organization upon learning that it was CIA-funded. Subsequently, AEI took a harder neocon bent, though it also employed the occasional libertarian like Milton Friedman. They became a hotbed of trickle-down economics during the Reagan years.

In the early 1990s, they were embroiled in some controversy when an affiliate of theirs, Charles Murray, published a study purporting to establish IQ as a determinant of socio-economic status, entitled The Bell Curve.

Dubya appointed their staff to his cabinet during his administration and AEI churned out a bunch of pro-war propaganda. AEI also caused some Beltway butthurt when they booted David Frum.

They were alleged to have put up a cash offer for scientists to criticize the IPCC report, which never went through.[1] They claim this never happened and the Guardian misrepresented the proposed grant as a bribe.[2] Unlike many conservative think tanks, not all of its members take a hard-line denialist position on global warming — some of its fellows accept the science while others deny it. James Glassman is probably one of their more notorious deniers, having churned out a good deal of material for Tech Central Station, an online magazine known as a denialist platform.[3]

Elephant, meet room[edit]

On the positive side, they, unlike some other conservatives, haven't tried to deny that Obamacare is pretty much the exact plan that they and other conservatives had been pushing for since the '90s.[4]


External Links[edit]