Institute for America’s Future



Introduction


The Institute for America’s Future (IAF) is a liberal American think-tank. The Institute for America’s Future advocates for income redistribution, government-run single-payer health care and “green” technology.

The Institute for America’s Future has a sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF).[1] The Campaign for America’s Future is a 501(c)(4) advocacy group that promotes IAF policy work and positions.


History / Mission


Robert Borosage founded the Institute for America’s Future.[2] On its website, the Institute for America Future describes itself as:[3]

A center of non-partisan research and education. Drawing on a network of scholars, activists and leaders across the country, IAF develops policy ideas, educational materials and outreach programs. The Institute’s efforts help shape a compelling progressive agenda primarily focusing on such kitchen-table concerns as affordable health care, accessible higher education, retirement security, living wages, healthy workplaces, strong infrastructures, safe food, fair trade and clean energy.


The Institute for America’s Future’s mission is self-described as to “equip Americans with the tools and information needed to drive issues into the national debate, challenge failed conservative policies and build support for the progressive vision of a government that is on the side of working people.”[4]


Liberal Leadership


As of September 2011, Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey serve as co-directors of IAF.[5]

Borosage previously worked as director of the Institute for Policy Studies and founded the Progressive Majority Political Action Committee.[6] Borosage also served as a senior advisor to Jesse Jackson’s failed 1988 Presidential campaign.[7] He has also advised the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL).[8] Hickey co-founded the Economic Policy Institute.[9]


Work


Each year, IAF hosts a “Take Back America” conference, recently renamed the "Take Back the American Dream Conference."[10] The conference gathers liberal leaders from across the country. The 2010 conference featured Phil Angelides, Howard Dean, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Arianna Huffington, Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Markos Moulitsas, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Andy Stern and other liberal politicians and activists.[11]

Since 2004, the Institute for America’s Future has sponsored TomPaine.com, an online liberal journal.[12] According to its website, TomPaine.com goes “beyond the news to deliver well-informed, provocative and credible progressive perspectives on the pressing issues affecting the nation and the world. TomPaine.com combines depth with immediacy to equip progressives to compete effectively in the 21st century’s marketplace of ideas.”[13]

In its own words, IAF focuses its work on the following issues:

  • An Economy For All: IAF’s Economy for All campaign focuses on green energy and a “shared prosperity and sustainable growth.”[14] Much of IAF’s scholarship has focused on income inequality – for which it often blames conservative Americans.[15]

  • Curbing Wall Street: IAF blames the 2008 economic downturn on Wall Street and conservatives. IAF states, “[t]he seeds of the 2008 financial meltdown were sown in a conservative ideology that worshiped Wall Street deregulation and devalued Main Street needs.”[16]

  • Health Care for All: IAF states that “[q]uality, affordable health care should be a right for everyone in America, not a privilege for the few.”[17] According to a 2009 Gallup poll, more than 83 percent of American adults have health insurance.[18]

    In March 2009, IAF issued a scathing report of the Massachusetts healthcare plan that mandated insurance or fines for its citizens.[19] IAF complained that the system showed why government itself should provide health insurance to individuals, not private companies.[20]

  • Making it in America: According to IAF, “‘[t]he fight for American manufacturing is the fight for America’s future,’ President Obama has declared—one that will require a fundamentally different economic strategy for ensuring a sustained, widely shared prosperity. The ‘Making it in America’ project exists to foster a broad public debate about this strategy, with an emphasis on reviving manufacturing as a key element of the new economy.”[21]

  • New Energy: On its website, IAF states, “[w]e must lead a new green revolution, using American ingenuity to manufacture solar, wind and other alternative energy products on our shores with American workers, creating millions of green jobs. We reject the conservative alternative, which would shackle us to a dangerous reliance on carbon-based fuels that puts our national security, our health and the very survival of the planet at risk.”[22]

  • Quality Education: IAF’s website states, “[c]onservative policies gave us the false promise of ‘No Child Left Behind’ and the national scandal of college students graduating with thousands of dollars of debt. The progressive alternative: Making world-class education from kindergarten through graduate school a top national priority.”[23]


Social Security


IAF also does extensive policy work regarding Social Security.[24]

IAF has opposed most meaningful Social Security reforms since President Bill Clinton’s Administration. Some proposed reforms would allow workers to place a small percentage of their payroll taxes into an individual retirement account. Joel Mowbray explains why IAF’s sister organization CAF has opposed this concept. In a Capital Research Center article he writes, “private retirement accounts have one major drawback for the Left: They rely on individual choice and the power of the market, leaving no role for political maneuvering by special interest groups.”[25]

After the 1998 midterm elections, President Clinton appeared poised to move on a plan that would divert a small percentage of payroll taxes into private retirement accounts and charged a task force with looking into different options.[26] The New Century Alliance, a group of left-wing activists, protested Clinton’s task force everywhere it went.[27] In 1999, Clinton surrendered and announced that no Social Security tax money would be invested into private savings accounts.[28] Robert Kuttner, a CAF (IAF’s sister group) founder, proclaimed, “[t]he new liberal umbrella group, the Campaign For America’s Future effectively organized a grand coalition to save Social Security from the privatizers.”[29]

IAF continued its offensive during President George W. Bush’s tenure in office. At a CAF-sponsored rally meant to honor the 9/11 victims, AFL-CIO executive director Edward Coyle said: “We all know more than ever now what a bad idea [privatizing Social Security] is. . . Out of the ashes of the World Trade Center [there has arisen awareness] that the Social Security system provides benefits for the widows, widowers, and children of workers who die young.”[30]

In 2005, IAF attacked President Bush’s Social Security rescue proposals. According to Discover the Networks:[31]

In 2005, IAF helped to launch Americans United to Protect Social Security (AUPSS), an initiative of labor, business, and social justice groups working to derail privatization efforts. In the aftermath of President Bush’s 2005 State of the Union address (where he discussed his privatization proposal), AUPSS staged 249 events in 45 states characterizing the President’s plan as dangerous to the financial well being of senior citizens. Assisting IAF in founding AUPSS were USAction, Moveon.org, the AFL-CIO, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

In early 2011, IAF also warned President Barack Obama not to touch Social Security. IAF showed concern because President Obama’s debt commission recommended changes to Social Security.[32] IAF employee Richard Eskow penned an open letter to Obama in which he wrote: “[t]here isn’t a single argument being thrown around today about Social Security that hasn’t been around for 75 years: ‘Ponzi scheme,’ too many old people and too few workers -- you name it, we’ve heard it before… We’ve been bound by shared dreams since the country was founded. Social Security and Medicare turned some of those dreams into reality. Let’s not turn them back into dreams.”[33]

IAF’s Social Security position is unwavering. In 2000, IAF co-director Robert Borosage wrote, “[r]eports of Social Security’s demise are greatly exaggerated... It will take only manageable changes to fill a shortfall that might arise four decades from now.”[34] In 2010, the Social Security program paid out billions more than it took in.[35] The Social Security Trust Fund consists only of IOUs from the government; the Social Security system is insolvent.


Funding


The following groups / foundations have donated to IAF:

  • Open Society Institute[36]
  • Tides Foundation[37]
  • Turner Foundation[38]
  • Barbara Streisand Foundation[39]
  • George Gund Foundation[40]
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation[41]
  • Wallace Global Fund[42]
  • Arca Foundation[43]

Leadership (as of September 2011)


Robert Borosage, President (2009 Compensation: $155,410)
Roger Hickey, Secretary / Treasurer (2008 Salary: $153,272)
John Sweeney, Board Member[44]
Charles Rodgers, Board Member[45]


Contact Information


1825 K Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006
Telephone: 202-955-5665
Fax: 202-955-5606
Website: http://institute.ourfuture.org/


The National Center For Public Policy Research publishes GroupSnoop. The National Center is a non-profit communications and research foundation that supports free-market and pro-Constitution approaches to today’s policy problems. The National Center is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!

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  1. ^ The Campaign for America’s Future website is http://www.ourfuture.org/
  2. ^ “About Us – Robert Borosage’s Bio,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/user/4/fullas of September 15, 2011.
  3. ^ “About Us,” The Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/about-iaf as of September 15, 2011.
  4. ^ “About Us,” The Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/about-iaf as of September 15, 2011.
  5. ^ See infra, “Leadership”
  6. ^ “About Us – Robert Borosage’s Bio,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/user/4/fullas of September 15, 2011.
  7. ^ “About Us – Robert Borosage’s Bio,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/user/4/fullas of September 15, 2011.
  8. ^ “About Us – Robert Borosage’s Bio,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/user/4/fullas of September 15, 2011.
  9. ^ “About Us – Roger Hickey’s Bio,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/user/5/full as of September 15, 2011.
  10. ^ “Take Back the American Dream Conference,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/nowas of September 22, 2011.
  11. ^ “America’s Future Now! 2010 Speaker Biographies,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/now/speakers as of September 22, 2011.
  12. ^ “About Us,” TomPaine.com, available at http://www.tompaine.com/about/as of September 15, 2011.
  13. ^ “About Us,” TomPaine.com, available at http://www.tompaine.com/about/ as of September 15, 2011.
  14. ^ “Our Work – An Economy for All,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/An%20Economy%20for%20All as of September 15, 2011.
  15. ^ See, “Pledge to Rob the Middle Class,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/features/pledge-rob-middle-class as of September 15, 2011.
  16. ^ “Our Work – Curbing Wall Street,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/Curbing%20Wall%20Street as of September 15, 2011. For more, see “Essentials for Financial Reform (fact sheet),” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/fact-sheets-briefs/2010041625/essentials-financial-reform as of September 15, 2011.
  17. ^ “Our Work – Healthcare for All,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/Health%20Care%20for%20All as of September 15, 2011.
  18. ^ Frank Newport and Elizabeth Mendes, “About One in Six U.S. Adults Are Without Health Insurance,” Gallup Poll, July 22, 2009, available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/121820/one-six-adults-without-health-insurance.aspx as of September 15, 2011.
  19. ^ Diane Archer, “Massachusetts Health Reform: Near Universal Coverage, But No Cost Controls or Guarantee of Quality, Affordable Health Care for All,” Institute for America’s Future, March 17, 2009, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/files/MA_Health_Reform_EMBARGOED.pdf (pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  20. ^ Diane Archer, “Massachusetts Health Reform: Near Universal Coverage, But No Cost Controls or Guarantee of Quality, Affordable Health Care for All,” Institute for America’s Future, March 17, 2009, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/files/MA_Health_Reform_EMBARGOED.pdf (pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  21. ^ “Our Work – Making it in America,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/Making%20It%20In%20America as of September 15, 2011.
  22. ^ “Our Work – New Energy,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/New%20Energy as of September 15, 2011.
  23. ^ “Our Work – Quality Education,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/Quality%20Education as of September 15, 2011.
  24. ^ “Our Work – Social Security,” Institute for America’s Future, available at http://institute.ourfuture.org/issues/Social%20Security as of September 15, 2011.
  25. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf (pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  26. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf(pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  27. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf(pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  28. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf(pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  29. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf (pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  30. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf (pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  31. ^ “Institute for America’s Future (IAF),” Discover the Networks, available at http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7332 as of September 15, 2011.
  32. ^ Richard Eskow, “Mr. President, Americans Agree On Social Security. So Talk To Us, Not Washington,” Campaign for America’s Future, January 13, 2011, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011010213/mr-president-americans-agree-social-security-so-talk-us-not-washingtonas of September 15, 2011.
  33. ^ Richard Eskow, “Mr. President, Americans Agree On Social Security. So Talk To Us, Not Washington,” Campaign for America’s Future, January 13, 2011, available at http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011010213/mr-president-americans-agree-social-security-so-talk-us-not-washington as of September 15, 2011.
  34. ^ Joel Mowbray, “Campaign for America’s Future,” Capital Research Center, March 2002, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3759745888.pdf(pdf) as of September 15, 2011.
  35. ^ Bill Freeza, “Not in 25 Years, Social Security is Bankrupt Now,” Real Clear Markets, August 9, 2010, available at http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2010/08/09/not_in_25_years_social_security_is_bankrupt_now_98611.html as of September 15, 2011.
  36. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  37. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  38. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  39. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  40. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  41. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  42. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  43. ^ “Institute for America’s Future – Profile,” Capital Research Center, available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/search/orgdisplay.html?org=IAF200#analysis as of September 15, 2011.
  44. ^ Sweeney was President of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009. Steven Greenhouse, “Labor Leader Is Stepping Down Both Proud and Frustrated,” New York Times, September 12, 2009, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13labor.html as of September 15, 2011.
  45. ^ Rodgers is the President of the New Community Fund, according to “Who We Are,” New Community Fund, available at http://www.newcomfund.org/who.html as of September 15, 2011.