Peter J. Ferrara

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Peter Joseph Ferrara heads the Social Security Project of the Free Enterprise Fund, which supports the Bush administration's effort to privatize Social Security.


Ferrara was born April 26, 1955. He graduated from Harvard College (B.A., 1976) and from Harvard Law School (J.D., 1979).

While at Harvard Law School, Ferrara was encouraged by Cato Institute founder Edward H. Crane to develop his nascent ideas about Social Security privatization, according to the Washington Post. Ferrara had caught Crane's idea with a paper that "suggested converting the government-run Social Security program into a web of private investments."

Ferrara and Crane diligently worked at pushing Social Security privatization into the mainstream conservative agenda. But with success, came division. "As Crane, Ferrara and the business interests that have become the effort's primary financial supporters are at each other's throats over how to structure and promote the accounts," the Post writes. "Ed Crane and I don't talk anymore," Ferrara told the Post. "Cato wants to get rid of the entire Social Security system, and I don't."[1]


  • 1979-81: associate attorney with the firm of Cravath, Swain & Moore
  • 1981-82: Office of Policy Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • 1982-83: Office of Policy Development at the White House
  • 1983-84: associate attorney with the firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge
  • 1984: Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation [2] [3]
  • 1987-91: associate professor of law at George Mason University School of Law
  • 1992-93: Associate deputy attorney general
  • 1995-2000: general counsel and chief economist at Americans for Tax Reform

Other Positions

Current Positions:

Pundit Payola

Peter Ferrara, a "senior policy adviser" at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, admitted that he "took money" from Jack Abramoff "to write op-ed pieces boosting the lobbyist's clients. 'I do that all the time,' Ferrara [said]. 'I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future'," Eamon Javers reported December 16, 2005, in Business Week. Ferrara said "he doesn't see a conflict of interest in taking undisclosed money to write op-ed pieces because his columns never violated his ideological principles."

"Ferrara wouldn't say which publications have published pieces for which Abramoff paid him," Javers wrote. "But a review of his work shows that he wrote articles for The Washington Times that were favorable to the Choctaw Indians and the Mariana Islands. He also wrote a 1998 book called The Choctaw Revolution: Lessons for Federal Indian Policy. Ferrara says the tribe paid him directly for his work on the book, which was published by the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and is still available for sale on"

For background, see the Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal.


  • Peter J Ferrara, "The Choctaw revolution: Lessons for Federal Indian policy", Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, January 1998, ISBN 0966583418
  • John C. Goodman , Peter J. Ferrara , "The Clinton Health Plan", National Center for Policy Analysis, May 1994, ISBN 1568080182
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Common Cents, Common Dreams: A Layman's Guide to Social Security Privatization", National Book Network, September, 1999, ISBN 1882577760
  • George Bittlingmayer , Allan C. Carlson , Peter J. Ferrara , Vaclav Klays , Nancie G. Marzulla , Patrick Minford , Virginia Postrel , Fred L. Smith, Jr., Samuel R. Staley , Walter E. Williams, "Competition or Compulsion?: The Market Economy Versus the New Social Engineering", Hillsdale College Press, September 2001, ISBN 0916308588
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Conservatives Back Bush Idea for Social Security," Human Events, January 23, 2004.
  • Allan C. Carlson, Peter Ferrara, David Hartman, John Mueller, Joe Wilson, Mrs. Charmaine C. Yoest, "Family Tax Equity", Family Research Council, July 10, 2003, [4]
  • Peter J. Ferrara, Free the Mail: Ending the Postal Monopoly, editor (1989)
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Issues '94: The Candidate's Briefing Book", Alliance Book Corporation, December 1994, ISBN 9995949733
  • Peter J. Ferrara,"More Than a Theory: Medical Savings Accounts at Work," Cato Institute, Policy Analysis no. 220,March 14, 1995.
  • Peter J. Ferrara, A New Deal for Social Security, coauthor (1998)
  • Peter J. Ferrara"The Next Steps for Medicare Reform", Cato Institute, Policy Analysis no. 305 , April 29, 1998 [5]
  • Peter J. Ferrara, Michael Tanner, "A New Deal for Social Security", Cato Institute, September 1998, ISBN 1882577620 [6]
  • Peter J.Ferrara, "Parker v. District of Columbia amicus curiae brief", Americn Civil Rights Union, June 16, 2006.
  • Peter J. Ferrara,"A Plan for Privatizing Social Security," Cato Institute, Social Security Paper no. 8,April 30, 1997.
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Religion & the Constitution: A Reinterpretation", Rowman & Littlefield, January 1983, ISBN 0942522060
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Social Security: The Inherent Contradiction", National Book Network, June 1980, ISBN 0932790240
  • Peter J. Ferrara,Social Security: Prospects for Real Reform, editor (1985)
  • Peter J. Ferrara, "Social Security Reform: The Family Plan", Heritage Foundation, December 1982, ISBN 9993853666

SourceWatch Resources

External links