As an elected school member in Milwaukee, each month, I receive a stack of polished newspapers from a Chicago-based right-wing ”think tank” called the Heartland Institute. Under the banner of “free market” solutions to education, healthcare, taxes, the environment, telecommunication regulation and budgetary issues the Heartland Institute is a highly funded propaganda publishing house advancing the arguments of the most reactionary elements of corporate America. They are connected to Tea Party activism and see themselves as a “…clearinghouse for the work of 350 other think tanks and advocacy groups.”
Heartland publishes 5 slick monthly newspapers. They are:
- Budget & Tax News
- Environment & Climate News
- Health Care News
- Infotech & Telecom News
- School Reform News
Their claimed audiences are the nation’s 16,700 national, state and local government officials. They wish to affect policy at every level of government in the U.S.
In their most recent expenditure statement they reported spending over $28,132,000 since 1998 receiving funding from right wing foundations including the Heritage Foundation , Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, Manhattan Institute along with corporations and individual. The Koch brothers are supporters.
This dangerous “think tank” represents an ideological movement whose goal is for corporate America to have a free hand to do anything they wish for profit and without regulation. They are working for complete privatization of the public sector and either elimination or privatization of the public’s safety net at the federal, state and local level.
They are key propagandists to the present right wing movement in the U.S, supporting any demand that increases corporate profits and weakens the peoples’ movements and democratic rights. In education vouchers are at the center of their reform demands. Their healthcare goal is to cut and privatize Medicare and Medicaid, giving the insurance industry free reign over the market. They fuel the movements at the state government level with “data” and arguments against unions, for cutting education and any safety net spending, including healthcare for the poor and elderly, while supporting enormous tax breaks to businesses.
Their propaganda on the environment is clearly exposed in the April issue of their Environment and Climate News. Articles include:
- Arguing that Japan’s “nuclear crisis” is more a media-contrived crisis than a real one. Explosions at a nuclear power facility damaged by the mid-March earthquake and tsunami did not expose civilians to dangerous levels of radiation. The science director for the Heartland Institute said of nuclear meltdown in Japan, “It is likely that at least one of the Fukishima reactors will totally melt down, but the danger to human health will remain slight.”
- Celebrating a new study from the United Kingdom casting doubt on the claimed environmental benefits of reusable shopping bags.
- Encouraging the U.S. House to keep the U.S. economy free of EPA-mandated carbon dioxide restrictions.
- Welcoming the New Hampshire House vote by an overwhelming margin to end the state’s cap-and-trade program. The 246-104 vote approved a halt to the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The bill now moves to the New Hampshire Senate.
- Defending fracking, drilling and advancing unlimited nuclear energy.
- Ridiculing San Francisco’s rebate program to induce installation of low-flow toilets.
They are completely opposed to renewable energy sources publishing studies that say they “kill jobs.” They deny global warming even claiming that “rising CO2 benefits plant life.” One of their tactical goals is to eliminate the EPA and base environmental controls at the state level. This would allow Governors to decimate environmental protections. An example is Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker proposal to cut state funding for recycling.
The Heartland Institute is based in Chicago. Their address is:
The Heartland Institute
19 South LaSalle Street #903
Chicago, IL 60603
To view Heartland’s website and publications go to:
To view their most recent annual report go to: