Following are several highlights gleaned from each of the five one-half hour morning panel sessions:
9:30 a.m. “Climate Change: Science, Politics, and Economics”
Panel: Jay Lehr, science director and senior fellow, motivational speaker, scientist, and author; and H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor ofEnvironment and Climate News.
- Heartland Institute is credited with helping two states rescind their energy mandates for renewable energy. Renewable energy standards are being reconsidered as states question mandates, fret over costs.
- Lehr opened the session by explaining to the group that they should not buy into the bad news on climate change fed the public by the media, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Left. He explained that each year he gives presentations on climate change to regular audiences who do not buy at all into the idea that man has a significant impact on the earth’s climate. He explained that we are winning the war with the people.
- Lehr also discussed the Clean Power Plan launched by EPA which will have a severe impact on the poor – who spend 20 cents of every dollar on energy, while the middle class only spends 5 cents of each dollar on energy.
- Lehr went on to say that EPA’s pollution of the Animus River in Colorado was proof positive of why we must phase out EPA handing over all their responsibilities to a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Lehr’s plan to get rid of the EPA was distributed to the audience.
10:00 a.m. “Transforming Education: Choice, Technology, and Unions”
Panel: Heather Kays, managing editor of School Reform News; Lennie Jarrett, project manager for school reform projects; and Bruno Behrend, senior fellow.
- Common Core is sold under the guise of measurement and testing. The idea of a single curriculum is a horrible idea.
- Vouchers and charter schools are the way to go. Money should follow the children for parents to use as they wish.
- In the 21st century, there is no reason to save the 20th century education system. Kahn Academy, and others, are leading the world to an on-line learning future.
- Any gains are lost within two or three years in the Head Start program. It serves as a way for indoctrination to begin earlier.
10:30 a.m. “Health Care: Repealing and Replacing Obamacare”
Panel: Ken Artz, managing editor of “Health Care News”; and Justin Haskins, editor and managing director, Consumer Power Report. Herb Walberg was cited for his books on education. Those with Joe. Links must be added. Also will add about Walberg as heads of Heartland’s board.
- Ken Artz is the newest member of Heartland’s team of managing editors, heading up Health Care News.
- Heartland has distributed 125,000 copies of The Obamacare Disaster by Peter Ferrara.
- Obamacare is an overreach and death by a million regulations.
- The Cadillac tax beginning in 2018 is an excise tax on healthcare plans.
- Keep eye on the decoupling or defunding state-based agencies. Possible “uberization” (term devised from Uber Technologies, Inc.) of healthcare? Call up a doctor on a service and they come for $99.00.
- A litmus test is in order for Republican candidates to repeal Obamacare. Voters have a right to be angry.
- Obamacare as a way station on the way to a single payer system.
11:00 a.m. “Budget and Taxes”
Panel: Peter Ferrara, senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy; Logan Pike, state government relations manager, and Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of Budget & Tax News.
- Sin taxes or excise taxes on (sugar, e-cigarettes, soda, etc.) described as “a cash grab” The result: people just accept higher prices or buy goods where they are not taxed.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) praised as a program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to assist families with children under age 18, helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency.
- Taxpayers today are paying the poorest people in America a trillion dollars a year not to work through welfare payments. And so that is what they are doing in response, which is the root cause of poverty. Elected legislators have reasons for not wanting to solve the problem.
- What about taking away the ability of the federal government to borrow money?
- What about tying public assistance with showing up to work?
11:30 a.m. “The Case for Constitutional Reform”
Panel: Gene Koprowski, director of marketing and Peter Ferrara, senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy.
- Heartland announced the August 26 launch of its Center on Constitutional Reform, with an event at the Marriott City Center in Dallas, Texas. The launch event featured former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), former U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-FL), and Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast.
- Heartland’s new Center for Constitutional Reform was created to highlight individuals and organizations working to find solutions to the nation’s constitutional problems. It will not endorse one particular path to constitutional reform, seeking instead to support and seek constructive debate on all efforts to restore constitutional order.
- Kyle Maichle is project manager for the new center. As state legislatures across the nation are considering constitutional reform measures as a solution to stop Washington, DC’s endless thirst for power, Article V conventions, nullification, and state compact agreements are solutions lawmakers can introduce “to rein in the federal government.”
- Constitutional Reform is needed because “America is facing a constitutional crisis. Limits on the size and power of the national government intended by the Founding Fathers and placed in the Constitution have been violated repeatedly and with devastating consequences. The national government has grown to the point that it is now a clear and present danger to American life, liberty, and happiness.”
- Talk show host and author Mark Levin has championed the idea of holding a modern-day Constitutional convention in his book, The Liberty Amendments, but few took the possibility of it actually happening seriously.
- Our Framers knew that we would need Article V to prevent extremists from taking over our country. The role of Heartland is to bring groups together to work for constitutional reform.
Keynote address – Congressman Randy Hultgren, 14th District of Illinois
After a lunch break, at which the Keynote address was given by Congressman Randy Hultgren representing the 14th District of Illinois (see here a separate account of Hultgren’s remarks), an amazing group of Heartland in-house staff members directly responsible for Research, Communications, Government Relations, Marketing, and Development spoke about their department’s role in the overall day-to-day operation of The Heartland Institute. Further information about each of the five day-to-day work groups within Heartland can be found by goggling Heartland’s home site, https://www.heartland.org/ .
Unique to The Heartland Institute
It was interesting to hear from Development personnel that Heartland is getting lots of bang for the bucks it has at its disposal to spend. With a budget of $7 million, Heartland has more influence than do think tanks having budgets ten times its size.
In light of Heartland’s Rome success in May, which countered Pope Francis on Global Warming, Heartland’s Communication Department reported that another trip is being planned for the COP21 event scheduled to take place in Paris from Nov. 30 – December 11. The stakes are high, and they spell destruction and havoc for this nation’s economy and well-being should the aim of the COP21 event be reached. For the first time, “a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us [the U.S.] to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.
The Marketing Department is a new full-time department at The Heartland Institute. Started just six months ago, it’s a unique addition at Heartland. Most think tanks don’t have in place an operating, full-time Marketing Department.
President Joseph Bast concluded the day with remarks explaining how effectively Heartland’s five departments work together to change policy. Special recognition was given to the new Marketing Department, which has enabled Heartland to reach many groups and individuals through the printed, informational material it sends out.
Bast cited Wealth of a Nations by Adam Smith, published in 1776, as a breakthrough in thinking that coincided with thebirth of our nation by our Founding Fathers in 1776. Adam Smith called it the “Great Society” — when doing good in the world came to represent a moral act. As Bast explained, a moral code is consistent with doing well in the world. The more free individuals and nations are, the wealthier they become.
As with every organization, donations are important – especially so for The Heartland Institute. Bast noted there are still naming opportunities at Heartland’s new Freedom Center in Arlington Heights for those who wish to leave a lasting legacy.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the August 22 Saturday picnic, an open house for Heartland’s new neighbors in Arlington Heights. One person who was able to attend was Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes, who cut the green ribbon officially opening the building to the public. From all reports, it was a smashing success.