Happy New Year! Without a doubt, 2020 is going to be an interesting year, with an important presidential election just 11 months away. Looking back, 2019 was a banner year for freedom advocates. At the federal, state, and local levels, personal liberty and limited government continue to prevail over statist, socialist policies.
However, those on the extreme Left—including a bevy of presidential contenders—are not standing pat and allowing freedom to flourish. Truth be told, there is a concerted effort underway to undermine freedom while growing government to a level unforeseen in American history. In 2019, we witnessed policy nightmares courtesy of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Green New Deal and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) Medicare for All plans, among several others.
I am betting 2020 will be full of more wrongheaded policies to expand government control—regardless of the enormous costs and negative consequences. In many ways, America is at a crossroads. Will our nation embrace a European-style welfare state, complete with cradle-to-grave entitlements and the taxes that go with them? Or will Americans demand more freedom in the form of less taxes, more school choice, and less oversight from Washington, DC bureaucrats? I am hopeful the latter will triumph.
In the years ahead, as we have done for decades, Heartland will continue to promote commonsense solutions to the problems that plague society. We will support government that works for the best interests of the American people, promotes freedom, protects the weak from the strong, promotes energy independence, a robust economy, and environmental stewardship. In the same vein, we will oppose policies that deter innovation, entrepreneurship, freedom, personal responsibility, or unnecessarily grow government. We will remain focused on climate realism, while proposing energy and environmental policies that keep costs low for all Americans, enhance the economy, and protect our environment.
To increase our effectiveness, Heartland is embarking on a plan to expand our influence via social media and other new platforms, because we are not only in the business of informing legislators. To maximize our impact, we must reach out to all involved in the policymaking process, especially voters—the ultimate deciders of all things political.
Of course, we are fighting an uphill battle. For years, the far Left has dominated the media and academia, propelling a false narrative that more government control is always good. Even worse, this fallacy has seeped into the popular culture and is constantly promoted by powerful institutions, namely Hollywood and “woke” corporations.
However, despite this, we at Heartland are dedicated more than ever to our mission of promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. In 2020, we are ready to hit the ground running in several policy areas.
For example, on health care we will continue to advocate for more consumer choice. Our outstanding health care experts will be very busy promoting Heartland’s Free to Choose Medicine project, CON law reforms, and greater access to health savings accounts.
In the education field, Heartland’s Center for Education Opportunities is already busy advocating for more school choice via education savings accounts and child safety accounts for students who are trapped in unsafe (and underperforming) government schools. We will also promote viable alternative tracks to the overpriced degrees at colleges and universities that burden young Americans with crushing debt while ill-preparing them for the rigors of the workplace. To combat the so-called “college debt crisis,” we believe students would be better off having multiple career education tracks available to them during and after high school.
Of course, our main focus will remain on contesting the climate delusion. Heartland’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy has an expanded staff that is more than ready to push back against the so-called global warming consensus. To achieve this, we are launching several new initiatives aimed at informing the general public about the extreme Left’s plan to use global warming fearmongering as a means to vastly expand government control. Not to mention that this would also lead to huge tax increases and a boatload of regulations that would choke our thriving economy. We are laser-focused on combatting the climate delusion.
Along with our activities in health care, education, and the environment, Heartland is also dedicated to commonsense economics. We will continue to oppose unnecessary taxes and burdensome regulations that kill jobs and redistribute income from productive endeavors to economic black holes. High taxes and stifling regulations do not improve circumstances for hard-working Americans. On the contrary, they cater to the wants and whims of bureaucrats and special interest groups. That is why we adamantly oppose these foolish policies.
As the new president of The Heartland Institute, I am glad to carry the torch of liberty into the dawn of a new decade. Please join us on our journey to fulfill Heartland’s mission to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.
Former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
With my leadership, we at The Heartland Institute will do everything in our power to ensure that the United States remains as free as ever, for generations to come.