Before free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. … But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that the annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday.
Richard J. Maybury, The Free Market, November 1985
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks to all those who are near and dear to us. The Heartland Institute is thankful for its Legislative Forum members, donors, allies – and all who support the discovery, development, and promotion of free-market solutions to our nation’s social and economic problems. We wish you a joyous Thanksgiving filled with good food, family, and free-market ideas!
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing hydraulic fracturing, the CROP act, the Parent Trigger, Obama’s contraceptive mandate, and travel agent taxes.
Director – Government Relations
Research & Commentary: Shallow Loss Coverage and the CROP Act
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
The U.S. agriculture industry receives billions of dollars ($6.5 billion in 2010) in federal insurance subsidies each year. Farmers buy crop insurance to provide protection against the risk of natural disasters and the loss of revenue due to declines in agricultural commodity prices. Congress is now debating expanding the already-ample insurance subsidies. One proposal is Rep. Randy Neugebauer’s (R-TX) Crop Risk Options Plan (CROP) Act, which would amend the Federal Crop Insurance Act to provide supplemental coverage beyond the current 75 percent coverage.
In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans examines the CROP Act and shallow loss coverage from various perspectives. The Heartland Institute, Environmental Working Group, and American Enterprise Institute are among the groups that oppose the CROP Act and similar shallow loss coverage provisions. The new coverage is a boondoggle that props up a farming industry that does not require additional safety nets.
What We’re Woking On
In this editorial, health care Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier reveals how a Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is infringing upon the First Amendment rights of religious organizations.
Research & Commentary: Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure
Environment & Climate
In just a few short years, shale gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing has transformed the domestic energy landscape, providing billions of cubic feet per day to the nation’s energy supply and billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. As the use of this technique has rapidly expanded, however, so has public concern about the chemicals used during the process. This R&C discusses how different states have begun to regulate these chemicals.
To call the Parent Trigger an exciting new reform would be a major understatement. In recent months the idea, promoted extensively by The Heartland Institute, has seen press in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other media outlets. Click here and watch a quick video from the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal covering the California story.
Save Housing, Kill Fannie and Freddie
Budget & Tax
Four years after its collapse, the housing market continues to crumble. The National Association of Realtors on November 9 reported housing prices fell in 111 of 150 metropolitan areas in the third quarter of the year. On the same day, Fannie Mae announced it wants an additional $7.6 billion of taxpayer money to cover its most recent losses. Fannie Mae’s losses stem largely from defaulted mortgages in its portfolio.
One day later, Fannie’s evil but smaller twin, Freddie Mac, announced the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had fallen to 3.99 percent, only the second time in history rates have gone below 4 percent.
And still housing prices fall.
States looking for a revenue bump have tried everything. Among the most recent fads: double-taxing online travel agents. Florida, Montana, and New York localities have tried to levy a tax on the service fee that online travel agents like Expedia and Priceline charge. Read this quick Research & Commentary about the trend.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011, 11:30 AM
The November issue of InfoTech & Telecom News reports Amazon.com has given up its battle against a California sales tax proposal in return for a one-year window that grants Internet retailers a reprieve from collecting the taxes until September 2012.