Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
You’re a reader of this blog, so you are a part of the conversation at The Heartland Institute, one of America’s most influential free-market think tanks. The posts here reflect the exchange of ideas, insights, and opinions on liberty from the writers, editors, thinkers, and scholars that happen at Heartland every day.
But Heartland has also, for many years, produced news coverage from a free-market perspective — the counter-spin to the mainstream media. At the Heartlander digital magazine, our team of writers and editors cover budgets and taxes, education; environment and energy; finance, insurance and real estate; lawsuit abuse; and technology.
Leave it to global warming alarmists to exploit the innocent victims of a human tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to spread the laughably false notion that global warming caused the storm. While our nation should be coming together to support the victims and repair the damage, far too many global warming alarmists are cynically prostituting the tragedy under Rahm Emanuel’s theory of “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Michael Mann was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the director of the Nobel Institute says, despite Mann’s public claims that he was. The claim is now taking center stage in a defamation lawsuit Mann has filed against National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and columnist Mark Steyn.
Thousands of citizens have signed a Heartland Institute petition to rein in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Heartland Institute is still collecting online signatures and will present the petition to the EPA later this year.
BUDGETS AND TAXES
The City of Chicago needs $1.5 billion a year beginning in 2016 to shore up its pensions for municipal workers across police, fire, water, and other municipal departments as well as for elected officials, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has warned the city’s aldermen.
If Cook County, Illinois commissioners approve the proposed 2013 budget, the final costs of purchases of cigarettes, firearms, poker machines and items selling for more than $3,500 that county residents and businesses buy outside the county will go up.
When he describes a fundamental truth of pension accounting universally accepted by economists, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute achieves an elegant explanation: “A guaranteed liability must be discounted at a risk-free rate.”
FINANCE, INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE
The federal and state governments may receive most of the attention for what are widely acknowledged to be unsustainable fiscal policies, but local governments also have unsustainable policies of their own.
People who save money in banks or money markets, hold certificates of deposit, or live on fixed incomes are not the only ones being hurt by record-low interest rates.
As the leaderships of both the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. consider the state-run funds’ fiscal exposure to catastrophes, the R Street Institute is urging state lawmakers and regulators to commit to risk-based rates to protect taxpayers and policyholders from costly post-storm assessments.
Education reformers like to accuse teacher unions of blocking their designs. A new report quantifies teacher union strength state by state, giving union foes a lay of the land and union forces a pecking order.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and new Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick have announced they want to shepherd school vouchers through the legislature. What’s a smart option for them and for Texas schoolkids? The Heartland Institute takes a look.
The nation’s approximately two million homeschoolers, whom others frequently scrutinize and even stigmatize as socially inept, are better emotionally adjusted in college than their non-homeschooled peers, a new study concludes.
President Obama’s mandate that all employers pay for access to contraceptive services has sparked heavy criticism from religious organizations who maintain they are being forced to abandon their moral convictions. However, a part of Obama’s mandate which has not been highly publicized could fundamentally alter the rights of parents nationwide and could lead to minors receiving contraception and abortifacients without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
Even if you’ve been the nation’s leading job-creating state for the past four years, President Obama’s health care law is going to have an effect. Texas small businesses expect Obama’s law to impact them in a profoundly negative way.
Nebraska state lawmakers are considering changes to the state health insurance program after an audit found the program’s per capita cost to be the highest in the nation. Nebraska’s Legislative Performance Audit Committee has discussed possible legislation to address some of the concerns raised in the audit, including adding teeth to the law to get more cooperation from state departments being audited.
The Federal Communications Commission has withdrawn a proposal to tax broadband Internet service after a public outcry over the issue.
More universities are herding into massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The University of Texas, announced it would last month, joining the likes of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Virginia. Drs. Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok are economics professors at George Mason University and proprietors of the well-known economics blog Marginal Revolution.
LAWSUIT AB– USE
A threat of a lawsuit has caused a Connecticut homeowner to refuse to host any more tours of her garden to raise money for charity.
A Texas white-winged dove — a coveted type of wild game bird — flew into the side of a Texas man’s house recently and died of a broken neck. The man found it, cooked it, and ate it.
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