Then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Heritage darling (above). Heritage’s impact will be felt in the Trump administration’s budget proposal, expected in mid-March. Last year, Heritage published a blueprint for bringing the federal budget into balance that calls for reducing spending by $10.5 trillion and cutting taxes by $1.3 trillion over a decade. It aims a wrecking ball at virtually every law, program and institution that defends the environment or promotes green energy. It calls for opening up “all federal waters and all non-wilderness, non federal-monument lands to exploration and production” to fossil fuel, mining and other commercial interests. According to Greenpeace, Heritage received at least $780,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2012, and more than $5.7 million from foundations associated with fossil-fuel industrialists the Koch brothers between 1997 and 2014. . . . Indiana’s fall from bad to worse illustrates the cycle of dysfunction that takes hold in states that apply the Heritage- and ALEC-driven model of economic freedom. Public investment declines, even as government passes laws to curb unions and suppress wage growth. The low wages hollow out the tax base, which means there is less money for public investment, which worsens things like public health and education. Their sad condition is then used to justify applying “free-market” reforms to the public sector.
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