Joseph Bast is president and CEO The Heartland Institute, a national nonprofit research center founded in Chicago in 1984 and now located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. According to a recent telephone survey, among state elected officials The Heartland Institute is among the nation’s best-known and most highly regarded “think tanks.”Bast is the author or editor of 21 books, including Rebuilding America’s Schools (1990), Why We Spend Too Much on Health Care (1992) Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism (1994) Education & Capitalism (2003), Climate Change Reconsidered (2009), The Patriot’s Toolbox (2010, rev. ed. 2011), Rewards (2014), and Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming (2015).
His writing has appeared in the Phi Delta Kappan, Economics of Education Review, Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, The Cato Journal, USA Today, and many of the country’s largest-circulation newspapers.
Bast is publisher of four monthly newspapers sent to every national and state elected official and thousands of civic and business leaders. Those publications are titled School Reform News, Environment & Climate News, Health Care News, and Budget & Tax News.
Bast has been recognized many times for his contributions to public policy research and debate, including being named one of “The 88 to Watch in 1988” by the Chicago Tribune and being awarded the 1994 Roe Award from the State Policy Network, the 1996 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award, the 1998 Eagle Award from Eagle Forum, and the 2004 Champion of Liberty Award from the Libertarian National Committee. He was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Gov. Paul E. Patton in 1996, elected a member of the Philadelphia Society in 2002, and elected to the board of directors of the American Conservative Union in 2007. Bast's service on the ACU board ended in 2016.
Prior to being hired as The Heartland Institute’s first employee in 1984, Bast was coeditor of the bimonthly magazine Nomos, and studied economics as an undergraduate at The University of Chicago.