My fellow conservatives,
The stakes couldn’t be higher for our nation at this moment. In the coming months, Americans will help choose which direction our nation’s future will take. Will the federal government continue to spend more, tax more, control more, and defend our liberties less? Or will we choose a new and bolder direction that returns power to the people? All indications are that we are approaching one of those pivotal moments in our political history, a tipping point. It will be a test of our national character.
Like many Americans, we here at The Heritage Foundation are not concerned with party labels or affiliations. We are motivated by principles and by the best policies that will advance and defend those principles in the public square. We are unabashedly conservative, because we work to conserve an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.
So whatever composition we see in our next Congress, we want to see majorities that represent the consent of the governed and that will take control of our presently unlimited government. We intend to leave to our children and grandchildren an America even better than the one we inherited from our forebears.
In its “Pledge to America,” the Republican Party last week offered its own vision for America’s future. The pledge is a step in the right direction and rightly frames the debate around our core first principles and the role of the state, popular consent and self-government.
We have ourselves produced a set of recommendations that we think will heal much of what ails our country. We call them “Solutions for America.”
We’re happy that some proposals in the Pledge mirror proposals we have in Solutions for America. Both of these plans are headed in the right direction. But we want to be even bolder.
Our Solutions for America is an overarching blueprint for governing. It’s designed to replace the failed policies of the liberal establishment with solid conservative solutions that will shrink government, reduce debt, keep taxes low, put Americans back to work and keep us safe.
Solutions for America identifies the nature and scope of our most pressing problems in 23 policy areas and recommends 128 specific policy solutions to guide the new Congress. Here are some of our ideas:
* Cap Federal Spending: President Obama’s proposed budget would increase the national debt from $13 trillion now to $20 trillion by 2020. This is an unsustainable trajectory. We propose a “binding cap” that forces lawmakers back to fiscal sanity.
* Put Entitlement Programs Under the Budget: We propose putting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid into the congressional budget process rather than continue to allow them to grow on auto-pilot without oversight. Lawmakers would establish a five-year budget for these programs and include triggers to keep spending with approved limits.
* Reform Social Security: We should raise the Social Security retirement age and encourage people to work longer by eliminating payroll taxes for those over the retirement age. This would lessen the burden on employers to keep people employed and lessen the burden on Medicare and other entitlements.
* Revive Federalism: We must reverse the current trend in which the federal government more and more usurps the traditional state role in areas such as transportation, education, health, homeland security and law enforcement.
* Loan Welfare Money to Able Bodied Recipients: Our plan advises treating welfare assistance to able-bodied adults as a loan to be repaid, rather than a free gift from taxpayers. This will reduce dependency while providing temporary help to those who need it.
* Keep Taxes Low: First, no tax increases, including the planned Obama Tax Hikes as well as the reintroduction of the Death Tax. Instead, cut taxes to spur economic growth.
* Implement a Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs Strategy: We must reduce the top tax rate on corporate earnings, which is currently the second highest among ALL industrial nations, and let businesses immediately deduct investments in new plants and equipment.
* Peace Through Strength: Defense spending is near historical lows. We must refurbish our armed forces, especially our depleted Navy fleet and vital missile defenses.
These are just some of the many policy recommendations we include in Solutions for America. Please go read the entire document at Heritage.org. Share it with your friends and encourage them to join the debate, whether it is by going to a Heritage event, liking us on Facebook, or signing up for The Morning Bell. Every action you take towards a brighter future for America is – like the Pledge and Solutions for America – a step in the right direction.
Now is the time to be bold, and to act as befits our character. That is what our parents and grandparents would expect of us, what future generations demand—and what The Heritage Foundation offers to America. Thank you.
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation