Folks, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the negative and the damage being done to this great Country by the Obama administration. The damage is real, no doubt about it. We’ve been saddened and appalled by what has happened to us, our liberties and financial status . But to move forward we need to first accept responsibility for what happened to us as a country. Ignorance and apathy has gotten us to where we are today. We now must realize this Republic is on the verge of being destroyed (Transformed, if you will). We have learned what the word “Transformed” really means just like we did with “is” and “sex”. We also need to accept that this isn’t a Democratic problem or a Republican Problem it’s an American problem.
But, first and foremost, don’t believe for a second that all this damage has been done by the Obama Administration. This trend began a long time ago beginning with the Wilson Administration and furthered by the FDR regime. Under the cloak of apathy along with the cries of lying Lawmakers for changes to enhance our society along with fear mongering, this slide toward socialism has been periodically enhanced and furthered by liberals like Pres. Johnson, Carter and Clinton. Obama and his radical associates have just been bold enough to think they can complete our transformation to a second rate, socialized country.
So, now that we very well may be on the road to “throwing the Rascals out” in Nov., thanks to the phenomenal efforts of Conservative Talk Show hosts like Rush, Sean and Glenn Beck (to name a few) as well as those who have invested their time and money into the Tea Party movement, we need to think about the next steps necessary to restore our Republic to it’s Constitutional basis. We also need to be mindful of what happened with Newt Gingrich and the “Contract with America”. It sounded good and was good, but, it all went to hell because we really didn’t change things. We just put a new bunch of rascals in office and the band played on. The real solution lies in individual Americans being involved in the affairs of our Country on a daily basis and demanding that their representative Lawmakers be ethical, honest and responsive to our needs. We must insist that they represent us rather than shoving things down our throats “because they know better” what’s good for us.
To this end, we should realize that this is a daunting, but necessary task. There are so many things in our Country that need to be changed, revised and redone. We need to return to the roots, philosophies and practices that have made this country what it is today. But how? Where do we start? What is the truth? Fortunately, there is a group that has been grappling with these very questions. Rush Limbaugh and other Conservatives rely heavily on them for the truth and real solutions. The Heritage foundation is a non profit (501 c3), Conservative “Think Tank” that has on staff people who are intelligent, educated and not afraid to tell it like it is. Rush first talked about “Solutions for America” . He relies on them often for the truth. I am a member of the Heritage Foundation ($25/yr) so I received the following by email. I thought I would share it with you. I have only included the Introduction and Table of contents as it is too big to publish here (86 pages), but it should give you a good flavor of what’s in it. It is brilliant, thorough, thought provoking and in some cases frightening. I have also provided the website where you can read this document in it’s entirety. For sure, it’s not the endall, but it is a better start to dealing with problems we must address than I have heard to date. Not everyone will agree with everything and the recommended courses of action, but it’s an excellent place to start. So please, go to the website and read it. If our country is to be saved and put back on the right course, we have to know what is in front of us. And it is up to us.
P.S. sorry about the page numbering on the Table of contents. The Software I have to use (wordpress) is very difficult. I thought I had it fixed – but no luck. Any way, you get the idea.
Solutions for America
The Heritage Foundation is committed to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. We believe the principles and ideas of the American Founding are worth conserving and renewing. As policy entrepreneurs, we believe the most effective solutions are consistent with those ideas and principles. Our vision is to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish. Heritage’s staff pursues this mission by performing timely, accurate research on key policy issues and effectively marketing these findings to our primary audiences: members of Congress, key congressional staff members, policymakers in the executive branch, the nation’s news media, and the academic and policy communities. Governed by an independent Board of Trustees, The Heritage Foundation is an independent, tax-exempt institution. Heritage relies on the private financial support of the general public—individuals, foundations, and corporations—for its income, and accepts no government funds and performs no contract work. Heritage is one of the nation’s largest public policy research organizations. More than 684,000 individual members make it the most broadly supported think tank in America.
Table of Contents
Changing America’s Course 1
Restoring the U.S. to a Free Economy 3
The Entitlement Crisis 5
Reining in Runaway Spending and Deficits 7
Tax Reform 9
Meeting America’s Energy and Environmental Needs 11
The Unsustainable Growth of Welfare 13
Making Federal Policy Marriage-Friendly 15
The Rising Tide of Red Tape 17
Re-embracing Federalism 19
Revitalizing Federal Highway Transportation Policy 21
Education Reform 23
Getting Health Care Reform Right 25
The Federalization of Homeland Security 27
Civil Justice Reform 31
The Role of the Courts 33
Ensure that Congress Follows the Constitution 35
A Conservative Foreign Policy 37
The Building Blocks of a Strong National Defense 39
The Threat of Nuclear Weapons 41
Holding Terrorists Accountable 43
Developing a Strong Border and Immigration Policy 45
America has reached a tipping point. The federal government has grown exponentially, not just in spending (up from approximately $20,000 per household in 2000 to $31,000 today), but in its reach. Government now intrudes into virtually every aspect of our daily lives, from the type of toilet we can purchase, to the mix of fuel we can put in our cars, to the kind of light bulb we can use.
Government policies have stifled domestic energy production while pouring billions of public dollars into alternative energy subsidies, reflecting the elitist, “progressive” faith that bureaucrats can pick winners and losers better than private markets. As a result, energy is too expensive and we have grown too dependent on foreign sources. And now, unelected bureaucrats have been empowered to stipulate what health services we will purchase and how and from whom we will receive them. Excessive government intervention not only limits individual freedoms, it stifles entrepreneurial creativity and job creation, locks the poor into a lifetime of dependency and poverty, and limits the ability of hard-working Americans to enjoy upward mobility. Moreover, the federal government now dominates in spheres of activity traditionally reserved to the states, leaving little or no room for state-level innovation in policy areas such as education, transportation, health care, welfare, and even law enforcement. The pace of expansion has been breathtaking. My colleague Bill Beach summed up the year 2009 this way: Not only did the federal government effectively take over half of the U.S. economy and expand public-sector debt by more than all previous governments combined, it also oversaw the largest single-year expansion in total government debt in U.S. history. The rapid growth of federal grasp and reach is unsettling, at best. More and more Americans have come to question whether their children will inherit a better future, and even whether it is still possible to achieve the American Dream through hard work. In one of many such indicators, the Gallup Organization reports that Americans are more pessimistic about their future now than at any time since the Carter “malaise” of the late 1970s. That assessment may be dour, but it’s certainly reasonable. One study found that, during the first four months of 2009, fewer than half of college graduates age 25 and under were working in jobs that required a college degree. Other recent trends foretell a bleak future in terms of both prosperity and national security. Interest payments on the national debt will triple over the next six years, to approximately $600 billion annually. That’s more than Congress spends on education, energy, transportation, housing, and environmental protection combined – and over half of these payments will go to foreign investors. In the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States fell from the ranks of “economically free” nations, due primarily to excessive debt, spending, and taxation. How dire is our fiscal situation? In May, the International Monetary Fund took the extraordinary step of placing the U.S. on its watch list of nations overextended by debt. The IMF called on U.S. lawmakers to reduce government debt by hundreds of billions annually or face certain economic catastrophe. The national “Index of Dependence on Government” shows that Americans’ dependency on government – for everything from food and shelter to health care – increased last year at the fastest rate in over three decades. Our burgeoning welfare state now dispenses a trillion dollars annually to tens of millions of Americans without asking for anything in return. As currently structured, these programs undercut both the family unit (that fundamental building block of society) and cherished American values such as personal responsibility and the virtue of work. Military preparedness has declined thanks to a procurement holiday that began in the 1990s. Today, the size of the U.S. Navy’s fleet stands at its lowest point since 1916. Yes, that’s right, 1916—the pre-World War I era when America aspired to be a regional power. Tactical aircraft and B-1 Lancer bombers are, on average, over 20 years old while KC-135 tankers are practically historical artifacts at 44 years old. Little wonder that a prestigious committee of national security experts recently concluded that, absent a concerted effort to rebuild our armed forces, America was heading toward a national security “train wreck.” But all is not doom and gloom. America has faced similar challenges in the past and surmounted them. The American public’s overwhelmingly negative reaction to the recent explosion of government activism, in fact, encourages us that we will never pass that tipping point. As my colleague Matthew Spalding has written: There is something about a nation founded on principles, something unique in its politics, that often gets shoved to the background but never disappears. Most of the time, American politics is about local issues and the small handful of policy questions that top the national agenda. But once in a while, it is instead about voters’ stepping back and taking a longer view as they evaluate the present in the light of our founding principles. That is why all the great turning-point elections in U.S. history ultimately came down to a debate about the meaning and trajectory of America. Growing opposition to runaway spending and debt, and to a looming government takeover of health care… may mean that they are ready to re-embrace clear, enforceable limits on the state….To do that, conservatives must present a clear choice: stay the course of progressive liberalism, which moves away from popular consent, the rule of law, and constitutional government, and toward a failed, undemocratic, and illiberal form of statism; or correct course in an effort to restore the conditions of liberty and renew the bedrock principles and constitutional wisdom that are the roots of America’s continuing greatness. “The American people,” he concludes, are “poised to make the right decision.” Indeed they are. Reams of polling data confirm that Americans want our government leaders to embrace policy changes consistent with The Heritage Foundation’s vision to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish. Majorities of Americans believe that:
· America is an exceptional nation worth preserving and defending, and the best way to do so is through military strength;
· America’s virtues are such that, when an immigrant settles here, he should embrace our culture, values, and heritage rather than become isolated in the culture, heritage, and language of his country of origin;
· The government has too much power, wastes too much money, and cannot be trusted to pursue the right priorities; therefore it should be smaller in size and more limited in scope;
· The closer a government is to the citizen, the more effectively it will spend the citizen’s tax dollars; i.e., the federal government wastes the most, state governments somewhat less, and local governments waste the smallest portion of each tax dollar;
· Government regulations usually backfire and generate unintended consequences, whether it be in lowering the quality and increasing the cost of our health care or negatively affecting businesses in other policy areas;
· The best way to promote job creation and economic growth is by exerting a lighter regulatory touch, which includes lightening the burden of environmental regulations;
· Government should not use its power to pick winners and losers, whether it be policies that grant preferences to unions, certain racial groups, trial lawyers, corporate subsidy-seekers, or other politically connected entities;
· Welfare recipients should be required to work in exchange for their benefits; and • Judges should make decisions based on what is written in the Constitution or clearly delineated in the law, and not on the basis of their own viewpoints and feelings. A policy agenda faithful to these sentiments will both win the support of the American people and restore American greatness in a manner consistent with our nation’s founding principles.
What follows in these pages is a comprehensive policy agenda compiled by a team of Heritage experts. They identify the nature and scope of our most pressing problems in 23 discrete policy areas, and recommend 128 specific policy prescriptions for Congress to consider. These recommendations may strike some as being too
ambitious or unrealistic. But bear in mind that seldom, if ever, has our nation faced challenges as profound as
those described above. Now is not the time for tepid proposals or “small think.” Our nation is on an unsustainable trajectory. Robust and ambitious policies are required to revive America.