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  • An Open Letter

    Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner, photo by Chas Geer

    For the first time in the history of The Heritage Foundation, the Foundation’s president Ed Feulner has written An Open Letter to the Congress and the President of the United States. It begins:

    For the last 35 years, educators and analysts at The Heritage Foundation have been intimately involved in the nation’s great public policy debates. In all that time, we have never encountered legislation with such far-reaching and revolutionary policy implications as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act currently before Congress. And never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.

    While the stimulative utility of the bill is, at best, questionable, it would unquestionably rewrite the social contract between the American people and their government. For example:

    • The bill reverses the bipartisan and highly successful welfare reforms of 1996 and drastically expands the welfare state. For instance, it will start rewarding states for adding people to their welfare rolls, rather than for helping them find gainful employment. And contrary to long-established practice, it will entitle able-bodied adults without children to receive cash assistance.
    • It does extreme violence to the concept of federalism—bailing out states that have spent irresponsibly at the expense of taxpayers in states that have been fiscally prudent.
    • It greatly shifts the responsibility and power over health care delivery and decision making from individuals to government. Among other things, it would create a new federal health board to decide which medical services are “effective” in America, paving the way for government effectively to overrule the clinical decisions of private physicians.
    • It deliberately censors religious speech and worship on school campuses by prohibiting use of any “stimulus” funds for facilities that are used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school of divinity.

    The list goes on. … This reckless approach to governance can only undermine public faith in our elected officials and our government as a whole. We call on Congress and the Administration to live up to their promises and stated ideals, and give the democratic process a chance to work.

    Read the whole letter here.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    29 Responses to An Open Letter

    1. shellie rolston, lou says:

      I thoroughly agree and know that swelling the rolls of welfare will ruin the country

    2. Jacque Martin, Quitm says:

      Here we go! For almost 90 years, the Democrats have wanted to "reform" our government. Now, we know what they meant – Socialism/Communism – with a very small elite group (the Dems) in total power! The people of this nation better wake up because the life styles to which we have become accustomed will be lost or be shared with illegal aliens and those "able-bodied" adults who are not willing to work by government enforced re-distribution of wealth. I can't believe that this nation actually voted Obama into office. Those of you who voted for this man and his Democrat accomplices, I have one question? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? You weren't thinking – that's the problem. Or you are totally uninformed and do not know your history. Don't you know that mankind is doomed to repeat histroy? When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government they had foremd, he responded, "A republic – if you can keep it." I don't know about the rest of the country, but I will fight to keep it. I am willing to lay my life and my prosperity for my freedom – just as the founding fathers were willing to do. I am more motivated than ever to ensure that all Democrats up for re-election at mid-term are permanently retired. Every patriotic American should be so energized!

    3. Mike Luich, Ohio says:

      I agree 100%. It's a shame such a small portion of our population vote. Nobody I know is for this stimulus package. We are mortgaging our children's future and the economic future of this country. This is not what "mainstreet America" wants. Give our money back to the people, let us spend it where we want, or save it and or invest it. Since when does the government create an economy? Never, it won't work, it's just another ploy to increase the size, and dependency on government.

    4. Laura Landacre, Wash says:

      Right on Jacque!

    5. Robert Renelle, Utah says:

      Guided by fear we rushed to hand out hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars in the first have of the bail out. We know much of those funds have been squandered by the same greedy individuals who helped cause this problem. The stimulus package is likewise being rushed through without the approval of the american taxpayer. This bill will likewise not only fall short of its intended results but will burden future generations with added debt that will stifle economic growth and prosperity.

    6. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      A wonderful letter as long as it is only read by Conservatives. The Left will simply laugh and say “We Won!” and ignore the letter. With the election of President Obama, this Democrats on the Hill are not satisfied with rubbing their success in the noses of the few Republican Representatives, they want to go a lot farther. They are now raping the American People and not taking any prisoners.

      The Left is intent on getting everything they have not been able to get and to hell with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Federalist beliefs. These three things that are near and dear to the Conservative Movement, are being burned as Hitler burned books years ago. Unless this madness can be stopped, we could be witnessing the funeral of The United States of America!

    7. Peter Asher says:

      It is no secret that the “The Fix Was In” for the Socialists and their Welfare State agenda.

      Sadly, the road to this Armageddon was paved by lack of leadership in the Republican Party. Had we had one true Statesman for a presidential candidate, we would not be at this precipice. Even Ron Paul, whom I wrote in as my vote, didn’t have a strong enough personality to sway all those voters whom are more motivated by charisma than by truth and logic.

      Minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell had the only plan that could generate enough GDP growth hormone to actually create a recovery. His proposed 4% rollover loan program, applied to 50 million households, would have freed up spending and investment capital to an amount equivalent to 6% GDP. I believe the cost was estimated to be $135 billion.

      NewsMax.com has an article out tonight on a plan to subsidize mortgages for homeowners who have lost earning power or lost home value but as necessary an act as that may be in saving peoples homes it won’t function as much of a stimulus.


      Several articles elaborating on reducing debt overhead as the ideal stimulus and as to why there is no such thing as money in the market can be seen at my non-commercial blog,


    8. Jim, Pennsylvania says:

      I agree, but the language needs to be recast into something with more personal and emotional impact. We gave the Left our schools, and they gave us a population of illiterates. Make the argument in everyday terms, and keep pushing the message on radio, cable, and print. What does a $3.7 trillion bill mean, in terms of what each tax-paying citizen gets billed? How much annual payment is involved for 20 years? Is this 10 Playstation sets or HD TVs a year they must earn and give away? Is it an additional mortgage payment each month, or the cost of a set of braces each year? Explain how Congress took all the toys for two generations, because they could.

    9. Mark, Texas says:

      I agree with everything said, so how do we solve the problem, or do we just sit and take it? How do we organize and take this country back?

    10. Peter Asher .. Orego says:

      @ Jim: "a population of illiterates" indeed. This is also an agenda.

      With the advent of the Net, all information is available to anyone. If data can not be censored, then the population must be made unable to process it.

    11. Barb, Michigan says:

      It's time for conservatives to mobilize and take back our country! What we need is one cohesive group and one spokesperson to champion the conservative cause and bring these liberal radicals to task! Does anyone have any suggestions about how to bring everyone together so we can present as one strong voice for freedom and democracy?

    12. Peter Asher .. Orego says:

      @ Barb:

      My daughter at age 16 came to me with the observation that we were (1986) actually in a full depression because it had become normal for both spouses to work for a decent family income. She observed that if only one member worked in each household, most families would be poor. Her cognitive abilities have not diminished with age and she is a highly successful IT executive. Yet she voted for Obama because her personal perception was that he had more integrity. My calling attention to his WORDS such as in the “selfishness is a (not) virtue” speech, which totally tipped, his hand did nothing When I tried to explain why Stimulasaurus was a train wreck; she couldn’t get past the claims that it would put unemployed people to work.

      Working executive hours as the family breadwinner, A director of Portland’ Children’s Theater Brigade, home gardener, highly involved mother to two children active in after school activities; and webmaster of our design/build business, she doesn’t give herself the TIME to do more than make political decisions based on a singular byte of data!

      This may be representative of the missing 10% that we need, not to “bring these liberal radicals to task” but to take them down at the poles!

      As for a spokesman; who is there, in a position to become a candidate, that does not violate our principles on some issue? (e.g. Romney, as Governor, put in mandatory health care!) Senator McConnell, as I delineated above, understood what was needed for a genuine Stimulus, but is he an orator that can make believers out of the harried confused doubters of our time?

      When cynical, I think that anyone with the integrity and capability to lead us, is too repelled by the sewer he would have to wade through to do that to himself and his family.

      On the Easter before Dallas, in the parking lot at Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield, I had a long moment of eye contact with Bobby. I believe I saw something good and powerful there; and we then saw how that makes deadly enemies.

    13. John Belluomo says:

      I would like to , in advance thank the ignorant uninformed Bush hating americans who voted to basically start the the eminent demise of this great country.This so-called liberal agendized stimulus Bill will get things rolling in a possible irriversible direction.But wait there is a silver lining for these fools.You can count on an increase of 13 dollars reaching your homes soon.With that money you can get a cab ride to the voting booth in four years in order to continue the slide into the abyss.

    14. Nik, Ohio says:

      Thus begins the "Europeanization" of America. The Dems have pushed through a bill that greatly expands government, imposes more debt on the American taxpayer, and funds a myriad of projects as payback to those who got Obama elected. I am angry that I am being penalized for being an honest, play-by-the-rules taxpayer. Billions are being given to special interest groups and projects under the guise of economic stimulus. Yet, as I look at my 401-K, my retirement accounts, my child's education account, I see dramatic losses. People like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Christopher Cox, and others of their ilk are responsible for what has happened to our economy and, yet, we are entrusting them and the Dem leadership with billions more in taxpayer dollars. Our calls to our elected leaders seem not to make any difference, legislation is pushed through regardless of American sentiment. God help the U.S.A. because it's apparent we are on the path to socialism.

    15. Barb, Grand Blanc says:

      Have any of you read George Orwell's Animal Farm? If so,do you see any similarities between that story and what is happening in our country now? I think it's eerily similar.

    16. Leo, Mass. says:

      Wake up. The past administration destroyed America's economy, drove the deficit through the roof, polarized public opinion on virtually every issue, isolated us from the rest of the world, started an illegal war based on lies and treachery, shattered Americans' trust in government. That's why they, and their policies, were voted out of office and run out of town.

      Wake up and face the truth. I doubt we shall ever recover from this disaster they left us to face.

    17. Blake, Whittier, CA says:

      Conservatives. Have no fear. When all is said and done. Because of our desire to be informed, we will always stay ahead of the liberal lemmings. What was once a great nation will fall, but we will still be on top. Yes, it won't be like the days of old. But imagine the uninformed that voted for obama. They'll be even worse. They will actually keep moving forward without a care in the world. They won't see the train wreck coming. We would have already gotten off. Even though we are in the middle nowhere, we'll be fine compared to the fools that stayed on the train. That's my solace. Knowing that we'll be better off than the fools who voted for obama.

    18. cathy, oh says:

      Re: "bill cloked in secrecy" YES!

      I am 54.I have no way of being aware of the thousands of complex House committee rules which are also cloked in secrecy,but since Pelosi's dubious actions as Speaker of the House,I worry that my constitutional rights to equal representation through my Congressman are being violated when my Congressman or a represenatative from my Party has no right to participate in being appraised of what a bill contains(and letting me know),previewing a bill, drafting amendmendments to a bill,debating a bill,etc. Does the Speaker of the House have total authority and absolute authority concerning how a bill is written, who participates, who distributes it in a timely manner so that its contents are made known to constituents, etc.

    19. cathy OH says:

      If you read the idiotic,brainless,comments left at Politico.com, the blogs of choice for college students, you will see how democracy has been underminded by the collective socialism taught in today's universities….And these are the people that will eventually "lead" this country? Combine this with the leftist print and TV media, captialism, federalism, and Republicanism are all by done for.

    20. Susan, Wyoming says:

      Thank you for your wise commentary, just hope that the president and congress read it. My question now is what can WE do to help? I would love to see an open letter to the American people with viable suggestions that we can implement.

    21. James/Saundra von Se says:

      We are in agreement with the comments we have read. You can feel the frustration in the words of the people. What can we Conservatives do? We ,too have experienced trying to contact those in Congress and it is a joke. Any response you eventually get is in the form of a generic letter/e-mail and you know they are just replying….not listening! We too, have adult children that have been taken in by the charismatic speeches by President Obama and his associates. Yes, we who know History and have lived it can see the handwriting on the wall. Socialism to Communism!

      It would be a wonderful gesture for Congress to take a cut in pay and go to Social Security and the same Health benefits the rest of the nation has. Maybe then we could replenish our treasury!

      Where do we go from here?

    22. Mark, CA says:

      Lady liberty has gone from tears to depression. Why must this country be destroyed in the name of false liberty (actually tyranny) and false freedom (actually bondage). God help us!

    23. Ernst , Fl. says:

      Wake-up America we are being hijacked!

      Everything that USA has become during the last two hundred years is under attack by the left. I hope and pray there is someone or some organization that has our values and can be heard in some venue that will wake-up America. Obama has lead the ground work and is now going full speed ahead and before we know it , it might be too late.

      Do you have an answer?


    24. Lincoln and Jackie D says:

      This spending bill is what lierals/socialists have wanted for decades. These are the citizens that want a big brother(Obama) to take care of them from cradle to grave. These people don't want to be bogged down by the details. Just so they can sit at home, watch Oprah all day long and draw a welfare(ObamaCheck) and continue to have children that the people who do work, will have to support.

    25. jim, toledo says:

      Great letter and points relating to our freedoms lost and the resurgance of the welfare state. I'm sure this will fall on deaf ears and the Liberals will continue to force their agenda regardless of the lessons of history. It's a sad commentary that we have allowed ourselves to duped by the mainstream media and the government into belieiving we only are as good as they say we are.

    26. Pete,VA says:

      Give it time, all will be standing in front of a picture of the President expressing our love for "Dear Leader". In the book George Orwell’s Animal Farm, "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL


    27. Susie, CA. says:

      I'm not sure what Leo is thinking or drinking, but this is what I have to say to Congress:

      I find your most recent stimulus (pork) package to be a far cry from what our economy needs at this dire moment of financial crisis. Your heist of our money ranks as the top irritation on my mind at the moment.

      The intended role of government as designed by our founding fathers, was not to take over industry and nationalize private business, but rather to provide security and a limited safety net to those who cannot fend for themselves, and allow the others to go about their business of creating jobs, accumulating wealth, and making charitable donations to philanthropies of their choosing.

      Our nation was born upon the promise and realization of individual liberties, opportunities and responsibilities. We are NOT a socialist country, but the way you people spend our money, it won't be long before we can join the ranks of nations with failed economic policies such as Russia, much of the European Union and many Latin American nations.

    28. Beth Rand, Colorado says:

      Yes, we are in a recession. Everything that goes up must come down, including the economy. We Americans are tightening our belts, why can't the Federal Government do the same? Instead of spending 1 Trillion dollars, why doesn't the government cut 1 Trillion dollars of wasteful unnecessary junk from the budget. I think that would go a long way to restore confidence that our governmental leaders get what is going on. President Obama and the Dems are clueless about what makes this country great: business and entreprenuers. They are shooting the gift horse in the mouth, with all this spending and increased taxation. I want to join Rick Santelli at Lake Michigan this summer for the "tea party." All the Dems care about is POWER. We conservatives have to stop "playing nice" and take back control of this country. I believe it was Congressman Gomert – TX who said much of the Stimulus Bill spending doesn't go into effect until after 2010. The Republicans need to run stating they will reverse this insane spending. I wish Newt Gingrich had run for President!

    29. Pingback: Morning Bell: The ‘Buy America’ Threat to Our Economic Recovery | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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