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  • Morning Bell: The Heritage Pledge

    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.

    Sincerely,
    Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    57 Responses to Morning Bell: The Heritage Pledge

    1. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      How about a PLEDGE TO -

      LISTEN

      ANSWER QUESTIONS

      and TELL THE TRUTH.

      ===

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    2. Charles McKim Barley says:

      Good work.

      It the beginning of Obamacare it became obvious to me that the issue was Medicare, et al. In my opinion, we need a progressive high deductible on Medicare, say $20m for high income and down for les income but everyone has a deductible.

      SS, even though a so called investment and everyone who contributed is entitled to a return but why not progressive, so I get less on my investment and less privileged get the max.

      Sell the PO to UPS, Fedex and or Walmart. The PO delivers junk mail today.

      …and so on. We can reduce entitlements…

    3. Crystal Quiring; Cha says:

      I was happy to see that you addressed the welfare mess in this country. People keep talking about "entitlement programs" and never once have I seen welfare listed. It's about time someone woke up to this absolute drain on America!! (Is that racist????)

    4. Kurt, Tampa, FL says:

      Quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed. I don't think this pledge goes far enough. It's not enough to put entitlements into the budget or treat welfare as a lone. The federal government has no business doing either of these in the first place. Entitlements, including welfare, and social security should be eliminated at the federal level. If individual states want to have high taxes and lots of entitlements, so be it. I'm sure others will not…and guess which states I would choose to live in.

      Getting back to true federalism and a small federal government is the real solution. Let each state determine their programs, entitlements, etc. and do it on their own dime (no federal money) and let the fed stick to it's mandated tasks like defense, foreign policy, and interstate disputes.

    5. Adrian Hooper, Brist says:

      Solutions for America: If we have term limits on the presidency, it seems to me that we should have them for the House and the Senate as well.To many of our elected officials get power crazy after several years in office. Shutting down K street would go a long way to draining the swamp of corruption. Get the money out of Politics.

    6. Dennis Georgia says:

      I like your ideas, especially the welfare mess. This has become a way for many to never work, they just beconme a burden on society. I am all for help, but then the person must start to help themselves. The way it is now they ahve no incentive to help themselves. This must be stoped. The tax on all of us must be rewritten, The fair Tax seems best, then all pay their share. Defence must be restored, we need to be strong. The un mandates must be droped, we are a nation of free people, then we must realize that freedom is not and has not ever been free. We need to institue trem limits on Congress, they get there by hook and crook, then become parasites on society. They are crazy with the power and controll. We also need to send the message that these people work for us, the people. The only way to send the message is to show up at the polls in great numbers, no longer will we allow 30% of the people to run this country.

    7. Shawn, B'ham, A says:

      Want to be bold, scrap the FED! Want to be bold, set up term limits! Jeff Sessions (R AL) responded to email I sent saying 'we do have term limits and the voter has spoken'. Until these people are gone, it doesn't matter who we vote in office. The only thing it will change is the speed of the ride. These rulers literally have to die before they give up their seat (Byrd, Kennedy). 10 years from now, I don't think I will look back and say if only we had took the house things would be different. Sorry to be such a downer today.

    8. Evan, Alaska says:

      Make that 2 of us for term limits. We also need public funded elections and campaigns. I want my congressman on the job–not out begging for money half the year. Funding these elections would be cheap compared to the give aways that they do for special interest groups. It would cut lobbist numbers in half also.

    9. Ronald Stolpman, Lak says:

      I agree with all that you have said in your "Pledge," but I think that the at its core reform should focus on two elements: Term limits for all elected officials and simplification of the Federal Tax Code. Everything else will flow from these reforms. With the Federal Tax Code nothing but a box of goodies handed out to favored constituents at the discretion of elected representatives, it is no wonder that no two tax attorneys can come up with the same answer on tax questions. The tax code should be reduced to a ten page document. All income should be taxed based on a specific rate table, period with special treatment only for capital gains and dividends.

    10. Bill Scantlen says:

      THe Republican Pledge to America is about as meaningfull as Newt Gingrich's Contract with America.

      No comparison of any sort should be made to this crap.

      Anyone elected in November has the duty to work on the complete repeal and defunding of Obamacare, period. NO starting again. Keep government out of healthcare altogether.

      AS for Meicare and Medicaid this will be difficult to contend with as far as I am concerned, it should never have been instigated in the first place. But it has the possibility of being repaired.

      AS for all government programs, I can find none once given life that has ever been repealed.

      This country is gone, never to return.

    11. Shawn Marshall Hardy says:

      Here is a simple idea that will do two positive things for the economy.

      Redesign the Social Security system going forward so that deposits to the system are removed again from the general funds.

      As deposits accumulate, make them available to first time home buyers for mortgages up to 250,000. at a fixed rate of 5%. This will give SS a good fixed rate of return. It will provide a steady source of fixed rate loans for new home buyers which will put a floor under the housing market. It will stabilize the dollar somewhat by giving it an intrinsic value based upon basic homes and a fixed interest rate.

      Approval for loans should be self-documented to rigorous standards: 3 years tax returns; earnings history from SS, proof of assets, credit scores; possible co-signers. Documentation must be verified by certified and bonded for fee reviewers e.g. a local bank loan officer. A review fee should paid by the applicant and competition would keep it in the range of several hundred dollars. Any reviewer generating too many defaulters would be de-certified. Defaulters on SS home mortgages would face deductions against future SS payments at retirement and delayed retirement benefits as well.

      Do you have economic wizards who can explain to me why this would not work? It seems to me an obvious strong solution to a large portion of our current malaise.

    12. ThomNJ says:

      I agree with Adrian Hooper – term limits ought to be a part of any reform.

      Additionally, I would actually like to see the government get out of retirement issues and abolish social security. Though I am not far from that age myself, I would like to see a plan that has perhaps three age group options. The youngest are dropped immediately, and they get their contributions back . The next set of folks gets to opt out if desired. If they opt out, they also get their paid in funds back. Beyond a certain age, they are in and it's business as usual for them. We could keep the 6.2% tax on businesses for a specific period of time in order to help pay for the current retirees and those staying in the system. We could also keep the current 6.2% employee payments as a 401k style deduction, off the top and reduce the partiicpant's taxable base. I have more to this idea, but there is too much to put in a comment here – suffice to say, I think we need to get rid of this entitlement program. I would rather take the money I paid in and do as I please with my investments. Currently, the social security tax is just outright theft by the federal government. (And currently, those who do not wish to have Medicare are prohibited from dropping it unless they drop their social security payments as well – this is flat out wrong. A person ought to be able to purchase their own health plan and not be saddled with Medicare through some kind of government threat to take it all away).

    13. Carol In CA says:

      Without our Constitution, not just as what we had but applied to our every day usage, We will be just another 3 world country. Our Constitution can not be used some times and not when the Government wants to pass something they want in order to control the people more.

      Without our Constitution our Government IS a dictatorship. Everyday you get up you lose one more freedom. Until you wake up one morning and you discover the Government is taking care of you from the cradle to the grave. If this is what you want you could have gone on living at home? You left home to have a life, to be free to make your own decissions and now you are about to give it all to the Government. Is this what you really want? I have lived 75 years being responsible for my self, my husband, and 2 children. So far we have never counted on the Government for any thing. We controlled our own life, we lived free!. I pray to GOD you have the same opportunity and that you see to it that you pass this freedom on to future generations.

    14. George Colgrove, VA` says:

      •Cap Federal Spending:

      I support your sentiments fully. Let us get overall spending at or below 2000 budget amounts. This is the lowest budget in decades. This will reverse much of the governmental growth that is killing the American experience.

      •Put Entitlement Programs Under the Budget:

      These entitlements are always going to kill the budget. These programs need to be privatized. We should be talking about converting the investments made by people into financial institutions and not the government.

      •Reform Social Security:

      I agree with the sentiments; however, one addition to reforming SS should be to convert the system to privately held investments. For people who are not in the system let the states solve with a mixture of ideas. This is not a federal government issue.

      •Revive Federalism:

      Yes to this bullet item! The final package should require the outright elimination of these departments you listed – and more. The federal government should not have a hand in any domestic issues.

      •Loan Welfare Money to Able Bodied Recipients:

      NO! These loans will be forgiven by the next liberal congress. Let the states deal with welfare. This will allow for competition of ideas among the states with the best ideas always having a chance to win. Welfare is not a federal issue.

      •Keep Taxes Low:

      Simplify the tax code. Get rid of tax incentives. Everyone plays the same basic rules equally. Flat tax (one rate) on incomes of all people with a minimum tax payment requirement. Provide a maximum of two child and two adult tax deductions. No more adjustments to income. No other taxes – no corporate tax – no company taxes what-so-ever. No death tax. For investments, add the interest earned into income and tax as income at a flat rate. Make the collection at the local level, then each level passes money up the chain. Get rid of state and federal tax collection and corresponding departments. Completely ban property tax.

      •Implement a Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs Strategy:

      A limited federal government that has no hand in domestic issues will result in a business friendly environment. There should be a Business Bill of Rights to protect businesses from state and local government abuse.

      •Peace Through Strength:

      Though I agree with your overall statement. The DoD is responsible for excessive waste. It is a very top heavy bureaucracy. We are losing billions of dollars due to the DoD lack of efficiency and concern for costs. Conservatives need to look at defense spending with a very close eye. We need to look at military initiatives to ensure the country is getting the most of what we are paying for. We want all the overlap, and redundancy in the defense department to be cut out. In addition to being fully funded, the military should be lean and mean and efficient. That is not a cost issue – it is organizational.

    15. Russell Sebring Fl. says:

      ?

      There are six reasons that I object to government welfare and subsidies.1: The

      government has a history of providing mediocre service. So why do we continue to force

      government to take on more duties when the private sector can do much better.

      2: There is a continued battle over the separation of church and state. Compassion is the

      bailiwick of religions. Why does the government speak out of both sides of its mouth? On one

      side they want to disassociate themselves from religion and on the other side they want to hijack

      religion?s principles.

      3: Democracy vs. Republic. I have noticed that the evolution of our government has morphed

      the democracy and republic together. I don?t know who started it. Was it the despots who used

      the promise of a free lunch to buy votes or was it the citizens who demanded the politician to

      provide a free lunch for their vote2 I guess it makes no difference, the outcome is the same. The

      citizens will vote themselves money from the treasure in a democracy, or in a republic only vote

      for candidates who promise to give them money from the treasure.

      4: We may not want to admit it, but we are all greedy and we are all tightwads. It all depends

      on where we stand and what the time. When we go to work we are a producer and we are greedy,

      and when we go to the store we are consumers and are tightwads. This is what makes the

      competitive free enterprise system work. That is until the government interferes.

      If the producers decides to raise prices then the tightwads will refuse to buy. When the pro-

      ducer loses business and moans to the government to provide subsidies or welfare so that their

      creed will be satisfied. The producers on the other hand should not be rewarded (unemployment

      compensation, housing subsidies, farm subsidies, food stamps, etc.) for not playing the

      competitive market place game by the rules.

      5: Another unintended consequences is the breakdown of the family and is fostered by the

      National Organization of women. The present day thinking is that the female can do just fine

      without the male, but he statistics prove otherwise. Before we were civilized the only thing

      offsprings had to learn was how to get their food and to protect themselves. As civilization

      progressed the offspring had to learn more and more. This learning did not negate the animal

      instinct, only to subdue it. I don?t think that civilization has advanced far enough to eliminate

      our animal instincts. Therefore it still takes a lot of learning (such a big task that it takes two

      parents) to subdue the animal behavior. Just scan the newspaper and listen to the news to see that

      animal behavior is still with us.

      6: Amendment V of the U.S. Constitution states this: ‘nor be deprived of life, liberty, or

      property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without

      just compensation.”

      The Webster Dictionary definition of money. “Stamped pieces of medal, or any paper notes

      authorized by a government as a medium of exchange. Since money is a medium of exchange

      then we can substitute the word money in place of property. Therefore we can substitute money

      for property in; “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or money, without due process of law; nor shall

      private money (taxes) be taken for public use, without just compensation”

      Another word that needs to be defined is compensation. “1, To make up for: counterbalance 2,

      to make payment to. We compensate government workers for their work. We compensate the

      military for protection. We compensate for the construction of roads. We compensate welfare

      and subsidies for … for what? The only thing I can think of is a bribe for votes.

    16. Mary.... WI says:

      I wish Congress would read HF's Solutions for America. It appears logical, fair and an excellent start to what I truly believe most Americans want in this country.

    17. Tom Breen, San Juan says:

      You left out two significant proposals:

      Term limits – two year Congesssional terms are absurd and totally inefficient. It should be a minimum of 4 years and limited to two terms for both House and Senate. Elected congessmen spend their first year trying to learn the ropes and find the men's room and their second year re-running for the next race. We probably get about 25% of their time spent on actual lawmaking.

      End Earmarks completely – this would be the clearest symbol to Americans that you are serious.

    18. Tom Eppes says:

      I have no problem extending the retirement age for Social Security, but there's too little discussion about the biggest barrier to making that work: age bias. Many of us are not much interested in working at a fast-food counter or as a Wal-Mart greeter. But our country's hiring biases against anyone 50+ are making it very, very difficult for older Americans to find work. I have a sterling resume with extraordinary experience in my field, and I've applied for more than 100 great opportunities in the last year. Only five have resulted in a conversation with a human being. Friends/peers who also have extensive experience have reported similar results. The euphemism used is "over qualified." The reality is age bias.

    19. B hall Syosset N.Y. says:

      The clause in the Constitution that is allways used to justify everything that the liberals or progressives want is "promote the general welfare". They do not understand that promote does not mean insure or gurantee. We need to get back to the Framers intensions, or we will not survive as a free democratic republic.

    20. Sal Klitzke, Indiana says:

      I agree with Heritage's proposal except… they forgot the Flat Tax. Take out the current Progressive Tax system the Federal Government uses, implement a Flax Tax for their use (defend our nation and our borders) and let the states restructure their their own State Income Tax. Why does our current Federal Income Tax go to Washington and then back to the states? Because the Progressive Tax system is nothing more than a redistribution of wealth. Always has been, always will be. ENOUGH! It doesn't work. They keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Who's the idiot? Us? Hardly! The Founding Fathers always knew that our freedom had to be fought for by The People! We're the answer folks! It's our government that's the problem!! Socialists don't get a seat at the table anymore!

    21. Lauren says:

      These are all good steps in the right direction. To add to these, I would repeal regulation and reduce taxes that interferes with business growth meant as a means of income in retirement years (ie. family business income, real estate income) For those who have created sustainable income for there retirement years, let there be a voluntary opt out of Social Security and Medicare at retirement age. Many of those who have paid into the system, do not necessarily wish Medicare to be their primary payor, nor do they necessarily want or need their Social Security check. Remember Americans are generous people and yet they also understand the need for a small safety net. (not a government takeover) Ask them if they would be willing to relinquish the money they paid into the system! You may be pleasantly surprised at how much money is returned to bolster the fund if they are allowed to keep what they have earned along the way! This will not work if the government has taxed, fee'd, and regulated their businesses into the ground along their lifecourse.

      You must ammend Title XVIII, repeal and replace the health care takeover, and repeal the Dodd-Frank-Fed bill! Repeal, repeal, repeal!!!

      You must give back the land snatched by Executive Order to the States and drill in America.

      Dissolve Fannie and Freddie and keep the Federal Government out of mortgage contracts.

      Pass a law to severely weaken Eminent Domain.

      Stop funding the IMF and relinquishing sovereignty to the United Nations.

      Love America first and the first principles that founded her, the world second!

      Have the treasury print our own currency so that we decide its value, not the Federal Reserve. The Fed has allowed the destruction of our currency along with Congress and has allowed us to enter wars and rack up unsustainable national debt. Audit/End the Fed.

      We must pull back our presence from all over the globe and return to being a republic not a nation builder or empire. Our defense should be the greatest in the world, should have the capacity to strike hard,destroy the enemy and stay focused only on winning.. But there is excesses in the systems and excellence and efficiency may mean closing bases, cutting programs, as a part the overall plan of reducing the deficit and debt. BTW, our military is NOT the military of the United Nations! It is the US military, just saying.If we decide as a nation to help out after defeating an enemy, send in the Peace Corps, religious groups, and other private MP organizations to assist with rebuilding efforts, not our armed forces. Growing government on the "right" through military largesse is unacceptable to limited government advocates such as myself.

      Take back our courts from international activist lawmakers!

      Lauren

    22. Drew Page, IL says:

      Thank you Heritage for taking the time and effort to propose these Solutions For America. I support these positions, but I don't know how to find out if all the politicians who are running for office do. It would be helpful if Heritage could develop a survey and send it to every candidate running for the U.S. House and Senate, asking the candidate to answer "yes" or "no" if he or she would support each of the various Solutions that Heritage proposed. Then I would ask Heritage to publish the responses from each candidate.

      With respect to "entitlements", I agree with Crystal Quiring of Chaska, MN. Why is it when Heritage talks about "entitlements" nothing is said about welfare payments, food stamps and rent subsidies and what the impact of illegal immigration has on these programs. Many retirees age 65 and older have paid in to Social Security and Medicare over our working careers of 40, 45 and 50 years.

      Our federal government, regardless of which party was in power, misappropriated those funds and spent that money, which was to have been kept in a "lock-box" and used only to pay the benefits of these programs, on other things, leaving "IOUs" for posterity to payoff. The federal government has never disclosed to the public how much it has misappropriated from Social Security and/or Medicare funds to pay for these "other things". The public has a right to know how much was taken, who took it and how it was spent. What do you suppose would be the criminal penalty for a bank president who spent depositer's money and left "IOUs" that future customers would have to payoff?

      What good will it do to advance retirement age, increase payroll taxes and/or cutback promised payments, if the government is allowed to continually pilfer the funds specifically set aside to pay these benefits? And how can any level of funding be sufficient to cover projected costs of these programs when the government continually makes more people eligible for these benefits, in order to buy their votes?

    23. Peter Pinnow, Oxford says:

      Your comment on the right about Chinese peasants taking up arms against the government is wrong if you had bothered to read the attached article. The article talks about a video game in which players fight against a demolition squad and not about people actually doing so. Instead, the article talks of peasants burning themselves rather than being forcibly evicted. America does need a right wing voice out there, but please don't lie or distort the truth. There is no reason to – - peasants burning themselves is as horrific as them taking up arms.

    24. Sue Emich Akron, Ohi says:

      Social Security needs to be overhauled. It was started to assist retirees, with an income. Now it is used for everything. We know some that get SSI for everything from minor children, to asthma. No wonder SS is running out of money. A loan repayment plan is a good idea. Welfare help should not become a way of life.

    25. Audrey Buss, Bloomin says:

      I don't see anything in the Pledge or in your documents about taking our ability to tap our own resources back from the environmental wackos! Whatever happened to lifint the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf? If we take our eye off the ball, they will make that moratorium permanent! We are being held hostage by the EPA and are more and more dependant on foreign sources. This will kill us!! We need to build nuclear plants, oil refineries, coal mines. None of that is happening and one day we will wake up in the dark.

    26. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      The core debate is exemplified by Represenative Dingell's ad campaing for reelection. His message is: being successful as a result of hard work and personal responsibility is bad – being poor and dependent on governement is good. It will take generations to reclaim the concept of personal responsibility and will never occur as long as liberals are in power. It is from the dependents that liberals gain their power. This is why conservatives are their threat. Entitlement and "welfare" programs are their job security.

    27. tigger says:

      Cmon. Defense spending at all time low?. You can't selectively choose to exclude the war $$$. Be real. Perhaps recommend ending the war and using that money to rebuild and replenish supplie and ships and take care of our wounded soldiers.

    28. laurie, hawaii says:

      Wish people would stop saying this is only not good for children and grandchildren. This terrible coming collapse of the American dollar due to the obominalble insane printing of "play money" will cause hourly inflation( as happened in Germany) in a few years…..maybe less than 5! This is a terrible crisis which needs to be dealt with NOW. The U.S. is on fire and we all need to put out this economic fire on election day. It is crucial for our existence .

      HELP! Let's get that fire extinguisher and get everyone to help.

    29. Robert, Rossford, Oh says:

      When will our Solutions for America include a plan to honor current promises, but ultimately end unconstitutional programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? They too belong to that long list of powers belonging to the states and the people that have been usurped by an over-reaching "national" government.

      Until we develop these plans, we are little better than those we oppose in Congress.

    30. Warren Lyckman Hills says:

      I grew up in the middle thirties. There was no welfare, no housing loan programs, no health care. no social security tax, and we all survied, received high school education and provided for ourselves on a 300 acre farm and helped others in need. If we never go back to personal responsibility for our existence but expect to be fed, clothed, taken care of by government.when were sick and in our old age this wondereful country I grew up in will collapse.

    31. Rick Roberts, Arling says:

      All these promises are great but what recourse, other than waiting to vote someone out of office, do we have when one of our own turns tail and runs to the other side? What can we do when their judgment becomes impaired and they've wondered off the straight and narrow path? How can we hold them accountable while they're still in office? They need to know we are watching. No more politics as usual! We cannot afford to become complacent again. We need to keep the democrats where they belong, in the minority.

    32. Eddie, San Diego, CA says:

      The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights should have the primary place in determining legislation. These three should be considered as one document..

      The High Court should consider all three instead of just one for arriving at a correct decision.

    33. The Rogue Element says:

      I would go even furhter and restrict foreign aid to only that in the interest of national security. Enough with lending money to countries where we get nothing in return. I would also impose a work program for those on welfare. If unemployed and on welfare you report to work for things such as road side cleanup, etc, etc. I bet then the number of folks on the dole drops. If part time employed then you must participate in weekend community projects such as local park cleanups. I would also like to see an admendment that congress and the president cannot take a recess/vacation until a budget is passed each year.

    34. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      SSI was started to cover those widows whose husbands, like barbers, doctors etc, were not paying into SS. These women were left widows and after the gov't. took it's taxes from their husbands practices/businesses they had nothing. My gr-aunt was one of those women, inflation also played a role and without SSI she would not have been able to buy food. The pledge leaves out one thing or I should say two things, first is the term limits, second is signing this pledge and also proof they read the Constitution, Bill of rights and Articles of Confederation. We do have term limits, it's called the vote, unfortunetly there is a lot of corruption at hand, just look at Philly in 2008, the Acorn assoc. and there are others, incl. not counting absentee ballots. Let's clean up this mess, starting with the lobbiest.

    35. Lil, San Diego says:

      Yes, indeed, wonderful, thoughtful and doable suggestions.

    36. paul, the villages,f says:

      Term limits is a good start, but it must also include that any law passed include the people who pass it This idea making themselves exempt is rediculosus.They should be able to draw most fo their salary after they leave office.As for social security and medicare being entitements ,they are not.I payed into them for 45 years. I'm propably paying a larger percentage of my income for medical care than most people who are still working.When we are so far in debt why are we donating to countries that we have borrowed from. [CHINA]. Regardless of how you fell about the situation, VOTE IN NOVEMBER. If you don't ,then you have no right to complain.

    37. John Don A., Lakewoo says:

      Every Conservative reading this comment should see the recent John Stossel special (comparing free enterprise to welfarism) that devastated the "feel good" but mindless argument economic "entitlement" mentality its enthusiasts espouse. I urge The Heritage Foundation to promote this Stossel program in every way possible. Every American who loves this country—-and wants to know that our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will inherit all the promises—-must see it (even Obama).

    38. Carol,AZ says:

      Thank You H.F,and Edwin J Feulner for the sound tenets to correct our state of the union
      .I read every point and I can't wait for November 2, !

    39. Elaine S., Michigan says:

      Revoke Amendment XVII, which was ratified April 8, 1913, thanks to Woodrow Wilson. Wilson took control and power away from the states. He was an extreme, radical, progressive who wanted total control. He was a "bad dude!"

      Revocation would put power back where it belongs, with state legislatures. In cases where legislatures don't agree on senate appointments the power would remand to the governor to make the appointment. The business of the people would move from the federal goverment to the states where it belongs.

      It seems to me, the House of Representatives would be far more careful about how they conduct the people's business.

      This would stop most, if not all, lobbiest in the Congress. It would limit the terms of Senators. Just think of it! No more raising millions for campaigns.

      The East and West Coasts would no longer dominate the "fly'over states."

      George Colgrove, VA, has some excellent ideas.

    40. john ford, jacksonvi says:

      why not support the "fair tax" ?

    41. Timpclimber Provo, U says:

      Both you and the Repubs have not yet mentioned the best solutions.

      1. Cut all federal budgets including entitlements by 10%.

      2. Pass a balanced budget amendment, No money=No spend

      3. Get rid of the Federal Office of Education. Let states manage education.

      4. Mandatory that Federal Employees retire at age 65 with the same benefits as

      private citizens

      5. Get rid of the Endowment for the Arts, National Public Ratio and TV, etc–If

      citizens want this services let them

      6. Get rid of all the regulations that favor unions or special interest groups. Make

      it a level plying field for all bids

      7. Make government agencies pay back without any budget increase screw ups

      like the nuclear detection debacle for our harbors

      I could list 20 more common sense items. They all can be summed up by a

      sign in the Chinese laundry near my home in my youth "No tickee, no laundry"

    42. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I couldn't agree more but I'd go even further. If I was running for office this year, I'd

      cut federal spending back to 1980 levels. The Republicans' Pledge to America and your Solutions for America, though good, don't go far enough. However, the liberal

      establishment, would say that they go too far. I'm playing my violin. Obama's fiddling

      while America burns.

    43. Concerned Citizen, A says:

      Your posts continue to say the Obama Tax Increases. I believe it was a Republican Congress that voted the tax cuts in and the same Republican Congress that voted to have them expire 2 years after Mr. Bush left office.

      I do not agree with the current administration's use of funds. However, I also did not agree with the previous administration's use of fund to support business that failed to adhere to Conservative Principles.

      If a business has made poor business choices, then let it fail. Some American will buy the assets and rebuild the business.

      You pages profess honesty, integrity, conservative values, however, I do not believe you walk the talk at all times.

      Quit namecalling, labeling and fear mongering to rile up the masses.

      You have done a great job outlining your Soultions for America. Hold the Republicans feet to the Pledge they have made. Cut spending !! Get out of debt. We may have to pay more taxes to correct the situation.

      Perhaps we should stop all foreign aid.

      I have read the Constitution recently. Interestingly enough it does not specifically address giving monies to other countries.

      Thank you.

      ConcernedCitizen2010

    44. Elizabeth, Atlanta, says:

      I agree with the gentleman that grew up in the 30's. It is true they are they are the "Greatest Generation". Why? They lived and understood what true accountability is for oneself, ones family, ones neighbors and ones country. No one had to take care of them. They took care of themselves. Maybe the slogan should be "Americans for Accountability",

      As for "Reforming Social Security" – I don't understand why we would want to raise the retirement age . I'm concerned that would be rather disheartening to the millions of baby boomers that may be looking at retirering within the next few years. To think they must continue to work (if they can even find a job) is a difficult sell to many.

    45. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      I am quite tired of Social Security being lumped in with Entitlements such as Medicaid and Medicare since Social Security is self supporting from the contributions of the employees and employers !!! There is no tax money being dumped into SS even the administrative costs come out of the Trust Fund !!! The reason everyone is taking shots at SS is because the Federal Government does not want to pay back the Trillions of Dollars worth of IOUs they left in place of the money they stole from SS !!! With a few small Tweaks Social Security will be flush for years to come as long as the Democrats and NObama keep their fingers out of it !!!!

    46. john arizona says:

      Why not put Congress on the Social Security plan that we are all under, and eliminate their retirement plans. Then see how fast it is fixed!

    47. Henry says:

      Looks as if term limits should be added to your list, along with anyone running for office must show prove of eligibility before allowed to run for any government office. All campaign donations must be AMERICAN only, and proved as such. Yes, social security must be for people that have paid into system for years. If the SSI groups ( the ones that are able to work and get judges to approve their disability) then they put their entire family on SSI. These same SSI groups work on the side under the table. THIS IS A BIG DRAIN ON OUR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM. Put them on welfare and they pay back.

      Correct our school system. It's a big joke! What the school system is doing now to pass all children under the no child left behind and the affrimative action groups and obambba regime is test, test, test, test. The schools know what's on the test. ALL YEAR LONG THEY TEST FOR THE TEST. Children do not learn. Children test. Then obambba wants to extend school year and give more money to schools and teachers. I WAS ALWAYS TOLD MONEY IS NOT A MOTIVATATOR. Do not include test scores for the blind , mental , and just dumb students. Send children to technology schools that need to be there.

      Stop the money baggers on our schools books. Our school books are changed each year and cost a fortune. SO WHO IS GETTING RICH?

      I agree with the tax on the $250,000 and above. They will not create jobs. If they were, we would have jobs. This group does not pay taxes. They deduct and write off their taxes. Then send the rest off shore. So tax the rich and eliminate all the deductions.

      Tax jobs that go across the oceans. Tax all out sourcing of AMERICAN jobs. This is anti AMERICA and greed! If American companies want to move overseas then they will not ship back to AMERICA.

      This is where I do not agree with the republicans. They still want to their cake and eat it too! They will create jobs overseas with cheap labor and zero restrictions, zero unions. Send unions to china.

      Shut down ALL 501 , acorns and the like and tax all 501, 505, 510 and anything and everything else that uses our tax systems free.

      Shut the post office down to three days a week. Think of the green jobs saved, all the gas that is being used. Plus all the people and benefits.

      Cut all government jobs in half. Make the rest of the government employees pay for their great benefits for life. The other half of AMERICA does not have government benefits.

      You have a long way to go!

    48. Charlotte O'Har says:

      Please consider including the following:

      . Roll back government regulations at least to 2004 levels

      . Repeal Obama Care (as you have stated in other Morning Bell articles)

      . Social Security and Medicare optional (I want individual choice not mandates)

      . Return balance of power to states

      . Dismantle federal departments that have failed such as Dept. of Ed. and Energy Dept.

      Thank you for you continuing work of bringing all government back to the core responsibility of serving We the People.

    49. and2therepublic, ill says:

      Elaine S., Michigan – you are absolutely correct. Repeal the seventeenth amendment.

    50. Linda, Louisiana says:

      The Plan of Solutions is definitely a step in the right direction; however, some of the items could be fine tuned with some additions. Looking at the Comments from others, I see many with which I agree and Morning Bell should consider incorporating in this Plan.

      1.Term Limits for Congress, OTHER THAN the one at the Voting Booth; we all know that people can get re-elected fraudulently;

      2.Reduce the tax rates for individuals and businesses. Businesses will be able to turn their savings into jobs for others. Individuals will have more to spend resulting in expansion for businesses.

      3.I do not agree that the age to receive Social Security should be raised. Many individuals work in jobs that are not conducive for individuals over 65. Jobs in transportation cannot be covered by insurance companies for persons over age 65. Instead, implement an incentive-type program to encourage individuals to work longer/

      4.Social Security Fund should be removed from the General Budget with Congress monitoring and increasing for adequate funding. Social Security might not be in the mess it is in had it not been moved into the General Budget and funds borrowed from it. SSI is a necessary program for individuals such as farmers, spouses, and widows who worked in jobs where SS tax was paid and matched by the employer.

      5.Flat Tax Rate should be implemented replacing the current Income Tax Regulation. I am for prople earning and accumulating wealth and are entitled to keep what for which they worked. Often those with higher incomes can afford tax attorneys and CPAs who are able to find tax breaks for them, henceforth, the middle income earners are paying about the same income tax as the wealthy individuals.

      6.Eliminate amendments, add on items to Bills being considered by Congress. If the amendment or add on item is relevant and necessary, it should have been discussed and written in the Original Bill.

      7.Get Politics out of the War Game. Politicians are gambling with the lives of our men and women in Service.

      8.Implement the Immigration Control Act; give power to those guarding our borders – all those who are authorized to guard the borders, and allow States to adopt and implement their own plan for Control. The U.S. should make an all-out effort and fund the effort to remove illegal immigrants from the United States. We might not be able to find every one of them in the first year, but it can be done. Individuals wanting to enter the U.S. should follow the same requirements as others who did. Everyone stopped by a law enforcement officer has to produce a driver's license or some kind of permit to drive, along with proof of insurance. That should pertain to EVERYONE. This is the law and we should abide by it. If you do not have a license/permit, you should not be under the wheel of a car driving. Those who do not should be taken to the law enforcement agency (not arrested) and further investigating done. If I am, a born and bred American, blonde and fair complexion (Caucasian), stopped by a Policeman without my Driver's License, I will be taken to the Law Enforcement Agency until I can produce a license. This is the Law, so why shouldn't everyone have to abide by it – white, black, red, and anyone whose skin color is between.

      9.Common sense tells me and almost everyone else that a Nation's best Defense is the ability to have an adequate Offense. Our military should be boosted and oversight provided for fraud and abuse, which happens.

      10. I worked in Government Funded Programs, state and federal, and the Programs were audited and monitored to the hilt. Certain requirements and a specified performance must be met. I often wondered if the Administration, and those departments who fund these programs are ever monitored. We are too top heavy in Government. Every job should be evaluated for necessity. We can easily compare our Government Employees to the question, how many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb. I would guess 3 to 5 people at the Federal level.

      11.Repeal and do away with Obama Care. Medicare should be continued, and something funded for the benefit of those who have lost jobs. Health Insurance is a problem.

      12.Welfare is a problem. It has become a program on which individuals have become dependent. Job Programs and Educational Programs have been tied to a condition to receive Welfare, but, seemingly, has not worked as well as it needs to. Teenage Pregnancy is rampant and this leads to Welfare. Much research should be done to combat Welfare.

      13.No bill or law should be passed or enacted without documented evidence that it has been read and evaluated. What an assinine remark to make, "pass the bill and read it later." Does a student take a test on a particular subject matter before he/she reads and studies the material? Of course not.

      14.Foreign cannot and should not be eliminated; however it should be reduced. We went way overboard with the aid to Haiti. Did anyone ever mention that Haiti was an island with a government that killed every white person on the island, and I am sure they would have done the same to Mexicans and African Americans had they been on the island.

      Thanks MB and HF for suggesting a Plan for our Nation. Please look at comments sent to you and consider including many, if not all, of them.

    51. Joseph Fleming, Weym says:

      All the proposals in Heritage's "Solutions for America" are wonderful and if enacted by the next Congress would certainly lead us down the road to recovery from the damage done by the big spenders and regulators in recent Congresses.

      But for how long? Since they are all legislated solutions, they could be undone easily by a future Congress. None of the proposed solutions deal with the most fundamental motivation of elected office holders to spend the taxpayers money that they have complete monopoly control over: the desire to get re-elected. (Could anything else possibly explain laws with thousands of pages?)

      Until we the people find a way to write into the U.S. Constitution a means of removing the incentive for elected office holders to spend the taxpayers money and credit in ways most likely to benefit their own re-election efforts, their profligate spending without Constitutional limits will never decline.

      And the concept of limiting the size, growth and intrusiveness of government will remain nothing more than a dream, despite the lip service given to it by nearly everyone running for elected office.

      Imagine all the problems that would be solved by a simple Constitutional provision: "Elected office holders shall not be re-elected".

      What could we lose? Lifetime politicians?

    52. Billorights, Dekalb, says:

      Way more emphasis should be placed on illegal immigration. Many of our nation’s problems could be more easily addressed once the flood of illegal immigration comes to and end. This must be a priority to maintain American culture.

    53. Bob, Sparks, NV says:

      I agree with KLIMAX, Baltimore, MD re social security is not an entitlement.

      I just sent this to a Congressman from Wisconsin who, in an article, referred to Social Security as an entitlement:

      "Since 1951, my employers and I have contributed to the so-called Social Security Trust Fund. However, we have been deceived by Congress and the Federal Government. The Social Security holds trillions of dollars in Social Security IOU's. For decades, this deception has been continued to underwrite the Federal budget deficit with Social Security funds. The Federal Government and Congress have neglected their fiduciary responsibility by mismanaging my Social Security investments. I have calculated a conservative 5% interest rate compounded annually on my employee/employer contributions of $179,533.59. The interest should have been $502,074.84, for a total value of $681,608.43. Does that sound like an entitlement? Unfortunately, most people in Congress have never had a "real" job."

      Thank you!

    54. Revolutionary Though says:

      The Firebrand of the Second American Revolution–Devvy Kidd–has correctly pointed out that until the assets of the Federal Reserve are seized and returned to the American people, Americans will continue to live under debt-slavery to a central molesting bank, until that fateful day when our country no longer exists.

      http://www.devvy.com/new_site/gop_pledge_to_ameri… – Cached

      Thomas Jefferson called for power of the purse to be returned to the American people, two hundred years ago and it has still NOT been realized.

      Ms. Kidd has also pointed out that the United States should leave the phony storefront of the international bankers–the United Nations–and all other world bodies which cede our national sovereignty to global control.

      The primary mission of the United States military at this juncture in our history, must be to depose the communist government on Capitol Hill, by military coup and dethrone the Great Imposter and agent of finance capital, Barack Hussein Obama, who has clearly usurped the high office of the presidency of the United States of America.

      The United States military is needed to spearhead the Second American Revolution by prosecuting regime change in Washington D.C., in order to free the “government of the people” from the hostile corporate takeover, which has absconded with the purse of the American people, through ruinous usury.

      The second task for our military, must be to seize the stolen wealth of the American people, by venturing forth to command the assets of the robber barons, who have swindled this republic since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.

      America’s industrial base–and national self sufficiency–must be restored through protective tariffs and the elimination of the income tax. All free trade treaties must be abolished, as The Great Spiritual Preceptor of Our Nation, Patrick J. Buchanan, has fingered free trade as a “bright shining lie.”

      Of the top 100 economies of the planet, fifty-two are owned by private corporations., including the United States of America. This is an intolerable state of affairs for a revolutionary and deliberate people and a direct threat to the national security of the United States of America.

      Heritage has correctly identified the need for a strong navy and this capability is of paramount importance in projecting American military power instantly to any hot spot on the globe. Naval blockade is an indispensable asset for enforcing sanctions against rogue regimes, which actively work to undermine the national security of America.

      The four primary objectives for securing a strong America have now been identified and they are once again:

      Ending the Federal Reserve

      Ending U.S. involvement in the United Nations

      Building a strong navy, second to none

      Restoring America’s industrial base

      These measures when enacted, will secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

      The United States of America must remain Supreme Shogun of the High Seas, if American exceptionalism is to be realized to its fullest capacity.

      The United States government in its present form, is a direct impediment to these national objectives which will ensure the survival of our country.

      "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

      - George Washington

    55. Susan says:

      All of the comments are good and I particularly agree with term limits for all elected officials on every level. But what it all really comes down to is personal responsibility. Gerald Ford said that the government that is big enough to supply you with everything that you need, is a government that is big enough to take away everything you have. As government increases, liberty decreases. If we want our liberties back, what we need to do is start taking responsibility for ourselves and our own families. We need to stop relying on federal government to educate our children, provide us with work, line our wallets with cash, and support our needy and disabled. All of those things are rightly our own responsibility and are most effectively and efficiently accomplished by individuals and not bureaucrats. The federal government should only be responsible for infrastructure, defense, and civil peace. Everything else belongs to us at the state or individual level. Our country has always been the land of opportunity, but we as Americans have not been making the most of the opportunities that our freedom affords us. We've been relying on the fed to hand us what we need and want. And as a result, they have been growing ever more powerful and we are becoming ever more dependent on them. Once we start taking responsibility for ourselves and our choices, we can put the federal government back in its proper place.

    56. howell, orange Virgi says:

      I sure did like what that gentlemen named Kurt, from tampa Fl had to say he was right on the money. Oh, and how about ending all federal income tax. And giveing the govenors of the states the power to veto all or in part all federal legeslation. So just one more thing how about a constutional amendment that says"The federal government can not make war on the States or the people there in for any reason".

    57. Jay, Tennessee says:

      http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian

      Didn't Republicans already say they were going to do this stuff and then, when in charge for 6 years, didn't?

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