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  • Morning Bell: Changing America's Course

    There’s no way to predict how the 2012 elections will turn out. But it will be a turning point in American history: Either our leaders will guide the country even further along the road to “progressivism” or they will begin a long, slow turn back toward the principles of the American Founding. To help our leaders make the correct choices, The Heritage Foundation is putting a marker down with a publication called Changing America’s Course that gives our political leaders recommendations on how to stay within the limits of the Constitution.

    You’ve probably read Heritage’s financial proposal, Saving the American Dream, and our prescription for a Conservative foreign policy. Those ideas are crucial building blocks in our approach. But they are only parts of the larger crisis facing Americans today–the crisis of constitutional government–that Saving the American Dream deals with.

    The United States is unique. Ours is a republic dedicated to the universal principles of human liberty: that all are fundamentally equal and equally endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Our government exists to secure these God-given rights, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed. Our Constitution limits the power of government under the rule of law, creating a vigorous framework for expanding economic opportunity, protecting national independence, and securing liberty and justice for all.

    Today, though, the federal government has acquired an all but unquestioned dominance over virtually every area of American life. It acts without constitutional limits and is restricted only by expediency, political will, and (less and less) budget constraints.

    The unlimited scope and depth of its rules means that the federal government increasingly regulates more and more of our most basic activities, from how much water is in our toilets to what kind of light bulbs we can buy. This is a government that is unlimited by any organizing principle, increasingly undemocratic and damaging to popular self-government.

    For example, as part of his reelection campaign, Obama has launched an effort called “We Can’t Wait“ to highlight his actions independent of Congress. This is more than the usual politics of a president running for reelection against Congress. Obama’s idea seems to be that the president, charged with the execution of the laws, doesn’t have to wait for the lawmaking branch to make, amend or abolish the laws but that he can and should act on his own.

    This violates the spirit–and potentially the letter–of the Constitution’s separation of the legislative and executive powers of Congress and the president.

    For its part Congress has also failed to fulfill its constitutional duties. Under the current Democratic party leadership, it’s been more than three years since the U.S. Senate even passed a budget. And under Republican leadership in 2003, the House of Representatives unethically kept a voting window open for three hours (instead of the scheduled 15 minutes) so party leaders could twist arms, change minds and ram through Medicare Part D.

    Even worse, Congress has fallen into the habit of legislating without regard to any limits on its powers. Although the Constitution vests legislative powers in Congress, the majority of “laws” are actually promulgated by agencies and bureaucracies in the guise of “regulations.” Recent examples include the massive Dodd-Frank financial regulation and, of course, ObamaCare.

    As a result, key policy decisions which were previously the constitutional responsibility of elected legislators are delegated to executive branch administrators whose rules have the full force and effect of laws passed by Congress. Having passed massive, broadly written pieces of legislation with little serious deliberation, Congress is increasingly an administrative body overseeing a vast array of bureaucratic policymakers and rule-making bodies.

    Changing America’s Course charts a constitutional path to a brighter future of opportunity and independence. If our political leaders follow its recommendations and begin confining themselves to the limited powers the Constitution gives them, America will once again be on the principled path to liberty, opportunity and constitutional self-government.

    The first step is to reduce the size and scope of government and unleash the engines of economic productivity and the institutions of cultural renewal. Only then can we change America’s course, begin to get spending under control, balance the budget, and shrink our debt without increasing taxes.

    Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., is Vice President, American Studies and Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    31 Responses to Morning Bell: Changing America's Course

    1. Rich Teti says:

      I posted this before…this is the way to go!


      America's best hope for survival is derived from the United States Constitution and relies on all of our effort. It is essential that we boil our case down to a choice between Individual Freedom (with this freedom comes personal responsibility) and Collective Servitude. This should be the message hammered day in and day out to America. Specifically, to have maximum freedom and minimal government (less servitude) we need a separation of business and state at all levels of government. This will eliminate corruption, eliminate social engineering and will raise the standard of living for all Americans. At the Federal level, as an American Citizen, I would like to see a long term plan formulated, presented and hammered home on a daily basis that reduces the Federal Government to three Executive Departments, State, Treasury and Defense, Congressional staffs reduced to two assistants, Repeal of the 16th (repeal all direct income tax) and 17th (restore a needed check on Federal Power and Mob rule) Amendments, add a Balanced Budget Amendment, the States will pay for the Federal Government according to population within each State and additional revenue may be obtained from port fees and other appropriate fees for service that are within the confines of the Constitution, add Line Item Veto Amendment for the President, add Amendment to limit Congressional House members to three terms, Senators to one term and limit Supreme Court Justices to one eight (8) year term (service to the Country should not be a Career), eliminate legal tender laws and the Federal Reserve, allow a 100% reserve free banking system to flourish with a sound metal commodity based money unit. All of this can be summarized as true free market Laissez-Faire Capitalism. The only system consistent with Individual Freedom and the United States Republican Form of Government laid out in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. Charities and other non-profits will be more than adequate to take care of the needy. I am confident that this plan can be achieved within two generations if we start aggressively educating people (Start with Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://mises.org/) of their choice between Individual Freedom and Collective Servitude. Remember one thing: "The Big Tent" is Individual Freedom; Diversity takes care of itself after that.

      We need leaders to help initiate the process of peeling the Collectivist Federal Monkey off the American Citizens back, so we as State Citizens, can concentrate on rolling back our oppressive State and Local Governments.

      Rich Teti, Age 45, Electrical Engineer

      Proud Citizen, Drexel Hill, PA 19026, United States of America

    2. Christopher P. Smith says:

      The American people must now face the facts.
      We have a Marxist president fully intent upon copying the failed socialist agendas of Europe,
      and he now has all the exeutive powers (more than any president in history) to literally do
      anything he wants, from the ruination of our economy to martial law and worse.
      But more importantly, we have both political parties working in tandem with the president
      to dismantle this once great nation ie: very liberty-restrictive laws quietly passed by Congress in the
      past year alone. Do not listen to what these politicians say.
      Watch my fellow Americans, as to what they do.
      Good luck, America. Good luck.

    3. Victor Barney says:


    4. D Quesenberry III says:

      In the Quick Hits section of the Morning Bell, it reads, "… Wisconsin political advocacy group with ties to the Democratic Party and Big Labor is …". Pardon me for picking. I just started getting the Morning Bell, so I am not sure if this post is acceptable, but…. They are NOT the "Democratic" Party. They are the "Democrat" Party. Those are two different parts of speech. All ya'll should know better, being word-smiths and whatnot. Just saying….

    5. I've said this over and over again to all who would listen.
      Obamas agenda from the start was to destroy America. So far he has been very successful. If given a second term he will accomplish his goal We need to get this Muslim-in-chief out of our white house! Mitt Romney is no prize in my eyes, but at least he is not out to destroy this once great nation. We MUST get the obama clone, Reid, and all his followers out of the senate and replace them with conservatives. With a conservative senate and republican house they will control Romneys agenda (Hopefully).

      I was really hoping Ron Paul would be nominated but the RNC doesn't want such a "radical" running. Wouldn't he make a great vice president?

      If this president is not stopped he will turn this country into another third world dictatorship. We cannot let this happen! Use your common sense and stop him before it's too late! It is quite apparent that his agenda all along was to destroy this country. If he is reelected he will accomplish his goal. With the power to declare martial law he can stop the election process all together. Please, for the sake of our future, do not let this happen! Thank you.

      • I agree,and from that hot mic moment,he thinks a second term is a given,I'm concerned he'll do something to declare martial law and suspend the election as long as he wills.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        I have been afraid of what you say since before BHO got elected. I have never been able to see what the infatuation is all about.

    6. Curt Krehbiel says:

      His goal for changing the U.S. is too important to let a mere election stand in the way.

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Great article! But what we all must realize is this nation is in deep trouble because of not only Obama. Obama must have help to complete his distruction of America. We must not only recognize Obama's helpers (lackeys) that do Obama's bidding, but we as a free people, must condemn those that would take our freedom and liberty in the name of progress. The likes of Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, and almost every Democrat in Congress, along with some Republicans that have the same ideology. Just like a nest of rats,
      if only one is allowed to remain, they will soon breed others.

    8. Bobbie says:

      From freedom came evil…

    9. DFolkes says:

      There is a two word solution to this problem…and potentially all the problems associated with an ever expanding government…TERM LIMITS. I'm not hearing the Heritage Foundation talk much about this, if at all. Even "good people" become corrupted by the system once they get to Washington. As long as "politics" is a career instead of a limited time of service to your country, it will always be prone to corruption. Every problem you can mention or imagine with our current government would be solved with TERM LIMITS. If politicians served temporarily and then had to return and work and abide by the laws and taxes they voted for while in office, I guarantee that the temporary elected officials will vote very differently, will READ the proposed bills before voting, they will be much more careful in what gets voted into law and will not allow "others" to actually write the policies underlying the legislation they vote into law!

      • Wayne Peterkin says:

        I absolutely agree that fixing the major issues in this nation will require term limits for Congress. However, Congress will never initiate or support the Constitutional Amendment required. The initiative can only come from the states. I support a term limits amendment and believe most other voters would also, but getting it done is a very major undertaking.

    10. Bobbie says:

      While Axlerod stands true to the racists the democratic party is! An insult to humanity!!!!

    11. toledofan says:

      Great article and you're absolutely correct, November 6, 2012 will be a day that defines our country. If the Senate continues to be controled by the Democrats the country will lose because Reid will do little if anything to help or to make things better. I think taking the Presidency is very important but taking the Senate and retaining the House is evn more critical. The other problem we face is a general lack of leadership and I'm just not confident Boehner or McConnell have what it takes or the drive to force what really needs to happen. So, if Romney wins and if we should gain some seats, maybe, we have a fighting chance, it'll be a good start.

    12. Aviatrix says:

      I am a Conservative Republican Woman…But I am Pro-Choice because:

      I choose to respect life as a gift given or taken only by God.

      I choose to take personal responsibility for my actions in all aspects of my life, including my “reproductive health”.

      I chose to marry a man and I choose to call this union between us, marriage.

      I wish to choose whether or not to conceive a child and, if I so choose to conceive, or if I conceive without intent, I choose to honor this life and carry the baby to full-term.

      I choose to raise this child in a loving, moral home that chooses to fly the American Flag and practice our choice of religion at the same time.

      I will choose to safeguard and protect my child, family and property be it with a Smith and Wesson or a baseball bat.

      I choose to use the Thomas Edison light bulb so, in case it breaks, my child won’t be exposed to errant mercury and I won’t have to summon a HAZ-MAT team.

      As she grows and reaches school age, I will choose the school my child will attend.

      I will choose to pack her a lunch of a turkey on rye sandwich with some sweet lemonade and homemade cookies, or a PBJ with skim milk and a granola bar.

      I will choose to drive her to school in my safe, turbo-charged SUV, rather than in a battery-charged, “Eco-Electro-Mobile” which compromises the safety and comfort of me and my child in order to “save the planet”; and

      When she takes her antique porcelain doll to school for show-and-tell, I will remind her that she has the choice to allow or not to allow her fellow third-graders to play with the doll, but that no one has the right to force her to “share with the group”.

      In a couple of years’ time, after she has been exposed to the many social moirés, ideologies, and influences that surround her, I will remind her:

      That life is not fair; and that, if it were fair and we were all perfectly equal, there would be no need for any of us to have a choice or make decisions for ourselves;

      That if she wishes to receive respect, she must choose to give respect;

      That failure is the first step to success and, thus, one of the best teachers of life’s lessons. I will tell her that she has a choice to learn from her failures, using them as building blocks upon which knowledge and growth are built, or that she has the choice to blame others for demolishing those building blocks resulting in her lack of success and ultimate demise; and

      That there are only 3 entitlement programs that should never be compromised, forfeited or abandoned; and that these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

      As she becomes a young adult I will remind her of the choices before her.

      That she, and only she, is responsible for her choices and actions.

      That she has the ability to achieve greatness if she so chooses, and that this greatness may not always be measured by financial success or stardom.

      That she, through her own unique and individual gifts, may aspire to any degree of greatness, whether as a wife and mother, C.E.O. of a Fortune 500 company or President of the United States. It is her choice.

      But, should she be elected to higher office, she will swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

      “This, my dear child,” I will say…”is not a choice…it is an obligation.”

      Yes, these are my choices and these are some of the pieces of advice I would have given the child that I never had. I wonder…if I had been blessed with the gift of motherhood…would my child have tomorrow the same choices I have today?

      So, I would gently remind those who wish to exercise their pro-“choice” right to abortion… the child that you conceived did not have a choice in the matter. If your baby had been given the choice, I suspect your baby’s choice would be the choice to live…just the FIRST in the hundreds upon thousands of choices your child would have had if you had chosen LIFE.

      Oh, and for all you Planned Parenthood supporters who believe we conservative republicans are waging a war against women…
      Whose choice was it that Planned Parenthood offer and/or even consider the notion of sex-selective, late-term abortions against unborn female babies?
      Was that YOUR choice or ours?

      I am Pro-Choice because I choose LIFE, LIBERTY and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
      I am Pro-Choice because I choose Liberty over Tyranny.
      I am Pro-Choice because in November I will choose to help save Our Country by voting against a growing tyranny.

      Because, just as the unborn, a populace of subjects under a dictatorial state have no choice.

      • saveamerica says:

        That is beautiful!

      • Steven A. Sylwester says:

        Aviatrix, you should adopt a child.

        The friend in my life who most loved his parents was adopted, and the parents he loved with joy, respect, and gratitude were his adoptive parents. My friend died as an old man having never met his biological parents. When he finally saw a picture of his biological mother when he was old and she was dead, he broke down and wept. Unwanted children want to be wanted — they need to be wanted. If someone would just want them, they would reward that someone with all the love they can possibly give.

        Aviatrix, you seem to want a daughter. I suggest you find a way to help runaway girls, or perhaps just one runaway girl. You can probably do that in your own community if you try.

        Consider: http://www.1800runaway.org/learn/research/third_phttp://www.focusas.com/Runaways-WhyTeensRunAway.h

        But know this, Aviatrix: you are wrong about your understanding of God. Let me explain why.

        The Holy Bible starts with these words: "In the beginning God created …" I believe those words are literally true, as are all the words that follow all the way through the "Amen" that concludes Revelation 22:21. You might not agree with me in believing that Genesis is true, but all who do agree with me must deeply ponder the following:

        1) Genesis 1:31 NRSV states: "God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Genesis had already reported that "God saw that it was good" at every step along the way in Creation in Chapter 1 verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, and 25.

        2) Genesis 2:9 NRSV states: "Out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." At Genesis 2:16-17 NRSV, the story continues: "And the LORD God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."

        3) ANALYSIS: In God's Creation, everything was at once both good and according to plan, which means undeniably that "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was both good and according to plan, that is: God's Divine Perfection required at Creation that humans have access to choice, which is a free will to eat of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" — to strive to be like God. Indeed, Genesis 3:22-23 NSRV states: "Then the LORD God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" — therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken."

        4) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48 NRSV: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

        5) Jesus said in Matthew 10:28-31 NRSV: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. … So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows."

        6) The Parable of the Lost Son told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32 is telling. Read it at: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+
        Many Christians act like the older son in the parable — they are themselves unforgiving, and are sometimes even hostile to those who are forgiving. But know this: the entirety of The Holy Bible is about the forgiveness of sins, and how forgiveness manifests in grace, mercy, and love.

        Aviatrix, ponder Micah 6:8 NIV:
        He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
        And what does the Lord require of you?
        To act justly and to love mercy
        and to walk humbly with your God.

        To walk humbly with your God — to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect — means in part to never chop down the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in anyone else's life, that is: you should never take from another that which God described as "good" and gave to all Creation at all times as a Divine Gift.

        Steven A. Sylwester

        • Amercian.thinker says:

          Who are you to call another's choice in religion or thought wrong? That is wrong, just like Islam, you must be a liberal, stop your "screechin' n preachin'" people must be free to make their own choices.

    13. Owen says:

      Dear Heritage
      I will make this both brief and pithy. You use the phrase “liberal progressivism” as though everyone understands that its underlying historical principles are socialistic and anti-democratic. Well, you are disastrously wrong! The typical “educated” citizen, and those with less “formal” education, see two very different ideas: the first being that liberal means “less restrictive” with respect to personal behavior (how about that Sexual Revolution and abortion-on-demand); and the second being that “progressive” is moving from a more primitive state of civilization to a more developed and therefore more personally beneficial state of affairs. Thus “liberal progressivism” is viewed as a positive enlightened concept for most youth and those with relatively shallow minds.
      You need to replace the phrase with something communicating the actual meaning of liberal progressivism that is more consistent with the reality of the Left.

      • american.thinker says:

        Owen, you are right. I have been discussing lately how liberal and conservative positions seem to be turned around since they were defined as you explain.

    14. Marvin Chapman says:

      This is either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning – we will know in another six hours

    15. Curt Krehbiel says:

      His goal for changing the U.S. is too important to let a mere election stand in the way.

    16. IF "these God-given rights" are indeed God-given, THEN why did it take a revolution?

      Franklin D. Roosevelt
      “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
      — Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938. Message to congress

    17. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Outstanding article and in my opinion true. Good job!

    18. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Changing America's course requires a Reaganesque candidate. Mitt Romney could be that candidate. I trust him
      better than I do Obama.

    19. Jeanne Stotler says:

      God Bless America, looks like there are enough of us that believe in our Freedoms and Constitution that have preserved a tre, legal election, Walker has survied. Thank God.

    20. JonA says:

      Good comments, but I think we need greater emphasis on Obama's "operational handbook," being Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals." Obama has from day one intended to do all the bad things he is doing. It's no accident that John Holdrun (spelling ?) was his chosen science/technology chief, and Eric Holder (spelling?) was his selected Attorney General. Obama already knew what these people wanted to accomplish, and Obama never mentions what it is. Meanwhile there is little or no public mention/discussion of Obama's underlying plans. I think Heritage is doing great work, but I think it would be helpful to spend more effort on exposing Obama's underlying plans, instead of the emphasizing the relative trivia (in some instances) that Obama spouts, just to keep us all sidetracked. He has appointed 2 terrible judges to the Supreme court, and we should have been exposing them severely enough to at least make people aware of what Obama was doing. Folks, I fear we are being distracted by the Obama trivia while he proceeds merrily along with his ruin of the United States. We should prepare our version of Obama's master plan, with less emphasis on the trivia that Obama and his minions in the press emphasize in order to distract us.

      • mema says:

        JonA: You are so right!! Nothing this president has done has been by accident, but by design! But the more I see and listen to him, (which I try to keep to a minimum), the more I see that this man lives in a fantasy world…a world he has created, and I honestly think everything he says is simply a figment of his imagination. I have listened to liars before, but never before have I listened to one who can lie time after time with a straight face. Doesn't it make you wonder what goes through this man's mind? Hopefully, we will only have a few more months of this nightmare! When he speaks of HOPE, I will tell him:" My HOPE us built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness"!!!

    21. BOB CAYTON says:



    22. My father always told me to never take anything from the government and especially something the government is offering to give us. The gifts always come with strings attached and the strings seem to always be attached to our "freedoms".

    23. Ian Harris says:

      You are disillusioned if you believe America is about freedom and individuality. America is as conformist as it can possibly get and owned by corporations from the very beginning. Humans are tools.

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