Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

The House of Representatives rejected a big-government energy bill this week and approved an important reform to the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Both conservative victories were inspired by Heritage Foundation research.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) had proposed legislation to “create a number of taxpayer-supported government programs to extract and recycle domestic rare earth minerals,” Heritage expert Nicolas Loris explains. A better solution than subsidies, Loris argues, would be to limit government restrictions on production and trade.

Thanks in part to Loris’ work to draw public attention to this proposal, and a key-vote against the bill by Heritage Action for America, Swalwell’s bill failed in the House.

Meanwhile, House lawmakers approved a bill from Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) that would pilot important reforms to the DOE’s national laboratories. Heritage experts have long been urging Congress to make these sorts of reforms (link in PDF) to enable the private sector to take advantage of basic research at these labs.

This is another example of how Heritage uses policy research and communications, as well as our partnership with the grassroots activists at Heritage Action, to win conservative victories.

taxes

High tax rates mean that only two thirds of the money you earn ends up in your pocket, Heritage Foundation chief economist Stephen Moore reports in the new Index of Culture and Opportunity:

Americans effectively work one day a week to pay federal taxes and the other four days to pay their bills and take care of their families. Taking into account state and local taxes, almost one in three dollars of a worker’s earnings go to the tax collector.

The government also imposes an “invisible tax of lost productivity and output” since “the federal tax code punishes saving, investment and business creation.”

And it will only get worse, according to Moore: “Tax burdens are likely to continue climbing if we do not rein in our rapidly growing debt. Without government spending reductions, taxes will likely rise.”

Be sure to read Heritage’s entire Index of Culture and Opportunity. The Index of Culture and Opportunity tracks key social and economic indicators to determine whether important indicators of opportunity in America are on the right track.

Does this crushing tax burden worry you?

welfareWelfare spending has significantly increased over the last decade, according to Heritage’s new Index of Culture and Opportunity.

This has real consequences, encouraging a culture of dependence. But the welfare reforms of the 1990s–guided by Heritage research–offer a way forward, New York University’s Lawrence Mead explains in the Index:

In light of welfare reform, the best hope to reaffirm a culture of achievement is to combine “help and hassle”: Assist the needy but also demand that they do more to help themselves. Recent education and training programs are increasingly telling their clients that they must meet accepted standards and go to work in available jobs. . .

By promoting work where possible, we can promote the self-reliant qualities needed to make marriage and family possible. Stronger workers can be stronger parents, able to prepare the next generation to flourish in a free society.

Be sure to read Heritage’s entire Index of Culture and Opportunity. The Index of Culture and Opportunity tracks key social and economic indicators to determine whether important indicators of opportunity in America are on the right track.

abortion

The good news about the abortion rate in America is that it’s declining.

The most significant drop was from 2001 to 2011, reports Charles Donovan in Heritage’s new Index of Culture and Opportunity. “The overall direction of U.S. abortion practice is clear. A closer look at individual states that have consistent data confirms this trend,” he writes.

While the abortion rate is on the decline, there is more that needs to be done.

Be sure to read Heritage’s entire Index of Culture and Opportunity. The Index of Culture and Opportunity tracks key social and economic indicators to determine whether important indicators of opportunity in America are on the right track.

Newt Gingrich speaks at Heritage July 23. Photo: Hillary Rosenjack

Newt Gingrich speaks at Heritage July 23. Photo: Hillary Rosenjack

Conservatives must adopt a positive message to win over the American people, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said today at The Heritage Foundation.

“We must be for positive things,” he said.

It’s a mistake to call November’s midterm election a “referendum on Obama,” Gingrich said. This negative approach helped leave the Republican Party without a House majority from 1944 to 1994, he said.

“If a Republican wins with a negative campaign, he has no consensus,” Gingrich explained.

But in 1994, Republicans maintained a “cheerful persistence” for conservative ideas.

There’s reason for optimism about the future, Gingrich added.

The millennial generation, those born after about 1980, has “crossed a technological threshold,” he said. While government remains mired in the past, technology is giving individuals more power in society. This gives conservatives an opening “to become the movement that offers a better future.”

Gingrich’s address in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium was part of Heritage’s “Lessons for Conservatives” lecture series.

In opening remarks, Heritage Founder Ed Feulner spoke highly of Gingrich, saying that he is “a unique find in Washington – articulate, charismatic, and loaded with ideas based on our conservative principles.”

Are you hopeful that the new generation can help sustain the conservative movement?  Tell us in the comments.

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