Why Tax Day Is a Somber Reminder that Our Economic Freedom Is Slipping Away

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In Heritage Work

Tax day is less than a week away. To many Americans, this means surrendering a portion of their paycheck to a government that does not spend it wisely.

But that’s not the only problem with high taxes: they’re increasingly eroding our freedom.

According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom the United States is the only country in the world whose economic freedom has declined for the past seven years. Much of the blame can be placed on big government and the high taxes that fund it.

“There is a real risk that the economic sclerosis we are currently suffering could turn into a full-blown permanent economic health crisis,” Heritage expert Anthony Kim warns.

Lawmakers should look to policies like Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan, which would reform the tax code by simplifying and reducing taxes.

“As Americans look to their future more than ever, 2014 should be the year of action to reverse the startling decline of America’s economic freedom and revitalize its entrepreneurial pulse,” Kim concludes.

Do you think our complicated and burdensome tax system strangles our economy and our freedom?

Heritage Experts Break Down Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal

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In Heritage Work

A budget proposal released yesterday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) would balance balance the budget and reduce the debt by cutting spending, reforming poverty programs, repealing Obamacare, and reforming health care entitlement programs, which are the largest drivers of deficit spending and debt.

Heritage Foundation expert Romina Boccia looked closely into Ryan’s budget and found many other good elements, including its tax reforms and proposals on defense, energy, education, and transporation policy. She did identify several areas for improvement, such as the long delay before critical Medicare reforms are implemented.

Read her full analysis of Ryan’s budget on the Foundry.

How would you improve Paul Ryan’s budget proposal?

This Costly Mandate Would Make Your Doctor Fill Out Oddly Specific Paperwork When You Get Sick

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Reuters

The “doc fix” bill sent to President Obama for his signature Tuesday contained an important provision to delay a costly new medical mandate from going into effect, Heritage Foundation expert Robert Moffit argues in a new report.

A federal rule would require many doctors to switch to a new method for classifying medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by October 1. The new classification, known as ICD-10, would replace the existing 18,000 codes with 155,000 entries—creating headaches and costs for doctors.

Moffit explains the oddly specific nature of the new codes, which he urges Congress to delay or even scrap:

A number of [codes] have been highlighted in popular journalistic accounts, including codes for injuries sustained in a collision with a bicycle, while knitting and crocheting or gardening and landscaping, or in a collision with a balloon. Codes are also assigned to cases where a patient has been bitten by a parrot, injured in a spacecraft collision, or sucked into a jet engine.

There are even separate codes for injuries at museums, art galleries, music halls, theaters, and opera houses.

Doctors already spend 22 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork. The switch to ICD-10 can only make matters worse.

Do you think the federal government should require doctors to use the new system?

How to Fix President Obama’s Misguided International Affairs Budget

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In Heritage Work

Photo: United Nations

Heritage Foundation expert Brett Schaefer has identified eleven critical ways Congress can fix President Obama’s unrealistic budget for foreign affairs.

Schaefer’s proposed fixes include: increased oversight over the United Nations; reversing the massive increase in spending on foreign affairs; trimming spending on climate change initiatives; prohibiting funding for U.N. organizations that grant full membership to the Palestinians; and capping U.S. contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.

Find out what else is on the list.

Do you think the President’s budget is misguided?

China’s Threat to Take Over a Democratic Ally Puts American Interests at Risk

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In Heritage Work

Marines of the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) stand at attention as Commander, Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Gary Roughead greets them following a demonstration of the brigade's capabilities.

Photo: navy.mil

It may be too late to prevent Russia from taking over Crimea, but there is still plenty that can be done to protect one of the U.S.’s staunchest allies from being annexed by China.

How to defend Taiwan and promote America’s interests in Asia is the focus of a new report by Heritage Foundation expert Dean Cheng.

Taiwan is a strategically important bulwark to China’s expansionism in the Pacific. And the Chinese government hasn’t been shy in expressing a clear desire to conquer the island. Continue Reading »

4 Reasons to Be Pro-Choice When It Comes to Education

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In Heritage Work

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In a new report, Heritage Foundation expert Lindsey Burke reviews the academic research and finds clear benefits from school choice:

  1. More students graduate
  2. Public schools improve when faced with competition
  3. Special needs students have more options for services
  4. Parents are more involved and satisfied

“Instead of policies to increase spending on the public education system,” Burke argues, “states and local school districts would better serve students by empowering parents with control over their share of education funding.”

Read more about why empowering parents with control over their child’s education leads to better outcomes.

How Misleading Government Accounting Leaves Taxpayers on the Hook

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In Heritage Work

The federal government reports hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off the federal budget. In what might be considered creative accounting, Washington subtracts this revenue from spending and subsequently undereports federal spending. Even worse, trillions in taxpayer liabilities are completely off the books.

“Profits paid to the Treasury in 2013 alone have resulted in federal spending and deficits being underreported by more than $100 billion,” Heritage Foundation expert Romina Boccia explains.

Since they were taken over by the federal government in 2008, Fannie and Freddie have paid more than $203 billion in profits to the U.S. Treasury — all of which is the Treasury is keeping off the federal budget. Continue Reading »

How Freeing the Energy Market Can Help Free Ukraine

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In Heritage Work

To help free Ukraine, the United States should free its energy markets, Heritage Foundation experts Nicolas Loris and Jack Spencer argue in a new report.

This policy, which wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything, would free Western Europe from dependence on Russian energy. Not only that, it would boost the economy here at home.

Russia has held the West hostage through its control of natural gas flowing into Europe. This effectively limits these countries’ ability to act in Ukraine.

Loris and Spencer identify three specific reforms that would end Russia’s monopoly of Europe’s energy market and limit Russia’s ability to use energy as a weapon: Continue Reading »

Video: ‘No Government Should Control the Lives of the People It Serves’

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In Heritage Work

“To understand where we’re going, we have to understand who we are as individuals and as a society,” Jim DeMint says in a new video about why The Heritage Foundation is so important.

America needs leadership from an organization devoted to America’s First Principles, DeMint says. That means “an organization that’s not afraid to proclaim that truth is truth, that conservatism is alive, and that no government should control the lives of the people it serves.”

Watch the video above and tell us in the comments why Heritage is important to you.

Alyene Senger on ‘the Arrogant Notion that Government Knows Best’

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In Heritage Work

While there were certainly problems with America’s health care system, Heritage’s Alyene Senger writes in the Washington Times, Obamacare has made things worse.

And while the administration has pushed unlawful “fixes” to deal with the political fallout from rules making health plans costlier, Senger writes, the administration still holds onto “the arrogant notion that government knows best.”

She continues: Continue Reading »

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