With nearly 13 million Americans unable to find work and a national debt hurtling relentlessly towards $17 trillion, something must be done to get America back on track.

Congress must get federal spending under control and end its reckless abuse of taxpayer money.

Heritage Foundation vice president David Addington has identified six conservative policies that can save the American Dream. He urges Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to include them in his forthcoming 2013 budget proposal.

  1. Tighten the Budget. Congress should make thoughtful spending cuts, reducing the amount spent each year.
  2. Balance the Budget. The budget should balance in the next 10 years, ensuring our government is not spending beyond its means.
  3. Reform Entitlements. Congress should repeal Obamacare, reform spending on programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and impose caps on welfare spending.
  4. Don’t Hike Taxes. Avoiding tax hikes is critical to allowing economic growth and stemming the tide of big government.
  5. Enact Job-Creating, Pro-Growth Tax Reform. “Congress should revise the tax code to establish strong economic incentives for job-creating saving and investment by abolishing a wide range of taxes and reducing the income tax structure to a single rate, or at most two.”
  6. Protect a Strong National Defense. Weakening national defense in order to balance the budget is unacceptable. Our government must be poised to defend its citizens, and irresponsible government spending should not cause Americans’ lives to be put at risk.

Read Addington’s full proposal.

The Heritage Foundation has developed a comprehensive plan, Saving the American Dream, that outlines how lawmakers can put these policies into action.

What do you think must be done to save the American Dream?

Comments (58)

kebozarth - March 16, 2012

How do you propose to pay off debt with more monetary credit/debt in order to underwrite our economy? i.e. Monetary Authority’s (FED’s) monopoly of the issuance of its credit circulating as if “money” created out of nothing to which creates an equivalent debt plus interest owed and insuring perpetual increasing federal public monetary policy of public debt.

This is a contract of impossible performance, negative sum game, old English practice of perpetual funding and slavery.
Debt = is slavery. Proverbs 22:7.

This is a Claim on our God-given unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and Property; Rights which Heaven gave and no man ought to take from us; the subject matter of our July 4, 1776 Unanimous Declaration of Independence.

“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The Monetary Authority (FED), by its very nature, is hostile to these ends and has within it the seeds of its own destruction.

JACK STUART - March 16, 2012

As a WW II veteran, age 85, I don’t believe the defense dept. should be a sacred cow. Our troops should have the finest training and equipt. that money can buy. I t could be paid for by closing 100s of military bases all over world where there is no threat to USA. For example, 30,000 troops in Japan, 40,000 troops in Germany at huge expense. Stop empire building !!
Our expensive nuclear submarines with nuclear bombs can protect us.

Syl Kesel - March 16, 2012

In my opinion, reversing the Obama regulatory burden on the country is at least as important as getting spending under contro.. There is so much spending in the regulations, that they are as bad as not having a balanced budget.

JACK STUART - March 16, 2012

3 years after the Tennessee Valley Authority bill was passed by Copngress, the first dam was producing electricity. Today it would take 3 years just to get the Environmental Impact Report approved. Our nation is being strangled with regulations. A paramedic ambulance building was built near my home. It took 3 years to get permits from local state and federal agencies, but only took 3 months to build it.

George - March 16, 2012

Government ultimately gets most of its revenue from taxpayers and consumers. 2. The more government does, the bigger it has to be; i.e., bigger buildings, more employees, more intrusions into the private sector. Government growth requires more of everything, i.e., higher taxes. Higher taxation reduces the money taxpayers will have to spend. Less taxpayer spending means less private purchasing. Less private purchasing means less demand for real goods and services. Less demand for goods and services means private sector layoffs and business failures. Layoffs and business failures means government must take even more taxes from those who are still working to pay unemployment “benefits” to the additional workers who just lost their jobs. That is what is happening now. The newly laid off workers are like government “employees;” they get paid, but they do not produce goods or services. So, the supply of what the public wants shrinks and the prices go up. (You know–that supply and demand thing.)Government runs out of money, so it just prints more dollars, taxes more, borrows more, or all of the above. Printing more money “waters” the value of each dollar. And think about: how do those “new” dollars get into circulation and what follows? As the value of each dollar shrinks, producers have to charge more for their products. Soon, producers have to stop selling the things we need because the US dollars become worthless. Can you imagine the destination of the path upon which we find ourselves? Eventually, the “house of cards” collapses.

Robert L. Kotsis - March 16, 2012

The 6 means to “Saving the American Dream” are the stock answers that we hear every time a solution is addressed. Run-away spending on the most rediculous items (pork) makes us the laughing stock of the world and we redicule other countries about some of their assinine programs; ie 3 month vacations. This flippant attitude toward spending “our money: taxes” is the height of arrogance. This coupled with “bowing” to special interest groups, ie unions & lobbyist, makes us furious. You hear pundits state , with a shrug that this is just “pocket change” when actually it’s in the billions.

On a good note. The Heritage Foundation is doing a great job in educating our congressional leaders? and keeping the inportant issues in the forefront. Keep up the good work.

Earl Zarbin - March 16, 2012

Please define the American dream. The American dream is not a house; it is not a car; it is not a college education; it is not being able to put aside enough money for retirement.
The American dream, if there is such, is liberty and freedom. With these, all needs can be met. It does not mean equal outcomes. It does mean voluntary association and cooperation.

Bill Larson - March 16, 2012

The best thing for the great USA is to get that clown out of the White House. Another 4 years and this country will not exist as we know it today. This will be another Middle East.
OMG (Obama Must Go)

Margaret Whitner - March 16, 2012

Your 6-point proposal is excellent; however, you know full well it won’t be implemented by the current administration or the current Congress.. We need a change in leaders and the Left will do anything and everything to keep the current “regime” in power. We have GOT to solve voter fraud quickly or lose the election. Then stop the UN’s proposed power grabs — get the USA out of the UN quickly and the UN off of our shores. They’re getting scarey as our president works with them! I fear the USA has become an oligarchy – as Jefferson feared we might. Congress has become totally ineffective — we need a new virtuous leader who will clean house from top to bottom! Thank you Heritage for being there — I’m grateful for all you do!

Ildiko Wagoner - March 16, 2012

All we have to do is look it the history! It has been done before, that is why America is in the first place in the world.

Wendy - March 16, 2012

Figure out how to pay down the US debt. The interest will increase, and we could default. The US will collapse.
Of course, we cannot add to the debt.
If more people work, the US gets more tax money without increasing taxes. The problem is there are less people working and more on welfare or SSI. An ever shrinking group of workers cannot support people who do not work and expect the world owes them a living.
This has nothing to do with SS where we have paid in and should get it. People paid into SS. They did nothing to get welfare, SSI, unemployment etc. This does not count retired people who worked for many years and saved for their retirement besides counting on SS. Illegals cannot get everything free. They are not citizens and deserve nothing.Their babies should be illegals also. The US is supporting the world and creating our demise! Keep a strong military!

Fred Howard - March 16, 2012

What do you think must be done to save the American Dream?

Fire and remove Obama and his team !!

Joan Jackson - March 16, 2012

The American dream is founded on liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. To these values, we should add equal opportunity. To preserve the American dream, people need to know what it is. People need to integrate into the American culture. They need to know the history of the American Revolution and the people who fought in it and after it to create and preserve the American dream. Americans need a common language (English).

Betty linaweaver - March 16, 2012

1. Stop additional spending today!!
2. Go thru every Gov. Agency and get rid of all but the “have to” programs. This is survival time!!
3. Combine the “like kind” agencies. It is time to get back to working for the people instead of the people working to support the gov.!!
4. Abolish “Public Service Unions”!!!!!!!!!!! They are killing the economy!!
5. Ask the businesses which regulations are killing their industries and abolish them.
6. Put a fast track on oil, gas, mining and abolish unnecessary regulations and red tape!!!!!!!!!
7. Get rid of Freddie and Fanny!!!!!!!!!!
8. Remove the crippling bank regulations so we can have mom and pops and small banking return.
9. Seal the border.
10. Bring our troops home from around the countries, especially those who do not really help us or even like us and quit sending the money over seas. We cannot afford it.
11. Secure our Social Security for those who are already in the system and get a plan for future recipients. Do not touch for any reason.
12. Strengthen our military so strong that no one would even think of harming us. And stop being the watch dog for every one in the world.
I am sure I am leaving out something but this will be a start. Thank you,

Wes Evans - March 16, 2012

The income tax system needs to be replaced with a retail consumption tax (The Fair Tax). Major regulatory and federal bureaucracy reform to remove the intrusiveness of the government will also be required.

Ralph westberg - March 16, 2012

Great ideas on creating jobs and restoring America. I don’t want to be the guy that comes up afer an excelent analysys and says “did you consider” but I am going to suggest that you take 15 minutes and watch “Bring our Jobs Back” on “You Tube”.
This video gives an analysis of not only “where” the jobs went but “why” they left. Knowing the answer to “where” and “why” opens up solutions to the problem. The solution presented is a dream solution for Free Traders in that it eliminates tariffs and the outsourcing that has decimated our manufacturing.
I would appreciate your comments,
Ralph Westberg
PS The ideas in this video come from the experience of running a manufacturing company that was honored nationally as “The Manufacturer of the Year” in the Automotive After Market four times. We have been “in the trenches” on this issue.

david o - March 16, 2012

can improving the economy and reducing the debt be accomplished thru the following 3 actions:

1. an energy policy that reduced the money going out of the country for foreign oil.

2. the fair tax plan – removes taxes from the cost of goods so our exports are more competitive, discourages consumption by taxing it, and encourages making money by not taxing income.

3. doing away with unions for government employees. unions in the private sector are disappearing since worker laws adequately protect worker’s rights, and competition shows their cost does not justify any other benefits they offer (like the apprentice program in the construction trades).

Emogene Salvucci - March 16, 2012

the soc. sec. benefits for “conditions” (SSI) has gotten completely out of hand. I see more and more dubius recipients and wonder how the process of determining how one’s “disability” qualifies him for these benefits. Residences once built for senior citizens are now full of young recipients of SSI. Is this part of the reason the funds are depleted?

Timelord Shepherd - March 16, 2012

Nothing will work if we don’t stand together and vote the Left out of both parties. No matter who win the GOP staying home or voteing 3rd party in Nov. will end any hope of us changing things.

ALVIN NIX - March 16, 2012

Why is SS & Medicare an entitlement when my other savings aren’t?

John Smith - March 16, 2012

Here are my thoughts for them:

1 and 2: First, the GOP needs to make the Dems to pass a budget. The Democratic Party will not pass one because they know that their idea of spending will get them out of office quick.

3: They actually need to repeal more than just this. Obamacare, if you can recall, didn’t even get the required votes. In my opinion, this is enough for it to be repealed since it shouldn’t even be counted as valid. There are several other things that people are forced to pay for that also should be counted as unconstitutional. I think what should be done is to go through all the requirements and regulations, see which ones are not needed, and clean the system out.

4: There are plenty of ways to get money without taxing. Fundraisers, raffles and other methods can be used to offset the lack of money and are ideal to avoid hikes.

5: The Fair Tax would be perfect for this.

6: Just like in #4, there are alternatives to avoid things like this.

Terry Johnson - March 16, 2012

1. Get rid of President Obama
2. Clean both the Senate and the House of all career politicians.
3. Cut welfare and medical programs for all illegals
4.Close the borders to all immigration.
5. Deport all illegals with their children.
6. Terms of service for all politicians
7. Bring our troops home from the middle east to protect our citizens and borders.

Wayne, La. - March 16, 2012

This should be a priority for the nation. There are many services that do not qualify as essential for basic needs. Some cuts to Planned Parenthood, free cell phones and other recent social plum benefits can be axed. A much simpler and consistent tax structure is a must. A Federal consumption tax on goods except for food and medicine is possible as long as there is strong limits against future increases and a fair method of implementing the tax. The tax on large ticket items, a new home for example, would be prorated over the length of the loan. The tax should be no larger than 5% of the items sale price.

Jim Tidwell - March 16, 2012

PLease don’t overlook what is probably gthe greatest single activity that can result in a rapidly expanding, robust economy: Create total ENERGY INDEPENDENCE by repealing all of the unnecessarily restrictive regulations on the exploration, recovery & refining of OIL, the mining & burning of COAL for electrical energy production and the use of NUCLEAR energy for electricity production. It’s a no-brainer. Why is it not being promoted vigorously by Heritage & the GOP?
Jim Tidwell

Rhonda Tubbs - March 16, 2012

Impeach Obama . Throw the whole regime out!
They have been totally unconstitutional, illegal, and still are marching on.
Why ? Every American is asking. Why haven’t they been stopped ?
Who and where are the Officials that are suppose to keep this branch of government in line? I.e. who is getting paid to do that and not doing there job?

Steven G Bruno - March 17, 2012

Arrest all in Washington that are suspected to be involved in the destruction of America. Do a full and complete investigation into the legitimacy of OBAMA.And everyone covering for him.With all of them out of the way,we will be able to correct the errors of this Gov.

Andre Laurent - March 17, 2012

We need to put a stop to the indoctrination of our children and start pushing for the teaching of American History at a young age. Our children need to know why our ancestors came to America and they need to know the importance of embracing the Constitution. We should also be teaching our children the importance of being self-sufficient, and not depending on the government for support.

AnnCampbell - March 17, 2012

Sounds like our best shot at accomplishing the above goals is to elect Mitt Romney. Also, we MUST stop allowing public schools to educate our kids….the left has more and more input into text books and what is taught to our kids. Abolish the Dept of Education and return education to local/states. What are we thinking when we allow children to be taught, as fact, evolution, same sex marriage, sex education, rewritten history books, etc. etc.????

Ruth CCostea - March 17, 2012

Just like in Biblical times, if a people do not obey God’s
commandments, they will not prosper for long. Soon
will come the famines and the war and pests, that
follow when corrupt leaders like Pharoah try to get the
people to forget God. There is no king but King Jesus,
as the colonies once said when they were oppressed.

Dee - March 17, 2012

I want EVERYONE to pay taxes, so I want a “consumer” tax and I want the income tax to go away completely. If we all pay tax on what we BUY, then those who are on welfare, those who are paid by cash, those who are illegally in the country,and even drug dealers will all have to pay tax according to what they SPEND, not what they earn. Is this not a better approach to collecting revenue? We have so much more control over the amount of tax we pay when we’re taxed on what we spend and NOT on what we earn.

SW - March 17, 2012

We need some fairness for taxpayers. The government needs to spend OUR money only on the cheapest way to accomplish something. For example, having life long welfare recipients each live is a private tax payer supported home is too expensive, they need to live in dormitories, community dining etc, jsut like our soldiers and many college students do,

Nancy Suter - March 17, 2012


Dave Zornes - March 17, 2012

1.Get obama out of white house,impeached or Nov 2012
2.Get all senators out of senate that refuse to vote on any legislation to correct problems that they and obama put us in.
3.Fire all the Czars that were put in place by the head Communist obama.
4.Get rid of all the rules and regulations that make it impossible to drill for oil and gas on government land and anywhere in this great country.
5.Get government out of our schools, churches,restaurants and our lives.
6.Make unemployment benefits last only six months.
7.NO emergency room health care for anyone not a US citizen with valid proof.
8.NO free education for anyone without valid proof of citizenship.
9.Pass law that NO Unions can donate to ANY political party…(like that would ever happen)
10.Get RID of obamacare,the illegal health care plan that was voted in without the peoples approval in the darkness just like trial they had for JESUS.Just like the betrayers they are,criminal,who not only enjoy doing evil but encourage others to do it too.

Julius Lodgek - March 17, 2012

I find it difficult to believe that our country has gotten so drasticlly of the path that has made us the strong republic we had been.
We the people have been trusting of a government that has totally deceived us.I beleive that it is time for a total replacement, by whatever means necessary, of this so called representative government.
The basic principals that have been our foundation have been gradually eroded.
I do not see how we can restore our strength with an economy that has no manufacturing, a dollar that is on the brink of being worthless, a weakened military, spending that is out of control and a good majority of the populace that has lost faith in this government.
I do believe that we all know the solution but will we take any action?

Richard Selle - March 17, 2012

I agree with most of this, but the time for a balanced budget is too long. With the debt we have if interest rates go up we will be in big trouble and so a balanced budget to stop the increase is essential, but we then need to move past that point to start paying down the national debt as soon as possible.
It irritates me that the national defense, one of the main responsibilities of the federal government is the left’s first thing to be cut and thus ignore the constitution.

Lloyd Scallan - March 17, 2012

Your 6 point plan will never be considered by the Obama administration. Obama does not want to “save the American dream”, ee want to destroy it, or as he has stated over and over again, “transform” it. If we truly want to save America, we must rid this nation of Obama and every member of Congress that supports him, both Dems and Repbs.

Ed - March 17, 2012

Your list is a good start but without cleaning up the regulatory mess both Fed & State allis for naught.
We must cut off the “burecratic law makers” at the knees.

Peggy Rivette - March 17, 2012

In addition, we absolutely MUST begin to seriously address our immigration laws. We are well on our way to becoming Mexico. I want AMERICA back.

Atwood Brooks - March 17, 2012

Fire Obama and his administration and replace them with true patriotic Americans who love this country and know what they are doing.

Jane Hamman - March 17, 2012

To save the American dream, we must have the six policies, plus repeal of thousands of regulations and executive orders, restoration of the Constitution as our guide, and a President who leads with integrity, management knowledge and skills, and unwavering adherence to enduring principles.

Jackie End - March 17, 2012

I am less concerned about the budget than by the damage done to our nation by Obama and his Administration. We have to get rid of him and everyone he put into place. And if we can get a Republican majority in both houses, we can repeal Obamacare and repeal all the vicious regulations that are destroying not just our economy but our liberty. There is no compassion in the positions of the Democratic Party and the Left. They are all about control and power. We can manage the budget if we can restore growth.

JPW - March 17, 2012

oil is base to American ingeneuity. (many, many products come from oil). Obama aware; HE must go!! The usurper’s mindset? – bring us down to MohamMAD’s ‘groveling in the sand’. Few willing to confront REAL issue; I just did. Until this hardline RADICAL is history, American economy will continue to flounder – period.

curtis nunley - March 17, 2012

Reward workers who work hard by exempting their overtime pay from federal taxation. Workers will then have the freedom to invest or spend the money as they please. After all, is it theirs or the governments?

george boling - March 17, 2012

do all the 6 items plus enact the fairtax hr 25 proposal that alone would help greatly

Darrell Skondin - March 17, 2012

Our biggest obstacle is educating the general public, it seems as most people are too busy to find out whats really going on, or naive enough to believe all that the media is feeding them, with out any other resources we are in a losing battle. The internet can and should be a blessing for this country. Another big stick being used is the no one talks about it, like wasteful and endless traffic jams that pollute the air and waste enormus amounts of fuel every day, year after year, the inflation that has raised everyones taxes(higher tax bracket) and grown a government out of control faster than any government has a right to grow. Please use the think tank for this. Thanks for your hard work.
Darrell Skondin

Fran Kraus - March 18, 2012

1. Welfare must be drastically cut. No free cell phones, no new cars. We cannot support those many who can work but don’t. I see them every day.
2. Get those folks off welfare and force them to either work or just sponge off their own families, not mine. They must work and pay taxes. No tax refunds for those who don’t pay taxes. As the Bible says: “Those who do not work, do not eat.”
These two things in addition to repealing Obamacare and everything else he has enacted. Get rid of the czars, regulations. Cut back the EPA. And drill, drill, drill.

ginger - March 18, 2012

I agree with the six steps outlined in saving the American dream along with cutting out “the pork” and reducing the amount of oil purchased from the middle east by opening up drilling at home,and approving the pipeline from Canada, giving money to countries that hate us, and giving a free ride to illegals.

dennis crane - March 18, 2012

Three steps to a healthy American Republic:
1. Stop deficit spending
2. Restore equality under the law. This would include:Amending the 16th amendment and elimination of the Graduated Income Tax (which empowers big government), and securing our borders (which will prevent a sub-class of non-citizens).
3. Restore the 10th amendment and state hegemony over education, energy … (get the NEA out of education and the EPA out of our market place). Restore local decision making. Make minimal federal involvement a purpose. Lower government spending by using this purpose.

David Cook - March 18, 2012

Congress also needs to look at laws and regulations they can eleminate instead of constantly addin g more .

Charles Stone - March 19, 2012

The points outlined are good talking points; a beginning point in the discussion process. Our goal should be to have a federal government not involved within states rights issues., So in a utopia view, those issues which are clearly not authorized by the Constitution should be identified and moved back to the states, without federal funding. Then federal taxation would be allocated to pay only for Constitutionally authorized activities. Immediately there would be a federal surplus, which should trigger a reduction in federal tax rates.
However, such a move of functions without federal funding would bankrupt the states unless such a move were pre-planned to be at the end of the next fiscal year. States would be forced by economics to not fund the socialism/welfare type of activities and those individual recepients would become aware that they are not wanted in that state; forcing them to make a decision to not receive that funding or to move to a state that has the funds. Like I said before, this is a utopian view and will not happen.However, the concept of identifying Constitutionally authorized federal spending would place the Congress and Senate on notice with each piece of new legislation.

Larry White - March 19, 2012

In 6 Days, The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing Arguments for and against ObamaCare. Nine Politically appointed people will decide for or against The People.

The American Dream will be mortally wounded if we don’t stop ObamaCare.
The First and Only Priority on this 19th of March, 2012 is making certain The U.S. Supreme Court knows Americans will not accept ObamaCare.

Heritage Foundation, please help Multiply the attendance at Rallies this week-end and during the Hearings in D.C and across the United States of America.

Ted Seaman - March 19, 2012

I wish you would read and support HR25 The Fair Tax Bill in Congress. Do away from Ta x on the 1st fruits of labor which classify wage earners as chattel, Slave, Bondsman.
We would do away with class warfare under The Fair Tax, please read the bill and respond. Respectfully, Ted

Harry McCarty - March 19, 2012

Items 1 through 6 just make a lot of sense. American needs to wake up to reallity. We just can’t continue to give so much away. I was taught when you don’t work you don’t eat. We need productivity of individuals to make this country stronger and greater again.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Edward Veek - March 19, 2012

UN agenda 21 must be stoped & we should defund the UN. Second, Educate the population of the comunist goals & explain how many of them have been compleated by the progressive, liberals.

Randolph Selten - March 20, 2012

You left out some very important parts of restoring health to the nation. First secure our borders. The situation we have now is that people who are here without legal status are draining and bankrupting our social, legal, and health services. We need to also eliminate the rewards for getting here – namely anchor babies and any unpaid for services. Second require a national photo ID card to insure that whatever benefits are legally obtained. Third cut the federal workforce by 10 percent and equalize government workers salary and benefits to those in the private sector.

L. B. - March 21, 2012

Clean out Congress. Set term limits. Enforce the oaths of alliegence to the Constitution. Repeal the illegal Obamacare. Get rid of the so called “zars”, government has no right to directly take over industries or private businesses. Shut down the EPA; another department of government that circumvents congressional oversight. This is an unelected body literaly running and controlling many aspects of business and private life. We could go on and on. If we do not reset the workings of government to its Constitutional checks, balances and limits, we will wake up in a reborn Communist Dictatorship.

Ken Hodge - March 22, 2012

I’m 100 percent behind your efforts and diametrically opposed to President Obama and the way he is trying to spend this great nation into the ground. He and anyone else who is dipping into money provided by taxpayers must be stopped. I am opposed to Obamacare and every other intrusion into the private lives of Americans. We need to take America back.

William - March 22, 2012

The Federal Budget SHOULD NOT take 10 years to be balanced. If we are ever going to get to where we do not spend more than our income at the Federal level, we should start NOW & get there in 3 to 5 years.

I agree with a strong defense support BUT the current spending is way too high, we can not continue being the world police and supporting high occupation in so many countries.

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