America’s fiscal future is in peril. At $67,000 for every American, the $22 trillion national debt is larger than what the typical American household earns in a year. At the same time that federal debt is growing rapidly, politicians on both sides of the political aisle are making grand promises for new spending.

On Tuesday, June 4, Heritage hosted a discussion on the national debt with Romina Boccia, director of Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget; David Ditch, research associate at the Hermann Center; and Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“We are the world’s strongest economy – we are not going to default on our debt,” said Marc Goldwein. “But, if we continue on our current course, we could cause a global financial crisis, we could cause an inflation crisis, we could cause an austerity crisis. I don’t know how it will play out, but I don’t really want to find out.”

Watch the full discussion here or listen to it on the Heritage Events podcast.

The Heritage Foundation has charted a path toward fiscal balance: don’t forget to check out our recently released Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2020.

What would you like to see Congress and the president do to reduce the national debt?

Author and political commentator Andrew Puzder gave a compelling case for capitalism. (Photo: Tavit’s Photography)

Resource Bank kicked off with a series of presentations from some of the top minds in the conservative movement, who argued that the biggest debates that are now raging in the public square are ones we should want to take part in.

For example, Andrew Puzder, a political commentator, former CEO, and author of The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It, explained how conservatives can deliver a winning message to millennials about capitalism.

“Today, America’s youth seem enamored with socialism,” he said. Why? Because they are being fed a myth – through the education system and popular entertainment – that socialism is necessary to protect the masses from capitalist greed.

This, Puzder said, is a complete misunderstanding of what capitalism is or how it works. “The only way to succeed in capitalism is to meet the needs of other people. It empowers the masses – consumers – because you vote with your dollars on which companies succeed and which fail … When I speak to millennials, I always tell them that I have a wonderful message for you: the economic system under which you live is the greatest system ever devised in the history of the world.”

Mary Katherine Ham, a conservative commentator on CNN, urged conservatives to not stop talking to young people about socialism and capitalism. “Don’t try to convert them. Because they can sniff that a mile away. Engage them.”

Bill Meierling, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of external relations and strategic partnerships at the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Scott Walker, president of the Capital Research Center, explained how the current brand of leftist ideology that is gripping the nation can be traced to a handful of mega-donors, who established a sprawling network of leftist organizations. Their website, InfluenceWatch.org, reveals the donors who are backing these organizations.

Daniel Di Martino, a student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, who was born in socialist Venezuela, gave a warning to Americans who think that socialism that ruined his home country could not come to the United States. “One by one, they took away our freedoms … that’s what people on the Left want to do here,” he said.

How do you talk about socialism and capitalism? What obstacles do you face when you discuss this topic with family, friends, and co-workers?

Pastor Miles McPherson gave practical advice on how individuals can bridge racial divisions in American culture. (Photo: Tavit’s Photography)

How should Americans act in a society that forces people to choose between “us and them”? According to Pastor Miles McPherson, a former NFL player and senior pastor of Rock Church in San Diego, the answer is to choose a third option, which is not to choose.

“When God looks at our country, He says, why can’t you all get along?” Pastor McPherson said. “I have every hope we can get together.”

Pastor McPherson gave attendees at Resource Bank practical advice on how to build engagement between diverse communities and make positive changes in our country – starting with ourselves.  To learn more, check out his latest book, The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation.

In what way do you build bridges with people who are outside of your “in-group”?

The 2019 Rising Leaders Fellows. (Photo: Tavit’s Photography)

The 2019 Rising Leaders Fellows.  (Photo: Tavit’s Photography)

This year, Heritage is delighted to introduce the Rising Leaders Fellowship – a new initiative that identifies top student and youth influencers across the country and brings them to Resource Bank to learn from seasoned leaders.

At this year’s Resource Bank, 35 Rising Leaders Fellows took a dive deep into policy issues, learned communication and leadership skills, and networked with policy experts and think tank leaders.

“As a young student leader with a passion for the conservative movement, I have greatly enjoyed my time at Resource Bank,” said Ellen Wittman, a junior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “Through networking, policy discussions, and talking with experts, this week has equipped me with the strength and skills to help protect our founding principles for years to come.”

The 2019 Fellows were nominated by the following allied organizations: Black Conservative Movement, Claire Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Foundation for Individual Rights, The Fund for American Studies, Generation Joshua, Alexander Hamilton Society, The Gloucester Institute, Leadership Institute, Network of Enlightened Women, Young America’s Foundation, Speech First, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, Heritage’s Local University Conservatives Program, and Turning Point USA.

How can conservatives better identify talent and help young conservatives become leaders?

On Thursday at Resource Bank, The Heritage Foundation presented the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship to Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor, for her contributions to journalism.

At the prize ceremony, David Azerrad, director of Heritage’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics and the AWC Family Foundation Fellow, said: “We need more people who speak truth to power, including to the media. In short, we need more people like Mollie Hemingway.”

Hemingway’s new book, Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court, will reveal new details in the drama surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Co-written by Carrie Severino, it will be released on July 9.

This year’s keynote speaker for the Robert H. Krieble Lecture was the Honorable Janice Rogers Brown.  Brown is a former United States Circuit Judge of the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, often referred to as the most powerful court in the country, second only to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Krieble Lecture is named after chemist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Robert H. Krieble who not only generously supported many conservative causes and organizations such as The Heritage Foundation but who also used his talents and treasures to fight against the spread of socialism and communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Brown was no less a stalwart for America’s founding principles and faithfulness to the Constitution during her years on the bench.  In her remarks, she said the major push for progressivism in our society comes from those who deny the laws of nature and nature’s God.  Referring to the theme of this year’s Resource Bank, she called on attendees to rise to the challenge and renew their efforts to promote and defend American exceptionalism and the rule of law, not just in our nation’s courtrooms but also in the public square.

Who are some of your favorite and most trusted journalists?  What do you believe is the biggest threat to American exceptionalism? 

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