Highlights from Saving the American Dream


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Get the Highlights of the Heritage Plan in our quick, easy-to-read overview. Saving the American Dream comes to life in a simple, condensed, graphics-rich format, simply presenting how The Heritage Foundation proposes to reform Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, taxes, health insurance, and government spending. Published 2011.

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Highlights from Saving the American Dream

  1. 1. Saving the AMERICAN dREAMHighlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, and Restore Prosperity Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity
  2. 2. Saving the AMERICAN dREAMIn these pages, you will gain a new understanding of the stepswe must take to fix our debtHeritage Plan to Fix the Debt,nationwide. The crisis and restore prosperity Cut Spending, and Restore ProsperityBuilding on decades of Heritage research, Saving the American Dreampresents a plan to unleash the creativity of our hard-working citizens …and leave our children and grandchildren with a better life.WHAT’S INSIDE … AMERICA’S FISCAL CRISIS ............................................. page 2 THE HERITAGE PLAN ......................................................... page 4 TAX REFORM.............................................................................. page 6 HEALTH CARE & MEDICAID.......................................... page 8 MEDICARE.................................................................................. page 10 SOCIAL SECURITY ............................................................... page 12 GOVERNMENT SPENDING .......................................... page 14 CONNECT WITH HERITAGE ....................................... page 16
  3. 3. What Leaders are Saying About the Plan …“Getting our country’s fiscal house in order is no easy task. Thankfully, our friends at The Heritage Foundation have done the hard work of thinking through and creating public policies that get government under control and save the American dream for this generation and the next.” — Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)“The analysis of our fiscal problems is compelling, and the proposed solution is bold and imaginative.” — Ambassador John Bolton“The Heritage Foundation’s plan to save the American dream would create economic certainty for businesses by putting our nation on a more stable economic course and giving businesses the freedom to expand.” — Andrew F. Puzder CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.) and co-author ofJob Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It“The Heritage Plan offers a way out if politicians put the welfare of their country ahead of their own.” — Cal Thomas America’s #1 nationally syndicated columnist“Comprehensive tax reform is an essential element of restoring fiscal sanity and spurring economic growth in the country. The Heritage Foundation’s proposal moves the country’s tax code in the right direction toward a more low-rate, flat tax.” — Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D. The Father of Supply-Side Economics“America does not have to be a country in decline. Do we have choices to make? Yes. And I encourage anyone who is serious about making the right choices to read The Heritage Foundation’s plan to fix the debt, cut spending, and restore prosperity.” — Steve Forbes Editor-in-Chief, Forbes magazine
  4. 4. “Saving the American Dream is our plan to fix the debt, cut spending, and, above all, restore prosperity.”Fellow Americans:We have come to a time of decision. For far too long, Congress has been onan unsustainable binge of spending, taxing, and borrowing. Our nation is goingbroke, and we are passing the costs of these misguided policies to our childrenand their children. But this fate does not have to be our future.Saving the American Dream is our plan to fix the debt, cut spending, and, aboveall, restore prosperity. It balances the nation’s budget within a decade—and keepsit balanced. It eliminates government-mandated health care and fully funds ournational defense. In order to get our fiscal house in order, we must address SocialSecurity, Medicare, and Medicaid, the three so-called entitlement programs whichtogether account for 43 percent of federal spending today. Far too many seniorsstill lack enough help to avoid poverty. Saving the American Dream thereforedoes not end these programs; instead it focuses them on those who need them.We have been here before, and every time the American people have alwaysrisen to the occasion. In 1776 we were told that no upstart colonists coulddefeat the strongest nation in the world, and we decided to change the courseof history. In 1860 we were told the Union could not hold and that America wasover, and we brought forth a new birth of freedom. In 1980 we were told that theAmerican century was at an end, and we launched a great economic expansion,rebuilt our military, and revived our national spirit.All that is required, as my hero Ronald Reagan once said, is “our best effort, andour willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to performgreat deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve theproblems which now confront us.”Hard times demand tough choices. The future of our nation is at stake.Together, let us seize the moment, change our country’s course, and save theAmerican Dream. —Edwin J. Feulner President, The Heritage Foundation Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 1
  5. 5. America Faces a Fiscal CrisisDecades ago, politicianspromised Baby Boomershealth and retirement benefits “… endless borrowingbut provided no way to pay imposes huge burdensfor them. Now we are faced on future generations.”with the consequences of theirneglect. U.S. debt held by thepublic equals nearly 70 percentof GDP and is rapidly growing.Medicare and Social Securityface nearly $40 trillion in long-term unfunded obligations—over $200,000 for everyAmerican. We cannot leavethese burdens for our childrenand grandchildren. We mustbegin now to solve theseproblems. And we all mustshare the burdens those © Artiga Photo/Corbissolutions will entail.2 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  6. 6. CHART 1Why the National Runaway Federal Spending Will CHART 1 The Current and Future Crisis:Debt Matters Result inFederalFuture Crisis: The Current and Spending Will Runaway Huge Budget Deficits Runaway Federal Spending Will Result in Huge Budget Deficitsn Adding up each year’s Result in Huge Budget Deficits annual budget shortfall Revenue and Spending as a Percentage of GDP Revenue and Spending as a Percentage of GDP (deficits), the national debt 35% 35.2% 35% 35.2% has recently topped $14 trillion—with no end in sight. 30%n Mounting debt results 30% in economic crisis, as SPENDING countries like Greece and 25% SPENDING 25% Portugal have learned the hard way. 20% REVENUE 19.3%n Because debt always has to 20% REVENUE 19.3% be paid, endless borrowing imposes huge burdens on 15% future generations. 15%The Cause: 10%Unlimited Government 10%2010 2010 2015 2015 2020 2020 2025 2025 2030 2030 2035 2035n 43% of all tax dollars go Surplus/Deficit as a Percentage of GDP Surplus/Deficit as a Percentage of GDP 0% to funding the three major 0% entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare and -5% Medicaid. -5%n Entitlement spending will consume all tax revenue -10% -10% by 2049, leaving nothing for constitutional functions such DEFICIT as defense.   -15% DEFICIT -15% –15.9%n As government spending has –15.9% more than doubled since -20% 1965, clearly Washington -20% 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 must be more efficient in Source: Heritage Foundation calculations based on data from Congressional Budget Office, Alternative Fiscal Scenario. from Source: Heritage Foundation calculations based on data every line of the budget … Congressional Budget Office, Alternative Fiscal Scenario. or we all will face the consequences. Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 3
  7. 7. THE PLAN Solve the national debt crisis, simplify taxes, reduce government spending, and make health care affordable. Our plan transforms the main federal entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—into real insurance programs. We provide financial security to retirees, guarantee assistance to people who need it, and reduce government payments to those who are truly prosperous. Obamacare is repealed and replaced with a system that gives consumers affordable choices among private, competing health care plans, much as federal employees have long enjoyed. The tax system is made simple and fair, with a single rate for all. Our reforms encourage businesses to invest, fueling economic growth. Complementing the aims of reforming entitlement programs (Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid), our tax plan helps Americans to save throughout their working years and achieve economic security so they won’t have to depend on government in retirement. Our plan permanently balances the budget within 10 years. By immediately reducing government benefits to the wealthiest Americans, our reforms immediately begin reducing deficits that threaten the economy. We reduce government where it has exceeded the powers authorized by the Constitution. And we responsibly address ruinous public debt that will otherwise overwhelm not only ourselves but also our children and grandchildren.4 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  8. 8. CHART 4 The Heritage Plan…The Alternative—Saving the American Dream By rapidly lowering total federal spending,By rapidly lowering total federal spending, the Heritage plan would balance the budget by 2021 andbalance the budget the Heritage plan would keep it there n Balances the federal budgetpermanently, without raising taxes. by 2021 and keep it there permanently, within a decade and keeps it Current Projections without raising taxes. Plan Heritage balanced forever at no more Revenue and Spending as a Percentage of GDP Revenue and Spending as a Percentage of GDP than 18.5 percent of GDP. 35% 35.2% 35% n Reduces the debt to 30 percent of GDP within 25 years 30% and puts it on track to continue 30% falling thereafter. SPENDING n Cuts the federal government 25% 25% by about half within 25 years. n Stops scheduled tax REVENUE 19.3% SPENDING 20% increases and replaces the 20% 18.5% complex, unfair tax code with a completely new tax system. 17.7% REVENUE 15% 15% nProtects America and its interests around the globe 10% by ensuring full funding for 10% 2010 national 2020 2025 2030 2035 2015 defense. 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 Surplus/Deficit as a Percentage of GDP n Eliminates Obamacare and Surplus/Deficit as a Percentage of GDP 0.8% 0% creates a health care system 0% that is affordable for individuals SURPLUS and families. -5% -5% n Redesigns Social Security DEFICIT and Medicare as sustainable -10% programs that truly protect -10% seniors … and will still be around for our children and DEFICIT -15% grandchildren. -15% –15.9% nProvides powerful incentives -20% for working Americans to save -20% 2010 and invest so that they will 2035 2015 2020 2025 2030 be 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 less dependent on government programs. Sources: Current projections: Heritage Foundation calculations based on data from Congressional Budget Office, Alternative Fiscal Scenario. Heritage Plan: Calculations by the Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage Foundation, based on baseline data in the current projections, data provided by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and CDA policy models. Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 5
  9. 9. TAX REFORM The Heritage Plan spurs economic growth with a tax that is simple, flat, and fair—and prevents future tax increases. A truly flat tax We replace today’s complex mosaic of tax systems and rates with a single rate for all. The current payroll tax on workers and employers funding Medicare and Social Security is folded in. And we cap the government’s take to no more than 18.5 percent of the economy—the historical average. A truly simple tax system Under the Heritage plan, you’re taxed only once and only on income that you spend on consumer goods and services. Money you save is not taxed until you spend it, like a giant IRA but without the complicated rules. Protection for working households No more payroll tax (for Social Security and Medicare) that hits low-income workers hardest. A health insurance tax credit provides tax relief for health care costs. And the Earned Income Tax Credit is preserved to help families with low incomes.6 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  10. 10. Security for low-income seniors TAX REFORMOur plan means, unlike today where seniors with as little as$15,000 in income have their benefits taxed, low-incomeretirees pay no taxes on Social Security benefits. Also, anysenior who works beyond retirement age pays no taxes on thefirst $10,000 in earnings.Business taxes that free upinvestment and fuel growthOur plan substantially reduces barriers to business investmentand makes businesses more competitive. Businesses are taxedonly on domestic income. Our plan repeals the estate tax sofamily businesses can pass from one generation to the next. The Heritage Plan Simplifies the Tax System and Lowers Taxes Under current law, the typical American’s taxes will go up in 2013. But absent spending reform, income taxes would have to rise dramatically after that. The Heritage Plan eliminates the need for tax hikes, and reforms the tax system by replacing all income and payroll taxes with a simple, flat tax with one rate for everyone. INDIVIDUAL TAX RATES Marginal income tax rates Total payroll tax rates Heritage flat tax 75% 62.3% 15.3% 50% 43.3% 40.3% 15.3% 28% 15.3% 25% 47% 25% 28% 28% 0% Current 2013 2050 Saving the Rates (current law) (projected) American Dream Sources: Congressional Budget Office, Tax Foundation. Heritage Plan: Calculations by the Center for Data Analysis. Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 7
  11. 11. HEALTH CARE & MEDICAID REFORM Tax credits, premium assistance for low-income workers, and tax-free savings are all part of health care reform that expands consumer choices. Repeal Obamacare This ill-conceived law adds trillions of dollars in government spending to a health care system that is already unaffordable. It also increases federal controls and imposes heavy costs on states, businesses, and households. The Heritage plan repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a consumer-centered health care system that America can afford. A new tax credit for health insurance The Heritage plan provides a tax credit of $2,000 for individuals and $3,500 for families—far more tax help than under current law. This can go towards a plan your employer offers you, or you can use it to buy insurance outside your workplace. Direct assistance for lower-income workers If your income is in the lower brackets, you receive premium support to buy the same health insurance as those with higher incomes can—allowing those on Medicaid a better quality option. Very low-income families with children receive total assistance worth as much as $9,000.8 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  12. 12. Tax-free savings for health needs MEDICAID REFORM HEALTH CARE &Under our plan, your savings for health care (or otherpurposes) no longer face double taxation. If you do notuse all of your health credit or premium assistance forinsurance, you can put the remainder in a special savingsaccount with tax-free withdrawals.A new Medicaid safety netIn 2014, the Heritage plan caps federal Medicaid spendingat 2007 levels. States receive block grants and are givengreater latitude to develop innovative ways to reduce costsand improve health care for the poor elderly and disabled.Based on agreed goals, this approach gives states theright incentive to pursue high-quality, innovative care. The Impact of Obamacare “What does the new health care law mean for me?” Whether you’re a mom, an employer, or a doctor, this series provides the answer—with the latest analysis and compelling stories of © AFP/Getty Images Americans affected by Obamacare. Experience videos, reports and more at: heritage.org/ImpactOfObamacare Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 9
  13. 13. MEDICARE REFORM The most costly and least efficient federal entitlement, Medicare needs fundamental changes to provide truly high- quality, affordable health care. A defined contribution adjusted by income The Heritage plan provides retirees with premium support payments from the government, similar to what federal employees now receive. This support is decreased for the most affluent 9 percent of retirees. Seniors may choose to use their premium support for Medicare’s fee-for-service plan or private health plans. Protection against bankruptcy from medical bills In addition to the option of keeping your current health coverage or choosing a better policy, the Heritage plan includes new protection against catastrophic health care expenses to ensure that you cannot be bankrupted by huge medical bills. Medicare, at last, operates on a budget Medicare currently faces an unfunded liability of over $30 trillion. Under the Heritage plan, premium support is set based on the principle that when health plans compete, you win—resulting in10 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  14. 14. better quality at lower costs. Our plan also caps total Medicare MEDICARE REFORMspending to prevent runaway costs. This gives competing plans anincentive to control their costs.Eliminate restrictions ondoctor-patient arrangementsCurrent law restricts arrangements that doctors and patients mightwish to make outside of the Medicare program. The Heritage planabolishes those restrictions so doctors are free to provide carebeyond Medicare limits—without Washington in the middle.New retirees can keep their existing plansDuring the five-year transition to full premium support, ourplan requires Medicare to provide defined contributions for anyretirees who want to remain in their current health plan, includingemployer-based coverage or other health plans. The Heritage Plan Would Rein in Mandatory CHART 7 Entitlement Spending The Heritage Plan Would Rein in Mandatory Entitlement Spending Current Projections Heritage Plan Spending as a Percentage of GDP Spending as a Percentage of GDP 20% 20% 17.1% 15% 15% 10% 10% 9.1% Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare Subsidies, CHIP Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP 5% 5% Social Security Social Security 0% 0% 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 Sources: Current projections: Heritage Foundation calculations based on data from Congressional Budget Office, Alternative Fiscal Scenario. Heritage Plan: Calculations by the Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage Foundation, based on baseline data in the current projections, data provided by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and CDA policy models. Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 11
  15. 15. SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM The Heritage Plan transforms Social Security into true insurance that retirees can rely on, with a guarantee against poverty in retirement. A flat benefit with a guarantee against poverty The centerpiece of the Heritage plan is a flat Social Security benefit which guarantees that no retiree will ever fall into poverty. The current system offers no such guarantee. Preserving Social Security for future generations For workers born after 1985, the flat- benefit will be phased in slowly. These workers will also have greater flexibility to plan for retirement. To keep the system solvent, benefits for the wealthiest 9 percent of retirees will be reduced. This transparent reduction gives upper-income Americans more clarity than today’s surreptitious tax on their benefits. The fairness and stability of a true insurance program Our plan halts the unsustainable promise of benefits to all regardless of need. We convert Social Security into true insurance that supplements income for retirees who need it. For the more affluent, benefits will be quickly restored in cases of sudden reversals.12 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  16. 16. A new savings plan to supplement Social Security SOCIAL SECURITYOver a two-year period starting in 2014, first 3 percentand then 6 percent of your income will go into a retirement REFORMsavings account that you own and control, like an IRA or401(k) plan. You may save more or less, or even opt out ifyou choose. The money you put into these accounts will notbe double-taxed. CHART 3 Discretionary Spending Cuts Alone Are Not an Adequate Substitute for Entitlement Reform Discretionary Spending Cuts Alone Are Not an Annual spending on entitlement programs is massive Adequate Substitute for Entitlement Reform compared to other federal spending priorities. Cutting discretionary spending is aprograms is massive compared to other federal Annual spending on entitlement necessary step, but cuts to foreignforeign aid alone pulling out ofspending is awill not close the but spending priorities. Cutting discretionary cuts to aid alone or or pulling out of Afghanistan necessary step, deficit. Afghanistan will not close the deficit. Entitlement spending must be reined in. Entitlement spending must be reined in. Spending in 2011 Global War on Foreign Terrorism Aid NASA $159.3 $28.6 $19.5 billion billion billion $2.4 trillion Note: Figure for entitlements includes net interest. Without net interest, the total is $2.2 trillion. Source: White House Office of Management and Budget. Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 13
  17. 17. GOVERNMENT SPENDING REFORM To reduce the size of government and national debt, first the plan deals with entitlement reform— then sets priorities in every line of the budget. Rolling back spending to 2008 levels to save trillions Government is on track to consume one- third of the economy by the time today’s newborns graduate from college. Our plan rolls back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels, leaving most programs larger than they were in 2000. Maintaining this freeze through 2015 helps balance the budget in 10 years. Get serious about the national debt At current spending levels, within a generation the national debt will equal 90 percent of America’s economic output— and it will continue rising. Under the Heritage plan, the debt falls to 30 percent within 25 years—and it continues falling thereafter. Restrict the federal government to its Constitutional functions Some federal programs, such as maintaining highways and managing education, cannot be capably run from Washington. Our plan moves such state and local functions back to the states and communities where they belong.14 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  18. 18. Some federal programs, such as air traffic control, would beprivatized. Still others, like public broadcasting subsidies, are SPENDING REFORMended altogether. GOVERNMENTProvide for the common defense—with effectiveness and efficiencyThe most important role of the federal government is nationalsecurity; it is vital to maintain sufficient military defenses. Atthe same time, we can cut waste from defense spending bycombining duplicative programs and streamlining complexlogistics—then reinvesting these savings to modernize ourforces. These reforms can make our military stronger, moremodern, and more effective.Sell government assets to help retire debtThe federal government owns huge swaths of commercial land,power generation facilities, valuable parts of the electromagneticspectrum, underused buildings, and financial assets. Under ourplan, these kind of federal assets would be sold over 15 years—an integral part of our strategy to balance the budget, reducethe national debt, and focus government on its core roles. The Heritage Plan Would Reverse Trajectory of Unsustainable Debt Without significant spending reforms, the national debt is projected to reach 185 percent of GDP by 2035. Under the Heritage plan, federal spending would be reduced by about half, which would dramatically lower our debt to 30 percent. Publicly Held Debt as a Percentage of GDP 200% 185% CURRENT 150% PROJECTIONS 2023: Sources: Current projections: 100% Heritage Foundation calculations 100% based on data from Congressional Budget Office, Alternative Fiscal Scenario. Heritage Plan: Calculations by the Center for Data 50% Analysis, The Heritage Foundation, HERITAGE based on baseline data in the PLAN 30% current projections, data provided by the Peter G. Peterson 0% Foundation, and CDA policy models. 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 15
  19. 19. SavingTheDream.org makes it easy to share the Heritage plan with friends and family… PERSONALIZE THE PLAN: How does the Heritage plan affect a unique group like Retirees? Or Entrepreneurs? With six distinct profiles, our web site shows that getting our national budget under control helps all Americans. SPREAD THE WORD: SavingTheDream.org is pre-loaded with short videos, custom Twitter messages, and other tools to help you raise your voice about these vital issues. GET THE FULL REPORT: To dive deeper into the policy ideas and figures of the Heritage Plan—as many in government, media, and the policy community are doing—download the full 52-page report online. Explore these features and more at SavingTheDream.org16 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  20. 20. Don’t miss these related resources from The Heritage Foundation BUDGET CHART BOOK: The Federal Budget in Pictures With over 40 full-color charts, Heritage’s popular Budget Chart Book provides insight into federal spending, taxes, entitlements, and the national debt—in graphic detail. SLAY THE BEAST: How You Can Save Us from Our Massive Debt In a fast-paced Q&A format, this booklet presents a relevant, urgent message to millennials and action steps for the next generation to make a difference. by BILL BEACH and ROB BLUEY SIGN UP TO RECEIVE NEWS & UPDATES Heritage is here to keep you informed about the budget battles raging in Washington. Get the scoop by receiving our updates via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter … or all of the above.Log on to heritage.org/Entitlements for these and other resourcesHighlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 17
  21. 21. Inheritance? Her share of our debt is $200,000. We can fix the debt, cut government spending, and restore prosperity. Together, we can save the American Dream for all of us. SavingTheDream.org Brought to you by The Heritage Foundation18 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
  22. 22. The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—athink tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservativepublic policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limitedgovernment, individual freedom, traditional American values, and astrong national defense.Our vision is to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity,and civil society flourish. As conservatives, we believe the values andideas that motivated our Founding Fathers are worth conserving.As policy entrepreneurs, we believe the most effective solutions areconsistent with those ideas and values.This product is part of the Entitlements and Health Care Initiatives, two of 10Transformational Initiatives making up The Heritage Foundation’s Leadership forAmerica campaign. For more products and information related to these Initiatives orto learn more about the Leadership for American campaign, please visit heritage.org. 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE • Washington, D.C. 20002  (202) 546-4400 • heritage.org
  23. 23. FIND SOLUTIONS INSIDE FOR …Tax Reform Health Care ReformGovernment Spending MedicareMedicaid Social Security savingthedream.org