It’s not every day that a think tank wins an Emmy. But last week on John Stossel’s Fox Business program, The Heritage Foundation brought home the award for its “Saving the American Dream” plan to fix the debt, cut spending and reward prosperity.
Heritage, along with five other public policy organizations, each provided long-term fiscal plans to solve America’s spending crisis as part of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2011 Fiscal Summit. Of all the plans, Heritage’s proposal reduces the national debt held by the public the most and keeps federal spending and taxes at the lowest levels.
Stossel featured five of those plans on his show and declared Heritage’s plan the winner after an audience vote, awarding the think tank one of the Emmys he won for consumer reporting.
Heritage’s plan drew praise for balancing the budget without relying on tax increases. Stossel remarked that tax hikes should be out of the question:
Tonight, several think tanks said the way to avoid [a fiscal crisis] is to raise taxes. I disagree. Raising taxes kills good things, discourages people from producing and investing, not totally, but it does distort behavior. Past attempts to raise revenue with higher taxes haven’t brought in as much money as politicians thought it would. And anyway, government’s already spending $3.8 trillion. That’s enough.
Heritage’s plan stands apart from those of the other five organizations by achieving the lowest debt level by 2035, lowers federal spending to 17.7 percent of GDP, (from expected spending of 28.3 percent by 2035) and rejecting tax increases as a solution to the nation’s spending problem, keeping federal tax levels at 18.5 percent of GDP—the lowest among the plans.
By comparison, all the other plans reduced the federal debt and reduced spending, but none went as far as Heritage’s plan—and none of them did it without relying on tax increases or at the cost of our national defense. On the Stossel show, Heritage’s Stuart Butler explained why not putting defense in the cross hairs is so important:
[T]he fact is, the core requirement of the federal government is to defend us. If we get invaded or bombed, it spoils your whole day. And, the fact is that we’ve got to say, how do we do this as efficiently as possible, to defend the country and our interest. And, what we do is say that’s not an issue for discussion in balancing the budget. If we fail to secure our country and our country’s interests, it doesn’t matter what you do in these other programs.