Heritage: What Will America Decide in 2012?

Written on:January 3, 2012
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Voters in Iowa will caucus today to select their choice for the 2012 presidential nominees. As the rest of the nation watches, Iowa’s choice could help frame the debate for this election year.

And as the voters speak, others are weighing in on what they believe is the best direction for America’s government and policy in 2012 and beyond. Over the weekend, The New York Times editorial page [1] was one of those voices, yet again carrying the torch of the liberal, progressive movement. The Times revealed its dismal view of America and a call for more of the same policies that have left the country in an economic quagmire. “The way to revive sustainable growth is with more government aid to help create jobs, support demand and prevent foreclosures,” the Times writes. “As things stand now, however, Washington will provide less help, not more, in 2012.”

What the “Old Gray Lady” is referring to, of course, is push back from conservatives who do not see “more government” as the ultimate solution to America’s problems. Instead, conservatives see the years of liberal big government policies, increased spending, growing deficits, and sprawling regulations as the root of America’s problems–and a contributing cause to continually high unemployment and economic stagnation. And when you ask voters what they think the government should do to solve the nation’s economic problems, they overwhelmingly fall in the “less is more” camp.

Last week, Rasmussen reported [2] that “Among all voters, 77% want the government to cut deficits, 71% think the government should cut spending, and 59% want the government to cut taxes.” And as Heritage’s Rob Bluey reports [3], new polling data shows that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire overwhelmingly believe the federal budget deficit [4] is the most important economic issue facing the United States today.

The Times‘ message is worth noting not for the sake of amplification, but for examination. Theirs is the message the left will be carrying in 2012, from the halls of Congress to Main Street America. Thankfully, there is another policy direction America can take. In“Issues 2012: The Candidates Briefing Book,” [5] The Heritage Foundation lays out key issues and policy recommendations for candidates seeking elective office.

On the issue of budget and spending [6] — which is one of the many on top of voters’ minds — Heritage recommends cutting spending now and enacting spending caps, rejecting tax hikes and aggressively pursuing tax reform, empowering states and the private sector, and reforming the budget process. And with some 13.3 million Americans out of work, Heritage offers several policy recommendations [7] for creating new jobs and getting the economy back on track, including ending any suggestion of higher tax rates, cutting the budget deficit, advancing free trade, and repealing Obamacare, among others.

Today, America faces crushing debt, unsustainable entitlement programs, threats of even higher tax burdens, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and instability around the world. It is in the face of these challenges that voters in Iowa’s caucuses will take the first step toward setting America’s course for 2013. Should America continue enacting more of the same policies that have led to its current economic state, or should it adopt reforms to encourage growth and help guarantee a brighter, more secure future? Let the debate of ideas begin.

Quick Hits:

  • The price of crude oil has gone up by more than 2 percent [8] amid concerns over tensions between Iran and the United States. Last week, Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for sanctions from the West.
  • A gas pipeline in Syrian has exploded [9], the fifth since uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in mid-March. The Syrian government blamed terrorists for the explosion, though opposition groups say the government is using the incident to consolidate support.
  • Just how far can the Environmental Protection Agency go in dictating what you can do with your property? The Supreme Court is taking up a case [10] that could help answer that question–at least where the Clean Water Act is concerned.
  • Over the weekend, President Obama signed a $662 billion defense spending plan [11]but offered up reservations about certain provisions, including powers of “detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”
  • The violent crime rate in Washington, D.C., is up 13 percent since the Occupy D.C. protest began in the fall. Find out why the chairman of the local police union blames the prot… [12]

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