Our next leader faces several daunting challenges. Here are the top three:
1) Repeal Obamacare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is beyond salvaging. The individual mandate, the taxes, the IPAP’s making decisions for you, the violation of our religious liberties — all these attacks on our Constitution are inherent in this intolerable act. They offend our traditions.
Instead we should turn to our time-honored traditions. As with other aspects of our lives, the family should be the central actor when it comes to health care decisions. Through the strategic use of tax credits, we can put individuals in charge of their own health care dollars and decisions. Competition and price transparency are key to controlling prices. A free health care sector will give American families access to health care that fits their needs.
2) Defend our freedoms. A strong national defense is the core responsibility of the federal government. Successive Administrations have asked Washington to do things it has no right to, yet the Constitution is very clear: the federal government must “provide for the common defense.”
Yet whether considered as a percentage of our economy or of the federal budget, the amount spent on national security is declining. The baseline for the defense budget is now about 3.5% of GDP, close to a record low.
That’s what makes the drastic defense-budget cuts now careening our way so alarming. We have no choice but to provide our military with the resources needed to win any battle.
And let’s make something clear: funding should be determined by military necessity, not the other way around. National security should never be a budget item on a list to be compromised at some lawmaker’s convenience.
3) Reform entitlements. Let’s now turn to the real problem. Compare the defense portion of the budget to exploding entitlements such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, which now consume a record 10.4% of GDP. These programs are approaching collapse; what is radical is to not do anything to save them.
These programs already provide insufficient security to seniors and remain a potential financial disaster for our children and grandchildren. To retain these safety programs, we must reform them by scaling back benefits for our most affluent seniors. Can we really afford to send Warren Buffett a check every month? We should focus instead on helping those who truly need it. That way, seniors will no longer have to fear living in poverty or facing financial ruin due to catastrophic health care costs.
Ronald Reagan had a plaque on his desk that read, “It can be done.” He was right. Our President needs to realize that it can be done — and it must.
Feulner is the president of the Heritage Foundation. The views expressed are solely his own.
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