Armey: "Clinton Crunch"
House Majority Leader Dick Armey came to Heritage on February 27, 1996, to announce a nine-point Republican agenda to reverse what he called the "Clinton Crunch" -- rising taxes and sinking incomes for working families. Armey's proposal calls for: (1) cutting taxes on investment to create jobs; (2) cutting taxes for working families with children; (3) protecting pensions for working Americans; (4) streamlining regulations that stifle wages and increase prices; (5) reforming the health-insurance market to eliminate "job lock"; (6) empowering workers by consolidating worker-training programs; (7) enforcing the Beck decision to end the hidden tax that forces union workers to support partisan politics with their dues; (8) voting on a constitutional amendment to limit taxes; (9) and eliminating wasteful government spending to move power back to the states.
Alexander: Citizenship Agenda
Arguing that "less from Washington has to go hand in hand with more from ourselves," Lamar Alexander called for a "citizenship agenda" in a speech at Heritage on January 5, 1996. This agenda means not only dismantling government but also "making it easier for Americans to rebuild those institutions that bind us together: the family, the neighborhood, the church, the synagogue, the school, and the community." Among his specific proposals: job-training vouchers, $1 billion in scholarships to needy schoolchildren, and an end to the federal government's role in welfare.
Buchanan: "Judicial Dictators"
We today have a government of the judiciary, by the judiciary, and for the judiciary," argued Patrick Buchanan in a January 29, 1996, lecture at Heritage. To rein in the "out-of-control Court," Buchanan proposed several changes: (1) Appoint federal judges to a term of years rather than for life; (2) make federal appellate and district court judges subject to removal by voters; (3) use the authority granted to Congress by the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; (4) subject to popular vote each fall any decision of the Supreme Court that creates a new right or overturns a state or federal law; (5) allow the states to amend the Constitution without the approval of Congress.
Index of Economic Freedom
Hong Kong's economy has been rated freest in the world by the latest edition of Heritage's Index of Economic Freedom. Singapore was judged to have the second-freest economy; the United States ranked seventh.
Each country was rated on 10 economic factors, including banking, foreign investment, taxes, trade, monetary policies, the size of its government sector, property rights, regulatory restrictions, and black-market activity. Countries were given ratings of one (best) to five (worst) in each category.
Among the former communist countries, the Czech Republic received the best score, ranking 12th. The People's Republic of China, on the other hand, ranked near the bottom, tied with Mauritania and Congo for 121st place.
Several countries showed significant improvement from a year ago, including Panama and Peru, while several others -- including Brazil and Mexico -- moved in the wrong direction, according to Heritage authors Bryan T. Johnson and Thomas P. Sheehy.
New Bradley Fellows
Three scholars have joined Heritage as Bradley Fellows to write books on citizenship themes.
John J. Miller is calling for a return to the policies of Americanization that helped turn the immigrants of a hundred years ago into citizens proud of their new country. Miller examines whether today's newcomers are embracing the principles of the American political tradition; participating actively in business, churches, and community self-help groups; and learning English as well as earlier immigrants -- and if not, whether policies such as bilingual education are discouraging assimilation. Miller is the vice president of the Center for Equal Opportunity. An excerpt from his forthcoming book is included in this issue.
Building on the work of Marvin Olasky, who wrote The Tragedy of American Compassion as a Bradley Fellow at Heritage, James L. Payne is studying how the 20th-century welfare state has departed from sensible charitable policies of the 19th century. His book will discuss the theory and practice of "expectant giving," social assistance that challenges recipients to change their behavior or to contribute to their support. Payne, who heads Lytton Analysis and Research, in Sandpoint, Idaho, is author of 11 books, including The Culture of Spending: Why Congress Lives Beyond Our Means and Costly Returns: The Burdens of the U.S. Tax System.