Highlights 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
In these pages, you will gain a new understanding of the steps
The crisis and restore prosperity
we must take to fix our debtHeritage Plan to Fix the Debt,nationwide.
Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity
Building on decades of Heritage research, Saving the American Dream
presents 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
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 of
Job 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
“Saving the American Dream
is our plan to fix the debt,
cut spending, and, above all,
We have come to a time of decision. For far too long, Congress has been on
an unsustainable binge of spending, taxing, and borrowing. Our nation is going
broke, and we are passing the costs of these misguided policies to our children
and 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, above
all, restore prosperity. It balances the nation’s budget within a decade—and keeps
it balanced. It eliminates government-mandated health care and fully funds our
national defense. In order to get our fiscal house in order, we must address Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the three so-called entitlement programs which
together account for 43 percent of federal spending today. Far too many seniors
still lack enough help to avoid poverty. Saving the American Dream therefore
does 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 always
risen to the occasion. In 1776 we were told that no upstart colonists could
defeat the strongest nation in the world, and we decided to change the course
of history. In 1860 we were told the Union could not hold and that America was
over, and we brought forth a new birth of freedom. In 1980 we were told that the
American 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, and
our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform
great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the
problems 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 the
—Edwin J. Feulner
President, The Heritage Foundation
Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 1
America Faces a Fiscal Crisis
Decades ago, politicians
promised Baby Boomers
health and retirement benefits “… endless borrowing
but provided no way to pay imposes huge burdens
for them. Now we are faced on future generations.”
with the consequences of their
neglect. U.S. debt held by the
public equals nearly 70 percent
of GDP and is rapidly growing.
Medicare and Social Security
face nearly $40 trillion in long-
term unfunded obligations—
over $200,000 for every
American. We cannot leave
these burdens for our children
and grandchildren. We must
begin now to solve these
problems. And we all must
share the burdens those © Artiga Photo/Corbis
solutions will entail.
2 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
Why the National Runaway Federal Spending Will
The Current and Future Crisis:
Debt Matters The Current and Spending Will
Result inFederalFuture Crisis:
Runaway Huge Budget Deficits
Runaway Federal Spending Will
Result in Huge Budget Deﬁcits
n 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%
has recently topped $14
trillion—with no end in sight.
n Mounting debt results 30%
in economic crisis, as SPENDING
countries like Greece and 25% SPENDING
Portugal have learned the
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
n 43% of all tax dollars go Surplus/Deﬁcit as a Percentage of GDP
Surplus/Deﬁcit as a Percentage of GDP
to funding the three major
entitlement programs: Social
Security, Medicare and
n Entitlement spending will
consume all tax revenue -10%
by 2049, leaving nothing for
constitutional functions such DEFICIT
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
Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 3
Solve the national debt
crisis, simplify taxes,
spending, and make health
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
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
The Heritage Plan…
The Alternative—Saving the American Dream By rapidly lowering total federal spending,
the Heritage plan would keep it there
By rapidly lowering total federal spending, the Heritage plan would balance the budget by 2021 andbalance the budget
n Balances the federal budget
permanently, without raising taxes. by 2021 and keep it there permanently,
within a decade and keeps it
Current Projections without raising taxes. Plan
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%
n Cuts the federal government
by about half within 25 years.
n Stops scheduled tax
REVENUE 19.3% SPENDING
20% increases and replaces the 20%
complex, unfair tax code with a
completely new tax system. 17.7%
nProtects America and its
interests around the globe
10% by ensuring full funding for 10%
2010 national 2020 2025 2030 2035
2015 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% creates a health care system 0%
that is affordable for individuals SURPLUS
n Redesigns Social Security DEFICIT
and Medicare as sustainable
-10% programs that truly protect
seniors … and will still be
around for our children and
nProvides powerful incentives
for working Americans to save
2010 and invest so that they will 2035
2015 2020 2025 2030
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
The Heritage Plan spurs
economic growth with a
tax that is simple, flat, and
fair—and prevents future tax
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
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
6 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
Security for low-income seniors
Our plan means, unlike today where seniors with as little as
$15,000 in income have their benefits taxed, low-income
retirees pay no taxes on Social Security benefits. Also, any
senior who works beyond retirement age pays no taxes on the
first $10,000 in earnings.
Business taxes that free up
investment and fuel growth
Our plan substantially reduces barriers to business investment
and makes businesses more competitive. Businesses are taxed
only on domestic income. Our plan repeals the estate tax so
family 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
25% 28% 28%
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
HEALTH CARE &
Tax credits, premium assistance
for low-income workers, and
tax-free savings are all part
of health care reform that
expands consumer choices.
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
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
Tax-free savings for health needs
HEALTH CARE &
Under our plan, your savings for health care (or other
purposes) no longer face double taxation. If you do not
use all of your health credit or premium assistance for
insurance, you can put the remainder in a special savings
account with tax-free withdrawals.
A new Medicaid safety net
In 2014, the Heritage plan caps federal Medicaid spending
at 2007 levels. States receive block grants and are given
greater latitude to develop innovative ways to reduce costs
and improve health care for the poor elderly and disabled.
Based on agreed goals, this approach gives states the
right incentive to pursue high-quality, innovative care.
The Impact of
“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:
Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 9
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
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 in
10 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
better quality at lower costs. Our plan also caps total Medicare
spending to prevent runaway costs. This gives competing plans an
incentive to control their costs.
Eliminate restrictions on
Current law restricts arrangements that doctors and patients might
wish to make outside of the Medicare program. The Heritage plan
abolishes those restrictions so doctors are free to provide care
beyond Medicare limits—without Washington in the middle.
New retirees can keep their existing plans
During the five-year transition to full premium support, our
plan requires Medicare to provide defined contributions for any
retirees who want to remain in their current health plan, including
employer-based coverage or other health plans.
The Heritage Plan Would Rein in Mandatory
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
10% 10% 9.1%
Obamacare Subsidies, CHIP
Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP
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
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
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
A new savings plan to supplement Social Security
Over a two-year period starting in 2014, first 3 percent
and then 6 percent of your income will go into a retirement
savings account that you own and control, like an IRA or
401(k) plan. You may save more or less, or even opt out if
you choose. The money you put into these accounts will not
Discretionary Spending Cuts Alone
Are Not an Adequate Substitute for
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
Annual spending on entitlement necessary step, but cuts to
discretionary spending is aprograms is massive compared to other federal
spending priorities. Cutting discretionary
aid alone or or pulling out of Afghanistan necessary step, deficit.
foreignforeign aid alone pulling out ofspending is awill not close the but
Afghanistan will not
close the deﬁcit. Entitlement spending must be reined in.
Entitlement spending must be reined in.
Spending in 2011
War on Foreign
Terrorism Aid NASA
$159.3 $28.6 $19.5
billion billion billion
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
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
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
Some federal programs, such as air traffic control, would be
privatized. Still others, like public broadcasting subsidies, are
Provide for the common defense—
with effectiveness and efficiency
The most important role of the federal government is national
security; it is vital to maintain sufficient military defenses. At
the same time, we can cut waste from defense spending by
combining duplicative programs and streamlining complex
logistics—then reinvesting these savings to modernize our
forces. These reforms can make our military stronger, more
modern, and more effective.
Sell government assets to help retire debt
The federal government owns huge swaths of commercial land,
power generation facilities, valuable parts of the electromagnetic
spectrum, underused buildings, and financial assets. Under our
plan, these kind of federal assets would be sold over 15 years—
an integral part of our strategy to balance the budget, reduce
the 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
2023: Sources: Current projections:
100% Heritage Foundation calculations
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
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.org
16 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
Don’t miss these related
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The Federal Budget in Pictures
With over 40 full-color charts,
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Book provides insight into federal
spending, taxes, entitlements, and
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SLAY THE BEAST:
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In a fast-paced Q&A format, this
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by BILL BEACH and ROB BLUEY
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Highlights from the Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity 17
Her share of our
debt is $200,000.
We can fix the debt,
spending, and restore
we can save the
for all of us.
Brought to you by The Heritage Foundation
18 Saving the AMERICAN DREAM
The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a
think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative
public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited
government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a
strong national defense.
Our vision is to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity,
and civil society flourish. As conservatives, we believe the values and
ideas that motivated our Founding Fathers are worth conserving.
As policy entrepreneurs, we believe the most effective solutions are
consistent with those ideas and values.
This product is part of the Entitlements and Health Care Initiatives, two of 10
Transformational Initiatives making up The Heritage Foundation’s Leadership for
America campaign. For more products and information related to these Initiatives or
to learn more about the Leadership for American campaign, please visit heritage.org.
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Tax Reform Health Care Reform
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