'Ownership Society' Will Limit Growth of Government

COMMENTARY Conservatism

'Ownership Society' Will Limit Growth of Government

Nov 8th, 2004 1 min read
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.


Edwin J. Feulner is the founder and president of The Heritage Foundation.


The President has called the 21st Century "Liberty's Century." And to George W. Bush, liberty is a core value of his "ownership and freedom society"--a conservative solution to our country's domestic policy challenges.

An ownership society would limit government by producing non-governmental solutions to address the challenges of the future.

Retirement Accounts

In his second term, President Bush should fight hard for Social Security personalization. Allowing individuals to invest in personal retirement accounts both gives individuals a greater return on their retirement funds, and also allows them to control their own nest eggs, which they can pass on to their children.

Revisit Medicare Act

The President should repeal the Medicare Act of 2003 and replace it with an expanded system that empowers individuals and families to make their own health-care decisions, free of government direction.

The idea of personal responsibility epitomized by an ownership and freedom society formed the core of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. President Bush must push for further welfare reform--the kind of reform that can be found in a bill that congressional liberals have blocked in the Senate for two years.

The President has to work with the Congress to control spending and get government out of our pockets. "Veto" is not a four-letter word to be avoided in polite company, no matter which party controls the Congress, and he has to be willing to use it.

President Bush must also stand firm when it comes to judicial appointments. In the coming years, he must go to the mat for nominees who understand the proper role of the courts in our society. Judicial activism poses an enormous threat to the traditional values of our country and the President and Congress must expend the political capital necessary to win the fight for conservative nominees to all of our federal courts.

Finally, the spread of liberty worldwide is a crucial part of American national security. President Bush must stay on offense in the war on terrorism. Our military has performed admirably since 9/11, but we should also recognize that we are not fully prepared to face the challenges of our new enemy. Outdated weapons systems, inefficient management practices, unnecessary missions, and excess infrastructure all bleed resources away from the war on terrorism. Continuing Don Rumsfeld's transformation of our military into a 21st-Century fighting force and continuing to deploy a ballistic missile defense system is absolutely crucial to America's security.

President Bush's most impressive quality has been his ability to quickly and accurately identify the big-picture ideas that affect our nation and our people. By embracing these conservative policies, President Bush will keep America "a shining city on a hill" well into Liberty's Century.

Ed Feulner is the president of The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org), a Washington-based public policy research institute.

First appeared on Human Events