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Leadership for America

Entitlements, Taxes & Spending

Replacing the culture of entitlements with one of mutual responsibility.

Read more about Entitlements, Taxes & Spending

Statement of Purpose

These middle class retirement programs, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, will cause federal spending to jump by half, from twenty percent of the economy to thirty percent by 2035. This tsunami of spending is a major threat to limited government because it runs on auto-pilot with automatic increases locked in by each program’s governing laws. While other programs are constrained through annual budgets, entitlements get the first call on resources. Other goals such as defense or national security must compete for an increasingly smaller share of what’s left. This “locked in” spending is steadily undermining the economic future of younger generations who face a debt burden of $175,000. The moral and ethical challenge from the entitlement tsunami is undermining our democratic system as more Americans become dependent on the government and other priorities are automatically preempted.


  1. 1.Show Americans the full picture of the federal budget—including long-term obligations from entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—to generate public pressure for spending control.

  2. 2.Change the public’s view of entitlements and intergenerational obligations in the context of the long-term budget crisis so that Americans accept the need for structural changes to curb spending.

  3. 3.Convince Americans that raising taxes harms growth and jobs and is not the solution to expanded spending, while pro-growth tax reform is an important part of the long-term solution.

  4. 4.By the year 2017—through bipartisan support—halve the unfunded obligations for entitlement programs without raising taxes.

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Experts From This Initiative

  • Alison Acosta Fraser Alison Acosta Fraser

    Alison Acosta Fraser is where today’s policy action is, digging into federal and state financing challenges as The Heritage Foundation’s sen...

  • Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D.

    Stuart M. Butler, a nationally recognized architect of public policy, directs the Center for Policy Innovation. This new division of The...

  • Curtis S. Dubay Curtis S. Dubay

    Curtis Dubay, recognized as a leading expert on taxation issues, is research fellow in tax and economic policy at The Heritage Foundation. ...

  • Rea S. Hederman, Jr. Rea S. Hederman, Jr.

    As director of the Center for Data Analysis (CDA), Rea S. Hederman Jr. is The Heritage Foundation's top "number cruncher." He oversees the t...

  • Patrick Louis Knudsen Patrick Louis Knudsen

    Patrick Louis Knudsen, a veteran budget expert for Congress who is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, sees the budget process as ...


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