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The American Political Experiment: What the 2005 Index of Dependency Tells Us About Its Prospects

Recorded on June 13, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Are Americans more or less free today than they were forty years ago? More and more Americans are receiving their education, their health care, and their retirement from the federal government. Yet fewer and fewer Americans actually pay income taxes. Are we close to a tipping point where the non-taxpaying class is larger than the group who pay taxes? Are we nearing the point of government dependency that threatens the American Republic left by our Founding Fathers?

To explore these questions, The Heritage Foundation has assembled two distinguished panels of experts. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has a long history of thinking about the influence that federal programs have on the foundations of our republic. George Will, nationally syndicated columnist and author, has established himself as one of the country's foremost analysts of the relationship between the civil and political worlds.

Gene Steuerle of the Urban Institute, a nationally recognized tax policy expert, will comment on Index of Dependency. Joining Dr. Steuerle will be Bill Beach of The Heritage Foundation, principal author of the Index of Dependency, and Scott Hodge, President of the Tax Foundation, who will speak on the relationship between the growing percentage of voters who pay no taxes and dependency on government programs.