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  • Backgrounder posted September 27, 2016 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Evidence-Based Fiscal Discipline: The Case for PART 2.0

    Given that the federal government’s debt is over $19.4 trillion—$14.0 trillion in debt held by the public and nearly $5.4 trillion in intergovernmental holdings—every American should be concerned about the nation’s extraordinary level of debt.[1] Congress, which in recent years has seemed incapable of curbing spending and allocating resources effectively, needs to relearn…

  • Backgrounder posted July 7, 2016 by Paul Winfree Causes of the Federal Government’s Unsustainable Spending

    In all but five of the past 50 years, the budget of the United States has been in cash deficit.[1] For example, in 2015, the federal government ran a cash deficit of $438 billion—after collecting $3,250 billion in revenues and spending $3,688 billion.[2] The continuous level of deficit spending has increased public debt, which, during the same period, rose from 33.7…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2016 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. A Blueprint for Balance

    Which takes up a greater percentage of the federal budget — national defense or entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare? Even if you picked the right answer (entitlements), you may be surprised by the gap between the two. National defense accounts for 16 percent of the federal budget. Entitlements? 52 percent. Social Security alone dwarfs defense spending,…

  • Commentary posted May 27, 2016 by Romina Boccia Boccia: Federal Budget Trumps Election Woes

    With the media focused so heavily on the presidential election, perhaps it’s not surprising that few are paying attention as Congress takes up its annual spending bills. Besides, President Obama has said for years that our budget deficit is lessening, so we shouldn’t worry about it anymore, right? Wrong: Budget data paint a very different picture. A picture of the…

  • Commentary posted April 4, 2016 by Genevieve Wood Curing Lawmakers' Addiction to Spending

    Congress is at it again. The budget train is about to leave the station, and guess what's on board? Almost $60 billion more than what House Republicans proposed in last year's budget. And this is happening in a Congress controlled by Republicans, the party that claims to be for limited government and fiscal discipline. This is a departure from the GOP's rightful…

  • Backgrounder posted March 28, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis, Michaela Dodge, David Inserra, Bruce Klingner, Walter Lohman, James Phillips, Ana Quintana, Bryan Riley, Brian Slattery, Charles "Cully" Stimson, Dakota Wood, Rachel Zissimos The 2017 NDAA Should Begin Rebuilding America’s Military

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an annual bill that sets policies and budgets for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This bill and the defense appropriations bill are Congress’s two annual major pieces of defense legislation. With the release of the Obama Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request, Congress has begun working on the NDAA.…

  • Commentary posted February 29, 2016 by Romina Boccia Restoring Fairness and Common Sense to the Federal Budget

    With $19 trillion in national debt, is balancing the budget without raising taxes even possible anymore? You bet it is. By reducing spending on the key drivers of the deficit and debt, and reprioritizing annual spending so it goes toward more important uses, The Heritage Foundation's Blueprint for Balance turns deficits into surpluses. And it does this while cutting…

  • Commentary posted January 25, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson 5 Bad Arguments for Cutting U.S. Defense Spending

    We’ve all seen the click-bait headlines.     “You won’t believe how much the U.S. spends on its military.”     “The U.S. spends more than the next 13 countries on defense!” But military spending is a big ticket item, and it’s perfectly legitimate to question military spending. Next month, President Obama will propose his FY2017 budget, and the public debate over…

  • Backgrounder posted November 6, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Assessing Common Arguments for Cutting National Security Spending: Informing Current and Future Budget Debates

    Determining how much the United States should spend on national security is a challenging task. If the U.S. spends too little on national security, potential threats may become realities, costing American blood and treasure. If the U.S. spends too much, the misallocation of resources will add to the debt placed on future generations. This is a difficult balance to strike,…

  • Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Justin T. Johnson, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, James L. Gattuso, Jason Snead, Rachel Greszler, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., David R. Burton, Curtis S. Dubay Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

    The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt. Heritage…

  • Issue Brief posted October 23, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. U.S. Treasury Debt Is Not the Foundation of the Global Economy

    Congress is once again facing a decision on the debt limit. If lawmakers do not raise the $18.1 trillion limit by the end of October, the U.S. Treasury may not have enough cash on hand to meet all of its obligations as they come due.[1] If they do raise the limit, the Treasury will borrow more money by offering new debt—Treasury securities—for sale. For many in Congress,…

  • Backgrounder posted October 15, 2015 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Primer

    The federal government’s total debt exceeds $18.1 trillion.[1] However, even this huge figure understates the nation’s debt. Due to the absence of fiscal restraint after restoration of the debt limit in March 2015 at a level of $18.1 trillion, the Department of the Treasury has been forced to engage in extraordinary measures to continue borrowing, mainly raiding funds…

  • Backgrounder posted September 2, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Curtis S. Dubay, Michael Sargent Blueprint for Congressional Fiscal Action in the Remainder of 2015

    Congress has set the federal government budget on a dangerous trajectory and must take corrective action now. Taxpayers pay enormous amounts of money to the government, and the government borrows additional huge amounts of money. The government uses the taxes that it collects and the money that it borrows to pay for excessive spending, including spending for…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2015 by Stephen Moore A tale of two U.S. economies

    I’m asked seemingly every day if America is the next Greece or Detroit or Puerto Rico – and the answer is an unequivocal no. The U.S. economy – especially the private sector – is structurally very healthy. That wasn’t the case on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, when American companies and households were leveraged up to their eyebrows. What’s different…

  • Commentary posted June 19, 2015 by Romina Boccia Our skyrocketing debt: Higher taxes, lower benefits loom

    Remember the national debt? It's been a while since members of Congress have warned us about it and talk of government shutdowns dominated the headlines. So, problem solved? If only. Things have been quiet on the fiscal front simply because Congress suspended the debt limit in February 2014 and the day of reckoning has yet to come. So, as with other unpleasant facts of…