The Right Opinion

America Still Means Opportunity for All

With perseverance, every obstacle can be overcome

By Edwin J. Feulner · Feb. 12, 2013

Is America in decline? An honest review of the state of the union would show spiraling budget deficits, uncontrolled growth in government spending and persistently high unemployment levels. The impression of a once-great nation in eclipse is all too plain.

It doesn't have to be this way. It's not that these problems aren't real or don't pose serious challenges. They do. Still, those who insist that our best days are behind us don't have history on their side. Through all kinds of setbacks, from the Civil War to the Great Depression, the United States has always waged a valiant struggle and emerged stronger.

That's due in no small measure to the innate optimism that has always undergirded the American experiment. It may wane at times, requiring strong leaders to remind us of our birthright, but it's never far below the surface. That's why, when America was reeling from Watergate, Vietnam, “stagflation” and a militant Soviet Union, President Reagan was able to inspire Americans to believe in themselves again – and turn the course of history.

There's no reason that a nation born in the unforgiving snows at Valley Forge can't solve today's trials.

Yes, they are considerable. As noted in a new report from the Heritage Foundation, “America's Opportunity for All,” they include an expanding welfare state, a bloated and overextended federal government and an increasingly tangled chain of rules from unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

“Nothing about today's conditions is inevitable or irreversible,” writes Heritage scholar Matthew Spalding. “We can reduce the size and scope of government and let the private sector restore economic productivity and opportunity. We can reform the core programs of government and provide assistance to those who need it because they have fallen on hard times.”

Here are just a few problems and solutions from “America's Opportunity for All”:

Problem: We face a flood of regulations from Washington. Some 50 commissions, bureaus and departments enforce more than 150,000 pages of rules. These take a heavy toll on the economy, leading to fewer jobs.

Solution: Congress needs to stop writing vaguely worded laws that leave the details to bureaucrats who aren't accountable to the voters. Laws should be specific, necessary and carefully written. And they should carry a “sunset” provision, or expiration date.

Problem: From public lands, offshore oil and natural-gas fields to domestic coal and uranium mines, the United States has enough energy resources to power its economy for decades. Yet we're the only nation that routinely blocks development of its domestic energy sources.

Solution: Open access to these areas – and, in the process, create tens of thousands of jobs.

Problem: Labor laws actually prevent employers from giving workers more flexible schedules and prohibit many workers from getting performance-based raises.

Solution: Overhaul the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. The line between workers and management has blurred: Most workers want a cooperative relationship with their employers, not an adversarial one. Workers in the private sector should be free to decide whether they want to join a union.

Problem: Tax rates on individuals, families, businesses, investors and entrepreneurs are too high. High taxes discourage work and investment, which leads to less take-home pay, fewer jobs and slower overall economic growth.

Solution: Reform the tax code to eliminate the loopholes that lead to crony capitalism and unleash the productive potential of the U.S. economy. End the death tax, which destroys jobs, slows growth and lowers wages.

Problem: By the end of the next decade, almost half of all health care spending will be controlled by Washington. More government control over the financing of health care means that government will control more of our health care decisions.

Solution: Repeal Obamacare, which was passed with too much haste and too many closed-door deliberations. Restructure the tax code to allow individuals to own and control their health care. Reform health care entitlements such as Medicaid, now facing trillions in unfunded obligations.

These and all of our other problems are fixable, if we approach them with the right attitude. “One of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans,” President Reagan once said. It's time to reject the “America is in decline” narrative – and prove the naysayers wrong.


PH in DE said:

Too bad Reagan isn't around, or someone like him who won't be driven off by the liberal media deluge of garbage and lies.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Bob in Hattiesburg, MS said:

But not for much longer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

HP in Kalispell, MT said:

Yes, we have all the answers to all the problems and not one politician willing to open his mouth to fight the power. The GOP is simply waiting for their turn so they can criticize the opposition while they continue to do nothing to change anything. Bob Dole once said that if the GOP had two years with the WH and both chambers, we could really change the country. Well W had more than two years and his first official act was to work with Ted Kennedy! The only thing that will end this is armed patriots clearing out the weeds!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

Still, those who insist that our best days are behind us don't have history on their side.

I disagree, history shows that Marxist Statist Control of a government has always been a failure, and America won't survive this Marxist takeover any more than any other attempt in History.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

That sprit of American exceptionalism no longer exists. The left is too busy accusing the US of all the evils in the world and the illerate and uninformed voters could care less about the country as a whole as long as the "free goodies" keep on coming. There is no pride in being an American among the 11 million illegal aliens lawbreakers, blacks on the Democratic plantation, lamestream media's so-called journalists, and the Ivy League bone-heads who wouldn't know a real American if one stood in front of them. We are not the nation I was born into 68 years ago and I fear we may never be again. Like Mac, I am convinced that we will have to have another revolution to put the country back on the right track. We sure as hell cannot depend on our elected officials to do the hard things necessary to stop the idiocy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Ed, the current size and scope, of our government, IS TOO BIG TO operate Constitutionally, even if it were allowed to!Unkle Sam- the Kandy Man, is too big to SUCCEED!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Justin in AZ said:

Oswald Spengler was right.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:16 PM