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Member Questions of the Week of March 1, 2010

Patrick Shull from Kingsport, TN asks, Is it possible for the U.S. government to go bankrupt? Please comment on the huge current federal debt level. OUR ANSWER: The short answer is that countries never declare bankruptcy, but they do default on their debt (which is about the same thing except the terminology is different since a government default is a declaration rather than any form of court proceeding). The United States isnt any different in that it owes money to creditors, many of whom are foreign nations and institutions. Right now our publicly held debt stands at nearly $8 trillion, and unless we dramatically reform our entitlements system – which is on pace to consume our entire economic output – that figure is set to grow at an unprecedented pace, creating a real threat of government default in the United States.

Richard Prokup from Dallas, TX requests, Can you explain the Obama health care plan he published on Feb 22, 2010? OUR ANSWER: Bob Moffit, The Heritage Foundations Director of Health Policy, explains that the Presidents latest bill, is similar to the House and Senate bills, but contains several new and much more costly provisions. It is thus safe to assume it would cause the same deficit increase, especially when elements such as the doc fix or the CLASS Act are properly accounted for. You can read more about his take on the new proposal here. We also recommend reading about the plans price controls, how the plan taxes investments and slows economic recovery, as well as how the Presidents latest plan will cost about $2.5 trillion and significantly worsen our long term budget outlook.

Renee Gaytan from Lewisville, TX asks, Are there local branches of the Heritage Foundation? For example, in the Dallas area? OUR ANSWER: The Heritage Foundation has organized Community Committees in 13 areas of the country, including Dallas/Fort Worth. Through events hosted by our Community Committees, Heritage provides conservatives an opportunity to link up with our experts and fellow conservatives in their region to advance policies promoting free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Community Committee events are also a great way to introduce friends to the work of The Heritage Foundation.

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