During this week of inaugural celebrations, The Heritage Foundation has put together a series of memos to President Barack Obama identifying policy areas where his words line up with our vision. Heritage issued a similar series of policy memos for Bill Clinton shortly after he won the 1992 election. One outlined the architecture of what became the bipartisan welfare reform of 1996.
For the Obama Administration, Heritage experts have examined over 20 policy areas including taxes, health care, entitlements, education, missile defense, energy independence, criminal and civil justice reform, border security, strengthening NATO, and our relations with such nations as Iran, China, Russia and Pakistan.
Spending: President Obama campaigned on a platform of fiscal discipline, promising to go through the federal budget, line by line to eliminate waste. The Heritage Foundation is excited about this promise, and with the United States dropping in her economic freedom ranking this year, now more than ever is the time to make this commitment. Heritage suggests lowering spending by eliminating waste, pork, corporate welfare, and farm subsidies, and reforming entitlements.
Energy: The Heritage Foundation was encouraged by President Obama’s defense of increased oil production and nuclear power during his campaign. We hope that the Obama Administration will permit offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas. We also encourage the Administration to reform the arduous permitting process for new nuclear power plants, to modernize nuclear waste management, and to open foreign markets to U.S. commercial nuclear suppliers. Lastly, we recommend the Obama Administration not enact global warming policies or energy taxes that will harm the economy and have no evidence of benefiting the environment.
Religious Freedom: President Obama spoke of the inability to disconnect one’s religion with one’s politics in a speech in 2006. We could not agree more. Our constitution forbids establishing an official national religion, but it does not call for the separation of religion and politics. The Heritage Foundation encourages the Obama Administration to protect the ability of faith-based organizations to make employment decisions based on religious ideals, and to uphold the right of medical professionals to care for patients without being forced to violate their religious beliefs.
In difficult times, we must resist the temptation to blindly turn to government as the answer. All too often the problem is government, and the solution is to provide more freedom from government. Less government spending, less government intrusion on the energy market, and less laws inhibiting religious freedom would solve the three issues above.