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The Heritage Foundation
Our Vision

Building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

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Foreword

Ideas have consequences, but ideas alone are not enough. Ideas must have power behind them, for unless we turn our ideas into actions, they can accomplish nothing.

Every year, The Heritage Foundation is doing more to put the power of the American people behind the ideas needed to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish. That is our vision and the cause of every Heritage member and associate.

Since its founding in 1973, The Heritage Foundation has focused on generating ideas that can advance conservative policies and on building national support for those ideas so that our leaders will translate them into public policy.

A big part of our mission has been the Mandate for Leadership. The first Mandate, published in 1980, was a how-to manual for the Reagan Administration. It is worth remembering that when President Reagan first came to Washington, there was not a very large contingent of conservatives in Washington. Mandate laid out a blueprint for the new Administration.

Our ideas worked and helped generate the economic growth that has come to define the Reagan years.

We have also worked to inspire conservatives outside Washington. As outgoing Heritage president, one of us has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, speaking to groups large and small about conservative ideas. The other decided to run for Congress after reading dozens of Heritage policy papers that explained the organization’s ideas and principles.

There are no permanent victories in politics and no permanent defeats. The most recent presidential election returned a staunchly liberal leader to office. That presents a hurdle, but we don’t believe it is an insurmountable one.

The problem in the 2012 elections was not that conservative ideas were voted down. It is that we did not do a good enough job of presenting our ideas to the American people.

That is why Heritage is proud to roll out our latest publication. America’s Opportunity for All is an optimistic document, packed with ideas that will get the country back on the right course. We look forward to discussing it with opinion leaders, policymakers, and Americans everywhere.

America’s Opportunity for All explains the problems facing the country in areas ranging from American exceptionalism to welfare. It highlights the principles that guide our thinking, and it provides commonsense policy answers to our national problems.

This publication is, as it should be, specific, targeted, and bold—an urgent and focused message for these challenging times. But America’s Opportunity for All does not exist in a vacuum. It grows out of and expands upon the fiscal solution that Heritage first offered two years ago in Saving the American Dream, our comprehensive plan to fix the debt, cut spending, and restore prosperity by balancing the budget within a decade and restructuring entitlement programs to preserve them for future generations of Americans.

In recent years, federal lawmakers have lurched from spending crisis to spending crisis without ever solving the underlying fiscal problems. Despite a series of 11th-hour “solutions,” spending keeps rising, entitlement programs keep expanding, and the federal debt keeps climbing. It is time for a different approach, and that is what America’s Opportunity for All outlines.

We can get spending under control, balance the budget, and shrink our debt. We can limit the size of government and set free once again the unlimited genius of Americans to create wealth and jobs. We can turn the tide and change our nation’s course. We have been here before, and every time, the American people have risen to the occasion and seized the moment.

In 1776, we were told that no upstart colonists could defeat the strongest nation in the world, and we decided to change the course of history. In 1860, we were told that the Union could not hold and that America was over, and we brought forth a new birth of freedom. In 1980, we were told that the American century was at an end, and we launched a great economic expansion, rebuilt our military, and revived our national spirit. Beginning in 2013, we can begin to roll back the cronyism of the welfare state and reintroduce limited government.

Our ideas are truly in the ascendant because they work and liberal ideas don’t. After you read America’s Opportunity for All, we believe you will share that view.

Onward!