Seminar by Mr Bill Beach, 12 October 2011
Saving the American Dream
Bill Beach, Director of the Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage Foundation, Washington DC, gave a well attended seminar to the Department of Economics and International Studies on 12 October.
The ‘American Dream’ includes equality of opportunity, rewarding work and saving, and as a result community and individual prosperity. But in recent years, the American dream has faltered, mainly due to the growth of the government and advance of welfarism. In consequence, the spectre of debt hangs heavily over the younger generation and the opportunities once available to them are closing.
By its activities the Government ‘hollows out’ civil society by fostering dependency on the state. The educational system is failing and incomes have ceased to grow in real terms.
The US can no longer afford its growing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programmes. For example Medicaid is growing at four and a half times the rate of inflation. Like the UK, the US is running a large government deficit to fund such programmes, and the situation is getting worse.
The Heritage Foundation proposes to abolish the present Social Security system, with payments graduated to support the poor, not the rich. A voucher system would cover catastrophic health insurance. Mr Beach also proposed an expenditure tax to increase government revenues and encourage saving. Only by such radical methods can the present credit imbalances be rectified, and the American Dream reawakened.
Report by Mr Malcolm Rees