Heritage American Perceptions Initiative Finds Good News for Conservatives

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Conservatives Improve on Important Attributes/Characteristics.

In 2013, The Heritage Foundation launched the American Perceptions Initiative, a comprehensive market research program to help conservatives take our ideas to the American people.

Heritage’s Matt Streit reports on some good news for conservatives in the latest survey:

In a rather significant change from October 2013, more Americans believe that conservatives are better equipped to handle the issues personally important to them. Strengthening the economy, fighting terrorism, protecting family and community and passing policies that create jobs are personally important to most Americans and perceived to be conservative equities…

Another notable shift from 2013: Americans’ perceptions of conservatives improved in terms of the characteristics or attributes that a national political movement would need to provide leadership and direction for the country.

Streit urges conservatives to build this momentum by “reinforcing in America’s mind that they are ready and capable of leading on issues of national importance.”

Do you think conservatives are gaining ground with the American people?

Ben Carson Visits With The Daily Signal at CPAC

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In Heritage Impact

Ben Carson stopped by The Daily Signal booth at CPAC today. The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal have a robust presence at the annual conservative gathering outside Washington, D.C.

Heritage’s Paul Larkin Urges Congress to Reform DOJ Practices

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Heritage expert Paul Larkin testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on February  12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

When the federal government resolves corporate criminal investigations, it often requires the company to make payments to a third party. This practice is very problematic and should be reformed, Heritage legal scholar Paul Larkin said last week in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee (link in PDF):

First, the Justice Department lacks the statutory authority to hand over government funds to parties of its own choosing. Second, the practice of required third-party contributions is inconsistent with the federal laws that supply financial assistance to the victims of crime. Third, third party contribution requirements circumvent the constitutional process for appropriating taxpayer dollars. Fourth, this practice denies the public the opportunity to know how public funds are spent and to hold elected officials accountable for their choices because it enables Representatives and Senators to shirk their fiscal responsibilities. Fifth, third-party contribution requirements are rife with opportunities for political cronyism because they allow the Justice Department to pick-and-choose among private organizations as to which ones will receive federal funds without any guidance from Congress or any oversight by the Judiciary or Appropriations Committees in each chamber. Sixth, third-party contribution requirements are not necessary for plea bargains, civil settlements, and nonprosecution or deferred prosecution agreements to work as a means of disposing of criminal or civil cases.

Do you think the government should be able to direct companies to spend money this way as a condition of agreements with prosecutors?

Heritage Expert Testifies on Amnesty’s Cost to Election Integrity

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Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky testifies on the consequences for election integrity of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants on February 12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants could allow more noncitizens to vote in elections, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky said last week in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Amnesty would make it “extremely difficulty for election offocials to prevent or detect those who intentionally or negligently affirm their eligibility to vote,” he said.

Read his full testimony (link in PDF).

Get Your Free E-book on Disaster Preparedness from Heritage’s James Carafano (This Week Only)

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You have greater odds of being hit by a meteor than being killed in a terrorist attack, Heritage Foundation national security expert James Carafano said yesterday on MSNBC. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the threat seriously.

Carafano’s new e-book, Surviving the End, explains basic steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from threats ranging from muggings to natural disasters to major terrorist strikes.

For this week only, the book is free to download from the PJTV store.

Get your free copy today.

John Bolton Sports a Heritage Necktie on Fox News

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John Bolton wears a Heritage necktie on Fox News last Friday.

John Bolton wears a Heritage necktie on Fox News last week.

What can you wear to reinforce your conservative bona fides?

Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton chose to wear a Heritage Foundation necktie last week when he responded on Fox News to the President’s comments about ISIS and the Crusades.

Get your own silk Heritage Foundation tie, specially produced for Heritage by Vineyard Vines, from the Heritage bookstore.

Key Lawmaker Agrees with Heritage: Split Food Stamps from the Farm Bill

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In Heritage Impact

To enable overdue reforms, Heritage experts have long urged lawmakers to split the so-called “farm bill” into its two parts: food stamps and agriculture programs.

And the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) now says he backs this reform.

This is a big win for conservatives. “The only way to get policy reform for either food stamps or agriculture programs is to separate the programs into two bills,” Heritage’s Daren Bakst and Rachel Sheffield explained in 2013. “If they remain combined, legislators who would otherwise seek reform will decide to stay quiet in order to maintain the status quo for their favored programs.”

How would you reform these programs?

Video: DeMint Urges Lawmakers to Cut Spending

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In Heritage Impact

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint made the case against President Obama’s tax-and-spend budget. Instead, he urged lawmakers to follow Heritage recommendations to cut spending and bolster America’s national defense. Later this week, Heritage will release a comprehensive report outlining 106 ways to cut spending.

America’s Economy Is Slightly Freer This Year–But Still Just 12th Freest in the World

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Heritage’s Terry Miller reports some good news in the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only):

A steep, seven-year decline in U.S. economic freedom has come to an end, according to the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, published Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. score in the index experienced a particularly large drop in 2009-10, pushing this country out of the “free” category and into the “mostly free” category. A slight 0.7-point uptick this year has allowed the U.S. to retain its 12th-place ranking. 

The index measures commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating policies related to the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and market openness. Restraint in the growth of government spending drove the modest improvement in the U.S. score. 

Since changes in index scores are highly correlated with economic growth rates, the modest rebound for the U.S. raises hopes that the economy can regain some of the momentum lost through the excessive spending, taxes and regulations of the Obama era. The 2010 elections, which returned control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, brought some restraint in government excess, a fact reflected in the U.S. economic freedom trend and the recent uptick in U.S. economic activity. The 2014 election promises even greater restraint in the growth of government spending and regulation.

Get more info directly from the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. The United States ranked 12th in the world, or “mostly free,” trailing countries like New Zealand, Chile, Ireland and Mauritius. Hong Kong once again ranked the world’s freest economy.

How do you think the United States can improve its ranking in the Index?

Ben Carson Comes to Heritage to Get the Facts

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In Heritage Impact

Ben Carson. Photo: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson visited The Heritage Foundation today for a series of briefings with Heritage policy experts. Carson heard from Heritage experts on critical issues like Obamacare, government spending and debt, immigration, energy, education, foreign policy, national defense, and more.

Carson is among the first of the 2016 presidential hopefuls to come to Heritage for issue guidance. Heritage makes its conservative analysis available to all candidates from any political party.

Read more about Heritage’s recommendations in our 192-page conservative policy agenda, Opportunity for All, Favoritism for None.

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