Executive Summary

Heritage Foundation
Jul 11, 2016 · 11 min read


Section 1: Culture

“What happens in marriage, family life, and religious practice is part of what constitutes a country’s culture. Culture is a manifestation of core beliefs that shape how we live our lives, how we approach duties, and what we expect civil government to do. What John Adams wrote during the American Revolution remains true today: The ‘foundation of national morality must be laid in private families’ and in the associations that people form in civil society. Stronger churches and institutions in civil society dedicated to supporting families in the exercise of their high duties are essential to the perpetuation of our political institutions and to our culture of liberty.”

— Scott Yenor, “Culture and the Challenge of Self-Government”

Section 2: Poverty & Dependence

“Today, perhaps for the first time in our history, the promise of the American dream is at risk of disappearing. For many Americans, the hope of opportunity is no longer a promise rooted in the nature of our nation’s character, but a neglected dream that now seems unattainable. For those who feel lost in the chaos of a global economy, for those who are stuck in the morass of government regulation and economic stagnancy, we can and we must offer the promise of hope and opportunity.”

— Governor Sam Brownback, “The Promise of Hope and Opportunity”

Section 3: General Opportunity

“Economic mobility is the defining challenge of our time. Inequality will always be with us, despite the best efforts of French professor Thomas Piketty, who wants to reduce it with a wealth tax. We need to focus not on eliminating inequality — which is impossible — but on making sure that people can move up through the income classes through education and job opportunities.”

— Diana Furchgott-Roth, “Ensuring the Opportunity to Choose a Promising Future”

Summary Observations

Policy Implications

Next Up in the Index:

2016 Index of Culture and Opportunity

The Social and Economic Trends that Shape America

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