Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets carry a large American Flag in the Youth Parade Saturday, July 16, 2011 in Salt Lake City.\r\n

The true greatness of our nation lies in the promise that every individual is free to pursue the American dream. Unfortunately, today Americans find themselves shackled to the growing burdens of government debt, deficits, regulations and a complex tax system, and the American dream is becoming more difficult to achieve.

The American spirit is what made this the most prosperous nation on Earth, so it makes sense that at a time of economic stagnation we should look for policy solutions that encourage the quintessential American values of innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship to help promote economic recovery.

In Washington, one side says government knows best, insisting that Congress should be taxing more, spending more and imposing more regulations that limit the choices families and businesses can make. But that approach stalls the engine we need to get the country moving forward again.

President Barack Obama is not responsible for getting us into an economic recession, but he has certainly proved himself unable to get us out. Last year, the Joint Economic Committee in Congress published a study concluding that our current recovery amounted to "the worst economic recovery the American people have suffered through in a lifetime."

Since then, the president has recklessly turned his focus entirely to his re-election campaign and has embarked on a purely political agenda intended to divide and distract the American people from his dismal and embarrassing economic record.

The American public remains dissatisfied with our current course. Growing the size of government and ignoring the biggest issues have only increased the disappointment they have in their elected leaders.

To live up to America's promise, the country needs an agenda that focuses on its greatest strength: it's people.

Recently, I have developed a proposal called the Saving the American Dream plan modeled on reforms long-advocated by the Heritage Foundation. This plan would put America on a sustainable and affordable path to economic growth by empowering individuals to define their own financial futures.

It creates a more efficient delivery system for our entitlement programs, reforming the greatest driver of our debt while protecting the most vulnerable in our society from poverty.

This plan simplifies the tax code in a way that is more transparent and straightforward, so average Americans can understand and file their own taxes. And it reins in federal spending so we can balance our budget, spur job creation and leave something other than a mountain of debt to future generations.

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The centerpiece of my plan is economic freedom. Families will be able to save and invest tax-free. Individuals and their doctors — not government bureaucrats — will control health care dollars and medical decisions. Our children and grandchildren will no longer suffer the insurmountable burden of paying for our accumulated debt. The Saving the American Dream plan encourages productive economic activity by giving individuals at every income level essential tools to take care of their families, save for retirement, access affordable health care and improve their quality of life.

It is not government that made American great. Our greatness lies in the ingenuity of the American people when left free to make their own choices and pursue their own dreams.

A freedom agenda that empowers individual Americans to determine their own happiness will move the country forward and restore the American dream.

To learn more about this plan, please visit

Mike Lee is a U.S. Senator from Utah.