to the American Dream
Public Health & Safety
Why We Defend the American Dream
The American dream of freedom, mobility, and affordable homeownership
has produced enormous benefits for Americans:
- Homeownership -- More than 80 percent of Americans say their ideal
home is a single-family house with a yard. Homes are one of the best
investments a young family can make. The most important source of funds
for new businesses in the U.S. is mortgages on the businessowner's
- Mobility -- Automobiles give Americans access to better and higher
paying jobs, lower-cost consumer goods, rapid-response emergency services,
distant friends and relatives, and all sorts of recreation opportunities.
- Freedom -- According to the Heritage Foundation's 2002 Index of Economic
Freedom, nations that protect property rights and other forms of economic
freedom have per capita incomes at least six times greater than nations
will little or no economic freedom. Higher incomes mean higher environmental
quality as well.
Despite these benefits, this dream is being challenged by a new planning
doctrine known as smart growth, which calls for dense urban development,
restrictions on rural development, rail transit boondoggles, and barriers
to auto driving. Despite its attractive name, smart growth is one of
the greatest threats to American mobility, affordable housing, and freedom
- Homeownership -- Smart growth's urban-growth boundaries and regulation
of home construction make housing unaffordable to most families. Housing
in San Jose, Portland, and other smart-growth cities is far less affordable
than housing in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and other less-regulated cities.
- Mobility -- Though traffic congestion costs Americans more than $60
billion a year, smart growth actually seeks to increase congestion
in order to discourage people from driving.
- Freedom -- Smart growth requires draconian restrictions on property
owners and businesses. Limits on rural development, minimum-density
zoning in urban areas, and strict rules for retailers and other businesses
all impede economic freedom and increase costs to homebuyers and consumers.