PUTTING AMERICA'S HOUSE IN ORDER: The Nation as a Family by David M. & Brock Brower Abshire


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A clear, nonpartisan statement of the problems America faces on the eve of a new century, and practicable proposals for restoring the nation's fiscal and moral health. Former assistant secretary of state Abshire (Preventing World War III, 1988) and his journalist collaborator set the stage with the ramshackle state of the union--pandemic drug abuse, seemingly intractable federal deficits, homelessness, and violent crime, among others. They then take a far longer look at what could and should be done to retrieve the situation. Focusing first on Washington's inability or reluctance to balance its budgets, the authors urge replacing the current 12-month spans with two-year fiscal cycles, cautioning, however, that it will take time to make judicious cuts and gain control of entitlement programs. Moving on to Capitol Hill, they recommend ruthless restructuring of the committee system, an outcome that could curb the claims of importunate constituencies upon the public purse. Abshire and Brower also seek fundamental reform of the regulatory process, tort law, and the Internal Revenue Code, stumping, inter alia, for the so-called USA (Unlimited Savings Allowance) Tax to encourage investment as well as thrift, eliminate inequities, and impose levies solely on consumption. With government thus reinvented, the authors offer a thoroughgoing social agenda; its key features include school choice, an end to value-free curricula, incentives for the states to develop innovative health-care/welfare programs, and pointed reminders to the black middle class that it can't afford to let demagogues speak for inner-city residents. Abshire and Brower close with a we-are-family plea for community and a paean to accountable leadership, from grassroots meeting halls to the Oval Office. A tough-minded platform for renewal of a superpower that has not in recent years been living up to its still considerable potential.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 186pp
Publisher: Praeger