A panoramic survey of America’s political problems that offers a bipartisan path to their solution.
Busman’s inaugural effort is long on ambition. In it, he tackles an impressive array of seemingly intractable issues that have plagued United States politics, including tumult in the Middle East, nuclear energy, tax reform, same-sex marriage and the Electoral College. What connects these disparate topics, he says, is that they’ve all been created or exacerbated by blinkered partisan warfare. He aims to offer policy suggestions, light on ideology, that might have appeal across the political divide. He calls these policy proposals “planks,” and considers them “placeholders” designed to stimulate discussion and promote clarity rather than decisive conclusions. Although many of his proposals will be familiar to readers who faithfully follow the news, some, such as the elimination of depreciation from the corporate tax code, are unconventional and provocative. Busman’s ultimate objective is to create a full platform for a new political party, the “American Unity Party,” made up of people who are moderately conservative on fiscal issues and moderately progressive on social ones. The plan hinges on the idea that the country’s electoral divisions are largely illusory: “Our underlying thesis is that the United States is not as polarized as our elections and the polls tell us we are.” Readers may find some of his suggestions quixotic, such as the notion that aggressively promoting women’s rights in predominantly Muslim countries will win greater respect for the United States. Also, such a vast survey of so many subjects necessarily means that the analysis sometimes lacks depth; for example, his plan to introduce a “consolidated national health plan that will cover all Americans and foreign residents working legally in the U.S.” is both confusing and overly broad. Nonetheless, this is a refreshingly sincere attempt to build bridges between people who may share more common ground than they think.
A common-sense argument that greater political unity is within reach, and would improve the nation’s prospects.