According to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, America currently faces five threats that could undermine, if not eliminate, the United States if immediate steps are not taken to correct them. The threats as he sees them are Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships armed with nuclear or biological weapons; the removal of God from American public life; a loss of patriotism and sense of America's history; a decline in economic supremacy because of poor science and math education; and the increasing budgetary burden of Social Security and Medicare. To tackle these problems, Gingrich offers his "21st Century Contract with America," which he outlines in great detail in this bold and thought-provoking book. His updated contract, which comes a decade after the original Republican Contract with America that marked the high point of Gingrich's national power, calls for a dramatically simplified tax code that favors savings and investment; government investment in science and technology, particularly regarding space, energy, and the environment; transforming Social Security into personal savings accounts; overhauling the civil justice system to reduce the burden of lawsuits; and updating the federal government, including the privatization of some functions, so that it moves at the speed and effectiveness of the information age. And that's just the beginning. He also calls for tripling the size of America's intelligence community, reforming its election system, developing a more intelligent health care system that creates jobs and increases quality of life, and balancing the federal budget.
Gingrich believes that this ambitious agenda can be accomplished, but only if it receives grassroots support. The entrenched political system, with its lobbyists, bloated bureaucracies, and the complicity of the media, is too self-serving to fix itself, he stresses. Concise and clearly presented, Winning the Future is long on specifics and short on rhetoric, and it succeeds as a springboard for political discourse. Gingrich's aim is clearly to inspire citizens to take responsibility for the county's direction by demanding more of their government and their leaders. --Shawn Carkonen
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From Publishers Weekly
The conservative Republican maverick opens his latest work with a "traditional American values" self-test; readers who score well may be energized by this assertive broadside against all that ails the body politic. As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1994-1998), Gingrich was the prime mover and shaker behind the 1994 Contract with America that ushered in GOP dominance in Congress. Here, he identifies a quintet of foreign and domestic threats and serves up a new blueprint to help defeat them. On the international front, he says, "irreconcilable" Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships are eager to secure and use WMD, while China and India endanger our economic might. At home, the "liberal elite minority is winning" and the "conservative majority" is losing, resulting in godlessness in the public arena, the erosion of patriotism and out-of-control benefit programs that will "collapse the system." To preserve "the core values of the American people," Gingrich supports a number of fixes, including adapting Cold War strategies to the war on terror, recasting education and immigration in patriotic guises and forging ahead with private investment and health savings accounts. Interspersed with these well-worn arguments are notions about God, country and public life that are long on invective and short on detail. Will legislating the centrality of "our Creator" in defining American rights improve jurisprudence? Will establishing a federal and state "program office in patriotic education" cure under-performing school systems? Gingrich never manages to link his ambitious project to a cogent critique of the left, resorting instead to predictable jabs at the usual suspects: liberal journalists and academics, Bill Clinton and the Democrats, France and the United Nations. Combine this volatile mélange of ideas with chapter-ending plugs for his Web site, mass distribution plans for "The Contract" and "A Walking Tour of God in Washington, D.C.," and some readers might be forgiven for suspecting that Gingrich wants to win something more tangible than the future.
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