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The New Birth of Freedom: Vision for America Hardcover – August 1, 1999
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
Two-time presidential candidate Steve Forbes lays out his political vision in A New Birth of Freedom. Readers won't become very familiar with Forbes the man, but they will definitely get to know what Forbes thinks about the issues of the day. "Less government and more freedom" is the principle underlying most of his ideas, whether they involve the flat tax, health care, or Social Security. The book is detailed, but not overly so, and avoids becoming a mere laundry list of policy choices. Libertarians will be drawn to his economic ideas, and social conservatives will appreciate his chapter on "the moral basis of a free society." Forbes puts many of his best applause lines from speeches on these pages, but they will sound fresh and bold to those who haven't heard them before: "We can't tinker with this tax code monstrosity or try to reform it around the edges. The only thing we can do with this hideous beast is kill it, drive a stake through its heart, bury it, and hope that it never rises again to terrorize the American people." Forbes also takes a subtle swipe at Texas governor George W. Bush, his main competition for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000: "I come from a family of entrepreneurs and risk-takers--of tax-payers, not tax-raisers," he writes, hoping Republican primary voters will remember that his father, George Bush, broke his "no new taxes" pledge when he was president. If they do and pick Forbes, this book provides a good look at what to expect from the Forbes administration. --John J. Miller
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Mr. Forbes nails almost everything in this book. From foreign policy to the morals of our youth, we are in need of total reform. We are on the wrong course and this book can act like the compass we need to guide us back.
The book does read a little like a political rally speech but Mr. Forbes speaks the truth. Read it as a handbook to a new America, the old America that we once new.
Forbes argues that there's no reason why Americans shouldn't have more personal control over basic areas of their lives: take-home pay, retirement security, healthcare and the education of children.
This is truly the agenda for a new American century! These ideas offer hope and opportunity to the nation, and our best example of American democratic capitalism to the world.
"A New Birth of Freedom" will rank with Goldwater's "Conscience of A Conservative," Schlafly's "A Choice Not and Echo," and Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom," as a classic work on political liberty.
I'll give one example: he shocks readers with a hypothetical - imagine a foreign power has destroyed 25% of Army divisions. Well, he says, the scandal is that President Clinton has already done this by shrinking the military! He's referring to Clinton and Congress downsizing different branches of the military in both personnel and budget. How galling - I thought - President Clinton wanted us to have a weak military!
In actuality, this was the peace dividend. The only other superpower in the world had just collapsed, and it was very justifiable to stop spending insane amounts of money on our defense budget. The spending cuts also actually began under Forbes' hero, Reagan. And it was the fiscally responsible thing to do, especially if you wanted lower taxes!
Eisenhower, who knew a thing or two about military strategy, also slashed our overall military budget knowing that nuclear weapons altered the importance of having a large standing army. He also doubled the military's R&D budget to ensure America held a technological advantage.
You can make a smart argument against cutting military spending, but Forbes doesn't do that. He doesn't tackle his opponent's best arguments, instead he uses straw man positions to make his look sensible - something he does repeatedly.
It adds up to a very disappointing and unchallenging manifesto.
Now in retrospect it is interesting to think about how things would have worked out if Forbes had been elected. I dont think he had the DNA to deal with issues like 9/11 but I know we would not be looking at $20 trillion deficits either. Forbes may be unique in proposing an up-beat, optimistic, global conservatism, much more in line with his heroes of the 1980's, Reagan, Mulroney, and Thatcher, than today's mean-spirited crybabies like John Boehner.
The depressing part is that none of the solutions Forbes lays out were implemented during eight years of George Bush, and now the same problems have gotten a lot worse. I dont know if Forbes is planning another run in 2016 but maybe it is time again for his brand of conservatism, even if the package comes with a goofy smile and bad hair.
He holds nothing back, which is probably why the media and Washington-types can't stand him. For example, about taxes, he talks about the tax laws as if they are a mythic beast and he wants to slay a dragon. The best thing about this book is how he reminds me of Ronald Reagan. Mr. Forbes is like that. It's an idea that anyone can understand, and I think that "common touch" is exactly what we need in a leader. And, like the best Presidents we ever had, he's not an Insider, but someone who can take on special interests and the tax laws.