Book Review: Winning The Future

Winning The Future
Newt Gingrich
Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005

This book by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich outlines his prescription for what America needs to do to avoid decline. The five threats Gingrich identifies are Islamic terrorism, that God will be driven from American life, that America will lose its patriotic sense of self, that America will lose its economic supremacy to China and India, and that future demands of social security and Medicare will collapse our system.

To counter these threats, Gingrich says we need a 21st century contract with America. The contract is quoted at the end of this review, as it appears on the author’s web site newt.org/winningthefuture.

I particularly found what Gingrich has to say about American education important. He quotes the Hart-Rudman Commission on American National Security, which in 2001 concluded that the greatest threat to America was a terrorist attack. The second greatest threat is “the failure of math and science education. In fact, in an unanimously approved provision, the Commission said that the failure of math and science education is a greater threat than any conceivable conventional war in the next quarter century.”

Further, “For the last twenty years, we have tried to improve education while accepting the fundamental principles of a failed system guarded by education bureaucrats and teachers unions.” Also: “There has been a steady growth in the amount of money spent on red tape, bureaucracy, and supervision. We now have curriculum specialists who consult curriculum consultants who work with curriculum supervisors who manage curriculum department heads who occasionally actually meet with teachers.”

Interestingly, Gingrich proposes paying students, starting in middle school, to learn math and science. What a refreshing idea! Instead of them learning to work at McDonald’s after school for spending money, they could earn it by taking the tough courses that so many young children seek to avoid.

This idea, and other creative and refreshing ideas make this book worthwhile to read.

The 21st Century Contract with America

I

Defend America and our allies from those who would destroy us. To achieve security, we will develop the intelligence, diplomatic, information, defense, and homeland security systems and resources for success.

II

Transform the Social Security system into personal savings accounts that will enable every worker to have higher retirement incomes from their own work and avoid the need for financial support from their children.

III

Recenter America on the Creator from Whom all our liberties come. We will insist on a judiciary that understands the centrality of God in American history and reasserts the legitimacy of recognizing the Creator in public life.

IV

Establish patriotic education for our children and patriotic immigration for new Americans. To achieve this,we will renew our commitment to education about American citizenship based on American history and an understanding of the Founding Fathers and the core values of American civilization.We will insist that both our children
and immigrants learn the key values and key facts of American history as the foundation of their growth as citizens.

V

Meet the triple economic challenges of an explosion in scientific and technological knowledge, an increasingly competitive world market, and the rise of China and India by implementing:

A new system of civil justice to reduce the burden of lawsuits and to incentivize young people to go into professions other than the law.
A dramatically simplified tax code that favors savings, entrepreneurship, investment, and constant modernization of equipment and technology.
Math and science learning equal to any in the world and educating enough young Americans to both discover the science of the future and to compete successfully in national security and the economy with other well-educated societies.
Investing in the scientific revolutions that are going to transform our world—particularly in energy, space, and the environment.
Transforming health care into a 21st Century Intelligent Health System that improves our health while lowering costs dramatically. In the process, American health care will become our highest value export and foreign exchange earning sector.

VI

Work to include every American in a system of patriotic stewardship so every person has a real opportunity to pursue happiness as their Creator endowed. Prepare for the aging of the baby boomers and their children so we can have active healthy aging with the best quality of life, the longest period of independent living, and the greatest prosperity. We will:

Develop a system in which those who wish to stay economically active are encouraged and incentivized to do so because active people live longer and healthier, have a greater opportunity to pursue happiness, and are less of a burden on their fellow citizens;
Develop a system of independent living and assisted living that increases the years in which people can be on their own and in most cases enables people to live their entire lives with freedom and dignity;
Develop a new model of quality long-term care in which both the care and the quality of life are compatible with a twenty-first century American expectation of progress and innovation.
Use the new technologies and new scientific knowledge to turn disabilities into capabilities and change government regulations and programs to help every American achieve the fullest possible ability to pursue happiness.

VII

Change the mindset of big government in Washington by replacing bureaucratic public administration with Entrepreneurial Public Management so government can operate with the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of the information age.

VIII

Balance the federal budget and insist on a lean government, low tax, low interest rate economy to maximize growth in a competitive world.

IX

Insist on congressional reform to make the legislative branch responsive to the needs of the 21st century.

X

Ensure an election process that is honest, accountable, accurate, and free from the threat of illegal votes or subsequent litigation.

If we insist on these goals and insist on electing leaders at all levels dedicated to these goals, we will be able to leave our children and grandchildren an America of safety, health, prosperity, and freedom that would make our parents and grandparents proud.We too will have done our duty to our country and our achievements as citizens will be worthy of the America we inherited.

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