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Library Journal Review
Each of these three books presents a blueprint to achieve the goals of the current political moodmaking government smaller and more accountable. Their argument is basically the same: the smaller the government, the closer it is to the people and therefore the better it is. They also tout many of the same ideas: a flat income tax, welfare reform, school choice, deregulation, and privatization. Each book, however, has its own characteristics. House Majority Leader Armey (R-Texas), one of the authors of the Republican Party's "Contract with America," argues that the 1994 election, which gave Republicans control of Congress for the first time since the 1940s, was a mandate to put the provisos of the contract into place. Armey also gives details of his own life and political ideology and spells out his proposals for a flat income tax and other initiatives. Since the Contract with America will continue to be debated by Congress, this is an important work for anyone interested in the current political climate. Eggers and O'Leary, members of the Reason Foundation, discuss initiatives taken by local and state governments to privatize and streamline bureaucracies. They provide excellent case studies of these mechanisms and present a compelling argument that, given the right personnel, government services can be improved and savings achieved. Their book is important because it provides clues as to how some local and state governments will handle the block grants currently under discussion in Washington. Pinkerton, a former aide in the Bush administration, presents a rather extreme view of the changes he claims need to be made. He believes that the current political and economic course will result in the desolate worlds described by "cyberpunks" in science fiction literature. Because government provides such shoddy service, those who can afford it will pay to have a sort of secondary governmentprivate security guards, tutors for education, and the likewhile the poor and disassociated will have access to little or no quality services. Thus, he claims, a new paradigm is needed, and he espouses many of the same ideas as Armey. His premise is somewhat questionable, but he gives a decent history of how we got where we are and delineates many of the ideas currently being debated. Pinkerton's book is recommended for academic collections, while The Freedom Revolution and Revolution at the Roots are recommended for all collections.Patricia Hatch, Emmanuel Coll., Boston. Ma. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
For those awaiting the blueprint for the new political order, here it is. House Majority Leader Dick Armey writes of his plans and dreams for a reordering of political power. He believes it is time to return to limited government and that the election of 1994 (he calls it the "Freedom Revolution") was an early tremor heralding the coming political earthquake. Armey proposes trashing the tax code and replacing it with a flat income tax. Get the national government out of the economic regulation business, or as he puts it, "put all the little potentates on the Potomac in their place." He wants to end national government involvement with America's public schools, abolish the federal role in welfare, and cut the size of the federal government by half. "Faith in government," Armey declares, "is only a substitute for faith lost in people." Armey's book is filled with ideas to scare liberals to death and warm the hearts of many conservatives. It will make Democrats nervous and uncomfortable (one of his axioms: "A New Democrat is a counterfeit conservative looking for work"). With considerable faith in the rationality of the market and almost no faith in government, this former economics professor has written an interesting call to arms. Those who want to understand the mental/philosophical forces behind the 104th Congress and even those who disagree with its every assertion should read this book. General; undergraduate. W. K. Hall Bradley University