Back To Work: Why We Need Smarter Government for a Stronger Economy

Bill Clinton, Foreword by
Bill Clinton. Knopf, $23.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-307-95975-1
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Compact Disc - 5 pages - 978-0-307-99069-3
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-307-99073-0
Hardcover - 196 pages - 978-0-09-194413-1
Open Ebook - 129 pages - 978-0-307-95976-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-99072-3
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4481-0881-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07852-9
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-0-09-957438-5
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America's 42nd president takes aim at GOP dogma in this feisty manifesto. Clinton's book often reads like a well-honed stump speech, with semipithy slogans ("put America back in the future business"), partisan one-liners (the main accomplishment of Republican administrations "was not to reduce the size of the federal government, but to stop paying for it"), and a rehash of his own administration's success in cutting deficits and spurring growth in the 1990s. But Clinton also mounts a cogent, well-informed attack on the GOP's "antigovernment ideology." Deploying statistics, charts, and international comparisons, he contends that the Republican mania for cutting taxes, abolishing regulation, and hobbling the state has led to slower growth, soaring deficits, drastic inequality, and lower quality of life for Americans, and argues that raising taxes to fund investments in technology, education, health care, and infrastructure is just plain good government. His specific policy agenda is a list of small-bore initiatives of varying quality directed at everything from the mortgage crisis to Social Security reform; its centerpiece is a disappointingly brief and at times unclear discussion on renewable energy subsidies that includes a dismissal of nuclear power. Still, hit-and-miss details aside, Clinton delivers a smart, forthright, appealingly folksy defense of activist government.
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