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Revolution at the Roots: Making Our Government Smaller, Better, and Closer to Home
     

Revolution at the Roots: Making Our Government Smaller, Better, and Closer to Home

by Bill Eggers, John O'leary
 
Reason Foundation analysts William Eggers and John O'Leary spent two years traveling America's political frontier, taking the nation's political pulse. They heard a single message: "To forge a better society we need to make government dramatically smaller, more efficient, and closer to the people it is intended to serve." More importantly, they met many

Overview

Reason Foundation analysts William Eggers and John O'Leary spent two years traveling America's political frontier, taking the nation's political pulse. They heard a single message: "To forge a better society we need to make government dramatically smaller, more efficient, and closer to the people it is intended to serve." More importantly, they met many revolutionaries who are doing just that. In Revolution at the Roots, you'll find out not just what's wrong with American government, but how Americans can fix it.


With engaging and witty style, the authors chronicle scores of exciting examples of those pushing the boundaries of radical change. You'll meet the new breed of political leaders who are shaking up the status quo, from governors such as New Jersey's Christine Todd Whitman and Wisconsin's Tommy Thompson to California's Pete Wilson. You'll also meet the big-city mayors, Democrat and Republican alike, who are standing up to entrenched interests and shrinking bureaucracies.


But it is America's people, not her politicians, who are truly the driving force for change. You'll hear the story of James Chapman, the Indianapolis cab driver who fought City Hall -- and won. You'll learn why Sister Connie Driscoll, who runs a Chicago homeless shelter, won't accept government funds. You'll read about the gray-haired citizen volunteers who assist with San Diego's pathbreaking community policing program.


Big Government is on the way out, and something must replace it. Eggers and O'Leary lay out common-sense principles for bringing the state back to the people:



  • Focus on core functions


  • Devolve power to communities and individuals


  • Radically decentralize


  • Embrace competition


  • Set limits on government growth


They go on to show how these principles can improve government's response to the major issues of our time, from crime to welfare, from education to the economy.


The future of America can be found beyond the Beltway, where fresh ideas are renewing America's great democratic experiment. The positive, practical vision of Revolution at the Roots is the road map to better government that America is searching for as it approaches the 21st century.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Charging that our centralized federal bureaucracy is wasteful, inefficient and ill-suited to many of the tasks it now handles, the authors present a blueprint for down-sizing federal government and devolving power to states, cities and neighborhoods. Fellows of the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles, Eggers and O'Leary, who have conducted workshops with local leaders around the country, argue that federal poverty relief, job training, day care, drug abuse, arts and other programs work to undermine community and individual initiatives. Such efforts, they suggest, should be the responsibility of private-sector organizations and voluntary self-help groups. They profile governors who are streamlining state government-John Engler of Michigan, William Weld of Massachusetts, New Jersey's Christine Todd Whitman-as well as business-minded mayors such as New York City's Rudolph Giuliani, Cleveland's Michael White and Philadelphia's Edward Rendell, who are privatizing services, cutting the work force and shifting services and decision-making to the neighborhood level. In place of a welfare system, which in their view encourages dependency, they advocate letting each state choose whatever course it deems best-workfare, group homes, time limits, etc. This sure-to-be-controversial report is both a handbook for reform and a critique of big government. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780028740270
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
09/20/1995
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.36(d)

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