A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't!)

( 38 )

Overview

"We need a simple government. Don't get me wrong; I know that many of the nation's problems are highly complex. But I also know that the governing principles that can solve them, if we work together, are simple."

Armed with little money but a lot of common sense, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee surprised the nation by coming in second during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. He connected with millions of voters by calling for a smaller, simpler government that would get out of the way when ...

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A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't!)

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Overview

"We need a simple government. Don't get me wrong; I know that many of the nation's problems are highly complex. But I also know that the governing principles that can solve them, if we work together, are simple."

Armed with little money but a lot of common sense, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee surprised the nation by coming in second during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. He connected with millions of voters by calling for a smaller, simpler government that would get out of the way when appropriate. (Unfortunately, there weren't quite enough of those voters to prevent the election of Barack Obama.)

Since then, President Obama's message has morphed from "hope and change" to "tax and spend" and "borrow and spend" and "over-regulate and spend." The stimulus failed to stop the recession, the deficit exploded to unimaginable heights, and the Democrats jammed through Congress a financial "reform" bill that didn't really reform anything and a healthcare monstrosity that gave the government more power over our personal lives than ever.

Meanwhile, Huckabee has continued to be the voice of common sense conservatism, through his television talk show, his radio commentaries, and his lectures around the country. Now he's written a book that sums up the twelve things we really need from Washington to get the country back on the right track.

These twelve essential truths will have you nodding in agreement, whether you're a Republican, an Independent, or even an open-minded Democrat. They can help us put aside our differences, tone down the partisan rancor, and return to the simple principles of the Founding Fathers: liberty, justice, personal freedom, and civic virtue. And they can help us tackle even the most seemingly complicated of today's problems. For instance:

• You can't spend what you don't have; you can't borrow what you can't pay back. Families, businesses, towns, cities, and states all have to balance their budgets or face dire consequences. Why shouldn't the federal government be held to the same standard? And if that means making some hard choices now, it's a far better alternative than saddling our kids and grandkids. * The further you drift from shore, the more likely you are to be lost at sea. The Founders expected the federal government to be subordinate to state and local governments. How can politicians in DC know the best way to help farmers in Iowa, autoworkers in Michigan, or teachers in California? They can't. So every problem should be solved at the most local level capable of solving it.

* Bullies in the playground only understand one thing. There's a time and place for diplomacy, but we can't protect the country just by negotiating with our enemies. We need a strong national defense and a counterterrorism policy that focuses on effectiveness, not political correctness.

* The most important form of government is the family. In the long run, the only way to ensure prosperity, safety, and equal opportunity is to make sure we raise our children to be ethical and productive citizens. No bureaucracy can replace parents in that essential role, so we have to do everything possible to help parents do their job.

A Simple Government will inspire any American looking forward to a better future.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Former Arkansas governor, former (and perhaps future) presidential candidate, and bestselling author Mike Huckabee (Do the Right Thing; A Simple Christmas) wants our federal government to go back to basic. In A Simple Government, he lays out his critique about what's gone wrong in Washington and counts out a dozen standards that right it. Straightforward and good spirited, A Simple Government might just serve as the prelude for an upcoming Huckabee Washington run.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595230836
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 636,711
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee won eight states and more than four million votes during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. He served as the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 and as lieutenant governor from 1993 to 1996. Before politics, he worked in broadcasting and advertising and spent twelve years as a pastor and denominational leader. He lives with his wife, Janet, in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They have three grown children, three dogs, and at least that many friends!
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.
– Barry Goldwater

Since Barack Obama was elected, plenty of books have been written criticizing his administration and accusing him of all sorts of things—from being a Marxist to lying about his citizenship to being a Muslim. But if you know me or if you're familiar with my commentaries on TV and radio, you know that I don't like to make politics personal. That's because I was raised to believe in the Golden Rule, and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't like being called names or ridiculed. So I want to start out by saying that if you've come here looking for a personal attack on President Obama and those in Washington, you should head to another shelf in the bookstore.

I don't doubt for a moment that Barack Obama loves our country and wants to make it better. In my political career, I've found that to be true, more often than not, about people who take a position different from mine. Respect and civility go a long way in campaigns and governance.

That being said, I have never been afraid to criticize a person when I think it's appropriate, especially when it comes to those who run our country. I believe that every American has a right and a responsibility to speak up when they're unhappy with the way our government is run, and that's why I'm writing this book. Because as much as I respect President Obama as a human being, I can't help but think that just about everything he thinks is good for America is actually bad for our present and worse for our future.

You are probably reading this book in February 2011, but thanks to the practical demands of publishing, I'm actually writing it in the fall of 2010. As I sit here, our country is mired in a crisis that has grown progressively (no pun intended) worse since Obama entered the White House. Our national unemployment rate is stuck at around 10 percent; our budget deficit is spiraling to unprecedented levels; we've adopted a federal health-care system that promises to raise costs and worsen care, even though most Americans didn't want it in the first place. On top of all that, we face threats from abroad in the form of terrorism, illegal and out-of-control immigration, and two wars (though allegedly the war in Iraq is over( that we can't seem to win. Meanwhile, our image abroad is rapidly sinking to where it was during the Carter years, as we've turned our backs on some of our most trusted international allies, like Israel, in favor of "diplomatic relations" with enemies like Russia and Iran.

We were promised better than this. The election of 2008 was supposed to signal the arrival of a "postpartisan" presidency. Happy days! Joy to the world! Well, did that happen? Candidate Obama said he would discover common ground between the two major parties and come up with public-policy answers that both sides could consider viable. Instead, President Obama has shown himself to be the most partisan president in my lifetime, hands down. In this respect, he has far outdistanced any political gamesmanship ever practiced by any president before him, whether Democrat or Republican. Bright as he seems to be, he consistently mistakes his election for a mandate to compromise our nation's future with breathtakingly sweeping plans like socialized medicine and so-called financial reform. And make no mistake about this: Those schemes and others have already saddled our descendants for generations with a mountain of debt that they can never pay back. (I'll have more to say about this later, with the scary numbers to prove it.)

In our political tradition, as you know, it's business as usual for candidates to campaign with harsh words for the opposition. The problem comes when the bickering continues after the swearing in. A true leader's Job One is to bring people together, not just mouth partisan slogans, and as hard as it may be to believe in our increasingly partisan world, I've known people on both sides of the aisle who have exhibited such character. One of those people is former president and fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton. Even though he strenuously campaigned for every opponent I ever had in Arkansas—whether I was running for U.S. senator, lieutenant governor, or governor—not once did he stoop to personal attacks or snarky comments about my being a Republican. He treated his opponents with respect and civility.

Well, I guess these are different times. But my biggest problem with President Obama isn't his insistent partisanship; it's his reliance on advice from people who don't understand the real world that you and I live in. Obama has overloaded his administration with policy wonks and Ivy League professors because he speaks their language. Virtually no one on his team has had experience running anything; they probably couldn't even run a lemonade stand. Their abstract theories, airy platitudes, and unrealistic promises may sound nice on paper or in a congressional debate, but in reality these politicians are just trying to cover up their own ignorance.

You don't need the wisdom of Solomon to see that their lack of experience is the reason we're currently experiencing an economic crisis. Think about it. When you're a governor or mayor—or even a smallbusiness owner—you don't have the option of printing money to cover your mistakes or to buy things you can't afford. I know. In Arkansas I had to balance the budget the old-fashioned way: The money coming into the state coffers had to be greater than or at least equal to the money going out. The result? Sometimes hard choices had to be made, but I made them. As those great political philosophers the Rolling Stones said, you can't always get what you want.

We have to hold the federal government to the same standard, and not only on the budget. On this and other issues there is a strong and building urgency to repair our weakened nation and rebuild the confidence of the American people. We need to go back to the first principles that the Founders built into our amazing Constitution. That means, in part, that we need decisive action now, not professorial dialogue and insanely complicated schemes that kowtow to special interests (like the three thousand pages of the ObamaCare bill).

In short, we need a government that works for the people. We need a simple government.

Don't get me wrong: I know that many of the nation's problems are highly complex. But I also know that the governing principles that can solve them, if we work together, are simple. Justice, integrity, freedom—the basic notions upon which America was founded—are simple. Somewhere along the way, too many of our leaders have picked up the idea that it takes something like rocket science or brain surgery to deal with public problems. Wrong. When a new law is too long for anyone to read, let alone understand, it's too long, period!

I've tried to follow the same principle in writing this book. First, I've approached the various topics here with the simple underlying principles that helped make our country strong. Then, in each case, I've explored solutions that would be consistent with those bedrock ideals.

I'm not trying to win a Pulitzer Prize or impress the folks at Harvard, Yale, or Stanford—if they'd even listen to me! I'm writing directly to everyone who loves America and believes that it's still the greatest country in the world (and can become even greater once we get back to basics( despite today's serious challenges. I'm writing for people who aren't ashamed to eat hot dogs and hamburgers (in moderation!) and probably think that a meal of snails is better suited to birds and fish than to humans.

Simply put, in other words, this book is intended for about 80 percent of the American people. And if just half of that group would read it and take it to heart, my wife and I would be set for quite a few of the golden years! But more important, my readers would be empowered and energized to restore clarity and common sense to our national government, just as the Founders intended.

Along the way, I hope to tell you some things you've probably never heard and remind you of some important things you may have forgotten, while keeping it all entertaining enough that you won't fall asleep mid-paragraph.

I also promise to be honest—perhaps painfully and brutally honest, when necessary. My goal is to be clear and open, and if that offends some people I'm all right with that. Personally, I'm so sick of the hypocritical, cynical, uninformed nonsense I've read and heard lately that I'd prefer to risk having some readers hate this book because they did understand it rather than have many hate it because they didn't understand it.

Of course, what I really hope is that, because you do understand the book, you'll love it. Call me vain if you want, but I think you're going to!

Mike Huckabee

October 2010

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, a Mother, and Children: We Need a Return to Family Values 7

Chapter 2 The Further You Drift from Shore, the More Likely You Are to Be Lost at Sea: We Need a Return to Local Government 27

Chapter 3 You Can't Spend What You Don't Have; You Can't Borrow What You Can't Pay Back: We Need to Control Spending and Debt 39

Chapter 4 If You Drain the Lake, All the Fish Will Die: We Need a Simple and Fair Taxation System 61

Chapter 5 Once Humpty Dumpty Falls, It's Hard to Put Him Back Together: We Need a Responsible Approach to Health and Health Care 75

Chapter 6 If You Don't Hear the School Bell Ring, Class Never Starts: We Need an Education System That Values All Students 89

Chapter 7 Leave Your Campsite in Better Shape Than You Found It: We Need to Take Responsibility for the Environment 105

Chapter 8 Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: We Need Immigration Reform That Works 131

Chapter 9 Bullies in the Playground Understand Only One Thing: We Need a Strong Approach to Terrorism 145

Chapter 10 When the Bullets Are Real, There Aren't Any Toy Soldiers: We Need an Effective Military Policy and Strategy 167

Chapter 11 With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends? We Need to Strengthen America's Position on the World Stage 181

Chapter 12 Hope Is More Than Just the Name of My Hometown: We Need to Have Faith in the Future, No Matter How Big Our Present Problems Are 195

Epilogue: A Simple Election 205

Acknowledgments 209

Notes 211

Index 223

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I bought this book for my brother who lives out of state. I picked it up to look it over before I see my brother in a couple weeks and ended up reading it cover to cover in two days times. This books is a great dose of what has been lacking in the USA, especially in the last two years: sanity and common sense. If only our government would follow even some of the advice in this book and start addressing problems and not just treating symptoms, the USA could be a better place.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    getting america back on track

    "a simple goverment" is very easy reading and very hard to put down and like governor mike huckabees other books has alot of other exellent common since and is a great guide for the voter who is very frustrated at the way their country is going and wants to make a difference. this simple little bestseller address`s several key issues: family values,terrorism, the enviroment and education the ten thousand page tax code and the health care plan and getting back to the constution. the governor has some intresting gold nuggets that might make a difference since the arthur is planning on running in 2012 this book is a great way to get to know about his platform and it would make a great gift idea for someone special.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    bringing our goverment back to basics

    "a simple goverment" is a remarkable book. governor mike huckabee documents in great detail how our goverment has been over taxing us with many worthless pork barel projects many of the items that the governor exposes will be humorous but at the same time showing how our congress has been wasting our precious tax dollors in many ways. mike huckabee gives some exellent ways in this book that our goverment can cut waste and get back to the things that matter the most so we will have money for jobs and schools and better care for for our vetrens instead of wasting it on pet projects and pork. great gift idea for a friend or family member and since mike huckabee is a possible candidate for the white house in 2012 this should be fasinating reading

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Humor and chiding as Huck lays out his small government plans

    A layman's guide to Huckabee's broader political views and conservative social ideals, if these interest you. Parts of this book would make a good educational tool when introducing young poeple to how our federal governemnt runs and the meaning of "deficit" and "social programs." Huck's foreign policy plans are sound, but thin on detail. He is most passionate and clear when discussing social issues, esp. his feelings against gay marriage, gay parenting and gays in the military. The problem is that having a federal government officially against 10 percent of the population flies in the face of his small government theme. It would take lots of taxpayer $$$ and resources to enforce his "anti" stances, whether at the state or federal level. For fans of his, this book is a lively conversation with the guy. For the rest, it is a reminder, sadly, that his bias against certain types of people and lifestyles is stronger in his heart than his desire to bring people together and be a leader.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Not very enlightening

    This book offers little in terms of substance. A real waste of time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Simply Boring

    Simple government for a simple man. Yet another book authored before he/she runs for the presidency.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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