A Manifesto for the Radical Center
America is frozen. We have failed to face our nation’s most crucial challenges—and we are about to pay the price.
When it comes to solving our country’s problems, we have become utterly paralyzed: bipartisanship has lulled us into a deadlock, preventing us from taking action. Yet we can no longer ignore the inevitable catastrophes or hand them off to Washington to fix—they must be addressed now, or we will suffer the long-term consequences.
In the New York Times bestseller Becoming China’s Bitch, Peter Kiernan presents an unflinching manifesto in which he explores five factors that have sustained our national paralysis, then uncovers the ten challenges that pose the greatest threat to the future of America. Presented from a fresh yet informative Centrist perspective, these ten impending catastrophes include our semiconscious dependency on China, our lack of a centrally coordinated intelligence effort, our downward-spiraling health-care system, and the continually expanding problem of illegal immigration. In a logical, personal, and persuasive voice, Kiernan offers radical yet common-sense solutions to these challenges—solutions that every American must acknowledge and act upon before it’s too late.
With provocative insight and analytical depth, Becoming China’s Bitch is the answer to securing our country’s immediate future and restoring our national soul.
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About the Author
Peter D. Kiernan, New York Times bestselling author and former partner at Goldman Sachs, is chairman of his own venture firm and founding Board Member of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He also serves as an advisor to various corporations, banks, firms, and government officials. A graduate of Darden School at University of Virginia where he earned an MBA, Kiernan has appeared on CNN and The Today Show. He lives in Greenwich, CT.
Read an Excerpt
Becoming China's BitchAnd Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now
By Peter D. Kiernan
TurnerCopyright © 2012 Peter D. Kiernan
All right reserved.
There are no foregone conclusions.
Except one: If you ignore problems with all your might, you cannot make them evaporate.
Instead problems blossom into full-blown crises. Perversely, we seem to crave them.
The lives of most Americans must be lacking the excitement of the early days—that frisson of fear when our neighborhood had a cholera outbreak or when we played the roulette game of childbirth. We could breathe black air and in our wood-framed, gaslit cities, fret over constant threat of fire.
We run the country as if we crave the calamity of yesteryear—constantly
lurching to the brink. Sometimes we’re able to pull back from the maw,
other times we let problems play out to the level of full-blown catastrophe. Like the burghers of that Vermont town, we’d much rather stand in a room and yell than constructively work toward solutions.
We enjoy scaring ourselves. Brinksmanship in the House is covered like tropical depressions on the Weather Channel. Are we caught in a Category Five hurricane? Or thrilling to a Six? Try watching CNBC’s market storm trackers without holding your breath and grabbing your wallet. Or Fox News without running for the fallout shelter. We’re addicted to every derivative of tsunami though most of us have never seen one. So we manufacture artificial amber alerts—stand-offs like “Debt Ceiling” fiascos that allow politicians to posture and sound concerned. All this scaremongering does is obscure genuine problems, which for many of us is actually kind of nice. It’s how we prefer it.
We have become a frozen tableau of contrasts. We are rich, with poverty rates at all-time highs. Homeownership is higher here than anywhere in the world, and our homelessness keeps breaking records. Almost 40 percent of adults and 20 percent of kids are obese, and more Americans will go without food today than at any time since the framers.
We are frozen in other ways.
Some call our polarization and inability to unite against problems a crisis in governance. It’s no crisis. It’s a self-inflicted wound.
Excerpted from Becoming China's Bitch by Peter D. Kiernan Copyright © 2012 by Peter D. Kiernan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I: Why Are We Polarized?
Five Factors That Freeze Us from Doing the Right Thing
Genesis: The Shot Heard ’Round the Dial 5
Democracy Under the Influence (DUI): Lobbyists in the Kitchen 51
The Ultimate Backstage Pass: Thought-Provoking Think Tanks 71
Predator or Pray: Wayward Christian Soldiers 85
It’s My Party: The Hijacking of the Two-Party System 107
Part II: Ten Catastrophes We Must Avoid
China: A Co-dependency That Is Decoupling 137
The Silver Surge: The Aging of America 175
Labor Pains: The Devolution of the Labor Movement 191
The “M” Word: Same-Sex Marriage 213
Being Smart About Intelligence: Terror Firma 225
Political Hack: Tobacco Road to Ruin 267
Sick and Tired: Today’s Care, Tomorrow’s Cure 289
In Stir with Love: Education Versus Incarceration 321
Dread on Arrival: Homeland Insecurity 349
Crude Awakening: A True Energy Policy 373
Coda: Where Do We Go from Here? 399
What People are Saying About This
“Peter Kiernan cut[s] through what he saw as partisan gridlock.”—The New York Times
“Ambitious! . . . Peter Kiernan is a badass.” —Business Insider
“A rocket-fueled ride . . . very thought provoking.” —CNBC Power Lunch
“Peter Kiernan is a tough guy.” —Chris Matthews, Hardball with Chris Matthews
“This is an important book.” —Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe
“Sure to stand out.” —Foreign Policy
“Brilliant.” —Dennis Miller, Dennis Miller Radio
“A great read . . . fascinating stuff. Even if you don’t agree with Peter . . . at least it’s an adult conversation—and you don’t get that a lot.” —The Roe Conn Show
“[Peter has] laid out so many convincing arguments about the polarization in this country. . . . very compelling.” —The Hays Advantage, Bloomberg
“Thought provoking . . . a new concept in this decade.” —Sly in the Morning
“Peter Kiernan’s energy is incandescent. Should there ever be a problem . . . they could hook Peter up and get power to light New York.” —Meryl Streep