Common Credo: The Path Back to American Success

Common Credo: The Path Back to American Success

by John E. Schwarz


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The author of America’s Hidden Success launches a daring and appealing political and economic plan to restore American unity and prosperity.

Today, bitter partisanship has sunk our politics into unending stalemate, millions of Americans are struggling to get ahead financially, and cynicism about the effectiveness and fairness of our political processes grows continually deeper. The country needs practical, principled, and unifying solutions, rather than continued finger-pointing across the aisle.

In Common Credo, acclaimed author John E. Schwarz charts a highly original path out of this morass, one that both liberals and conservatives can rally around. Delving deeply into the words and actions of the Founders themselves, he uncovers a set of core principles involving freedom, equality, and other key values that, despite our surface ideological differences, nearly all Americans still endorse today. When implemented, the principles provide a specific model for how our politics and economy should operate—one that fulfills both conservatives' call for individual liberty with strictly limited government and liberals’ emphasis on collective responsibility and truly sufficient opportunity for all. Schwarz calls this powerful model the "Common Credo."

Schwarz then illustrates how this Credo has been abandoned over the past four decades by Democrats and Republicans alike, leading to the political and economic marginalization of a majority of Americans and nearly every political and economic problem we currently face, from the economy’s collapse to the partisan gridlock in Congress. By misunderstanding the Founders’ basic principles, both present-day liberalism and conservatism have helped create the problems and will continue to do so if we don’t find an alternative approach.

The Common Credo is that alternative. Only by re-engaging it can we arrive at precise and innovative policy solutions to our most pressing challenges—attaining sustainable economic growth and widespread prosperity; re-empowering the middle class; successfully reforming our health care, education, and campaign finance systems; curbing government waste; and reducing national deficits and debt, among others. Schwarz shows, for example, how applying the logic behind our 1950s tax structure to today's compensation policy can boost middle-class wage gains without raising taxes or spending one cent. Or how combining a carbon-fee plan with targeted rebates can underpin a climate control policy that pays for itself. Laying out these and other solutions in accessible, step-by-step detail, Schwarz engagingly demonstrates how the Common Credo alone holds the key to reuniting Americans and getting us back on the path to success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871403391
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 08/19/2013
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

John E. Schwarz is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Arizona in Tucson and senior distinguished fellow at Demos in New York City. In addition to his five previous books, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among others.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 How We Got Here: The Failure of Contemporary Liberalism and Conservatism 1

Chapter 2 Freedom and Equality 25

Chapter 3 The Economy 53

Chapter 4 Collective Action Versus Individual Freedom 87

Chapter 5 Rules for Government 117

Chapter 6 The Common Credo 147

Chapter 7 Solutions 163

Chapter 8 Attitudes About Government 209

Chapter 9 Moving Forward Confidently 225

Notes 235

Acknowledgments 261

Index 263

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