Political parties are often slow to adapt to changing circumstances. Republicans were waving the bloody shirt years after the Civil War had ended, and Democrats attempted to run against Herbert Hoover decades after the Great Depression. That's where whip-smart intellectuals like Frum come in. He picks off sloppy conservative thinking like a sniper and serves as a pathfinder in the complicated world we will soon confront.
The reforms he proposes are too numerous to summarize here. A taste will have to suffice until you reach your bookstore:
A carbon tax. That's right. To discourage the use of gas and oil and to fund more tax breaks for young families.
Cut the inheritance, corporate, capital gains and dividend taxes to zero to encourage wealth creation. Modify an idea from Bill Clinton and permit "USA accounts" within Social Security that would permit even minimum wage workers to save a small fortune. Frum runs the numbers: "That should be our conservative and Republican promise to American workers: 'Every American a millionaire by age sixty-seven!'"
Reform the nation's scandalous prisons. Conservatives put all those people behind bars to make the rest of us safe, Frum argues, but it is intolerable that there are 240,000 prison rapes yearly (compared with 90,000 rapes in the larger society).
Revive conservation and create "green conservatism."
Negotiate with Iran, sure, but resolve to deny nuclear weapons to them, whatever it takes.
Limit immigration to the skilled, and close our doors to radical Islamists, even if they have Ph.D.s.
"Comeback" rockets along at a brisk pace and covers an incredible amount of ground in just 178 pages. No one will agree with every single proposal. But the kind of fresh thinking David Frum has displayed here is just what the doctor ordered -- even if the patient may not yet know he's sick.
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