Peril and Promise

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Enjoying vast natural resources, the world’s most stable political system, and protection by two oceans from world problems, the United States has made unequalled contributions to science, medicine, and the arts in the past half century and continues to have the world’s most productive national economy. Increasingly, however, America is challenged internationally in technological research and development and productivity by Japan and the nations of the European Community. With an educational system which produces substandard high school graduates, the United States is losing the international competition for a skilled labor force. With a government stubbornly opposed to any interference with the workings of the free market, American business is increasingly forced to forfeit its technological superiority to foreign businesses whose governments encourage consolidation, foster non-military research and development, and provide protection from foreign competition. The mounting deficits of the Reagan years and an unprecedented increase in private debt have created an economy on the verge of disaster. And a politicized Congress and president have refused to demand the public sacrifices necessitated by the crisis.

The correction of these problems should begin with reform of the political system. The choice of presidential candidates should be returned to the national party conventions, whose delegates are best able to judge a candidate’s fitness to serve. To restore moral authority to Congress, a term limit should be established, and challengers to incumbents should be encouraged by public financing of congressional campaigns. Partisanship should be replaced by cooperation. Taxes should be increased, the federal deficit reduced, and the rate of increase in federal entitlement programs slowed. Improvements in education must be accompanied by a technology policy which keeps the nation competitive, and the American people must dream about the potential of the future.

PERIL AND PROMISE is an incisive analysis of our present crises with practical approaches for their resolution. The book deserves the attention of the concerned citizen.