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Republicans divided over direction of party

The authors claim the following:

For 40 years, the working class has shifted its allegiance back and forth between the Republicans and the Democrats without being served by either. Democrats' cultural liberalism on issues-from crime to marriage-has undermined the social foundations of working-class prosperity, while the Republicans' small-government, tax-cutting philosophy has threatened programs the working class holds sacred.

To break this deadlock, Douthat and Salam propose a limited-but not passive-government, a la 1900s Republican President Teddy Roosevelt. The authors long for a government that defends the free market but also promotes the factors that make free-market capitalism possible: cultural solidarity, social mobility, and the two-parent family.

With proposals on all of the hot-button topics, Social Security, taxes, immigration, inequality, health care, the environment, and social policy, this blueprint throws down a gauntlet for Republicans: deal with the problems of the working class or be doomed to more electoral defeats.

Douthat and Salam offer the following recommendations:

•A PRO-FAMILY TAX REFORM that simplifies the tax code dramatically: 1.) reduce taxes on investment 2.) do away with the majority of itemized deductions, and 3.) massively expand the tax credit for children, from the current $1,000 to $5,000 per child, treating children as an investment, not a form of consumption.

•A GUARANTEE THAT NOBODY WILL BE AT ECONOMIC RISK DUE TO NECESSARY MEDICAL EXPENSES, through incremental, or dramatic reforms. The federal government would help cover the most expensive patients (taking advantage of the fact that 4/5 of all medical expenditure comes from 1/5 of the patients), coming to the aid of smallbusinesses and companies like G.M. that are crippled by health-care costs for workers and foreign competition that set up shop in so-called right-to-work states.

•SUPPORT FOR WORKING PARENTS, with measures that would allow either parent to provide child care full-time for several years before returning to the workforce: 1.) subsidies to parents who care for children at home, and 2.) pension credits that reflect the economic value of years in "household labor" or tuition credits for postgraduate or vocational education.

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