Debilitating political polarization, crushing public debt, a toothless campaign finance system, dysfunctional schools, crumbling infrastructure, a shifting economic landscape, rising health care costs and declining median household incomes – these are some of the many problems Edward Luce details in his new book, Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012). Many will argue, however (and many have), that “declinism” has been wrong in the past and America’s ability for self-renewal will prove the alarmists wrong again. Regardless of whether our nation’s problems are insurmountable, Luce poses questions worth serious consideration.
On May 15, Brookings Senior Fellow William Galston moderated a discussion of Time to Start Thinking, which is based on Luce’s meticulous journalism and bolstered by interviews with senior White House officials, U.S. senators and the chief executives of some of America’s top companies. Ezra Klein, columnist for the Washington Post joined the conversation.
This event is part of the Governing Ideas series intended to broaden the discussion of governance issues through forums on timely and relevant books on history, culture, legal norms and practices, values and religion. After the program, panelists took audience questions.