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Book review

'The Patriot's Toolbox' great for the politically minded

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The Patriot's Toolbox<

The Heartland Institute's The Patriot's Toolbox has many ideas and principles outlined in the book that are in line with my political standings.

It isn't an easy book to read unless one is politically-minded, however. A person must enjoy the ins and outs of politics or be extremely concerned with the political climate to read through the entire book.

It's clear the book is intended for those who are policy makers, civic leaders and anyone whose life is enmeshed in the political world, including journalists following politics. The book was handed out for the benefit of those who work in politics and is free for anyone interested in reading the 80 principles inside.

The Patriot's Toolbox is a guide for those interested in restoring conservative government and policies in the midst of what many citizens across the nation might consider a liberal-minded climate.

The "80 principles for restoring our freedom and prosperity" are outlined in 10 separate chapters, ranging from health care reform to business. Issues like repealing regulations that limit health care options, developing policies that provide parents educational options, privatizing public services and limiting lower home and auto insurance costs are covered in the book.

For instance, the fifth chapter, "Business Climate," suggests lawmakers remove labor union privileges.

The suggestion is based on the idea that unions wield too much power over businesses, giving the unions the power to increase wages above justifiable levels. This in turn, it's pointed out, drives up the cost of operating a business and skews the market. It doesn't guarantee productivity or quality of either the workforce or products.

In the chapter on school reform legislators are encouraged to enact policies that allow education monies to follow students. So, if a student at Sunnyside High School, for example, is seemingly hindered by the educational opportunities provided by the school, the student can choose to attend another school. The parents would not be burdened with additional out-of-pocket educational costs. The school of choice could conceivably be a private school.

The idea also leads to the principle of competitive schools, and empowering teachers and school leadership.

Effective teachers, explains the book, should be rewarded and ineffective teachers should not. School leaders, according to The Patriot's Toolbox, should be given the ability to develop programs that positively affect the student body without extensive regulation.

"Public schools are regulated especially heavily because their employees operate in an institutional setting rife with conflicts of interest," writes the author of the principles in the chapter on school reform.

Health care reform has been a hot button topic in the U.S. and it is covered in the first chapter of the book. Whether or not one agrees with President Obama and the Democrat leadership that enacted the health care reform bill last year, this chapter's 10 principles will most likely appeal to a large audience.

The authors of the principles outlined in the chapter explain the value of the U.S. health care system, including America's investment in saving premature infants and extending the lives of the elderly.

The principles following the explanations may be controversial to some because there are people who believe health care is a right, not a privilege.

The writers clearly explain how even those without health care insurance receive medical care in the U.S. Those without insurance generally must pay the bill out-of-pocket, but medical institutions typically charge on a sliding scale.

The Patriot's Toolbox also suggests policy makers encourage entrepreneurship in the health care industry, which includes lessening regulations on retail health clinics.

The ninth principle in the chapter focuses on reducing malpractice litigation expenses. This suggestion has been made multiple times over the years, but legislators have yet to work on the issue at length.

The Patriot's Toolbox is laden with principles and explanations for each suggestion, but I believe it will take more than an act of Congress to see many of the principles followed.

The book is full of much that will appeal to those who wish to see changes in the political environment. There are great ideas and explanations and this book is well-thought out and could prove useful to those enacting the laws of the land.

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