Ponnuru and Levin want the GOP to realize that:
Voters are worried about stagnating wages, inadequate mobility out of poverty and through the middle class, weak growth, and the high costs of raising a family. [Therefore] conservatives must offer the public an agenda that addresses people’s actual concerns in a way that liberals, because of their ideology and their electoral coalition, will be hard pressed to do.And Ponnuru-Levin call for:
a broad conservative agenda that would lift burdens off the shoulders of parents and workers, strengthen the market economy while making its benefits accessible to more Americans, and better enable the poor to rise. [It would] undermine the damaging perception that the Republican party is interested in helping only the rich and big business.Perhaps because Ponnuru-Levin worry about bridging a split conservative movement, their agenda seems limited, cautious. They call for:
- conservative solutions to [healthcare] problems involving the intelligent deployment of the same forces — competition, cost-conscious and empowered consumers — that spur innovation and improve value in other sectors of the economy.
The two also recommend:
- reforms that create and expand alternatives to a traditional college education, open opportunities for people who follow these alternative routes, and in other ways put competitive pressure on colleges to restrain costs.
- tax relief for families. . . by creating and then expanding the child tax credit.