But Clinton Will Never End Big Government
|In his State of the Union speech, President Clinton announced the unconditional surrender of liberalism to conservatism. “The era of big government is over. We know big government does not have all the answers. There is not a program for every problem.”
That’s the essence of the difference between conservatives and liberals. But having tossed those throwaway lines to get cheers from Republicans, Clinton went on to advocate a laundry list of liberal spending programs.
Clinton is still trying to get the Federal Government to take over the health care industry and require what is called “guaranteed issue.” That’s the counterproductive policy New York State tried a couple of years ago, which caused health insurance rates to rise so much that 400,000 people were forced to give up their health insurance. Guaranteed issue of medical insurance is like requiring insurance companies to insure houses after they are already on fire and like requiring auto insurance companies to sign up drunk drivers. If the law guarantees issue of health insurance coverage, people will just wait until they get sick to buy coverage.
Clinton called for “community partnerships with local police forces to catch criminals and to prevent crime” and for “the F.B.I. and other investigative agencies” to prosecute gangs. Those are not federal functions and we don’t want a federal police force. Clinton said “we must end the deadly scourge of domestic violence.” Of course, the “we” in that directive means the Federal Government, which has no constitutional authority whatsoever to stick its nose into quarrels and fights within the home. Is Clinton going to claim that domestic violence is interstate commerce?
To most people, ending big government starts with getting the feds out of the public school classroom, but Clinton wants to take us in exactly the opposite direction. He said that “every classroom in America must be connected to the information superhighway, with computers, good software and well-trained teachers.” That’s a good idea, but the trouble is, he is asking the federal taxpayers to pay for a “technology initiative” to form a “national partnership.” This means the federal bureaucrats will control the keyboards and the data base of the “partnership,” and be able to control and direct classroom curricula.
Clinton went all out for local schools “to adopt national standards” and to hold them accountable for conforming to his “Goals 2000 initiative.” The joker in what is called “national standards” is that they are really “national opinions.” The federally funded United States History standards were so discredited that the Senate denounced them by a vote of 99 to 1.
Clinton called for a vast new expansion of federal spending to send more young people to college through his national service program, to give $1,000 to each high school graduate in the top five percent, to further expand the student loan program, and to fund a new program for community colleges called a “GI Bill for America’s Workers.”
Clinton called for more taxpayer spending for so-called “drug education,” even though the General Accounting Office and other impartial investigations have reported that there isn’t a shred of evidence that the $2 billion of federal funds we’ve already spent have done anything to reduce drug abuse.
Clinton said that all schools should teach “character education: good values and good citizenship.” We’ve come a long way, haven’t we, since the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City when Clinton said, “I’m fed up with politicians teaching us about family values.” Now, he sounds like Dan Quayle. It’s ludicrous to think that schoolchildren can be taught “character” by federal politicians and bureaucrats, so many of whom have already exited Washington under a cloud because of a lack of character. And he even wants schools to be able to require students to wear uniforms! Is he trying to be our Big Mother Government?
When Bob Dole criticized the movies last year, the liberals and the media waxed indignant, charging that it was just political pandering. Clinton has now used his State of the Union message to tell Hollywood and the television networks what kind of entertainment to provide. Clinton is deep into “family values” now, urging couples to “stay together” rather than divorce, and telling fathers to love and care for their children and to pay child support. Since when is he our adviser on morals? Clinton called for a tax credit for working families with children. He’s trying to coopt the “crown jewel” of the Republican Contract With America, but it’s the same provision that he denounced as “tax cuts for the rich” when he vetoed the Balanced Budget Act.
Republicans have won the war of ideas, but the slippery, skillful liberals are still very much in control of government, the taxpayers’ money, the educational system, and the media. Republicans had better develop a new game plan soon.
Welfare: Fraud and Failure
|One of the most dishonest parts of Clinton’s State of the Union speech was his “challenge” to Republicans to send him a welfare reform bill and “I will sign it.” The fact is that the Congress already sent him a pretty good compromise welfare reform bill to “end welfare as we know it,” and Clinton vetoed it!
The disaster called welfare was probably the biggest single issue that ousted the Democratic majority in Congress in the landmark election of 1994. Since Lyndon Johnson started the “War on Poverty” in the mid-1960s, it has cost the taxpayers $5 trillion. Welfare spending currently costs us $234 billion annually, plus another $100 billion in state welfare spending.
Indeed, it has been a three-decade “war” — against families, against taxpayers, and even against the people it was supposed to help. It’s bad enough that the War on Poverty took so much spendable income out of the pockets of hard-working Americans. It’s worse that it is a no-win war, initiated by the same Administration that gave us the Vietnam War. (We are waiting for its perpetrators to admit, like Robert S. McNamara, that they were “wrong, terribly wrong.”)
But the worst of it is that the liberal welfare system has perpetrated such horrendous damage on our society. It has broken up millions of families, prevented more millions of families from forming, produced seven million illegitimate children, created a pathetic underclass that will never achieve what we call the American Dream, virtually destroyed our great cities, and spawned the social problems that flow from illegitimacy such as drugs, delinquency, and dropouts.
The welfare system tells a teenage girl, who is doing poorly in school, doesn’t know who her father is, isn’t getting along with her mother, and hates her surroundings, “We’ll take you out of all this, set you up in an apartment of your own, send you a check every month, and give you your own food stamps, housing allotments, health care, and commodities. All you have to do to get all these goodies is have an illegitimate baby.” Surprise, surprise, more illegitimate babies were born to teenagers.
So the liberals offered another government “solution”: “family planning.” That’s a euphemism for the massive distribution of contraceptives. Title X taxpayer funding started in 1970 for the proclaimed purpose of reducing unmarried teen pregnancies. After 25 years, every measure of teenage health is dramatically worse. Illegitimate births to teenagers have doubled, the teenage abortion rate has more than doubled, sexual activity rates are far higher and at a younger age, and sexually transmitted diseases have skyrocketed.
LBJ’s Great Society set up a grossly unjust and immoral system in the mid-1960s whereby millions of people were taught that they were “entitled” to pick the pockets of lawabiding, taxpaying families if they met two conditions: they didn’t work, and they were not married to someone who does work.
In addition to destroying the work ethic and subsidizing illegitimacy, another problem with the welfare system is that it pays better than jobs that welfare recipients can hope to get.
A recent Cato Institute study laid out comparative figures based on the cash payments and non-cash benefits paid by our welfare system to a single mother with two children. There are 77 different sources of welfare money, but the principal pipelines are AFDC, food stamps, medicaid, housing, utilities, WIC, and commodities.
In eight states, the average welfare mother receives cash and benefits amounting to $20,000 a year. In medium-level welfare states, she gets the equivalent of $17,500 per year. And it’s all tax-free! In 39 states, welfare benefits are equivalent to an $8 per hour job. In New York and Washington, D.C., welfare benefits are equivalent to a $12 an hour job, two and a half times the minimum wage. In eight states, welfare benefits are equivalent to the salary of a first-year teacher. In 28 states, welfare benefits are equivalent to the pay of a starting secretary.
Of course, all welfare recipients don’t receive this much, but some get more. The conclusion is that it pays to be on welfare and there is no real hope of getting people off welfare until the benefits are less than a minimum wage job.
When the liberals whine that the so-called Religious Right is “imposing its morals” on the rest of society, remember that they are like the thief who cries “stop, thief” to distract from his own thievery. Welfare is the prime example of the Irreligious Left imposing its lack of morals on the rest of society.
Questions for Presidential Candidates
|Most of the presidential political discussion seems to be along the following lines. Who wins straw polls? Who raises the most money? Who has held more important government jobs? Maybe the voters just don’t care about those factors.
Voters really want the answers to a long list of questions about issues. The sovereignty questions are the preeminent issues that presidential candidates should talk about because they concern national integrity and survival. For example, do you support barring President Clinton from sending American troops to Bosnia by cutting off all taxpayers’ money? Where do you stand on the Army court-martial of a U.S. soldier for refusing to wear the United Nations uniform?
Will you stop sending American money to the UN to involve us in foreign wars, a practice dishonestly described as “peacekeeping”? Will you oppose all efforts to allow the UN to grab any kind of taxing power? Will you oppose the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (as Ronald Reagan did) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (promoted by Hillary Rodham Clinton)?
Which of the flat tax proposals do you favor? Taxes are a very personal issue with each and every American, and we want to hear candidates discuss the fundamental differences of the Forbes, Gramm, Buchanan and Kemp plans.
Will you candidly admit that NAFTA has cost tens of thousands of American jobs and take steps to remedy the manifold injuries to American workers and taxpayers? Will you get us out of the World Trade Organization? What are you going to do about the Mexican bailout? Do you pledge that you will never again allow U.S. taxpayers’ money to be used to shore up foreign currency?
What is your plan to stop illegal immigration and to cut off all taxpayer benefits to the illegal aliens who are already in this country? Will you support a moratorium on legal immigration until we deal with the illegal immigration problem?
Do you support making English our official language? Will you cut off all taxpayer support of foreign language ballots and the language apartheid enforced on public schoolchildren in the name of “bilingual education”?
What is your stand on term limits, secret pay raises for Congressmen, and Congressional pensions? Will you cut off taxpayers’ handout to wealthy organizations such as Planned Parenthood and AARP?
Are you going to cancel all federal regulations that impose affirmative action quotas or set-asides?
Education and crime are certainly two hot-button concerns, but they are not primarily federal issues. Most of what the Federal Government is doing in those areas does not address the real problems, and some of what the Federal Government is doing is downright detrimental. It’s not the job of the President to reform public schools or see that children are taught how to read and write, but it would be helpful if presidential candidates would promise to eliminate federal control by abolishing the Department of Education and Goals 2000.
Likewise, crime control is and should be primarily a state and local matter. But it would be helpful if the Federal Government would get moving with prosecutions for the killings carried out by federal agents at Ruby Ridge and Waco.
Voters want their candidates to address the fact that so many Americans feel that government is their enemy, not their protector. They want candidates to address specifics such as the government’s taking of private lands at the behest of the environmental extremists and proposals to allow Janet Reno to wiretap the phones of every American.
Many voters are likely to remain undecided as long as the candidates dodge the issues we really care about.
Kudos for General Dan Graham
|Can one person really make a difference in this country of 250,000,000 people? The life of General Daniel O. Graham, who passed away on New Year’s Eve, gives a stunningly affirmative answer.
Dan Graham, whose first love was the cavalry, liked to quote an old proverb. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of the shoe, the horse was lost; for want of the horse, the battle was lost.
That proverb defines his place in history. For want of Dan Graham, Ronald Reagan would not have had the vision of a defense against ballistic missiles called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI); for want of Reagan’s leadership, the United States would not have had a project called SDI; and for want of the SDI project and the threat of what it could do, the Cold War would have been lost.
It is now clear that we won the Cold War when Mikhail Gorbachev reluctantly concluded that he couldn’t talk Reagan out of SDI (at Geneva or elsewhere), and that the miserable Soviet economy couldn’t match U.S. expenditures for building a nuclear defense. When Reagan called on Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, the media laughed; but SDI turned that “pie-in-the-sky” prediction into reality.
The Democratic-controlled Congresses never voted the funds to deploy SDI, but they did tolerate limited funding for research and development. Fortunately that (combined with the collapsing Soviet economy) turned out to be enough to checkmate Gorbachev.
General Graham had a much-decorated 30-year military career that included service in Germany, Korea and Vietnam and was capped by serving as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In retirement, he rejected lucrative offers from defense contractors and dedicated his life to American national defense.
As Ronald Reagan’s military adviser in his 1976 and 1980 campaigns, Dan Graham laid out for his candidate the folly and culpable negligence of the Federal Government’s leaving America totally undefended against incoming nuclear missiles. Graham’s coaching led Ronald Reagan to articulate the crucial question on March 23, 1983: “Would it not be better to save lives than to avenge them?”
America’s national grand strategy, developed by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the early 1960s, was still in 1983 totally based on killing Russians instead of on protecting the lives of Americans. This strategy, called Mutual Assured Destruction, was known by its appropriate acronym MAD.
This theory proclaimed the notion that the way to avoid nuclear war was (a) not to build any defensive weapons, but instead (b) to threaten the Soviets that, if they fired their nuclear missiles at us, we would retaliate with our offensive nukes and kill tens of millions of Russians. If this scenario ever took place, tens of millions of Americans would die because our government had done nothing at all to protect them.
MAD was a suicide pact — a strategy of revenge, rather than defense. Dan Graham said there must be a better way. The better way developed by Graham was originally called High Frontier (because space is the high frontier of America’s future), and was later called SDI. It is a plan for a layered defense, in which non-nuclear weapons shot from satellites in space and from ground bases in this country would destroy enemy nuclear missiles in flight before they incinerated Americans.
Dan Graham had the vision that a defense was both essential and doable, he was the salesman who persuaded Ronald Reagan and other public officials and opinion makers that it was sound political and military strategy, he assembled the scientists and engineers who proved it would work, he raised the funds to do all of the above, and he was a veritable machine grinding out refutations of the attacks launched on High Frontier/SDI by those determined to mislead the public with deceptive criticisms.
General Graham had to fend off the Ted Kennedy claque who tried to ridicule High Frontier as “Star Wars,” and the liberal Democrats who are viscerally opposed to spending any money on defense. Graham had to withstand opposition from Paul Nitze and the internationalists who opposed SDI because they sought nuclear disarmament through international agencies, and from the arms control lobby, which had a vested interest in continuing their jobs attending international meetings where they tilted about arcane nuclear weapons statistics.
President Clinton vetoed the defense authorization that would have funded SDI, claiming that it is “on a collision course with the ABM treaty.” That document is a relic of the Cold War, which continues to impose MAD on us and restricts our constitutional right to “provide for the common defense.” The nuclear threat today is from attacks by the several rogue nations that now possess ballistic missiles. The ABM treaty cannot protect us against them, but SDI can.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” General Daniel O. Graham had the vision for a “Defense that Defends.” As a fitting tribute to a great patriot, let us work to make it a reality.