Of Course, Congress Can Cut Federal Spending!
Last November’s election was a mandate to cut federal spending — not just a wish for Balanced Budget Amendment promises, but a mandate to wield the ax. The American voters have finally awakened to the fact that Big Government can’t solve our problems. It’s not only too costly and fails to do the job, but it is counterproductive to let the bureaucrats try. Here are some suggestions for federal spending cuts.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a prime example of special-interest boondoggles, waste and corruption, and spending taxpayers’ money on projects that are offensive to the majority of the American people. Just when we thought we were beyond being shocked by the NEA’s funding of obscenities, more travesties have come to light.
The Hirshhorn Museum in our nation’s capital recently housed an exhibit by Bruce Nauman and his touring torture chamber, featuring homoerotic clowns, four-letter profanity in neon, and gruesome images designed to shock. The NEA was one of the sponsors for this exhibit, which the press described as “nihilism and cultural destruction.” Meanwhile, an NEA subsidized performing arts venue in New York City called P.S. 122 featured Ron Athey in “Four Acts,” which includes intense and bloody sadomasochism, blasphemy, and a disgusting mocking of Holy Communion.
The second plaything of the liberal cultural elite that should be zeroed out by the Appropriations Committee is the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has disgraced itself by spending the taxpayers’ money to develop public school “standards” that have been roundly condemned on all sides as an outrageous attempt to replace history with Politically Correct propaganda. The new American History “standards,” for which the National Endowment for the Humanities put up $2 million of the taxpayers’ money, were so bad that they were condemned by the Senate on a 99 to 1 vote.
Of course, Congress should cut off all money for Goals 2000, and repeal the 1994 Goals 2000 Act, too. That is the legislation that seeks to impose the Politically Correct goals (instead of knowledge and the basics) on all schools in the nation. The Federal Government should not be in the business of writing or imposing curriculum on schoolchildren.
The next item that should be marked for defunding is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which receives annual funding of $285.6 million to help support the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio and their member stations.
But PBS has been fighting back, using our tax dollars for its lobbying. Ads and tag lines running across TV screens aired by PBS affiliates have generated hundreds of phone calls to Congressional offices urging continued funding of PBS. One such tag line says, “If you like Big Bird and if you want to preserve this program, please call [Congressman] Bob Livingston.” (Livingston is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.)
The truth is that Big Bird isn’t in the slightest danger of having his wings clipped. Children’s Television Workshop, Inc., the producer of Sesame Street, makes almost a billion dollars a year in merchandising and related revenues, and pays its top executives over a half million dollars a year.
According to Laurence Jarvik of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, “The Three Tenors, Big Bird, Barney, Bill Moyers, and [‘Civil War’ and ‘Baseball’ producer] Ken Bums all make millions,” and “many PBS stations garner an annual surplus which would be called profit anywhere else.” Barney is the third richest entertainer in the United States, netting $50 million a year.
The Public Broadcasting Service gets only 14 percent of its financial support from the taxpayers, which could easily be offset by royalties from its profitable programs and sales of related merchandise, improved efficiency, selling commercial air time, and eliminating low-priority programming and grant activities. Whatever rationale ever existed for taxpayer support of an educational television channel has now long since disappeared in the face of the variety of channels that thrive without taxpayer subsidies, including the Arts & Entertainment Network, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and the new History Channel.
Congress should abolish the Legal Services Corporation, which costs us all $400 million a year. It has forfeited our support because of the way taxpayers’ money provided to help the indigent so often ends up providing personnel to push liberal political causes.
Congress should defund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a section in the last year’s Omnibus Crime Act, under which $1.8 billion of pork will flow directly to radical feminist groups. VAWA is based on false and dishonest statistics, and is primarily a device to put feminist activists on the public payroll where they can advance their radical agenda and make the rest of us pay for it.
Congress should abolish all handouts to private interest groups such as the National Council of Senior Citizens (which receives 96 percent of its budget from federal grants, yet endorsed Senator Chuck Robb (DVA) in his reelection campaign), and Planned Parenthood (which reportedly receives some $400 million, amounting to 36 percent of its budget, from federal grants).
There is no end to the ways that the new Republican majority can cut federal spending. Tell your Congressman you want all these programs eliminated now!
What’s Going On in Coed Tents?
In addition to defunding liberal boondoggles, Congress urgently needs to reverse the many ways that the U.S. Armed Services have succumbed to radical feminist ideology. The Armed Services have the responsibility to maintain combat readiness; their mission should not include engaging in social experimentation.
For starters, Congress should deal with the problem that the U.S. Armed Services are encouraging sexual misconduct and other social problems that result from immoral behavior. In our present mission in Haiti, some male and female soldiers of all four services are now required to sleep side by side together in small tents without any separation between the cots.
When women began to advance closer to the front lines last year, the advocates of a gender-neutral military stoutly maintained that such extreme social experimentation would never take place. Defense Secretary William J. Perry wrote Senator Strom Thurmond last September 28: “Under no circumstances will male and female service members be berthed in the same compartment. Field operations will apply this same guidance, tailored with common sense to meet the specific situation.”
Was Perry misleading Congress then, or has Pentagon policy dramatically changed? Maj. Cindy Sito, a U.S. Army spokeswoman in Port-au-Prince, says the coed sleeping arrangement is used “because we like to maintain unit integrity.” She added, “In my opinion, it’s easier to run a unit if you’re able to reach out and touch everybody.” Isn’t that chummy? Boys and girls are reaching out and touching everybody!
Some enjoy the new close quarters. Army Spc. Christopher Moran blurted out, “Some of the women are a little uptight about it, but it really doesn’t bother us.”
Other Army spokesmen who commented on this new policy tried to shift responsibility to commanders in the field or onto servicemen and women themselves. Lt. Col. Charlotte Kimbal, who runs the division’s supply center, commented, “Some choose to segregate; some do not.”
But it’s not that simple. What if those who “choose to segregate” are stuck in the same coed tent with fellow soldiers who do not choose to segregate?
The men and women in the Army are in their years of peak sexual interest and desires. Some are married, some not. The Haiti assignment includes periods of unpleasantness, loneliness, and boredom. It is wrong from every point of view to expose these soldiers to maximum temptation in close quarters during long hours of darkness.
The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces heard testimony on the sexual problems that resulted from the assignment of men and women to Saudi Arabia. Sgt. Mary Rader testified that “it was very heavy.”
Pentagon officials argue that the coed tents in Haiti do not represent a big change from past practices, but that’s not true. As recently as the Gulf War, for the most part men and women in the field were housed in sleeping quarters that afforded minimal privacy.
The U.S. Navy is going to enormous expense to reconfigure berthing areas on ships so male and female sailors can be separated. If it is not OK for males and females to sleep together at sea, why is it OK on land?
In addition to the obvious possibility of something less than “good order and discipline” under the sheets, there are also problems of sexual harassment and (the reverse side of the coin) false claims of sexual harassment. Coed tents afford opportunities for both.
Servicemen and women probably run the gamut of different standards of behavior from those who feel the lack of privacy acutely, to those who are trying to remain faithful to their spouses despite temptation, to those who think casual sex is run-of-the-mill behavior, to those who would use the opportunities afforded for free sex, preferential treatment, or malice.
Of course, the servicemen and women can’t complain. This is the Army, remember? You do what you are told and don’t complain (or file a lawsuit) about conditions. Furthermore, any complaint that has anything to do with gender is sure to result in demerits on your conduct record, especially if you are a man.
The new policy is hardly a winner with the wives of the men assigned to Haiti. One, whose letter has been made public, said bluntly: “Our military spouses give our country sacrificial gifts by willingly being separated from their mate and actively supporting their mission. In return, we must honor this gift by not unnecessarily tempting their spouse or ordering them to live in a manner that they cannot morally approve of.”
The Army shocked the American people during the Gulf War by deploying to Saudi Arabia mothers of six-, eight-, and ten-week-old nursing babies. That nonsense was the direct result of the feminist ideology of gender equality which teaches that there isn’t any difference between the mother and the father of a six-week-old baby.
In Haiti, the U.S. Armed Forces have advanced to the next stage of gender-neutral nuttiness. A war or an international police action that requires sending mothers out to fight, or requires male and female soldiers to sleep together, isn’t worth fighting.
Congress should terminate this social experimentation and investigate the Pentagon’s dishonest answers about women in the U.S. Armed Services.
Has the Navy Lost Its Manhood?
Our American military officers are so handsome in their uniforms, always conveying an image of strength and discipline. They are the front line of warriors ready to charge into battle to save us from the bad guys of the world. So it really hurts to admit that they are a bunch of wimps, ignominiously retreating in the face of attack by the radical feminists.
For 20 years, the feminist movement has been demanding men’s jobs, including assignment to military combat duty, regardless of women’s physical inability to perform equally with men. Sexist words such as “manliness” and “lady” must be stricken from our vocabulary.
Those who dared to broach the subject of women’s lesser upper body strength, shorter gait, and disability due to pregnancy were treated with hisses and scorn. When little girls continued to prefer dolls and little boys to prefer guns and tanks, the toy manufacturers were accused of a conspiracy to perpetuate outmoded stereotypes.
ABC has made the remarkable discovery that there is, indeed, a sex difference between girls and boys. The hour-long TV documentary aired in February 1995 was a real breakthrough in exposing how the feminist movement and its voluble leaders (Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and Gloria Allred) are downright ridiculous in their demands for societal changes to conform to their radical ideology.
But the U.S. Navy is still stuck in the radical feminism of the 1970s. Grown men who should know better, men who have an image of themselves as “officers and gentlemen,” have lost their manhood in dealing with their mission of combat readiness and lost their gallantry in dealing with women, especially pregnant women.
For ten months, a 20-person working group sat around a table debating in which week of pregnancy a sailor should be removed from a warship at sea. Should a woman go to war in the 10th or 20th week of pregnancy? Up until then, her commander can treat her with “swab the deck” orders and other indignities to which male sailors are customarily subjected.
What kind of men are we training in the U.S. Navy? Can’t we expect American seamen to treat a pregnant woman with deference, help and courtesy? “Let me lift the load for you, ma’am.” “I’ll be glad to haul in the rope for you, miss.” Alas, deckhands are not treated with such courtesies.
Now, the chief petty officer must ponder his dilemma. If the female sailor is in her 19th week, she must be ordered to do all the heavy lifting just like men. But one week later, she gets flown off the ship to a comfortable facility where she can be appropriately pampered until her baby arrives.
The Navy has announced that five pregnant sailors were removed from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had sailed out to the blue seas with 358 women among its 4,629-person crew. The pregnancies were a big surprise to the Navy high command.
The five on-board pregnancies are only part of the story. Another 24 pregnancies occurred during the six months between the issuance of the orders to sail and the sailing date, ten of them in the last three weeks prior to deployment. Could this be the woman’s way of going AWOL?
Some Navy officers believe that the duties of a sailor are incompatible with pregnancy, but they were overruled by Navy Secretary John Dalton’s new policy statement, which “recognizes that pregnancy is a natural event that can occur in the lives of Navy and Marine Corps servicewomen” and that “pregnancy and parenthood [regardless of marital status] are compatible with a naval career.” Now hear this! It’s “natural” for sailors serving at sea to be pregnant!
Secretary Dalton specifically avoided any language urging service members to limit pregnancies at sea. Instead, his solution is to order more sex education for sailors in the hope they can be “gently persuaded” not to have babies while they are on sea duty, or just prior to deployment. Never mind the evidence from the Navy’s own studies that sex education programs do not have any impact on pregnancy planning.
The four-page document just signed by Dalton actually provides incentives, not disincentives, to more shipboard pregnancies. It calls for “a more favorable climate for active duty women who become pregnant by granting them priority medical care and entitling them to housing allowances to subsidize the cost of off-base housing.” The rules also stipulate that pregnancy “shall not be the basis of downgrading marks or adverse comments” in a service member’s record.
Commanders have complained that shipboard pregnancies disrupt job assignments, causing “unplanned losses.” Under the new policy, commanders won’t be permitted to make such reports any more.
If the U.S. Navy wants respect from the American people, it will have to do battle with the ridiculous feminists and once again assert both its manhood and its gallantry. If the new Republican Congress wants respect for its stand against illegitimacy among welfare recipients, it should take a consistent stand against illegitimacy in the Navy.
The Party’s Over for Big Business
Big Business has always worked politics like a bipartisan power game. Its image has been Republican, but in fact it has always played for high stakes in both parties. President Clinton’s eagerness to save the Big Banks’ Mexican investments confirms that he is and has always been beholden to powerful financial interests.
In the 1994 Congressional elections, Big Business followed its usual pattern of giving at least two-thirds of its Political Action Committee (PAC) money to powerful incumbents (a.k.a. liberal Democrats with seniority on important committees). Big Business’s smart political consultants and Inside the Beltway lobbyists didn’t see the November 8th earthquake coming and thought it was smart to play ball with the “ins” instead of the “outs.” As a result, most of the 73 freshmen Congressmen won their seats without Big Business’s help.
In 1993 and ’94, the voice of establishmentarian Big Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was cuddling with the Clinton Administration in trying to pass Clinton’s socialized health bill. It was no accident that the Clinton bill included a rich windfall for Big Business; its provisions would have transferred the medical bills of Big Business’s early retirees onto the backs of U.S. taxpayers.
This cozy partnership of Big (Clinton) Government and Big Business did not go unnoticed; it contributed to the defeat of Clinton’s socialized medicine. This bad strategy came hard on the heels of Big Business’s mistake in sitting out the fight against Clinton’s 1993 tax increase, thereby abandoning the unanimous bloc of House and Senate Republicans.
Now Fortune magazine is whining that the corporate community has lost its links with the GOP, that a lot of newer Republicans in Congress “simply don’t like big business.” Party Chairman Haley Barbour says, “Ours is the party of small business, not big business, of Main Street, not Wall Street.”
Fortune also complains that many of the freshmen Congressmen actually own small businesses and won with the support of the Christian conservative movement. And, horror of horrors, most of them are anti-abortion and anti-gun-control.
The next President will be chosen by grassroots voters in the primaries, not by CEOs in the board room. The power center-of the Republican Party has shifted away from insider dealmaking and toward ideological commitment on cultural issues. Of course, economic issues are important, but they will be defined by grassroots voters, not by Big Business.
Conservatives are awaiting some sign of repentance from Big Business for its behavior in backing nationalized health care, the Bush and Clinton tax increases, and the Mexican bailout. Corporate giving of $3.42 to liberal organizations (such as Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women) to every $1 given to conservative organizations indicates the depth of the cultural divide between Big Business and the grassroots.
The political facts of life today are that the cultural issues are more powerful. The average working man and woman cares far more “about such issues as crime and gun control, illiteracy and hostility to traditional values in the schools, job and university discrimination against white males, abortion, in-your-face gay rights, and illegal immigration than about pocketbook issues.
Middle America also cares a great deal about the attacks on our country’s sovereignty, which is imperiled by the World Trade Organization, UN treaties, and putting U.S. troops under foreign command.
Candidates for President in 1996 are already starting to make their announcements. They are living in the politics of the past if they think they can run exclusively, or even primarily, on tax-and-spend issues. To paraphrase Willie Sutton, they will have to commit on the cultural issues because that’s where the votes are.