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Jewish World Review June 2, 2000/ 28 Iyar, 5760

Larry Elder

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Mission Impossible: Shaming a victicrat -- "DON'T YOU HAVE ANY SHAME?" thundered Robert De Niro to Congress in "Guilty by Suspicion," a movie about the Hollywood Blacklist.

But toe-tag -- don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts -- liberals show absolutely no shame, regret, or remorse, even when proven wrong. Some recent examples:

Take Proposition 209, the California initiative to outlaw race- and gender-based preferences in hiring, contracting, and admissions into state colleges and universities. During the 209 debate, one local writer whined, "If it passes (209) will make 1996 California look a lot like 1956 Alabama."

The initiative passed.

Total minority admissions at the University of California, post-Proposition 209, barely changed. While the more competitive campuses saw a drop in minority enrollment, the system's less competitive schools picked up the slack. Minorities still enrolled in colleges and universities, started businesses, and found employment. The earth did not tremble. Blood did not flow. And people picked up their telephones and still received a dial tone. Shocking! To those who called Proposition 209 "ethnic cleansing," we ask, don't you have any shame?

What about welfare reform? In 1996, Congress finally changed welfare "as we know it." The bill allowed states, before sending a check, to impose conditions, including a requirement that the recipient seek employment, time limits, and family caps, so that another child does not equal another check.

At last, welfare reform broke the have-a-baby-get-a-check autopilot nature of welfare. So to the anti welfare-reform hysterics, we again ask, don't you have any shame?

Back then, Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., said that the bill would "put one million more children into poverty." He declared, "They're coming for the children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly, and the disabled." Children's Defense Fund leader Marian Wright Edelman, a close and influential ally of Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "Gingrich has declared war on the most defenseless among us!"

The result? We do not now walk down streets riddled with carcasses of dead, malnourished babies and their emaciated mothers. Red-faced, toe-tag liberals credit the good economy, not welfare reform. After all, poverty causes crime, and prosperity equals less welfare equals fewer welfare recipients.

But a recent editorial in the "Wall Street Journal" notes, "During the boom of the 1980s, when the economy created 18 million new jobs, welfare caseloads actually increased by 12 percent. And, during the first three years of recovery this decade, welfare caseloads grew by 700,000 families.

Only in 1994, amid rapid state welfare-reform experimentation, did the rolls begin to decline, going into free-fall after 1996. And they have fallen faster in states with the most aggressive reforms, such as the more than 80 percent decline in Wisconsin."

Nationwide, welfare rolls declined nearly 50 percent, and, no, poverty did not increase.

Nearly half of House and Senate Democrats voted against welfare reform, while almost all congressional Republicans voted for it. This means 50 percent of Democrats failed to understand an essential component of human nature: reward bad behavior and you get more. So to the anti welfare-reform hysterics, we again ask, "Don't you have any shame?"

Look at education reform. Bilingual "experts" convinced the California education establishment that kids, mostly Hispanic, could not learn the way past immigrants did -- through total immersion in English. So, for years, schools placed children in "bilingual education courses," designed to "transition" children into English fluency. But the opposite occurred. Only 5 percent of California's 1.4 million "limited English" pupils transferred annually into mainstream English-only classrooms. Many pupils stayed in "bilingual" classes for up to eight years without ever mastering English. Irate California voters, over the objection of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), passed Proposition 227 to eliminate bilingual education and to encourage learning English through total immersion. The "experts" went bonkers.

A Los Angeles school district bureaucrat labeled the "English-only" proposition cruel and terrifying to kids, whom he predicted might even lose the ability to speak to their own parents! The San Francisco superintendent of schools encouraged bilingual education instructors to defy the law, "It is our responsibility as educators to prevent bad policy from wreaking havoc on our instructional programs." He called jail preferable to implementing an "offensive" and "immoral" law. Oh.

The envelope, please. In 1999, two years after Proposition 227, 10.3 percent of Los Angeles Unified School District's English learners transferred to English-fluency compared to 8 percent during the final year of bilingual education. A recent headline in the Los Angeles Daily News says it all -- "English-Only Works: Record Number of Bilingual Students Achieve Fluency."

What did MALDEF say, having filed a lawsuit to stop English immersion? "Of course, I think it's positive that scores didn't crash," said a MALDEF spokesperson, "but is it really working? It's too soon to tell." Why even bother asking groups like MALDEF whether they have any shame? The answer seems fairly obvious.

They don't.

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© 2000, Creators Syndicate