Bruce Chapman

Ethic Cleansing

The Clinton honeymoon is hardly underway and the Society of Permanent Busybodies is already questioning the integrity of his Transition Committee. They want to know: How can Vernon Jordan, former head of the Urban League and co-chair of the transition, presume to give advice on presidential appointments when he serves on the board of a tobacco company? About the time Read More ›

Happy Birthmother’s Day

Wall Street Journal; New York; May 10, 1985; By ; Edition: Eastern edition Start Page: 1 ISSN: 00999660 Abstract: But you could not bring yourself to abort your baby. And it also became clear to you that you were in no position to raise a child alone. My wife and I know from the adoption agency that you quit school Read More ›

The Adoption Option Needs Sound Nourishment From Bush

EVEN if the Supreme Court does not change Roe vs. Wade in some way that greatly decreases the number of abortions performed, America faces a rising number of out-of-wedlock births. They are now nearing 900,000 a year - one out of four births in our country. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 children are cycled through foster-care homes, some for their whole childhood. But adoption, the policy, is an orphan, relatively unfunded and poorly advertised. In the Reagan administration, the president sincerely supported adoption, calling it ``the forgotten option.'' Among those forgetting it, however, were key White House aides and most officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. They believed, cynically, that adoption and the abortion issue were synonymous in people's minds, and that such issues should not be raised, except when unavoidable. Adoption and abortion, indeed, are connected subjects, but they also are separable. Adoption has its own history, identity and claims. Those who are ``pro-choice'' certainly should encourage the choice of adoption, especially in light of the huge number of out-of-wedlock births that have developed, even after the Roe vs. Wade decision. ``Pro-life'' people should take responsibility for the children who result when abortion is averted. Adoption alone cannot solve the whole problem, of course, but it can help. Read More ›

Is the U.S. Ready For European Political Integration?

If economic integration in Europe is still a novel topic for most Americans, however, political integration in Europe is truly terra incognita. Political union is the aim of the European Community, and one that many EC leaders are eager to hurry along after 1992. But the implications of a full political union have not been studied in detail by the United States, they are certain to impinge upon our NATO defense alliance, the West's role in encouraging liberalization in Eastern Europe, and chances for a military understanding with the Soviets. Political union, Western leaders would agree, must not proceed in a way that damages present defense unity. Should the Soviets think that the North Americans could be decoupled from their European partners, the domestic Soviet rationale for accommodation with the West (``If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'') would be undermined. -- One source of trouble will be neutralism. The European Community includes neutral Ireland, although the Irish are a long way from the Iron Curtain and no one minds their neutrality much, including the Irish. Read More ›

Careful Trade Contacts Will Encourage Chinese Freedom Forces

Two decades ago, the Port of Seattle decided to trade with the People's Republic of China, a business relationship that now has positioned Washington as the biggest exporting state to the PRC (nearly $800 million in 1988), and one of the biggest importers from that country (over $1.21 billion). Puget Sound ports are closer to China than are California's, and Northwest business people have a sustained personable style that results in the long-term trust the China trade requires. Now comes an opportunity for the Puget Sound region to become the major U.S. gateway for the burgeoning China trade in the 21st century. The PRC has asked to follow up contacts with Washington officials, such as Secretary of State Ralph Munro, and with private citizen groups, such as the Spokane-based Citizen Ambassador Program and the Washington State China Relations Council, and send an exploratory trade mission to Seattle. Read More ›

The South Rises, Joining the GOP

FOR the century and a quarter of the Republican Party's existence, the largest stumbling block to control of Congress has been the Democratic "Solid South." Along the populated states on either side of the Mason-Dixon line, as GOP analyst John Morgan notes, Americans long voted the way their ancestors fought in the Civil War. In the 11 old Confederacy states the only traditional Republican districts were in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina and Tennessee that once supported the Union cause. Last week's remarkable congressional elections suggest that the South may be uniting again, but this time behind the Republican party. It is enough to make Jefferson Davis spin in his grave - and William Jefferson Clinton chew his nails. In 1960, the U.S. Senate seat vacated by newly elected Vice President Lyndon Johnson was won by Republican John Tower and the present congressional realignment really began. Civil rights controversies and the weight of Great Society programs pushed many Dixiecrats into the GOP column after Barry Goldwater's defense of states' rights in 1964. Read More ›

The ‘Soft Tyranny’ of Hidden Taxation

THE issues of scandals, term limits, Haiti, Iraq and crime dominate the news and TV ads this campaign season. However something deeper and mostly unarticulated may be doing more to shape the nation's politics. The decisive issue of 1994 could well be people's continuing frustration over their inability to get ahead financially - and their conviction that government is both directly and indirectly hampering them. The large, increasingly middle-aged middle class finds salary increases scarce and restructuring layoffs common. If these are prosperous times, people wonder, what will the next recession bring? With many ordinary families turning over to government at various levels almost half their incomes (roughly 25 percent federal income tax, 15.3 percent Social Security, 8 percent state and local sales tax, plus property taxes and assorted special taxes and fees), it becomes harder and harder for the baby boomers who have so shaped political trends in the past to see how they can afford to send their children to college or save adequately for retirement. Polls show that voters no longer are impressed by politicians' offers to satisfy their personal concerns with still more government programs. That is part of the reason why Democrats, as the party that traditionally defends the utility of government action, are in particular trouble this year. Even now-standard efforts by congressional candidates to avoid a negative national trend by "localizing" campaigns may backfire. Localizing usually means showing how the incumbent can "bring home the bacon." But as voters watch television accounts of this going on all over the country - Sen. Ted Kennedy holding up giant posters of federal checks he is delivering to particular constituencies and Speaker Tom Foley boasting of road contracts and police positions brought to Spokane - they see that it is they who are paying for all that bacon and that the price is too high. Yesterday's bacon is becoming today's pork. Read More ›

The Hidden Fears of High-Tech Learning

IN THE 1920s, President Calvin Coolidge declared, "The business of America is business." In the 1990s it might be at least as true to say that the business of America is learning. Constant adjustment to change - coping with new facts and ways of doing things - has become the norm in commerce as computer hardware and software is introduced, adapted and, later, replaced. Now the high-tech revolution is coming to education. You might think that everyone would be thrilled. The high-tech motto of "better, cheaper, faster" sounds like an admirable aim for general school reform. But talking to many educators, business people, high-tech manufacturers, government officials and even parents, one soon realizes that below the surface many of them are as anxious as they are hopeful. There are new software products that recognize what kind of learning style works best for a student and adjusts accordingly. Some, for example, can help kids get over very specialized reading problems. On the other hand, for the established scholar and writer there is the entire three-volume Oxford English Dictionary on disc for a third of the cost of a hard-cover copy, and the manufacturer throws in several other reference works for good measure. Dozens of new products like these are appearing monthly, many of them produced in the Seattle area. Read More ›

Pass National Service, Cripple Charity

Drawing on a moral tradition going back to the Bible, and wending through the American founding and the young republic described by Alexis de Tocqueville, this ideal has created what some call a "mediating" institution between the profit sector and the government. Now the government proposes not only to compete with this sector (as in the Vista program), but to invade it directly. Under President Clinton's national service bill, politically appointed boards chosen by state governors would funnel federal funds for service jobs to selected private and civic groups. Imagine you run a private charity. If it is chosen to participate in the national service program, you've hit the jackpot financially. But if your charity, like the great majority, is not chosen, your cause will find itself trying to compete with the federal treasury. Americans familiar with the notorious Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of the 1970s should find the prospects for unabashed political patronage, and even corruption, obvious. Incapacitating the nongovernment charitable sector further, the national service bill allows (read, "encourages") the programs it backs to raise additional funds from private sources. Imagine trying to raise money for a private charity when the government's endorsed charities, blessed by your state's governor, can offer donors federal "matching money," prestige and public recognition as incentives to fund them instead. Read More ›

‘Let’s Draft Everybody’ – National Service vs. Real Service

THERE she is, a sweet, but emotionally overcome young woman from the New Jersey Youth Corps, being consoled with a hug from the president of the United States. Onlookers in a flag-decked classroom beam at this latest exciting moment in the new political production, "The Selling of National Service." It is the kind of scene repeated in photo-opportunities nationally as the White House hustles its plan to have college loan recipients pay off Uncle Sam with government-approved service. The consequence is a distinctly American tradition of committed, creative and effective community service. As figures from the Gallup Poll and the respected group Independent Sector show, in recent years Americans actually are giving more money and time to charities. And because they give it as they wish - not as they are directed by government - the voluntary service sector is more popular than either the profit sector of society or the government sector. Read More ›