- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

40 years after the Kerner Report

It’s encouraging that the editors (“Race in America, 40 years out,” Editorial, Feb. 29), recognize the substantial contributions of the Kerner Report, especially its insistence that “racism in America exists, and matters.” But their argument that the report’s remedies were mostly failed big-government approaches designed to increase dependency is curious.

The editorial tells us that the “Kerner standard” was based on the view that what black Americans needed was “not help making it into society, but a respite from society; in effect, they should be pensioned off…” Yet central to the report’s recommendations, as The Times piece acknowledges, was the call for a million new jobs to be created in the public sector and another million in the private sector — along with large increases in money for job training.

Why, exactly, would creating 2 million new jobs and offering the training to put people in them amount to “pensioning off” black Americans? How could putting the unemployed to work be equated with offering them a “respite from society”?

The editorial argues that the Moynihan Report of 1964 had a better understanding of the roots of the ills of the black community — “broken families.” But although it’s often forgotten, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, unlike The Times’ editors, never made the mistake of separating the problem of broken families from the larger economic forces that helped to create them.

On the contrary: Mr. Moynihan traced the troubles of inner-city black families directly to the destructive effects of joblessness, and his report was designed in part as a brief against what he later described as the “intolerable” levels of unemployment in America.

The failure — and the tragedy — is not that we put this central recommendation into practice, but that we didn’t. Had we done so, the bifurcation within the black community that the editors decry wouldn’t exist in the form it takes today. We are still paying for this default, and we will continue to pay until we summon the political will to put full employment back at the center of our national agenda.

ELLIOTT CURRIE

Co-chair

Eisenhower Foundation Kerner Commission 40th Anniversary

Task Force

Washington

Catholic schooling

If Edd Doerr of the oddly named Americans for Religious Liberty were truly interested in the liberty of Catholic and other parents who wish to provide their children with a religious education, he would be in favor of allowing such parents the liberty to use their own educational dollars for that purpose (“Aiding Catholic schools,” Letters, Friday).

Sadly, he’s content to use the economic compulsion of the tax system to force these parents to either send their children to public schools that inculcate his peculiar values, or to pay twice to obtain the kind of education for their children that should be the right of all parents to choose.

ALEX BROWN

Springfield

You say you want a revolution?

According to the article “CEOs defend their high pay on Hill” (Web site, Saturday) written by Jim Abrams of the Associated Press, three corporate executives “defended raking in hundreds of millions of dollars despite contributing to the subprime crisis that has their companies reeling from losses and the nation on the edge of recession.”

Today, chief executive officers earn more than 200 times the pay of the average worker. What justifies this? Do companies in America benefit by the same proportion? When does the welfare of the country begin to outweigh the drive for stockholder returns?

Furthermore, per the article, we had CEOs “profiting handsomely at a time when their companies were losing billions of dollars and stock values were plunging.” Other countries would either jail or execute these so-called robber barons. We allow them to be rewarded. This is clearly the fault of public servants.

Were there any public officials anywhere in the United States who watched this financial fiasco unfold? Did they speak up? Can any government regulator read between the lines when studying the financial reports of companies?

Or is it just easier to feign ignorance so one avoids at all costs stepping on greedy capitalist toes? Our country is heading for social catastrophe, and no one in government is stepping up to take charge and offer solutions. As Thomas Jefferson said: “Every generation needs a new revolution.”

Let us hope and pray it is bloodless.

JOE BIALEK

Cleveland

The National Security Cutter

In the article “Coast Guard delays cutter over radios” (Page 1, Tuesday), there were numerous factual errors. This article misrepresented the current status and future plans of the National Security Cutter (NSC) project. For example:

It was suggested that radios aboard the NSC are faulty and have caused delay in the delivery. The alleged faulty radios work fine.

Regarding terrorist eavesdropping, none of the NSC’s classified systems will be operated until certified to federal standards. The assertion that the “systems approach” precluded successful delivery of assets with similar C4ISR is belied by the recent acceptance of the HC-144A Ocean Sentry TEMPEST-certified aircraft and mission package.

Cost growth in the NSC project was primarily related to post-September 11 necessary requirements changes, not structural flaws.

The inference that the NSC will have hull buckling is baseless. Since the contract was awarded, the NSC has been under construction for three years. This is typical for a first-in-class naval combatant. With projected acceptance in May 2008, the crew has been assembled, trained and is ready to “breathe life” into the cutter. They will then devote themselves for the following 18-24 months to ensure that this cutter is ready for operational service. In the end, I am confident that the National Security Cutter will be the most technologically advanced and capable cutter the Coast Guard has ever built.

If I can help in the future by providing information about any of our acquisition programs, please do not hesitate to contact me.

REAR ADM. GARY T. BLORE

Chief acquisition officer

Coast Guard

Washington

Education and parental involvement

Over the years I have read Cal Thomas’ opinions regarding his support for home-schooling. His Commentary column (“‘Coming out’ in K-12,” March 5) and Janice Schell’s letter “A warning to parents” (Saturday) show palpable disdain for parents who send their children to public schools.

I support parents’ choice to home-school and admire their commitment and patience. Mr. Thomas and Miss Schell, however, fail to realize that there are numerous reasons that parents, like my husband and I, choose not to home-school. They should not make blanket judgments regarding parental choice.

The overriding factor in any educational environment is parental involvement. Parents across the country with children in public schools deal with the establishment’s liberal agenda, but we need to recognize that not all public schools are the same.

I have found that each school has its own character, and my husband and I have been generally pleased with our children’s education in the Fairfax County Public School system, not only in academics, but also in the extracurricular activities that have supported their positive growth through the years.

KAREN BATCHELLER

Springfield

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