- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2001

Doubling budget for cures is humane investment

Norman Schwarzkopf's Commentary column urging the Bush administration and Congress to "not delay our efforts" to find a cancer cure, and to double the budget of the National Institutes of Health, was right on target ("To sustain the search for a cancer cure," Feb. 27).

In public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America, two-thirds of the public said they support such a goal. Not only does it improve the health of the public, it also benefits the economy. For example, a 17-year investment by the U.S. government of $56 million in testicular cancer research has enabled a 91 percent cure rate, an increased life expectancy of 40 years and an annual savings of more than $160 million.

At just 1 percent of our nation's budget, medical and health research could be doubled, and still hundreds of billions of dollars would be left for other priorities. Taking aim at disease with research undoubtedly has hit the mark. Can we really afford not to make this investment?





Bush opts for clear principles over divisive rhetoric

The Democrats, represented by House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, offered a rebuttal to President Bush's address Tuesday evening.

The Democratic leadership continues to fight a divisive class-warfare battle, bashing across-the-board tax cuts as being "for the rich," illogically putting debt repayment before tax relief and stirring the emotions of those whose feelings were hurt because their man lost the presidential election. Behind these flames the Democratic agenda is clear: Increase government power using the taxes we pay as working Americans.

Mr. Bush does not hide his agenda behind inflammatory rhetoric. His principles are clear and correct, with the goal of decreasing government power by returning money and control to the states and to individuals.

Mr. Bush's budget and tax proposals deserve the support of all Americans.


Winter Park, Fla.

Temporary visas could create permanent problem

While I am grateful that the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal, finally is being addressed, a workable solution will not be found until the 14th Amendment is reconsidered ("Immigration paradox," Op-Ed, Feb. 28). I applaud the intent of the "guest worker" temporary visa proposal, yet I dread what will happen if it becomes law.

The concept that foreigners will come here to work, pay taxes, send money home and then leave is admirable. However, U.S. citizenship is so prized that thousands risk life and limb to obtain it. This is the reality.

As long as citizenship is bequeathed automatically upon a child born in the United States, the birth function will become a priceless reward for the putative guest worker. An "anchor baby" permits the mother to stay and extend the privilege to her significant other and extended family. Once they're here, don't expect them to return.

According to census data, if nothing is done to discourage foreign influx, the population of the United States will reach 400 million in less than 50 years. This is not the future I want for my children or grandchildren. Immigration is not a "paradox." If left unchecked, it will be a disaster.



Paternity fraud bill is simply matter of fairness

Kathleen Parker's Feb. 17 Commentary column, "Fathers fighting paternity fraud," mentions efforts in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio and Louisiana to provide relief for men fraudulently accused of paternity. At the Feb. 18 hearing of the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee, a more restrictive House of Delegates bill was given a hard time. Even though discussion indicated a man would be able to challenge paternity only within a two-year period, both a National Organization for Women lobbyist and a representative of state child services argued against the bill and for making a man support someone else's child for a full 18 years.

The bill would provide relief from future payments of child support when there is proof of fraud, but without recovery of payments already made. Two Democrats, Sens. Janet D. Howell (from Reston, representing parts of Arlington and Fairfax) and John S. Edwards (from Roanoke) voted against the bill, siding with bureaucratic concerns that if a falsely accused man were permitted to cease paying child support for someone else's children, the mothers who committed the fraud, or the state, might have to shoulder the burden.

Luckily, the bill passed and is awaiting the governor's signature. It is striking that such a simple concept of fairness even requires legislation.



Article gives narrow view of Indian census

The Feb. 20 World story "Census problems add up" gave the impression, based on the views of some isolated individuals, that India's census seeks to distort the country's demographic makeup. That impression is false.

The Republic of India is a multiethnic, multireligious and multilingual society in which the fundamental rights of different minorities are enshrined in a constitution and protected by law. The census is aimed at correctly recording this diversity. Logistically, it is a gigantic and painstaking exercise. More than 2 million enumerators and supervisors will visit about 20 million households in and around 650,000 villages and in more than 5,500 towns and cities. These enumerators and supervisors have been sensitized thoroughly against possible aberrations, such as gender bias, that might influence their findings and also have been fully trained on how to guard against any such distortion.

In the above context, the suggestion that independent and dedicated monitors should move around with the census enumerators is an absurd idea and not at all practicable. Further, the suggestion that members of the "scheduled castes" specific lower and backward castes recognized as historically disadvantaged and given special privileges by the constitution should have the option to state their religion shows ignorance of the provisions of the Constitution of India. Only the subcastes of Hindu society and specified sections of the Sikh community or Buddhists have been placed on the relevant schedule of the constitution. It is thus illogical to suggest that a member of the scheduled caste would make a statement on the census that would mean, in effect, that he is not a member of a scheduled caste.

The 1948 Census Act makes it obligatory for a person assigned census duty to perform faithfully and diligently. It also makes it obligatory for the public to answer all the questions correctly and fully. The confidentiality of the information and the anonymity of the individual and household also are guaranteed by the act. A more thorough study of the census procedure in India would have better served your readers.


Press counselor

Embassy of India


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