- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2002

It is becoming very hard for independent thinkers to embrace the American left these days. Over the holiday season, we were barraged with articles and TV news spots about the growing legion of homeless Americans stories that were designed to make us feel guilty. The usual suspects were photographed at public shelters or on the streets. Most of the articles implied that more government funding is the solution and that the root cause of the problem is the bad economy.
Of course, this is not true. By almost any measure, the homeless who are victims of addiction and/or mental illness comprise the vast majority of Americans who don’t have shelter. The only way to help these poor souls and their kids is for the government to demand that they seek treatment for their debilitating conditions. Tax money should be used to fund therapeutic-educational centers, and if a homeless person declines the offer, he or she loses the safety net.
The left is also pounding the drum on public education. The state of Pennsylvania is taking over the school system in Philadelphia because the Philly school boards can’t cut it. And the reason they can’t cut it is that there is little pressure on teachers and students to perform. In the past 10 years, government expenditures on public education have risen 50 percent to nearly $650 billion a year an astounding sum. Yet test scores in many states remain stagnant. And in the inner cities, the situation is often a disaster.
But the left led by the teachers’ unions wants even more money from the government. Instead of reorganizing and insisting on across-the-board discipline and special tutorial classes for kids who are at risk, the school boards, in general, are fighting desperately to keep the patronage system chugging along. It is a national disgrace.
Even more disgraceful is the amount of money we send overseas in the form of humanitarian aid. Did you know that the AIDS epidemic in Africa is America’s fault? If we would only send more money and drugs to those countries thousands of lives would be saved. How many times have you heard that?
Does anyone in his right mind believe the $9 billion in humanitarian aid we’ll send overseas next year will get to the sick people? Is there one country in Africa that can be trusted to use the money and drugs responsibly? Can you name one?
And then there’s the Arab world. Liberal pundits are screaming for more American money to be sent to Muslim lands so we can educate the folks in the ways of democracy. This kind of thinking plays in the world of Peter Pan, but come on.
Consider this: In 1999, the Clinton administration sent more than $70 million in assistance to the Afghan people. Boy, that was money well spent. Does anyone believe the Taliban made sure the money got to the poor folks? Did you check out Mullah Omar’s compound in Kandahar?
This guilt game played by the left is the biggest fraud perpetuated on the American taxpayer in history. Most Americans are struggling to keep solvent. Taxes gut take-home pay, and big-city living usually requires enormous expenses. Yet the left wants higher taxes but resists disciplined accountability.
I believe many Americans, including this correspondent, would support massive spending of tax dollars if the money would fix social problems and make the world a better place. But the brutal truth is that we don’t have the solutions to most of the world’s dilemmas, and this “spend more money” philosophy is simply designed to make the left feel better about life.
It is a shell game extraordinaire, and we are the nuts.

Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and a nationally syndicated columnist.

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