A History of Liberal Disasters
A History of Liberal Disasters
By Jeffrey Lord
It's a long list.Add Hillary Clinton's endorsement of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants ("it makes sense") to a very long list.The list? A seemingly unending series of bad policy proposals and loopy values that liberals have championed during the course of decades. What all of these subjects have in common is that they upended common sense in favor of a fit of moral superiority and emotional feel-goodism. They are a history of liberal disasters. All backfired or were proved dead wrong. Sometimes they were outright lethal.
Collectively they are part and parcel of the real reason the once honorable term "liberal" has won such disdain from so many Americans when it isn't being hooted out of a serious policy discussion with laughter. And lying just under the surface of all the current crop of polls that predict a Democrat victory in the race for the White House is the lurking reality that any candidate who makes a point of flying the liberal flag stands a serious chance of being defeated outright. Why, after all, do you think Senator Clinton hemmed and hawed her way through the driver's license issue in last week's debate? Here's just a handful of my personal favorites:
* Forced School Busing
The idea: to raise the education level of blacks by forcibly integrating urban schools with white kids who lived in "segregated" neighborhoods. The result? Disaster. School enrollment in Boston plummeted, the percentage of whites dropping from 65% to 28%. In one urban area after another across the country where forced busing was instituted amidst angry turmoil "white flight" to the suburbs took off, igniting a surge of what liberals now moan as "suburban sprawl." And education? A study by the National Institute of Education could not find a single study that showed black kids were better off as a result. Prominent liberal advocates, of course, sent their own kids to private schools. Slowly, painfully, most busing programs wound to a stop. But the damage -- to the kids, to the neighborhoods and to the cities -- was done
The idea: The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was established in 1935 with the objective to provide welfare relief for needy families and their children. The result? It wound up promoting baby bearing-for-benefits scams, smothered incentive to work, destroyed marriages and created what came to be called a "culture of dependency" that helped devastate the family structure, particularly in the black community. The election of a Republican Congress in 1994 forced the issue to the front, with Speaker Newt Gingrich making it point three of the ten-item Contract with America. Conservatives insisted on a five year lifetime limit to be on the welfare rolls, and a system that led from welfare to work. Only after vetoing the resulting bill twice, as his presidential re-election campaign loomed, did President Clinton sign the conservative reforms. The consequences were dramatic. Welfare rolls plummeted by 57%, costs fell significantly, the work requirement was a success and child poverty rates for African-American families dropped sharply. But again, the damage done before reform was considerable.
* Luxury Tax
The idea: Pushed by liberals in a 1990 tax bill, the idea was to tax big-ticket luxury items and increase government revenue. The result? Buyers of luxuries such as yachts, jewelry, furs and cars stopped buying them in the United States. Among others, American carpenters, electricians, fiberglass and metal workers lost their jobs. Boat building businesses went bankrupt. And the revenue? A projected gain of five million in taxes resulted in an actual loss of $24 million. The luxury tax was finally repealed, but not soon enough to undue the damage to hundreds of thousands who lost their jobs or businesses.