Congressman Paul Ryan was on The Larry Kudlow Radio Show this past Saturday to discuss his new plan, Expanding Opportunity in America. Congressman Ryan and Larry Kudlow discuss ideas going back to Jack Kemp, and the Congressman even refers to Outcry In The Barrio, a great program I have written about and observed. Plenty more on that later, but listen to the interview and let me know what you think.
Tag Archives: Opportunity
Newly nominated Nebraska Republican Senate candidate, Ben Sasse, wrote an op-ed today in the wake of his very impressive victory this past Tuesday.
In seeking to fulfill these pledges, I am inspired by the example of a great leader, Jack Kemp. Kemp believed the only way to fight big government was with bigger ideas. He saw the work ethic as the core of our American identity and our basic humanity, and he saw the American dream as equality of opportunity for all.
We must see, Kemp said, the image of God in every child, the seed of creativity planted in every one of us.
Sasse will be a great asset to the US Senate once he’s elected in November.
By Jack Kemp
July 17, 2006 for Townhall.com
Last week I warned the Republican Party that failure to pass the Voting Rights Act extension would further alienate African-American voters. Thankfully, the VRA passed. My warning now is this: Failure to address the legitimate issue of immigration reform could also do great harm to the Republican Party. At this critical moment in the immigration debate, Republicans need to examine the role they are playing in this great national issue.
In many respects, the way Republicans position themselves on immigration will determine whether the party retains the mantle of majority leadership. Will we remain a party that governs – that offers practical solutions to the problems facing the country? Or will we revert to the harsh rhetoric of criminalizing illegals and even those who provide services, albeit unwittingly? Immigration – including the robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing and the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country — is a fact of life in the United States today. And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest-worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.
Some counsel that Congress should start with tougher enforcement and border security but wait to create a guest-worker program or address the illegal population. Only in that way, it is said, can we avoid the mistakes of the failed 1986 immigration reform.
In fact, the lesson of 1986 is that only a comprehensive solution will fix our broken immigration system. The 1986 legislation combined amnesty for 3 million illegal immigrants with a promise of tougher enforcement, particularly in the workplace. But the law did not recognize the need for future immigration to meet the demands of a growing economy, and the new enforcement never materialized. Twenty years later, illegal immigration is unabated. While immigrants continue to be drawn to the jobs created by our economy, they have no legal way to enter the country.
As a native son of Southern California, my past knowledge with guest-worker programs bears this out. Illegal immigration reached a peak in the mid-’50s, and more than a million people were apprehended trying to cross the border in 1954. Then Congress expanded the Bracero work-visa program, creating a way for 300,000 immigrants to enter the United States legally each year.
This new legal flow replaced the old illegal influx, and by 1964, Immigrantion and Naturalization Service apprehensions had dropped to fewer than 100,000. As the Congressional Research Service noted in 1980, “Without question, the Bracero program was … instrumental in ending the illegal alien problem of the mid-1940s and 1950s.” The Bracero program and the 1986 failure point in the same direction: A comprehensive solution is the only real and lasting way to address immigration. The American people understand this, which is why in poll after poll they choose a comprehensive approach over one that relies on enforcement alone. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Americans prefer a comprehensive plan to an enforcement-only proposal by 50 percent to 33 percent.
Of course, there are things in the Senate bill that need fixing – and we must stand strong in favor of assimilation. New immigrants need to learn English, U.S. history and the historic principles that have made this country great.
President Reagan, who was in favor of strong borders, once remarked that “a nation without borders is not really a nation,” but he constantly reminded us that America must remain a “beacon” and a “shining city on a hill” for immigrants who continually renew our great country with their energy and add to the nation’s economic growth and prosperity.
Americans and immigrants share the same values of work, family and opportunity. There is no reason to fear the newcomers arriving on our shores today. If anything, they will energize what is best about our country.
The only way to realize America’s vision is through comprehensive immigration reform legislation. I urge the House and Senate to work out their differences and help make our nation one of respect for the law as well as a nation of immigrants and to meet the demand of the American people that we act on this critical issue in a comprehensive and compassionate way.
By Jack Kemp
September 27, 2004 for Townhall.com
It has been a long time since the federal government made a serious effort at urban renewal and development. The efforts that have been made, moreover, have been piecemeal and consequently have produced mixed results.
That’s why I have joined with fellow former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Kent Colton, former president of the National Association of Home Builders, and Nicolas Retsinas, the director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, to produce a book, “Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy.”
This project came together because we all agreed on the gravity of the nation’s housing problem. Sure, homeownership is at an all-time high, and that is great news, but for those yet to own a home, particularly those on the bottom of the income ladder, there is much work yet to be done.
In our book, we put forth a set of recommendations that reflects our shared vision for a national housing policy. We wanted this policy to be not just bipartisan, but pragmatic, plausible and actionable – with the underlying rationale being that our nation’s housing programs and policies should and must support individual access to opportunity. We understand that homeownership is the linchpin of the American Dream.
Home ownership allows Americans of even modest means to put down roots in the middle class. But, home ownership is more than that – it provides the keys to financial independence and wealth accumulation.
In our report, we outline in detail a 12-point agenda that includes programs to end chronic homelessness, revive public housing, increase the use of housing vouchers and eliminate bureaucratic hurdles to affordable housing, just to name a few. More specifically, we endorse the creation of a National Housing Trust Fund. We feel that the trust fund would help ameliorate the increasing burden of demand for low-cost rental housing outpacing supply in many markets across the country. The trust fund would be used to support the production, preservation and rehabilitation of 1.5 million affordable housing units over the next 10 years. At least 45 percent of the trust fund monies would be earmarked for housing affordable to extremely low-income households.
Another key proposal is a federal homeownership tax credit. This concept has the support of President Bush and should receive broad bipartisan support in Congress. And, one more key proposal is the elimination of regulatory barriers to the production of work force housing. The reason for this proposal is that many communities presently use zoning and other regulations to preclude the production of work force housing. To remedy this problem we propose linking funding incentives within federal transportation programs and the HOME and Community Development Block Grant programs to the production of work force housing. We also seek to promote the formation of public, private and nonprofit coalitions to facilitate barrier removal and facilitate the assembly of urban land for housing and economic development purposes.
Taken together, we hope our recommendations will help shape a broader dialogue on urban renewal. President Bush has articulated the broader issue as creating an ownership society within which there will be specific opportunity zones, which would include many of our nations’ economically distressed urban centers as well as rural areas and the territories. A substantial piece of that effort is the creation of a special collaboration with the National Urban League to create an entrepreneur network, which will include one-stop centers for business training, counseling, financing and contracting. A number of federal agencies including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency and other agencies will help provide resources and outreach for minority enterprise.
Finally, on a more macro-level, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R.-Wisc., have introduced legislation to jump-start the infusion of capital into these areas with their National Enterprise Zones legislation. Their legislation would “greenline” designated areas for pro-growth tax treatment on income, savings and investment within the zone as a means of fueling economic growth so that opportunity zones and our more specific recommendations will produce maximum positive results.
With presidential leadership, I have no doubt that these seemingly disparate ideas, working together, will help pave the way toward homeownership, opportunity and economic growth to our nation’s cities and other economically distressed areas of the country.
By Jack Kemp
December 22, 2003 for Townhall.com
The year 2003 will be remembered as a year of war and conflict, and it will be measured as a turning point in the war on terrorism. The year began with a great debate about whether to go to war in Iraq and culminated with the capture of Saddam Hussein cowering like a rat in the corner of an 8-foot hole in the ground. Between those two bookends much has happened, and as the year comes to a close, we continue to fight remnants of the Baathist regime, the fedayeen and other international jihadists trying to use Iraq and our friendship with Israel as the tinder to ignite a new worldwide conflagration.
Afghanistan continues its struggle to stabilize after U.S. military surgery cut out the Taliban cancer. But it is still too soon to know whether the cancer was fully excised or whether the patient remains in only temporary remission. Meanwhile, we remain in a standoff with Iran and North Korea over development of nuclear programs and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And the threat of terrorism continues to percolate with bombings in the Saudi kingdom, in the streets of Turkey and with those Iraqis associated with the coalition. Despite all of the uncertainty and challenging problems, there is still much to be thankful for here at the dawn of the 21st century.
As Americans, during this holy season of Christmas and Hanukkah thanksgiving begins with our young men and women at arms who voluntarily, when called upon by their commander in chief to fight, made the sacrifice, and some the ultimate sacrifice of life itself, to defend the free world against a regime believed to be a threat to world peace. Our thanks continue for those soldiers who remain steadfast in a low-intensity war zone now that major hostilities are over. They persist against enormous odds attempting to help people of another land achieve the kind of freedom that we Americans too often take for granted – our God-given right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.
This is also the time of year to remember loved ones lost. In just the last few weeks, America lost two towering figures on the American political stage, and I lost two close personal friends – Robert Bartley and Sen. Bill Roth – both of whom played critical roles in the Reagan Revolution. From the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, Bartley led a one-man army with little more than a pen with a singular yet profound mission: “free men, free markets.”
Similarly, Roth, a champion for the taxpayer and a guardian against government waste, fraud and abuse, played a critical role in passing the Roth/Kemp/Reagan tax rate reductions in 1981. Roth also succeeded in enacting his signature legislation, the Roth Individual Retirement Accounts, and guaranteeing an enduring legacy among tax reformers. It is not an exaggeration to say that there would not have been a Reagan Revolution without two field generals named Roth and Bartley.
This year’s end also gives us time for introspection, to put things into perspective and to plan for things to come. Gazing backward, I find great reason for optimism. Looking at the global condition during the last 100, 50 or even 30 years, there is much reason for hope and optimism. In 1900 the average life expectancy was only 30 years; today it’s 67. Global poverty rates have declined more in the last 50 years than in the previous 500 years combined. The global economic pie has expanded from $4.98 trillion in 1950 to more than $33 trillion dollars by 2001. And, according to Freedom House, the number of free countries has doubled from only 43 in 1973 to 89 countries today. Furthermore, the report states, “The evidence of the ebb and flow of democracy during this 30-year period indicates dramatic changes in the global political landscape in the expansion of freedom.” And, according to journalist Gregg Easterbrook, the air, water and landscape is cleaner and greener than ever.
Staring forward into the future, I believe freedom and democracy ultimately will encompass the world, or at least be taking solid root, hopefully by the end of this decade. That is not to suggest that there will not be troubles along the way. Our future is not preordained, which is why men and women of good will must act on their beliefs and why we must remain ever vigilant in the pursuit of our ideals of liberal democracy uber alles. And it is also why we must be willing to live and trade freely with all the risks and dangers that entails.
The most urgent issues currently facing the global community are international terrorism, which destroys the spirit; protectionism, which stunts trade and destroys opportunity; and unnecessary, man-made abject poverty, which persists in far too many nations. As Secretary of State Colin Powell, for whose rapid recovery from surgery we all are praying, stated many times, “Lifting humanity out of poverty is one of the greatest moral challenges of the 21st century.” By continuing to champion global democracy, peace and prosperity, we can further freedom for all and bring hope to those who presently have none.
Speech delivered at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California.
Abraham Lincoln believed you serve your party best by serving our country first. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot think of a better way of serving our nation than by electing Bob Dole President of the United States of America.
And by the way, this time let’s reelect a Republican Congress to help Bob Dole restore the American dream. That’s what is important in 1996. It’s just that we need to re-elect our Republican Congress.
Tonight, here in San Diego, Bob Dole and I begin this campaign to take our message of growth, hope, leadership and cultural renewal to all Americans.
As I said in Russell, Kansas, Bob Dole’s hometown, last Saturday, we’re going to take our cause from the boroughs of New York to the barrios of California. We’re not going to leave anyone out of this cause and this campaign.
We’re going to carry the word to every man, woman and child of every color and background that today, on the eve of the new American century, it’s time to renew the American promise and to recapture the American dream, and to give our nation a new birth of freedom with liberty, equality and justice for all. That’s what it means to be a Republican.
Tonight, I’m putting our opponents on notice. We’re going to ask for the support of every single American. Our appeal of boundless opportunity crosses every barrier of geography, race and belief in America. We’re not going to leave anybody out of this opportunity
We may not get every vote. Now, listen to me for a moment. We may not get every vote, but we’ll speak to every heart. In word and action, we will represent the entire American family. That’s what we must be all about.
And so, in the spirit of Mr. Lincoln, who believed that the purpose of a great party was not to defeat the other party. The purpose of a truly great party is to provide superior ideas, principled leadership and a compelling cause, and in that spirit, I accept your nomination for the Vice Presidency of the United States of America.
Thank you. OK, I accept, I accept, I accept. I had to say it.
Our convention is not just the meeting of a political party; our convention is a celebration of ideas. Our goal is not just to win, but to be worthy of winning.
This is a great nation with a great mission, and last night we nominated a leader whose stature is equal to that calling, a man whose words convey a quiet strength, who knows what it means to sacrifice for others, to sacrifice for his country, and to demonstrate courage under fire; who brings together all parties and backgrounds in a common cause.
In recent years it has been a presidential practice when delivering the State of the Union address to introduce heroes in the balcony. Next year, when Bob Dole delivers the State of the Union address there’ll be a hero at the podium.
There is another hero with us tonight. He’s here in our hearts, he’s here in our spirit. He’s here in our minds. He brought America back and restored America’s spirit. He gave us a decade of prosperity and expanding horizons. Make no mistake about it, communism came down, not because it fell, but because he pushed it.
Thank you, Ronald Reagan. The Gipper.
Our campaign — for just a moment, let me talk about this campaign, this cause — is dedicated to completing that revolution. I’m sure he’s watching us. So let me just say to him, on behalf of all of us who love him, thanks to the Gipper.
And tonight is the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole, and all the great Republicans who precede us and upon whose shoulders we stand, we begin our campaign to restore the adventure of the American dream.
With the end of the Cold War, all the “isms” of the 20th century — Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Socialism, and the evil of Apartheidism — have failed, except one. Only democracy has shown itself true to the hopes of all mankind. We must be that party
You see, democratic capitalism is not just the hope of wealth, but it’s the hope of justice. When we look into the face of poverty, we see the pain, the despair and need of human beings. But above all, in every face of every child, we must see the image of God.
You see, the Creator of All has planted the seed of creativity in every single one of us, the desire within every child of God to work and build and improve our lot in life, and that of our families and those we love. And in our work, and in the act of creating that is part of all labor, we discover that part within ourselves that is divine. I believe the ultimate imperative for growth and opportunity is to advance human dignity.
Dr. Martin Luther King believed that we must see a sleeping hero in every soul. I belive America must establish policies that summon those heroes and call forth their boundless potential and that of the human spirit. But our fullest potential will never be achieved by following leaders who call us to timid tasks, diminished dreams and some era of limits.
You see, every generation faces a choice: hope or despair — to plan for scarcity or to embrace the possibilities. Societies throughout history believed they had reached the frontiers of human accomplishment. But in every age, those who trusted that divine spark of imagination discovered that vastly greater horizons still lay ahead.
You see, Americans do not accept limits. We transcended those limits. We do not settle for things as they are. We are intent on succeeding.
I learned this as a lesson as a young boy growing up in the street in Los Angeles, California. My dad was a truck driver.
My daddy was a truck driver. He and my uncle bought the truck, started a trucking company, put four boys through college. From them and my mom, a teacher, I learned to never give up. Now I want you to know tonight, from the bottom of my heart, to me, faith, freedom and family, as well as life, are the greatest gifts of God to all humanity. It is precious and we need to be that party.
Today America is on the threshold of the greatest period of economic activity, technological development and entrepreneurial adventure in the history of the world. We have before us tomorrows that are even more thrilling than our more glorious of yesterdays.
And yet the genius of the American people is being stifled. Our economy is growing at the slowest pace in any recovery in this century. The income of working men and woman in America is dropping or stagnant. And there’s kind of a gnawing feeling throughout our nation that — in some way, for some reason — just something wrong.
Our friends in the other party say the economy is great. It’s moving forward. It’s moving, like a ship dragging an anchor, the anchor of taxes, and excessive regulations and big government and bureaucracy.
They say it’s the best we do and the best we can hope for. But that’s because they have put their entire trust in government rather than people. They want a government that runs our lives, runs our businesses, runs our schools. You see, they just don’t believe in the unlimited possibilities that freedom can bring.
Today, the Democratic Party is not democratic. They are elitist. They don’t have faith in people. They have in government. They trust government more than markets. And that’s why they raised taxes on middle income families. That’s why they tried to nationalize health care. That’s why that today they say they are “unalterably opposed” to cutting taxes on the American family.
That’s the problem with elitists — they think they know better than the people. But the truth is, there’s a wisdom, there’s an intelligence in ordinary women and men far superior to the greatest so-called experts that have every lived. That’s what our party must be all about.
The Democratic Party is the party of the status quo. And as of tonight, with Bob Dole as our leader, we are the party of change.
Our first step will be to balance the budget with a strategy that combines economy in government with the type of tax cuts designed to liberate the productive genius of the American people.
Now, of course, the naysayers in the Clinton White House say it can’t be done. They’ve got to say that. They don’t know Bob Dole and they don’t know Jack Kemp.
As Bob and I have said before and will continue to say throughout this campaign, with a pro-growth Republican Congress, balancing the budget while cutting taxes is just a matter of presidential will. If you have it, you can do it. Bob Dole has it. And Bob Dole will do it.
You can count on it.
And guess what? And guess what? And guess what?
All the critics aside, I’m going to be with him, at his side, every step of the way. And so will you, so will you.
But this is just the beginning. But this is just the beginning. This is the first step.
We’re going to scrap the whole fatally flawed tax code of America, and replace it with a flatter, fairer, simpler, pro-family, pro-growth tax code for the 21st century. We can do it.
And guess what? Guess what? Guess what? That’s rhetorical. You don’t have to answer.
We’re going to end the IRS and its intrusiveness as we have known it these past 83 years.
We’re going to start with a 15 percent across-the-board tax rate cut. There’s going to be tax relief and a $500 per child tax credit. We’re going to cut the capital gains tax in half, and not apologize for it.
We’re going to take the side of the worker, the side of the saver, the entrepreneur, the family. The American people can use their money more wisely than can government. It’s time they had more of a chance, and we’re going to give them that opportunity, that chance.
That’s what this is all about.
Here we are, on the eve of the 21st century, in the middle of that technological revolution that is transforming the world in which we live. But how can it be that so many families find themselves struggling just to keep even, or just to get by?
And I want to say this from the heart — that as long as it takes two earners to do what one earner used to do, how can anybody say this economy is good enough for the American people?
Our tax cut will mean that parents will have more time to spend with their children — and with each other. It means that a working parent can afford to take a job that lets them maybe be home when the kids come home from school. It means that the struggling, single mother in the inner city of America will find it easier to get out of poverty and to work off the welfare system which is a drag on her hopes and aspirations.
We cannot forget, my friends, that a single mom and her children in this country cannot be left out of our great revolution for this country.
The American society as a whole can never achieve the outer- reaches of its potential so long as it tolerates the inner cities of despair. And I can tell you that Bob Dole and Jack Kemp will not tolerate that despair in our nation’s cities.
I read the account by a reporter — I read the report — when I was at Housing and Urban Development, I read the account of a reporter of his conversation with a 10-year-old child at Henry Horner public housing in Chicago, which I had had the honor of visiting.
The reporter told in his book that he asked the little boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. The little boy said, “If I grow up, I’d like to be a bus driver.”
He said, “If I grow up.” He said “If” — not when. At the age of 10 he wasn’t sure he’d even make it to adulthood.
Think how much poorer our nation is, and deprived of, not allowing that child to reach his or her potential. And those like him. Think how much richer our nation will be when every single child is able to grow up to reach for his or her God-given potential — including those who come to America. Including those who are willing to risk everything to come to this nation.
My friends, we are a nation of immigrants. And as the former president of Notre Dame University, Father Theodore Hesburgh, said, the reason we have to close the back door of illegal immigration is so that we can keep open the front door of legal immigration.
That is what it means to be in America.
You see, our goal is not just a more prosperous America, but a better America. An America that recognizes the infinite worthwhile of every individual and, like the Good Shepherd, leaves the 99 to find the one stray lamb.
An America that honors all its institutions — the values that moms and dads want to pass on to their children.
An America that makes the ideal of equality a daily reality — equality of opportunity, equality in human dignity, equality before the laws of mankind as well as in the eyes of God.
An America that transcends the boundaries between the races with the revolutionary power of the simple, yet profound idea to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We must remember all that is at stake in America’s cultural renewal — not just the wealth of our nation but the meaning as well.
Today, more than ever before, America’s ideals and ideas grip the imaginations of women and men in every corner of the globe. And isn’t it exciting — isn’t it exciting to think, that it’s 1776 — only this time all over the world?
You know, President Reagan spoke of America as a shining city on a hill, a light unto nations. And in decades past, so many of those who looked for that light did so from behind a wall and barbed wire, and tyrannical regimes.
Now, because the American people stood strong, those people are free.
Freedom is not free. It’s never guaranteed. Our nation and its president must be strong enough to stand up for freedom against all who would challenge it.
A world of peace. A world of hope. That’s what America’s economic and cultural renewal means at home and around the world. This is what our cause is all about. This is why we’ll elect Bob Dole the next president. This is why we need a Republican Congress.
And I want you to know, the other night I was honored, I was so honored to be part of that tribute, so meaningfully to President Reagan. Afterwards. Mrs. Reagan said she was touched by my calling Ronald Reagan the last lion of the 20th century. Well, I said history will record that.
I believe America is fortunate that last night you, and you, and you nominated a leader worthy of succeeding President Reagan — a man with the strength, the determination and the vision to do the job that lies ahead.
And I want you to know tonight from the bottom of my heart, I believe Bob Dole will be the first lion of the 21st century.