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I have been blessed to spend the past week with my 81-year-old
mother. She has helped me appreciate how much has happened in the past
eight decades. She has also inspired me to seize the time as we move
into the 21st century.

My mother represents that special generation born just after WWI,
raised during the depression and forged by WWII. She, the grand daughter
of a slave, has lived long enough to survive legal segregation and have
her son teach at a university that once refused to accept blacks.

We all stand on the shoulders of our parents and those who came
before us. If we are to truly honor them, we have a responsibility to do
more for our families, our country and our world.

God has given America the opportunity to shape how the next few
decades will unfold. Today, America is the world’s only superpower. In
time, China will challenge us. If we use God’s gift correctly, China
will fight us for economic supremacy. If we squander God’s gift, that
fight will be to the death. What happens is up to us.

Since the 1960s, America has being living on a moral blank check. The
bill is past due. It is time for us to reclaim our morality and demand
higher, not lower, standards from everyone.

Far too many Americans believe that character doesn’t matter. Bill
Clinton has taught many of them a painful lesson about what happens when
you turn your back on decency and honor. I pray that we Americans have
the strength to elect a new president who returns character, discipline
and decency back to America’s presidency.

Welfare has been another curse of the second half of this century.
Welfare is perhaps the best example of “the road to hell is paved with
good intentions.” My mother told me about how hard it was to be poor
during the depression. She also told me about how resourceful it made
you, because there was no welfare or Social Security or Medicare. Yes,
there were FDR New Deal programs, but they were nothing like the
cancerous growth that welfare has become.

I pray that our next Congress revisits welfare reform and cuts it
back again. America will be stronger when only those men and women who
are truly unable to take care of themselves receive welfare. We must
stop rewarding men and women for breeding kids out of wedlock. The
studies have been done and the facts are in. Children do better when
both parents raise them. America will be stronger when it stops
subsidizing illegitimacy.

Some might think that I am mean spirited. They are wrong. I spent
seven years as a legal services attorney. I know what it is like to be
poor and work with the poor. There is nothing worse than to steal the
will to work from an able-bodied adult. That is what America’s welfare
program has done to millions of Americans. It is time to put a stake in
its heart and end welfare as we know it.

Why else do you think that “illegal” immigrants can come to America
and immediately get jobs. Would this happen if we didn’t have a welfare
system that rewards far too many Americans for not working? Why is it
that we now have jobs that no “real” American will do? It’s welfare, my
friends, the true opiate of the masses.

As I drove my mother around Austin, our housing boom amazed her. She
also noticed that most of the construction workers were of Latino
descent. In fact, contractors in Austin say that the construction
industry would stop if we sent all of the “illegal” workers back to
Mexico.

I know that some want to do just that, but that’s not the solution.
On the low end, these men and women come here to do work that
“Americans” don’t want to do. Until we make hard work respectable for
Americans again, sending immigrants back won’t get our houses built, our
dishes washed or our lawns mowed.

On the high end, immigrants do work that far too many Americans can’t
do. The sad fact is that we can’t get enough of our children to take
courses in the hard sciences like math, physics, chemistry and
engineering. As a result, America has hundreds of thousands of jobs in
high tech that we cannot fill with Americans. They just don’t have the
skills.

So we have a simple choice: We import people with the skills to keep
our economy growing, or we keep them out and plunge America and the
world into a depression. For better or worse, the solution to our
immigration problem is not more laws to keep the foreigners out. The
solution is for us to demand more of our own.

That leads me to the NAACP. The NAACP wants us to eliminate
standardized college admission’s tests. They believe that these tests
are racially biased, but I don’t get it. In the Internet age, you either
are computer literate or are not. How can we tell who has the right
stuff if we test no one on the hard stuff? Anyway, I’ve never figured
out how testing people on math, computer programming, engineering or
processor design is racially biased in the first place. Electrons and
numbers can’t tell skin color, ethnicity or sex.

The sad fact is that the NAACP is out of touch with reality. They
don’t understand the rules of the new economy. The NAACP’s
recommendation is a recipe for disaster and we must reject it out of
hand. If the NAACP is to have any relevance in the 21st century, it must
leave the battles of the 1960s behind and join the Internet age.

Speaking about a failed policy, let’s talk about Cuba. For 40 years,
Fidel Castro has savaged his people, consigning them to a 1950′s time
warp devoid of hope. America’s economic boycott of Cuba has clearly not
brought him to his knees. In fact, I believe that the boycott is the
only reason Castro has stayed in power.

It is time for the Cuban-American community to allow us to end the
boycott. After all, we have a much more powerful weapon to use to
overthrow Castro. It’s called capitalism. If we open up full
trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba, her people will quickly
realize how much the godless communists have stolen from them. As Cubans
experience American style prosperity and start to travel to the U.S.,
they will quickly abandon Castro’s corrupt political machine. That’s
what happened in Eastern Europe. There is no reason we can’t use
capitalism to liberate Cuba.

God has blessed us, and those who are blessed have a responsibility
to give to others. I want America’s gift to the world for the 21st
century to be economic growth, and I am not talking about foreign aid. I
am talking about capitalism and the opportunity to create wealth. After
working in every part of the world, I know that is what most people
want.

Fathers and mothers want to know that if they work hard, they can
improve their lives and the lives of their kids in their lifetime. When
that is possible, they have fewer kids and lead better lives.

That is our reality in America. In America, maids and busboys drive
better cars and live in better houses than professors in many developing
countries. Let’s work hard to make the American dream a reality in as
many other countries as possible in the next decade.

As we cross over to the 2000s, remember this. If you want to end
illegal immigration to the U.S., invest in freedom and capitalism in
Mexico and the rest of Latin America. If you want to end poverty, hunger
and hopelessness in the U.S., invest in higher standards and lower
welfare checks. I’ve seen this formula work in many countries. It is my
prayer for the world that we Americans will make this our gift to
ourselves and everyone else.

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