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Politically correct liberals fear that they only have 11 more months
to finish their assault on all that makes America good. Because in
January 2001, they and I believe that a new, conservative president will
take over the White House. As a result, they are escalating their
attack and showing their true, socialist, colors.

At the heart of the liberal socialist belief system is the idea that
success is bad, wealth is evil and merit is wrong. They believe in
divide and conquer, so long as they end up on top. Their latest target
is part of the bedrock of the American dream. Hold on to your hats, my
friends, because the liberals are attacking that most American of
ideas. They are attacking the idea that people should be rewarded
because of what they have accomplished, not by skin color or gender.

On Monday, the Knight Ridder Newspaper chain published a story by
Tony Pugh entitled “Wealthy Get Large Share of College Aid: Grants
shifting to merit rather than financial need, study says.” Let me share
with you some of what Mr. Pugh has to say:

    Washington — As parents across the country rush to meet March
    deadlines for college financial aid applications, many are in for an
    unpleasant surprise.

    At the expense of those with lower incomes, colleges and universities
    are giving about three-fourths of their grants to middle- and
    upper-income students – whether they need financial aid or not -
    according to a new study.

    The trend reflects the growth of “tuition discounting” or “merit
    aid,” in which institutions offer annual grants ranging from $3,000 to
    $5,000 to attract academically superior students, regardless of their
    need. The practice generates revenue and helps increase a school’s
    academic standing by attracting better students, which, in turn, helps
    to recruit more prestigious faculty.

I don’t understand what’s wrong with this picture. From where I
sit, this is great news. Those who work the hardest in school for good
grades will get some help to go to college. Those who don’t take high
school seriously won’t get help. Everyone who has financial need will
get help, but that help may be as loans, not scholarships.

When I went to college, my parents paid as much as they could and
loans and work-study jobs made up the difference. I financed my law
school and business school degrees with a combination of my money and
borrowed money. Now, the liberals say that is all wrong. They believe
that the only children who should get a free right are the children of
the poor. Forget about the child who excels in physics, or chemistry or
math. Those tests aren’t fair anyway because they are racially biased.
No, let’s reward poverty and punish success. If you think that I am
overstating their case, read on:

    However, when coupled with recent tuition tax breaks for the
    middle class and a shift in federal student aid from need-based grants
    to loans, merit aid further reduces money available to help low-income
    families finance undergraduate education.

    “Colleges and universities are turning their backs on the principle
    of meeting financial need as they adopt programs, such as merit aid,
    that are aimed mainly at more affluent students,” Michael McPherson,
    president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., recently told a U.S.
    Senate committee. “It is increasingly clear in our view that,
    unchecked, this trend (merit aid) will lead to growing stratification in
    U.S. higher education and increasing inequality of income and
    opportunity in society at large.”

There you have it, as clear as day. The dream of socialists is
to lower the bar, lower our standards, reward poverty and punish hard
work. These same socialists believe in the inheritance tax as a way to
strip people of the fruits of their success. These are the same people
who define, by the way, wealthy people as those who have a family income
over $75,000 a year.

In India, China, Japan, Korea and countless other countries, the idea
of punishing merit and rewarding poverty is incomprehensible. In those
countries, you either do well in school or get a job early. Full stop.
What has been the result of this “harsh, merit-based” system? The best
graduates from these countries out-perform the best graduates from
America. Because we have allowed the socialists to take over our
schools, they are transforming the American dream from one that awards
merit to one that rewards failure.

This fight is serious, my friends. We have seen what happens when
the socialists win. Just look at the old Soviet Union, where street
sweepers made the same as heart surgeons. If the socialists win, we
lose.

Millions of people come to this country each year to cash in on the
American dream. They leave countries where corruption, nepotism and
socialism prevent them from achieving their potential. They know that
the United States is the only country in the world where you can improve
your status and the status of your children in your lifetime.

Tens of millions of Americans have the same dream. They and their
children sacrifice and work hard to improve their performance. We
cannot let the socialists punish academic success. We cannot let the
socialists continue to disparage merit. We must fight for the most
noble of ideas — that our creator gave each of us gifts that we can
develop or squander. However, that if we squander these gifts, it is
not the job of
government to “make things right.”

Let us support financial aid programs for deserving students who are
poor. Let us make sure that all of our children who can benefit from a
college education get one. However, let’s fight to the death the
socialist’s war on merit. Merit is good. Merit is right. Merit must
win.

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