To be governed…

March/​April 1999 • Policy Report

Make them an offer they can’t refuse
Policy‐​makers in the White House and in the Education Department had met week after week to discuss the State of the Union address, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the main source of federal aid to schools, one that comes up for reauthorization this year), and how to make schools accountable. Clinton, kept informed by memorandum, sent back a note asking, “Anything more on this?”

“We were sitting around,” a participant recounted, “[wondering] what points of leverage do we have,” when out popped an idea: Wield the billions of federal education dollars as an instrument of statutory extortion. Either local schools do what Washington wants, or they can kiss their federal dollars goodbye.

National Journal, Jan. 30, 1999

The Republican rooster crowed and the sun came up
Today is the 3rd anniversary of passage of the 1996 Telecom Act. Modernizing our telecom laws for the first time since 1934 sped up the development of all kinds of new technologies… We should be celebrating the accomplishments of the Republican Congress and how they have improved lives for millions… [Three] years ago we created competition that will keep bringing them new, useful products [such as] wireless phones and E–mail… the Internet… your cell phone… 100 television channels… satellite television… electronic commerce.

—House Majority Leader’s Talking Points for Telecom Act 3rd Anniversary

America for the English!… uh, the English speakers
Maria Cobarrubias… has built her general store into a profitable fixture in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross by catering to a growing Hispanic community…

Cobarrubias was stunned to receive a visit recently from the local marshal, who fined her for having a sign with the store’s name—Supermercado Jalisco—in Spanish…

Sgt. H. Smith, the Norcross marshal, said he has also issued citations to several Korean churches and an “Oriental beauty shop.” Some Spanish words are “acceptable,” he said, while others, such as “supermercado,” must be changed…

“If an American was out there driving by, he wouldn’t know what that was.”

Washington Post, Feb. 6, 1999

And we wouldn’t want that
In an Annandale [Va.] shopping center, Chris Kong did what millions of hard‐​working Asian immigrants have done before him: He opened his own business—Starland Club, a video game store where customers can swap or buy Nintendo and other games. It has been so successful that Kong has since opened another store in Centreville and is scouting for a third Virginia site.

Back in the little fishing town of Sunchon, South Korea, Kong’s brother‐​in‐​law is not faring so well. Shin Sam Ho is looking for a job as an architect at a time when… the nation is struggling to lift itself out of a deep economic recession.

And he got more bad news when he applied for a tourist visa to visit his relatives in Northern Virginia. He said officials at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul rejected him as a bad risk; they concluded that, because he was unemployed, he might be tempted to overstay his visa and work illegally at Starland Club.

Washington Post, Feb. 1, 1999

A Republican for the ‘90s
Gov. James S. Gilmore III will use his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday to reaffirm his Republican tax‐​cutting mission… [and] remind Democrats and Republicans that he is first and foremost an executive who wants to limit the scope of government, even as he spends liberally on college tuition cuts, local school programs, public employee raises, mental health facilities and clean‐​water initiatives.

Washington Post, Jan. 13, 1999

The entitlement mentality begins at home, or in the House
Getting elected to Congress for the first time may be easier than finding a place to live in the District that’s… accessible… to the Capitol…

New members also noted a lack of congressional funding to allay the cost of house hunting, temporary housing, hotel rooms, moving vans and furniture rental.

“There’s no official resources, so you have to use campaign resources or personal finances to locate a place,” [Rep. Mark] Udall said.

“The startling thing is, with all the members of Congress, you’d think they could come up with some [rental] coupon or [apartment‐​referral] plan,” [Rep. John] Larson said.

Washington Post, Jan. 9, 1999

This article originally appeared in the March/​April 1999 edition of Cato Policy Report.
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