Tuesday, April 23

The Sun Comes Out Swinging

A banner day for the fledgling Sun. Today's New York Sun is overflowing with hard-hitting and contrarian editorials and opinion pieces. Ellen Bork writes perceptively on the European reaction to Israel, Alicia Colon takes the City Council to task for its spendthrift ways, J.P. Avalon calls for New York City to adopt a non-partisan electoral system, and the editorial staff shoots an arrow of political reality through the heart of President Carter's recent revisionism concerning his ham-fisted handling of the Middle East question.

And, in one of the most unexpected and refreshing editorials I have seen in months, the Sun dares to lock horns with the United Way (and other New York charities) and excoriate them for adopting the political platform of leftist lobby groups while living off the teat of public funding. The United Way, as is reported on the Sun's front page, has recently thrown its clout behind calls for an increase in the federal minimum wage, expanding the earned income tax credit, and holding federal welfare spending steady despite a 60% drop in the number of people on welfare. Worse, in a report entitled "Beyond Ground Zero: Challenges and Implications in New York City Post September 11th," the United Way tries to pass off these policies as necessary responses to the economic effects of September 11th. The problem is that these initiatives were all championed by the report's co-authors, who are a veritable who's who of New York City charities, long before that fateful event. The editorial then proceeds to show how these issues, which are presented as being of pressing need for New Yorkers are more accurately characterized as being of pressing need for the New York charities that are calling for them despite already receiving a significantly higher percentage of their funding (50-70%) from the public purse than the national average (~40%). Don't get me (or the paper) wrong; many of these charities do admirable work. But when the fact that they are overwhelmingly funded by taxpayer money is combined with their increasingly activist political stance, they become ripe targets for an editorial takedown by a paper with the stones to do it. Hopefully this is a sign that the ambitious editorial staff is hitting its stride. I look forward to more goring of sacred cows in the weeks ahead. Two humble suggestions: Al Sharpton or, if that is too easy, the tax-exempt status of the hyper-political NAACP. Have at 'em!

Sorry, no links to any of the Sun's content are available; you will have to buy it yourself or, better, get a subscription--a steal at $2.50/week. And if you don't live in New York City? Well, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't live here.