Having spent my Saturday a little differently than some of you spent your Saturday, I went to the Cotton Bowl to see Oklahoma defeat Texas. It really is a pleasure for me to be on the home campus of the number one football power of the state of Kansas today.
You know, we have so many Oklahomans who are proud of their Kansas roots, and Kansas had a lot to do with the founding of Oklahoma as a state. As you probably know, the Boomers were those who first really pushed for the opening of Oklahoma territory to individual settlement, and the Sooners those who slipped across the line first; all were based in Kansas. So Kansans have made a great contribution to the settlement of Oklahoma, and because those Boomers that were headquartered here in Kansas who pushed for the opening of Oklahoma territory back in 1889 were successful, there have been thousands and thousands of Kansans ever since who have been able to realize the dream that I know most Kansans harbor deep in their own hearts. They have been able to move to Oklahoma and spend some time with us there.
No seriously, it really is a privilege for me to be here this morning, and to be on this campus. I was just looking at Kansas State's record of Rhodes scholars, and as a former Rhodes scholar myself, you have compiled a great record. Eight of the last nine Rhodes scholars from the state of Kansas came from Kansas State; 22 Fulbright scholars came from Kansas State. First in the Big Eight in Marshall scholarships, first among the nation's public institutions in the number of Truman scholars, and national championship debate at Kansas State. You have so much to be proud of as an example of academic excellence for the rest of the country, and I congratulate you for it.
I am proud to be a part of this series today also because of the name it bears, that of Governor Alf Landon. When you look back at the career of Alf Landon, and you look back at the 100 years that he spent on this earth, he made an immense contribution, not only as a public official, but also as a private person, as a citizen. He helped reorganize state government when he was governor. But most of all, he approached the great issues of his time with a directness, a clarity and simplicity of thought, that enabled him to see the big picture and not get caught up in a morass of detail, with complete integrity and with a real confidence in the potential of this country.
It has been my privilege over the last several years, since we came to the Senate at the same time, to serve with his daughter, your own Senator Kassebaum. Although we are in different parties, we share a very close friendship and have worked together on so many issues. And let me say, there is no one in the United States Senate for whose integrity I have greater respect than hers.
I have seen her in every situation facing tough decisions; I have seen her stand almost alone in some positions where she thought she was right; I have seen her contribution to bipartisanship in foreign policy, in her leadership in the field of education, as the ranking member of that subcommittee in the Education and Labor Committee.
And so both father and daughter have carried into public service those qualities that are most needed for us in this country today, complete integrity, real statesmanship, as opposed to simple partisan politics. And again, our country needs leaders with a desire to appeal to the best that is in us, not to our selfish instincts, not to tell us what we want to hear, not to confuse leadership with simply holding a public office. That is what is so wrong with our country today. In both political parties there are people who read the polls and then try to tell the people the message they think the people want to hear, instead of providing leadership to tell the people what they need to know. If we are going to move the country in the right direction, we need leaders in the tradition of Alt Landon and Nancy Kassebaum.
And so as we think about these qualities and we think about the world we live in, I think you can understand why I think these qualities are so important. These are in many ways the best of times and the worst of times.
Over the last week I have reflected on what has gone on in our nation's capitol, having just had the responsibility of chairing the Gates confirmation hearings of the intelligence committee and then watching the televised hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee along with the rest of you. There have been moments of real discouragement about our process and what has happened to it, the distortion of it. One of the things we must do in Congress is put our own house in order as soon as we possibly can. I watched as these two outstanding Americans, who have come from such humble beginnings, pursued the American dream, and achieved so much were thrown into a situation in which they had to defend themselves. They were almost forced like gladiators to tear each other apart. I think the Congress of the United States has a responsibility not to rest until those people who leaked this information to the press and caused this to happen are brought to justice. That is something we must do.
But while there are times of some disappointment and challenge, there are also times of tremendous excitement for us. I thought one of the best remarks that Bob Gates made in the course of his confirmation hearing was the last remark he made. We asked him to comment on the confirmation process. He said, "Well, Senator, it has been a most interesting confirmation process. The president sent my name up in June to be nominated to be director of Central Intelligence. Here we are in October, still under the consideration of this nomination. Do you realize that just in the course of the proceedings on my confirmation, the entire Soviet empire has collapsed?" And it really helps us realize the extraordinary nature of the times through which we are living, the immensity of the change.
I was talking to columnist Charles Krautheimer the other day over lunch, and he looked at me and he said, "Do you realize what a rare moment we are living in?" I think of Governor Landon who in his 100 years saw some remarkable things, but even in his lifetime he did not live through a moment like we are living through now, a moment in which we are really seeing the world remade. We saw the president talk about the withdrawal of nuclear weapons and the other things that are occurring. In my private conversations with Boris Yeltsin, I have heard him talk about the demilitarizing and the denuclearizing, total denuclearizing, of the Soviet Union. You really are impacted by the idea that we are living in a moment which very few people in all of history have been privileged to live through, a moment in which we have an opportunity in our own hands to really help shape and recraft the world environment in which we are going to live.
When I was a student studying history, I always wondered if those people who lived through remarkable periods of time in history knew that they were living through those moments in history. For example, did those people who were living through the Industrial Revolution come down to breakfast in the morning and look across the breakfast table and say, "Gosh, dear, isn't it exciting, we are living through the Industrial Revolution," or "Isn't it wonderful to be alive during this time of the Renaissance?"
No, people did not realize. It was only historians who looked back at a period of time, and encapsulating all the change, realized it was one of those moments in which the world really did take a change of direction, a change of course. We are different from those people who lived through these periods unconsciously, without full awareness that they were living through one of those great moments in history. We are different. We are living through one of those moments, and we know that we are living through one of those moments. We are conscious of living through one of those great moments of change in history.
I thought about Vaclav Havel, who came to speak to us at a joint session of Congress, and I will never forget how he began his words. He said, "Two months ago I was in my apartment in Prague, and a knock came at the door, and I opened the door and it was the secret police. They came because I had been protesting government policy. They took me away, they put handcuffs on me."
And he said, "I kept asking them, 'Am I under arrest? Where are you taking me? Why are you doing this? How long are you going to keep me here?' They gave me the total silent treatment. They would not speak even a word to me. They took me to the central prison in Prague, they put me into a cell, and when that door slammed shut I did not know if I was going to be there for a week, a month, a year, or the rest of my life. That was two months ago. Here I stand today in the United States Capitol building, addressing a joint session of the United States Congress as president of Czechoslovakia. I have not even had time to be amazed."
And that is the period through which we are passing. We are living through this moment of such immense change in all the relationships of the nations in the world as we have never seen before in the last several centuries, especially without the force of arms. A remarkable period of time. And the question is, will we do a better job of it since we know we are living through this time? Every one of us knows that we understand it. Will we do a better job of shaping the future than those who unconsciously moved through these other great moments of history, now knowing that they were there at the moment of possible change for the world in new directions? One of the things we have to learn is to change our thinking to coincide with all the changes in the world around us.
Sometimes people ask me, as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, "What is the greatest threat facing our national security?" And I am sure they expect me to say Saddam Hussein or terrorism or nuclear proliferation or something else. These are all very real problems. But I always answer them, "I think the greatest danger to us right now is that we will not change our thinking fast enough to coincide with all the changes in the world around us."
One of the things we have to realize is that it is going to take a whole new set of assets to lead the world and to keep our quality of life in the next century, when those who are students here today will be assuming positions of leadership in our country.
Ever since the beginning of the Cold War national leadership has been primarily defined in military terms. As long as there was a Soviet threat, as long as the United States had the military ability to confront it, every country in the world, in the rest of the world, was willing to follow our lead because they needed our help.
Recently I talked privately with a group of our intelligence agents, who are spread out particularly in Western Europe, and they said, "Senator, we have got a real problem." I said, "What is that?" They said, "People we have worked with for years in Western Europe and elsewhere side by side, they are looking at us now and they say, 'We are not afraid of the Russians anymore. That threat's gone; why are you people still here? We do not need you any more.' "
We have understood that decline has really set in in the Soviet Union. Have we understood that we really have had a symbiotic relationship in some ways with the Soviet Union? The fact that they were such a power and such a threat has in some ways put us in the position of world leader and given us the ability to get others to follow our lead, because they needed us in a way that they will no longer feel they need us.
And so we are now entering into a period in which our strength is not going to be defined as much in military terms as in terms of our economic strength and our social strength and the force of our moral example in the world. Are we ready for it? I do not think we are ready for the next century. We are being hurled toward major changes in the lives of each and every one of us, and we do not really even realize it.
Well, let's just look at the record. When the Cold War began we had nine of the top 10 banks in the world, nine of the 10 largest banks in the world. Today we do not have any of the top 20 banks in the world. When you look at other statistics, we had the highest per capita income in the world; now we are down seventh, eighth, or ninth. The Western European countries and Japan have higher per capita incomes.
We had 68 percent of world trade; now we have 18 percent of world trade, and we are struggling to hang onto it. We had the largest market in the world. In 1992, if we do not have the Mexico Free Trade Agreement, Europe will have a larger market than the United States. After 1947 real income for Americans doubled in 28 years. Think about this. It doubled in 28 years. According to the figures, since 1973 real income in this country has gone up at the rate of 1-1/100 percent per year. That means that it will take more than 1,700 years at that rate for real incomes to double again. And, in fact, in the last four years real incomes have declined in the United States.
Look at other measurements. The Tokyo Stock Exchange today carries 41 percent of the value of the world's equities that are being traded. The New York Stock Exchange carries 32 percent. Look at the kinds of jobs we are losing in this country versus the kind of jobs we are creating in this country. In the decade of the 1980s the jobs we lost, mainly in the manufacturing sector, averaged $444 a week in earnings. The jobs we created in the 1980s averaged $272 per week in wages, mainly in the service sector.
Patents and ingenuity, on which we have always prided ourselves, where are we there? Just in 1973, as recent as that, only 19 percent of the patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office were held by non-Americans. Last year 49 percent of the patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office were held by non-Americans, and that is growing all the time. It is especially true in the areas where there is the greatest technological and commercial potential.
And so if we measured the United States by economic strength, and we must openly admit it, we are on the downhill slide in terms of our ability to compete with the rest of the world.
And what about our social strength, which is so important? I remember again another speech by Vaclav Havel. As he was leaving to come to the United States on that very trip where he spoke to Congress, he said at the airport in Prague, "I am going to America, the country that has been our model. I want to try to make Czechoslovakia like America."
Vaclav Havel is a man who loves to wander the streets of Prague, and I was there in April and had the opportunity to do that myself. You can wander all over that city at any hour of the day or night. My wife and I and another couple happened to walk across the city on a Saturday night. We walked from 10:30 until about 1:00 in the morning through neighborhoods rich and poor, through the old section and the new section, and we were never frightened once. Vaclav Havel does that all the time. He leaves Prague saying, "I want to make Czechoslovakia like America."
He landed in the United States after a long flight. He was taken to his hotel in Washington, D.C. It was about 8:30 at night, and the first thing he said he wanted to do was get some fresh air. He said, "I want to go out and walk across Washington." And he was told, "I am sorry, Mr. President, it would not be safe even with your team of body guards. We cannot allow you to go out for a walk in our nation's capital.'
We are going to be the model for the world, when we have those kinds of unmet problems here at home? You know what the drop-out rate in the United States is this past year, the number of those 18-year-olds who did not finish high school before dropping out of school? Twenty-nine percent. Studies have indicated that those who drop out of school are so much more likely to end up in our prisons, to have drug problems, to end up on public assistance. That will cost us the average of $250,000 in social services to repair the damage done to each one of those school drop-outs who do not finish their education. Twenty-nine percent, a third of our population almost. You know what the drop-out rate is in Japan? One percent.
How can we be a great nation if two-thirds of our people are trying to carry the other one-third on our backs? We have got to realize somehow that we are all part of one American community. We may not know that child who drops out of school; we may not know the family. We may have never even driven through the neighborhood where that child lives. We might be afraid to drive through that neighborhood in broad daylight with our windows rolled up and our doors locked. But when that child drops out of school, every single one of us is diminished as an American. We are part of one American family, and we have to realize that.
And so the measurement of the social strength of our country, as well as the economic strength, as we go into the next century into a period in which the leadership and influence of this nation is going to be determined primarily on that basis, and not on our military strength indicates that we have a real fight on our hands to maintain the quality of life for the next generation. We have a fight to maintain the role of influence of our country in world affairs that we have come used to exercising in the course of this century, which is bound to be called by historians the American century. Consider that it is our ideals that have really caused the world to change, not the force of our arms, but the power of our ideas.
And so what are we to do? Are we to stand back and say, "Well, I guess that is it? The American century is behind us. I guess we are going to have to settle for declining real incomes and social problems here at home, as we struggle over who is going to get what share of a pie that is going to be ever shrinking?" Not on your life. This is not the time for us to give up. This is the time for us to go to work. We have to realize we are in a changed environment, and we have to do something about it. We cannot sit back and not change our thinking.
I had a very interesting meeting with my friend, and I use that term loosely, Mr. Vladimir Kryuchkov, the head of the KGB, in Moscow back in April. At that time it was unusual for the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to go into KGB headquarters and to sit down with the head of the KGB. We talked for about two and-a-half hours, and it was the day that the power of the army and the KGB had been called upon by Mr. Gorbachev to stop the demonstrations in the street. Six hundred thousand troops were in the street, and I watched as they pushed those demonstrators out of the square. It was almost like watching a precision marching band at half-time as the KGB moved into formations, divided the group, and then moved in and picked out a person in every little group. They divided the crowd down into little groups of 100 or 200, picked out people that everyone saw, dragged them off, and beat them in view of the crowd; it was sort of an invitation to go home.
I watched all that, and I had that discussion with Kryuchkov, and I saw his absolute self-confidence, that he had such power and that the old apparatus could still make things happen in the Soviet Union. I think I saw the day in which perhaps he was looking at a trial run of the later coup attempt to take over power. He made a serious mistake. He did not know that beyond the bounds of privilege in the Kremlin and in that little narrow world in which he was living the world out there in his own country had changed. That people had ideas and ideals that they were not going to give up, and he could never have things again as they were before.
And so we have got to get ready. We have got to go to work. It is not too late for the United States, and we should not just sit back and bemoan what is going on in this country and bemoan what is happening to the social and economic strength of this country. Let's go to work and do something about it. Those of us in public office have the responsibility not just to decry the problems, but to suggest some solutions. That is what we are paid to do. That is what you asked us for. That is what, as I said, leadership is all about. So what should we do? Well, I want to share some brief ideas with you.
First of all, we have got to change the way we make tax policy in this country. I served, as your president has told you, on the finance committee as well as on the intelligence committee. Now, in 13 years of the United States Senate, we have never had a meeting of the finance committee where we have talked about tax policy and what our competitors in the rest of the world are doing. Never once did we stop to say, "Well, what are they doing in terms of taxing, saving, or investment in Japan or in Germany or in France or in Italy or someplace else?"
When I was the governor of Oklahoma, I will guarantee you, if I was going to look at income tax rates, or cigarette tax rates, or gasoline taxes, or anything else, I was certainly aware of what the tax rates were in Kansas, in Texas, in Arkansas, and in the states around me, because I knew we were in competition.
We are in a worldwide economic competition. Why in the world don't we look at the tax burdens in other countries with whom we are competing to see what they do? Why don't we wake up to the fact that one of the reasons Japan and Germany have investment and savings rates two to three and four times ours, rebuilding their technological base, is because their tax policy encourages people to save and invest in those countries, and ours does not.
For example, I just took a look at engine blocks because we have been losing out in some of the automotive industry. If an American company borrows and invests in new technology to build engine blocks for automobiles and trucks, in five years that company, under our tax laws, will recover 34 percent of their capital investment. In Germany they will recover 87 percent of their capital investment in the same five-year period, and in Japan, 67 percent.
How can we expect to compete? So it is time to change tax policy, bring back devices like the IRAs that were used by 24 million Americans to put aside money to save for their retirement years. Encourage saving, expand it, let people also save for the college education of their children, change tax policy. Look at what the competitors are doing, and begin to encourage through tax policy, saving and investments that are going to be needed to restore our ability to compete.
Something else we must do is internationalize our thinking in all areas of policy. Again, not just in tax policy, but in other areas of policy. We passed the Clean Air Act last year. Now what is going to happen if the United States tries to pass environmental legislation only as a law within the United States? Air and water move across international boundaries, and companies can move from place to place, and they can move their production into countries where it is cheaper to produce because they do not have environmental standards.
Wouldn't it be ironic if in order to improve the environment we passed a law that caused companies then to leave our country and other countries that pass similar laws, and move into the areas of the world where they produce in a cheap but dirty fashion, therefore really increasing the degradation of the environment of the world instead of improving it? We have got to think about ways, for example, of saying, "If you want access to our markets, you are going to have to start using environmental standards in your country that over a period of time move up to match ours." We have to approach it internationally, so we get international standards for environmental protection.
Even in the area of health policy we have to realize that health care costs in the United States again impact our ability to compete in the world. A study was just done, for example, by Chrysler, which produces cars in Canada and the United States. They found that the differential in health care costs alone, what the companies have to pay for health care costs for the employees, means that it costs $900 more to produce the same automobile across the border in the United States than it costs in Canada, simply because of a differential of health care costs. We have to realize that what we do in terms of all of our domestic policy impacts our ability to really compete with the rest of the world. So that is something else we have to do, interna-tionalize our thinking in all domestic policy areas.
Third, we must change the way we give foreign aid and use our foreign policy establishment to help the interests of the United States of America. I was shocked when I sat down and I realized, for example, what we were doing in Eastern Europe. And I think it is incredibly important that we involve ourselves there and help those countries. We are helping them. We have given about $2 billion of your money to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. And I think most of us want to reach out that hand.
You know how we have given the money? Ninety-two percent of the money we have given has been in the form of cash. "Here it is, here is the cash, do with it what you want." Japan and West Germany have given twice as much to those countries as we have, $4 billion. Did they give them cash? No. Ninety-seven percent of the aid from Germany and 99 percent of the aid from Japan was in the form of credits. Credits that could only be used to buy their products, made by jobs in their own countries. Things they needed, things that will go into the infrastructure of those countries. And so when the heavy equipment goes in the new plants, and the transportation equipment goes in, and the telecommunications equipment goes in to the networks that are being built in those countries, it will be with products for those countries, paid for with credits from those countries. And in the future years, when they need spare parts and when they need service contracts, they will go back and buy from those who provided the basic equipment.
Why in the world don't we wake up? Let's stop. Let's help. Let's stop handing out cash and put our products into the infrastructure of these other countries of the world that need our help. We have to start thinking about what to do.
Then we have to use our embassies as economic outposts as well as political outposts. We have to start bringing people with business background and economic and political understanding into our foreign service so that our embassies can be used to promote our economic interests as well.
We ought to do another thing that you are very familiar with at Kansas State. In years gone by we have reached out to agriculture, for example, in our country. We formulated an extension service, experts that could go out from our colleges and universities and elsewhere to help people learn how to produce more effectively. Here we are, we realize we have got to move out into a world environment. We have got to make Americans understand that we cannot just sell our products to ourselves. We are in competition for our own market. In 80 percent of our own market we are competing now with foreign producers. We have to go out and we have to compete with the rest of the world. Most of our small businesses and middle sized business people do not even know where to start.
Let's form a new extension service. Let's have people who will go out and talk to our small business people and our middle sized business people and tell them how to operate in a world trade, what the permits are that they need, what kind of a niche might be out there that they could fill with their own unique product. Let's reach out and use the extension service concept now to rebuild the competitive strength of our economy in the world market.
There are things that we can do, if we just sit down and share our thoughts. Brainstorm as a nation together, understand what we need to do as a people. There are a lot of things that we can do, if we will just think.
We need to realize that our political influence in the world has been tied to the fact that we have been the largest market in the world. And, as I said, if we do not act soon, after 1992 we will no longer have the largest market in the world. And people politically are going to be interested in incurring favor with those nations that are part of the largest market. So what will happen? Our influence will decline. What can we do about it? Where is our natural area of concern?
Asia is forming a trading block; Europe is forming a trading block. Where do we have to go to form our own trading block in our own market? We ultimately will get to free world trade, but blocks are going to be formed in the interim. To the Americas? It is the hand we have been dealt. North America, South America, Central America, this is the area of natural trading relationships and economic partnership with the United States.
We have some remarkable leaders. I just came back from meeting with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico. President Salinas, for example, is one of the great leaders of the world right now. He took a country that had a huge unemployment rate, the highest government deficits in our hemisphere, a huge external debt, $15 billion of money that his own people took out of the country because they thought it was about to collapse, and in the last three years he has balanced his budget, he has repatriated $20 billion in capital, he has five percent real growth, he has cut his unemployment rate in half. We need to wake up to opportunities in our own hemisphere, partnerships in our own hemisphere. We need to realize that we need to work to build a common market here in which America can prosper as the rest of our hemispheric partners prosper.
And we have to think. For example, we have not even looked at our laws. This again is how insular we have been in our thinking. We have to realize, for example, as these countries are selling off all their enterprises that were once government owned the electric companies, the telephone companies, the rest of it that we need to be in there competing in order to have some investment in these companies. But we have laws, for example, that prohibit our utilities from buying utilities in other countries. When Argentina sold off its electric utility company recently, we could not even bid. And so it was a fight between the French and the Germans as to who would buy it. And once they buy those companies, whose generators are going to go into those electrical systems; whose products are going in there? Those countries that end up owning those particular systems and the investors from those countries. We have to wake up. We have to realize. We have to look at the opportunities around us.
And above all, we have to internationalize the education of the next generation, those who are in this room, those who are here on your campus now. We must internationalize education for the next generation. One hundred percent of Japanese students are learning English. They have to learn English before they graduate from high school. Do you know how many of our students are studying Japanese? Last year one-tenth of one percent of our students studied Japanese. I asked in my own home state of Oklahoma, "How many high school teachers are there in the state of Oklahoma certified to teach the Japanese language in the entire state?" The state superintendent of schools told me, "Well, that will not take me long to research, I know her." One, one. One high school in the entire state has a Japanese language teacher.
Students are coming from all over the world to study us. There are 386,000 foreign students at the college undergraduate level in the United States right now learning our language, learning about us, learning about our culture, learning about how we behave as consumers. How many American students do you think there are out in the rest of the world? Less than 50,000, and they are mainly in three countries: France, Germany and Britain. Only about 4,000 in the rest of the world. Do we think we are really going to sell our products to people whose languages we do not speak, to people whose cultures we do not understand?
We are going to have to get out and learn about the rest of the world. The period of time in which we can sit back and arrogantly expect everyone else to learn our culture and speak our language is over. It is a new world. We have to change our thinking. Europe has now declared that by the year 2000 all students in the European community must learn two languages in addition to their own to get ready for this world. While they are doing that, what are we doing? This year eight percent of our college students are studying any foreign language, eight percent. Seventy-seven percent of our universities have no foreign language requirements for graduation from school.
We must change our thinking. I am trying for the first time to pass through the Senate what I call the National Security Education Act. It would provide public funds to allow our students scholarships to study abroad as college undergraduates for at least a semester, so those students whose families cannot afford to send them will have the opportunity to study in another culture and another language. Grants to colleges and universities, to beef up their areas of studies, like Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies, and foreign language studies, and graduate fellowships for students in these fields. We do not even have enough experts to staff the CIA in the State Department, let alone the private sector of this country for the new world in which we need to live and be prepared.
We need to expand the Peace Corps. If we are talking about the influence of the United States not being purely military, they are crying for us to send English language teachers and people to help. It is not only people with the most basic areas of nutrition and health, it is also English language teachers, it is people of all ages who could help teach the Soviets and Eastern Europeans about free enterprise, economics, and all the rest of it from personal experience. They are crying for us to send people. We have a waiting list a mile long. And do you know that this year we will still spend more on military marching bands than we will spend on the entire Peace Corps budget of the United States?
When are we going to realize it is a new world? When are we going to change our thinking? We have to make major changes in intelligence. I see that from my responsibility as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee we have to realize that we have to change; we need to put more emphasis on human source intelligence. We are not going to have soldiers stationed all around the world, already there if a crisis breaks out. We need early warning. We will have a small force back here in the United States, which we have to send rapidly to parts of the world where there are problems. What does that mean? We need early warning. We need human intelligence.
Six months before Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait our intelligence community told us he was no threat to his neighbors, no threat. It was not until about two weeks before, when we started seeing on satellite photography that he was moving military units around in a very strange way, that we began to get suspicious. The president did not need to know two weeks before, he needed to know three or four months before, and he could not learn that from a photograph, he needed to learn it from human source intelligence who had some idea what was going on inside that government. Then he might have called up the king of Saudi Arabia, and said, "Let us have a joint military exercise, and let us forward position some aircraft and supplies. Let's send Saddam a message."
We might have avoided the whole war if we had better intelligence earlier on. We have to change the way we do intelligence. And we have to have the people who because they know the language, they know the culture, are capable of going into those areas of the world and bringing back information that is useful. We have to make changes.
We have to look at what is happening also economically in our country, to the middle income people in this country. And I say this not for the sake of putting it on a political agenda, but because when you look to the greatness of this nation, one of the reasons we have been a great nation is we have never become one of those nations totally divided between only two groups of people, rich and poor. We have had a vital, vibrant middle class in this country, and they are under stress. They pay all the bills for the government, virtually most of it, 95 percent of it, and they get none of the benefits back from the government.
Look at college education. We have scholarships for the very poor; the very wealthy can afford it. What happens to the people in the middle? The average middle income family, two wage earners that together earn $80,000 a year or less, people that might encompass two university professors, or two college teachers, they have an average of only $60,000 in total net worth, most of it in home equity. And yet the cost of college education, if they have more than one child, would only take about three years to completely exhaust their total net worth, if they sold their house to send the children to college.
About 90 percent of the students who go into higher education in this country come from the middle income, and they get four percent of the scholarship assistance. It is high time we did something for those people in the middle. And if we are going to have opportunity for middle-income Americans and their children, like those at this institution, it is time that we expand our concept of equal opportunity to make sure that higher education is affordable for middle income children and families, too.
We have got to look at our welfare system. We have got to stop using welfare as a handout that makes people feel alienated and not a part of community. We need to turn it back to a work opportunity again. There was nothing totally wrong with the old WPA approach. An old man in bib overalls came up to me one day after a political speech in a football stadium in a small town in Oklahoma, Old Rock Stadium. He came up to me, and he said, "Senator, do you see that wall over there of that stadium?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I built that myself. It is part of the WPA." He said, "You know, it is not out of line; there is not a crack in it to this good day." And I thought to myself, that man feels a part of the community because of the job he was given. He is proud of it. I bet he has never even dropped a candy wrapper in that stadium. It is his.
Think how differently that is from those in our inner cities who sit around drawing a check for doing nothing, feeling more and more alienated, more and more hopeless, who are vandalizing the kinds of parks that were built by the WPA.
Let's find a way to meet people's needs. Let's stop demeaning them with handouts, and let's give them an opportunity to feel a full productive part of the community again, by requiring them and giving them the opportunity to do some work, to give something back, instead of just feeling like they are takers. It is not just for the sake of the country, it is for their own sakes, their own sense of integrity.
Let's reform the institutions. Congress is in trouble. It is not just events of the last week that have shown us that. When the cost of campaigns for the United States Senate has reached the point where it takes an average of $5 million to run successfully for the United States Senate in a state the size of Kansas or Oklahoma, something is wrong. When you have to raise almost $20,000 every single week for six years to raise the amount of money that as a senator you are going to need to run for reelection, something is wrong. Over half the money going to those members of Congress to get reelected does not come from the people back home, but from special interest political action committees and others with single issue agendas.
No wonder we cannot get together and form a consensus on what needs to be done in this country. When Congress grows out of control from 2,000 staff to 12,000 staff. When the Senate Judiciary Committee, where these leaks occurred, has more than 100 employees, just for the Senate Judiciary Committee staff, not counting all the personal staffs of the members, which would probably total another 1,000 represented by the members of that committee, something is wrong. When we have gone from 38 congressional committees in 1947 to 301 committees and subcommittees today, all with overlapping jurisdiction, with no one even able to figure who has jurisdiction to pass a law through Congress, something is wrong. And so we have to reform our institutions of government, and we cannot stop until we do it, because we must make sure they are equipped to meet these challenges of the world.
And finally, we have to do our part as individuals. It all cannot come from Washington. It all cannot come from government. A woman I know in Oklahoma City decided to turn her inner city church, which sits idle day after day, into something that could be used during the week, something that would reach out to the neighborhood around it. Most people drove into that inner city church from the suburbs every day, keeping it locked and guarded during the week. She said, "Something is wrong here. Look at the neighborhood; it is failing all around us." She opened up the church, she got a lot of retired school teachers who still loved children, and she said, "Let's go down and take care of the latchkey children in our neighborhood around us. Most of them have no families there when they come home from school. Let's use our church to have classes and the arts and music and other areas with former retired teachers, teaching the children in the community. Let's keep them there until 5:30 or 6:00 until their families will be home." She has revitalized the neighborhood. The government did not do it, she did it. The people who cared did it.
We formed 126 foundations now in Oklahoma, 126 towns, all across our state, small towns, as small as 1,500 people. People have come together, 50,000 people, as private citizens, and they have given donations to local funds which they themselves control for academic grants for excellence to their local school system. A teacher who comes up with a new idea or good idea can go to this group of local leaders, businessmen and women, civic leaders, and say, "I have got an idea of something to improve the teaching of those in my classroom; I am applying for a grant from you." And there is a place there where she can get that money, and it is privately donated. It is wonderful for the teachers, it is wonderful for the students, and the community leaders have gotten interested in their local schools and how they perform, and it is changing the way we think.
We need a national clearinghouse where these ideas for voluntary activities that work in the private sector can really be shared across the country, so that one area of the country can copy what works in another. A real sharing of ideas. When Tocqueville wrote about America well over 150 years ago, he said, "The secret of our greatness was not in the strength of our natural resources, even in our governmental institutions. It was because Americans cared so much, that if they saw a problem, one neighbor would walk across the road and talk to the next, before you knew it a committee was formed, and the problem was solved before anyone else even got involved." We are so far ahead of the rest of the world in volunteerism that the country in second place only gives about ten percent as much per capita in terms of money and time as Americans do voluntarily. Let's harness that power.
So here we are in a remarkable time. There is an old hymn that says once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide. Maybe some of you have heard that. I thought of what Charles Krutheimer said to me, "We are at a moment in history that almost no one really is privileged to share in the way that we are. What an opportunity."
And I had another thought. I was once talking to a very controversial South African Leader, Chief Brutalazi. I must say I do not agree with Chief Brutalazi on much of anything I can think about, except that we had quite an argument. But he turned to me as we were ending our conversation and said, "Senator, do you realize that we here in this country, that we are at the crossroads of history." And then he added a second thought: "Do you realize that those who mill around at a crossroads do so at their own peril?" And at that moment my thoughts were not about South Africa, my thoughts were about the United States of America.
We are at a crossroads. It is no time to mill around. It is no time to throw up our hands and give up on a country whose ideals have inspired the rest of the world to make all of these changes. No, this is the time for us to go to work, think our best thoughts, put our heads together, commit ourselves to doing all that we can to get ready for the next century, to prepare America for the next century. We are going to do all that we can to make this great country even greater in the century ahead of us. And today the message we send is this: We care enough to make it happen.