Editorials from around Ohio
Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 29
The country doesn’t need a tax cut. The economy expanded by 3 percent in the most recent quarter. Corporate earnings are strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stands at 23,434, and interest rates, though higher due to Federal Reserve decision-making, remain at low levels. Yet, on Thursday, Republicans in Congress completed work on a budget resolution that calls for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts during the next decade.
President Trump and congressional Republicans talk about delivering landmark tax reform. They do so, in part, to dress up the potential achievement, Republicans in need of a political success after much faltering this year. Unfortunately, this effort lacks the substance of the true advance in the Reagan years, the result of expert analyses from varied perspectives, hearings, debate and consensus-building.
Ideally, Republicans would focus on what the country needs, starting with repairs to the corporate tax system. Many cite the relatively high corporate rate of 35 percent. Yet the effective rate is around 20 percent, indicating the many exemptions and loopholes. Thus, the logical response: End the tax breaks to deliver a lower rate, tracking the trend among peer countries, adding to overall competitiveness.
The Blade, Oct. 29
Two members of the Ohio House of Representatives — Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Bernadine Kennedy-Kent (D- Columbus) — have proposed a single-payer health-care system for Ohio, funded by state taxpayers.
This has no chance of passage. But if it did pass, it would be a return to federalism — power to the states. And that idea has potential to unify both liberals and conservatives.
For the last attempt at replacing Obamacare was a plan by Sen. Lindsey Graham to let the states take over health insurance.
Both liberals and conservatives understand that the source of America’s ballooning health-care costs lies in our patchwork system’s inscrutable complexity, which makes government, insurance companies, drug companies, and health-care providers alike unaccountable in keeping costs under control.
Single-payer systems administered at the state level could merge the two visions — empowering the states to control costs and guarantee coverage for all, while encouraging comparison and competition between the states.
Under the Graham scenario, states would be free to experiment and try different approaches and systems. Some states, perhaps several, might adopt single-payer. Ohio would likely not be one of those states, but Ohio would be free to create its own system. Whatever Ohio contrives, it would be closer to the people and out from under the thumb of Washington.
The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Oct. 29
We would never accept it if 75 percent of a state’s residents were still without power and almost a quarter were without water more than a month after a natural disaster. It would be an all-hands-on-deck and it would lead the news every night.
Well, that is the situation in Puerto Rico.
We have allowed a disinterested federal response, starting from President Trump down, to turn Puerto Rico’s crisis into a second-tier emergency. While the official death toll from Hurricane Maria is 51, the numbers don’t include those who have died because of the devastation left in the storm’s wake — a number some estimate at close to 900.
Yes, being an island does add complications to the recovery. But that is not an invitation for a lackadaisical response to rebuilding. It started with resistance to immediately suspending what’s known as the Jones Act — which requires goods shipped in the United States to be on vessels owned, operated and built by Americans — slowing down immediate access to aid.
Seventy-five percent of Puerto Rico is still without power. That is not acceptable, and we must make sure it is not ignorable any longer.
The Canton Repository, Oct. 30
A lot happened last week in the battle against opioids, from the president declaring the crisis a public health emergency to researchers at Ohio State University reporting it’s costing Ohio as much as $8.8 billion per year to fight abuse and addiction — an amount roughly equal to what the state is spending on education for grades K-12.
So, while all spending must be evaluated in Ohio, and the state certainly cannot be wasting any financial resources, it is not the right time to pull back on funding Medicaid, one of the main avenues for Ohioans to receive medical care and addiction treatment.
Ohio is among the nation’s leaders in opioid-related overdose deaths, with a record 4,050 fatalities in 2016, a 33 percent increase from 2015.
Stark County service providers see some encouraging signs locally, but we’re still seeing about 14 Ohioans die from overdoses — most from opioids — each day. Now is not the time to cut funding for one of the more important paths to treatment — certainly not before the state and federal governments have established alternative funding sources for the overwhelming need.