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Editorial Roundup: Recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers

September 11, 2018

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

Muskogee Phoenix. Sept. 10, 2018.

— Be vigilant, not afraid

Terrorist attacks on 9/11 leave a lasting mark on the United States.

How the U.S. continues to respond to terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., will be our legacy.

That response must continue to be one of vigilance and preparedness.

There are horrible lessons that must be learned from the 9/11 attacks.

The U.S. probably will be on high alert for the foreseeable future.

Letting down our collective guard is an invitation to additional terror attacks.

Homeland Security was a necessary creation from 9/11.

The U.S. now needs a cabinet-level department whose mission must be to keep us safe from potential attacks.

Our military must remain strong as a deterrent to any nation willing to support or harbor terrorists whose targets are Americans or on American soil.

We should never forget those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. We should never forget and should honor those military members who served their country — too many making the ultimate sacrifice.

But we can’t change the basic way we live — or the terrorists win.

We must be vigilant as a nation and as citizens, but we must not be paranoid.

We can’t live in fear.

Terrorists — all bullies for that matter — want their victims to cower.

It gives terrorists power. They do not have the numbers to take us on as a whole. Terrorists must get inside our heads to win.

Be vigilant. Be prepared.

But don’t be afraid.

Terrorists — and bullies — can’t stand that.

___

Tulsa World. Sept. 10, 2018.

— Jim Inhofe uses his Senate clout to help Oklahomans

Congratulations to Sen. Jim Inhofe on being named chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Inhofe succeeds the late Sen. John McCain and will retain the post if Republicans keep control of the Senate after November’s elections.

Inhofe’s new clout is important to Oklahoma. With five military bases, including Midwest City’s Tinker Air Force Base and Lawton’s Fort Sill, the state’s economy is tied to military spending.

Also, Tulsa will hope its hometown senator can help its efforts to land F-35 fighter jets for the Oklahoma National Guard base at Tulsa International Airport. Many cities are competing for a limited number of F-35s, and it can’t hurt to have the chairman of the budget authorizing committee for the Pentagon on our side.

Inhofe has not been shy about using his Senate seniority to help Oklahoma in the past. Previously, as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe helped push funding for the improvement of Interstate 44 through Tulsa and the removal of people trapped in the lead-contaminated Tar Creek Superfund site. Both efforts measurably improved the quality of life for Oklahomans and wouldn’t have happened without his leadership.

During McCain’s illness, Inhofe was the Armed Services Committee’s acting chairman, and he used that authority to emphasize projects and policies that are important to the future of Oklahoma bases.

Oklahoma has had other representatives in Washington who thought they were above the duty of pressing for the legitimate needs of their constituents. That didn’t do anything to reduce federal spending, it just made sure it happened somewhere else. Inhofe remembers the people back home and is willing to use his clout to protect their interests.

___

The Oklahoman. Sept. 11, 2018.

— Actor’s comments on work also apply to state policy

The dignity of work has come to the forefront of public consciousness after publicity surrounding former “Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens’ employment at a Trader Joe’s. There are lessons for Oklahoma policymakers in Owens’ defense of the benefit of labor.

After Owens’ job was highlighted in the media, he granted several interviews. He said he chose to work at the store because it offered him a flexible schedule that would accommodate the often-erratic and sporadic schedule of entertainment industry employment. But Owens went much further.

During an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he said, “There’s no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, look better on a resume or on paper, but actually it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”

He added, “No one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or negative perspective.”

Owens’ view of work is shared by many. A recent study by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found 85 percent of blue-collar workers see their lives heading in the right direction, 86 percent are satisfied with their jobs, and 91 percent are proud of their work.

In many instances, people are too quick to dismiss manual labor as demoralizing, yet the opposite is true. In many instances, such jobs provide secure careers. In other instances, such jobs are a stepping stone or tool for paying the bills while pursuing opportunities elsewhere, as is the case with Owens. Yet all jobs provide dignity and self-worth.

This is worth noting as Oklahoma and other states seek to implement work requirements for some welfare recipients. This year state lawmakers approved legislation to require some Medicaid recipients to pursue the same education, skills, training, work or job activities required of people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (food stamps).

The work requirements apply only to able-bodied adults who are not caring for children. Those exempted include Medicaid recipients who are younger than 19, older than 64, pregnant, responsible for a child younger than 6, or caretaker of a person with a disability.

The proposed requirements are lenient. The estimated 8,000 Oklahomans on Medicaid who would have to comply would simply be required to work 20 hours or more per week, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, volunteer for 20 hours per week, or be enrolled in an educational or skills program.

Similar work requirements have generated significant benefit in other government programs. Robert Doar, the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at American Enterprise Institute, notes that labor force participation among never-married mothers increased 15 percentage points, from about 45 percent to about 60 percent, after work requirements were imposed on cash welfare programs by the 1996 federal welfare reform law. The poverty rate for households headed by single mothers “never returned to pre-2000 levels” and remains lower today than what it was in 1995, he writes.

There’s a push to block imposition of work requirements on Oklahoma Medicaid recipients. Rather than listen to those critics, policymakers should note Owens’ words and take a stand for greater dignity among struggling Oklahomans by incentivizing work.

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