Rounding up the usual suspects
Whether it’s in the West Virginia legislature or Congress, Ogden editorials are thankful that there are at least a few liberals around to scapegoat when Republican can’t govern. According to those editorials, liberals, a minority of the minority party in both governments, have power way beyond their meager numbers and for Ogden papers, they’ve become the go-to scapegoat for Republican ineptitude. (See here and here for instance.)
For the past three years in the West Virginia legislature, liberals (at least according to our local papers) have precipitated one budget crisis after another. Of course, they’ve never explained how such a small number of legislators do it. And now on the national level, that same minority is going to shut down the federal government unless they get their way. At least that’s what this morning’s editorial, “Don’t Let Threat of Shutdown Rule,” tells us:
Liberal members of Congress and big-spending bureaucrats have found a foolproof way to get what they want, which is to milk taxpayers for all we are worth, and then some. It is simple: Merely threaten a “government shutdown.”
“Foolproof”? How so? As in the state of West Virginia, the Republican Party controls all three branches of government.
Could there possibly be other reasons for a government shutdown? Isn’t part of the problem that the Republican Party is split on government spending: the fiscally-conservative Tea Party types vs. the rest of the party? And what about a President who says he will shut down the government if he doesn’t get his way? As the AP documented in its most recent article on the budget:
"We need the wall. We're going to have it all. And again, that wall has started. We got $1.6 billion. We come up again (in) September," Trump said in a campaign-style event in Michigan last month. "If we don't get border security, we'll have no choice. We'll close down the country because we need border security."
The editorial ends ominously:
But at some point, real spending discipline is imperative. . . . the national debt now stands at about $21 trillion.
Hypocricy? Of course. Neither Wheeling paper said an editorial word about national debt until last year's Republican tax cuts were safely signed by the President.
Yet another uninformed editorial on sports wagering
There’s one of these editorials just about every other week and my previous arguments still apply. Today's excuse for the editorial is that the state of Ohio may soon consider sports betting. Again, we read about how West Virginia should take a much higher percentage in taxes, add a “modest” integrity fee, and expand the gambling outlets. As I noted previously, their editorials on this subject are devoid of any research.
I’m going to try to not write any more posts about their ignorance on this subject. However, when Pennsylvania, which these Myer columns and editorials have consistently held to be the standard WV should follow, either gives up on sports wagering or lowers their rate to be more in line with West Virginia’s, I'm going to spike the football and make note of Pennsylvania's change because I know they won’t.)
Missing the bigger picture on teacher education financing
Yesterday’s News-Register editorial, “Look Into TEACH Program Handling,” examines a federal education program that was meant to financially encourage teacher education majors to teach in low-income schools that have difficulty attracting qualified teachers. The editorial is based upon an excellent investigative AP report by Caity Coyne who used a West Virginia teacher’s problems with the TEACH program, the Department of Education, and the private company that provided her with financing to demonstrate how the TEACH program’s good ends were being subverted.
Unfortunately for the reader, neither local paper carried the original AP investigative report that is referenced in the editorial. I’ve usually found that this happens because the editorial writer can then tell us only what the writer believes we need to know. That may be the case but there may also be another reason: the AP article is actually a reprint of an earlier article from the Charleston Gazette-Mail and the AP cites the writer and the Gazette-Mail right under the title. The locals seldom give credit to the Gazette-Mail when they use their material especially when it’s investigative journalism – a type of journalism that foreign to the locals.
In fairness to the editorial, it argues the TEACH program is a worthy one and it urges Congress to look into its finances. However, it remains silent on the larger issue – what Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education is doing to systematically dismantle public education. From a recent Washington Post article on teacher education programs:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised legislation called the PROSPER Act now being considered by Congress when she appeared before the House Education Committee on Tuesday — but critics believe that it will harm public education if it becomes law.
PROSPER is the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform Act, and it was approved recently by the lawmakers who held Tuesday’s oversight hearing. It now goes to the full House for a vote, probably this week; the Senate has not yet taken it up. Along with eliminating millions of dollars in federal student aid and other actions, PROSPER would also eliminate federal funding for teacher preparation programs.