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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: State or national, it's all about the money ...

- A decent interval: Lobbyists sell what you paid for - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"Marriages don’t last. When I meet a guy, the first question I ask myself is: Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?"Rita Rudner

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Political careers don’t last, either. So, when Utah voters elect legislators, they may want to ask themselves: Are these the people I want raking in, and handing out, big bucks for the special interests?

Some 30 former Utah lawmakers are currently registered as lobbyists who ply their trade among their former colleagues and with other branches of state government. And one sitting senator — Howard Stephenson, president of the Utah Taxpayers Association — is also a registered lobbyist.

Utah has no real rules to stop this revolving door. A proposed referendum that would at least slow it down is stuck in court, with opponents questioning the number of signatures on the petition circulated by Utahns for Ethical Government.

That means lawmakers, once they retire or get voted out, are free to take the knowledge and, more importantly, the contacts they made while serving in public office, on the public’s dime, and turn them into a money-making endeavor for themselves and, if they are any good at it, for their clients. ...

- Poor priorties: Ryan budget points the wrong way - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Budgets, for households and for nations, are a set of priorities, a value judgment as to what things must be done, what things ought to be done and what things can be done without.

The federal budget plan put forward this week by Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ chief bean counter on Capitol Hill, sets very clear priorities: First, more tax cuts for the rich. Second, more spending on defense. Third, a stab at saving Medicare and Social Security, at least for those who are already 55 or older. Fourth, slash, or promise to slash, spending for absolutely everything else, starting with every program that helps the poor or keeps the middle class within reach of affordable health insurance, higher education, a clean environment or a functional transportation system. ...

... The Congressional Budget Office analysis of Ryan’s numbers does show a huge drop in the federal deficit over the next three decades. But only if everything that Ryan told the CBO scorekeepers to assume actually comes true. That includes pretending that health care inflation will be no higher than general inflation, which it never is, and that all the draconian spending cuts Ryan projects, often in very fuzzy form, actually happen.

- GOP budget doesn't deserve its likely fate - Orange County Register Editorial

... It's a pity the likely best use of this document is political fodder. It has much to recommend it. ...

- A federal budget plan, and reality - Los Angeles Times Editorial

... At some point, however, lawmakers will have to set the politicking aside and come up with a long-term fiscal plan that both parties can support. Ryan's proposal is not that plan. ...

- Wyden plan under fire - Eugene Register-Guard Editorial

... The Wyden-Ryan [Medicare reform] plan is a substantive, gutsy proposal that deserves far better and more thoughtful treatment than it will receive from Congress in a presidential election year.

- A cruel budget as GOP rallying cry - Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger Editorial

- Ryan's rescue plan - Boston Herald Editorial

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