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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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Western Opinion Sampler: Taxing, farming, snooping ...

Some editorial discussion on collecting, and spending, taxpayer dollars:

Facing facts: No sense delaying SLC tax hike — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Whether Salt Lake City residents are "ready" — something Mayor Ralph Becker worries about — or not, it appears nearly certain they will be paying higher property taxes next year.

While it may not be the best time for a tax increase — is there ever a good time? — with effects of the Great Recession lingering, waiting would only cost taxpayers more in the long run. Now is the time to do it. The city’s crumbling streets, rundown parks and aging fleet would only deteriorate further if a tax increase to address those realities were delayed a year, as Becker has proposed. ...

Vote ‘yes’ on pools — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

...A swimming pool can’t be downloaded or otherwise accessed on a website....

Mental health lawsuit — Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial

Last month, this page pointed out that when Nevada cuts back its mental health care system, we end up losing that savings — and then some — through other costs, from emergency room waits to burdens on jails. Add a major lawsuit to that list. ...

It's wrong to use sales or gaming tax on roads: Governor should lead on raising the gas tax — Des Moines Register Editorial

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On the Senate's 2013 Farm Bill:

Farm bill flimflam: Precious little ‘reform’ in farm bill — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Imagine the taxpayers bailed out the U.S. auto industry in 2008 at a cost of $62 billion. Oh, wait, we did that. Then imagine we did it again in 2009, and 2010, and every year after that, with every expectation that we’d do it again every year forever. Even the staunchest believers in federal stimulus might start to get a little worried about whether it was ever going to end.

Imagine the U.S. Senate just approved a bill that will spend about $95 billion a year on farm and nutrition programs for the next 10 years, basically continuing a policy that goes back to 1933. Oh, wait, they did that. And those who carried the bill through the process are patting each other on the back for all the "reforms" that the measure contains. ...

Middle ground on farm bill — Denver Post Editorial

The U.S. House and Senate must compromise on the issue of food assistance so the full measure can be passed.

Farm bill fails to trim the fat for corporate interests — Kansas City Star Editorial

Cash the biggest crop in this farm bill — Orange County Register Editorial

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And on revelations about the NSA's snooping:

Fewer secrets: Lee’s bill has the right idea — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

If the discovery of secret data-gathering by government intelligence agencies has any silver linings, they may include the legislation that would declassify many secret court rulings in intelligence cases, proposed by Utah Sen. Mike Lee....

Silicon Valley companies v. NSA opens a credibility gap — San Jose Mercury News Editorial

Silicon Valley has a problem. The furor over the Obama administration's use of technology to track possible terrorists has cast a spotlight on the private information that valley companies collect.

The question is: Is the government's disclosure of its use of data for national security more important than companies' disclosure of how they're using even more intensely personal information for profit? ...

Shield law needed, now more than ever — Sacramento Bee Editorial

Balancing security, privacy — Everett (Wash.) Herald Editorial

... For many Americans, however squeamish about the constitutional horror of a government medusa monitoring every pressure-cooker order from Amazon, the ends justify the means. But beware collective resignation and what it gets you. ...

National security needs secrecy but also accountability — Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial

Balancing privacy, security — Arizona Republic Editorial



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