Pharos-Tribune

Editorials

October 3, 2013

OUR VIEW: Money, media, apathy to blame for shutdown

From the coffee shops to the pubs, Americans are frustrated their duly elected leaders can’t figure out how to operate our government in a reasonable way.

It may be no panacea for those folks, but it’s worth discussing how we let it get this far out of hand, out of control.

American democracy and its practice have changed a lot since the last government shutdown about two decades ago.

Political parties have become more susceptible to special interests, making it all the more difficult for citizens to have even an equal say. Money flows more easily into campaigns and individuals or small groups can now influence an election where once it required a large amount of people making small contributions.

Part of that influence has even driven court decisions in certain states that influence where congressional boundary lines are drawn. Critics argue the intransigence of the GOP House tea party movement is bolstered by more and more of these representatives coming from districts that are so dominated by one brand of political thought, the representatives have no worries about re-elections, sometimes for decades.

This kind of concentration of power without accountability also derails the old time power of political party leaders. One only needs to witness how little control Speaker John Boehner has over his tea party caucus to see how this has shifted the power of political party leaders, once key players in Washington. Often decried, these political leaders were sometimes necessary evils. They were key players because they knew how to work with the other side to get things for their members. Maybe it was a road project in their district, or a desirable committee assignment.

Those kind of power centers seem to be fading away quickly. The tools for some of that power wielding also have gone away, some say for the better. There are no more “earmarks.” While that kind of backdoor dealing was widely criticized, it often served a useful purpose for party leaders. We’ll bet Boehner wishes he had the power of earmarks today.

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Editorials
  • THEIR VIEW: Write clear rules for vanity plate licenses We see vanity license plates regularly. Some are funny or thought-provoking. Others are just plain puzzling.One specialty plate backing autism research and support carries the heartfelt message “4MYSON.” Others are more prosaic, as in COLTFANZ.It’s c

    July 24, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Keeping insects under control curbs disease State health officials said last week mosquitoes in two northern Indiana counties tested positive for the West Nile virus, The Associated Press reported.The state health department said mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties were confirmed to have

    July 23, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana's ethics laws in need of reform The Indiana State Ethics Commission’s recent approval of an agreement between the state inspector general and Tony Bennett settles the charges against the former state superintendent of schools.But the settlement raises more concerns about the loopho

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  • OUR VIEW: Heroin plague spreads into our city We published a report in Friday’s edition of the Pharos-Tribune that delved into the city’s growing problem with heroin.In that report, Logansport Police Detective 1st Sgt. Dan Frye said he doesn’t know how much more LPD officers will be wrestling wi

    July 20, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Companies enjoying U.S. benefits? Pay U.S. taxes The U.S. Supreme Court keeps telling us that corporations are people, but some of these “people” have a curious sense of patriotism.They enjoy making money in the United States. They have a strong market here in a society where their rights and their

    July 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Loopholes a mile wide At least Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma agrees that it’s time to close the loopholes in the ethics policies for state employees.Just how gaping some of those holes are became clear last week, as the State Ethics Commission sorted through the cases

    July 17, 2014

  • ANOTHER VIEW: Let Indiana's inmates vote Lake County is trying to figure out how to allow incarcerated voters to cast ballots. If you think that’s a bad thing, think again.It’s important to remember that county jails, in many cases, house people awaiting trial. They have the same right to v

    July 17, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Rural fire departments set to make gains Rural fire departments struggle to get by.Faced with increasing costs and limited if not decreasing tax bases, many Indiana departments are merging as a way to share crews and equipment.Many departments have been lucky enough to receive tankers, truc

    July 16, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Dysfunction doesn't bode well for Pence presidency A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.By making appearances around the country and abroad, and speeches on foreign policy and topics only periphally related to Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence seems to be seriously exploring a run for president

    July 15, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Corporations are now Average Joes? Do corporations have souls? Can corporations go to church? Can they fast?These aren’t questions one might expect serious adults to pose. But with its earth-shattering pronouncement June 30 in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court

    July 13, 2014

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