February 14, 2013
U.S. secretaries of the Interior have seldom been renowned for being … well, renowned. Typically affable former members of Congress who reliably see things according to the president's point of view, they are nearly always Western conservationists, though their agreement on the extent to which natural resources should be exploited can wary widely. Sally Jewell, President Obama's recent nominee for the post, fits that description pretty well, while bringing some additional attributes that suit the president's agenda beautifully.
January 22, 2013
The House GOP seems to have extricated itself from a bind that could have damaged both the American economy and its own political future. Frustrated by Democrats' opposition, many House Republicans wanted to use the debt ceiling as leverage to force the Senate and the White House to accept deeper spending cuts. But after three days at an annual retreat, party leaders said Friday that they're willing to move the fight over spending to more appropriate times - including the looming debate over funding the federal government after March 27, when the money for most operations runs out. That's a good decision for everyone involved.
January 17, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown has thrown his support behind expanding Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for impoverished Californians, to the full extent authorized by the 2010 federal healthcare reform law. It was the right choice, and Brown deserves credit for recognizing that the benefits to public health and the economy outweigh the potential costs. But his budget proposal left state lawmakers to decide whether to keep responsibility for the expanded program in Sacramento or hand it off to the counties.
December 27, 2012
The prospect of recovery-killing across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year hasn't been enough to spur lawmakers to craft a plan to avert those changes. The onus for Congress' inaction falls squarely on House Republicans, whose refusal last week to follow their own leadership has quashed just about any hope of a "grand bargain" with President Obama to address the federal government's long-term fiscal woes. The main hope now is that lawmakers will find a way out of the impasse before the damage to the economy gets much worse.
December 23, 2012
In yet another tussle between the teachers union and the school reform movement, the Los Angeles Unified school board decreed last week that district administrators must obtain board approval before applying for any grants of more than $1 million, in order to ensure that they don't seek out grants that come with problematic strings. The idea is reasonable enough, but the way the new policy is written, it unnecessarily ties the hands of staff without necessarily protecting the district.
December 12, 2012
Nothing exposes partisan hypocrisy quite like the filibuster, that irksome parliamentary rule that allows a minority of U.S. senators to block legislation, judicial appointments and other business by requiring a 60-vote majority to proceed to a vote. Almost invariably, the party in power considers the filibuster to be an enemy of progress that must be squashed, while the minority fights to preserve it at all cost. That the same players often find themselves arguing from opposite sides depending on whether they control the Senate or are in the minority hardly seems to trouble most lawmakers.
November 27, 2012
A debate over taxing and spending appeared to be brewing in next year's Los Angeles city elections, with voters first being asked whether to boost the sales tax by half a cent on the dollar to help close a budget gap and, two months later, whether to trim pensions for city workers. Never mind the second part. With former Mayor Richard Riordan on Monday suspending his effort to put the pension measure on the May 21 ballot, voters will now get to decide whether to pay more but not whether to ask the city to pay less.
November 22, 2012
Along with giving thanks for making it to another Thanksgiving Day, The Times' editorial board is grateful that: The 2012 elections are finally over. And that after the June presidential primary, the November general election, this coming March's mayoral primary and the May runoff, we in Los Angeles will be able to go a year without an election. With the $4-billion sale of Lucasfilm to Walt Disney Co., the "Star Wars" franchise's future is secured and a seventh feature film is in the works.
November 20, 2012
Washington's focus on the "fiscal cliff" - a potentially disastrous combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 - has shifted attention away from the biggest problem in the economy, which is the more than 12 million Americans still unemployed. More than 5 million of them have been sidelined for more than half a year, which means they're no longer receiving unemployment insurance benefits from their state. Instead, many are receiving extended unemployment benefits paid for by the federal government.