October 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With another government shutdown looming as soon as January, congressional negotiators convened Wednesday to attempt to reach a budget compromise and end the brinkmanship that has left the capital lurching from one fiscal crisis to another. But just two weeks after a short-term deal ended the 16-day government shutdown, familiar partisan divisions over tax hikes and spending cuts reemerged and expectations remained low that members of the House and Senate panel would achieve the kind of far-reaching deficit reduction deal once pursued by President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
October 27, 2013 |
One of these weeks, now that the Obama administration has recruited a SWAT team of computer whizzes, Healthcare.gov will recover from its shambolic debut and turn into, well, just another website. After all, it's only a website, and websites can be fixed. But that's when a far more interesting chapter in the life of Obamacare will begin. We're about to witness a massive experiment in federalism to see whether the Affordable Care Act can succeed in two very different kinds of states: those where governments are actively working to help the law succeed, and those where they're working to make it fail.
October 25, 2013 |
The problems at the federal government's new health insurance website are so severe that even Democrats are starting to talk about neutering a key provision of the 2010 healthcare law: the requirement that adult Americans obtain coverage next year. But now is not the time to take such a drastic step, which could lead to sharper increases in premiums for individuals. It is true that the federal government hasn't yet fixed its website's problems, but there is still time to do so before Jan. 1, the first day coverage is supposed to go into effect.
October 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON--As Washington tries to find a way past the political dysfunction that triggered the shutdown of the federal government, Gov. Jerry Brown came to town Thursday to suggest it look for inspiration in California. Brown told a ballroom of liberals celebrating the anniversary of the Center for American Progress, one of the left's favorite think tanks, that it was only a few years ago California had been written off by the pundits as a lost cause. “Three years ago California was called a failed state,” he said.
October 20, 2013 |
It is difficult to explain the recent government shutdown to citizens of other nations. In most of the world's democracies, this kind of disruption can't happen. Rules are in place to keep the government running even if a new budget isn't passed on time. The U.S. needs to reform its budgetary processes to prevent the kind of crisis we saw recently. Currently, budgeting differs from almost every other area of federal policy. When Congress and the president cannot agree on other kinds of legislation, existing law remains in effect.
October 18, 2013
Re “Crisis averted - for now,” Oct. 17 Although it's tempting to feel relief that our government is restarting, we must recognize the irreparable damage that's occurred in the last 16 days. A small, extremist faction of Republicans put people out of work, bruised our international reputation, desensitized us toward the ploy of brinkmanship and made us a more cynical nation. California voters are fortunate to have congressional representatives who are, in general, balanced and represent us well.
October 15, 2013 |
When matters become extremely dire and disheartening, as they have been in the blatantly dysfunctional Congress, historians are usually the designated dispensers of perspective. As bad as things are, we like to say, they have been worse and the nation somehow survived. But for the life of me, I cannot recall an occasion when a minority of elected representatives with such an absurdly partisan agenda was capable of stopping the government of the United States in its tracks. To be sure, stoppages have happened before, but not with a looming debt ceiling decision, which has threatened to throw the American economy back into recession, send the global financial markets into free fall and permanently damage America's fiscal reputation.
October 12, 2013 |
PAYSON, Utah - There's a good chance that the fresh tart cherries Southern Californians find at their grocers originated from Robert McMullin's orchards at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. The third-generation farmer provides 90% of the fresh sour cherries found in Southern California. The hard-to-find fruit is prized by bakers and cooks. McMullin shook his head when he recalled how much fruit went unpicked during this year's July harvest. "We lost $300,000 on that deal because we didn't have enough guys to pick," he said.
October 11, 2013 |
SPRINGFIELD, Colo. - Out near a lonely highway southwest of town, a farmer's son stuck some seeds in the ground last spring to see what would happen. What he pulled from the soil made history and has sown new hope for struggling farmers both here and across the nation. Last weekend, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin, a fifth-generation Coloradan, along with an enthusiastic crew of 45 volunteers, harvested what is being called the first U.S. crop of commercial hemp in more than half a century.
October 11, 2013 |
As political Washington remains knotted over how to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, Utah is putting up its own money to reopen shuttered national parks, part of the growing trend of how local government and civil society is coping with the closings. The nation moved into the 11th day of the partial shutdown on Friday and Utah began reopening its famed national parks, including Zion, Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell, according to a tweet from Gov. Gary Herbert . All three are expected to be fully operational by Saturday morning, he said.