Editorial voices from the U.S., elsewhere

June 14, 2013

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:

Tampa (Fla.) Tribune

There is a quick way for our nation to help overwhelm Cuba’s censorship and propaganda.

Simply allow Americans – the most effective ambassadors for democracy and free enterprise – to travel more easily to Cuba.

This can be done without the political firefight of eliminating the 50-year-old Cuban embargo, which greatly restricts trade and travel to Cuba. We think the embargo no longer serves a useful purpose. Indeed, it gives the Cuban government a scapegoat for its failed economic policies. But eliminating the embargo or allowing unrestricted travel to Cuba will require congressional approval, a political challenge.

In contrast, President Barack Obama by executive order can require general licenses be issued for all approved travel to Cuba.

The United States’ tough trade and travel prohibitions unquestionably were necessary after Fidel Castro’s communist takeover, when he confiscated property, ruthlessly suppressed opposition, sought to export revolution to Latin America and provided a base for the Soviet Union.

But the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is gone. Cuba remains an authoritarian state, but its grip seems to be slipping. That control would be further eroded should Americans be allowed to spread the seeds of capitalism and freedom in a country whose people badly need them.

The Cincinnati Enquirer

There are economic arguments for expanding Medicaid – one reputable study says expansion would bring a $1.4 billion net gain to the state budget over eight years.

There are political arguments for it. One recent poll shows Ohioans overall favor it by 48 to 42 percent.

But the most compelling argument? It’s just the right thing to do.

Medicaid is the health care plan for more than 2 million people in Ohio. Without it, they would need to pay out of their own pockets every time they saw a doctor, needed hospital care or prescription drugs. Most people on Medicaid don’t earn enough income to buy health insurance, so it’s unlikely they seek health care unless it’s absolutely necessary.

But Medicaid doesn’t cover everyone who needs help. Poor adults without kids typically aren’t covered in Ohio. Others have jobs without health benefits and don’t earn enough to buy it on their own. For these people, their health care plan comes down to this: just don’t get sick.

Better health coverage for the poor also protects working families and Ohio businesses from taking on the cost of medical care that hospitals receive no direct payment for.

The Telegraph, London

The solution to Britain’s energy problems could well be beneath our feet. Last week, IGas, one of the leading shale gas explorers, revealed that there may be as much as 172 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the area that it has a license to explore in the northwest of England – equivalent to more than 50 years of UK usage.

The only way to exploit all this potential is to drill wells and “frack,” and there the political challenges begin. Fears about the tremors that occurred when Cuadrilla carried out fracking in 2011 – a study by Durham University found that seismic events caused by fracking are actually “low compared to other manmade triggers” – led to a damaging one-year moratorium. The government and the industry have to reassure local communities that concerns will be listened to and that people’s quality of life will not suffer if fracking goes ahead.

However, the news from IGas brings the hope that shale gas might revolutionize energy production, cut the need for imports and have geopolitical implications similar to the North Sea oil exploration of the late 1960s. It could help consumers, as it has done in the United States, by putting a cap on gas bills, and boost the labor market by creating an estimated 70,000 jobs.

Britain needs to make the most of this golden opportunity.



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