Editorial voices from elsewhere

May 23, 2014

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States as compiled by the Associated Press.

The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat

It might be time for an intervention.

It’s beginning to look more and more like Pennsylvania has a gambling problem. Our legislators might not be addicted to the rush that comes with a big bet, but they certainly seem to have a taste for the influx of cash that legalized gambling can bring to the Keystone State.

Like many gambling addictions, it started simply enough. The Racehorse Development and Gaming Act, passed in 2004, cleared the way for racetrack casinos, slot parlors and casino resorts in Pennsylvania.

Now, it’s 2014 and the legislators are starting to notice that the stack of chips that was supposed to be piling up in front of them is dwindling instead. The state is facing a $1 billion budget shortfall and its gambling revenue was down in 2013.

Not all of these bets are paying off. But, like a problem gambler, state leaders are not willing to cash in and head home.

Econsult Solutions Inc. of Philadelphia found that online gambling in Pennsylvania could generate $307 million per year, according to a story by the Associated Press. And legislators across the state are already lining up to place their figurative bets.

But the payoff might not be as good as advertised. New Jersey had hoped to make $1 billion in its first year of online gambling, but recent estimates show it could only be one-fifth of that.

Our plea to legislators is this: Stop hitting the spin button, put the cards down and step away from the table. Pennsylvania can’t afford to continue gambling on gaming revenue.

The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W. Va.

The investigation into the deaths of two miners last week in a West Virginia underground coal mine is just beginning, so the specific cause is not yet known.

However, it is known that the two miners were working in a mine with one of the worst safety records in the country, according to federal officials. Its case further illustrates the shortcomings of regulations for reducing the hazards in an inherently dangerous occupation.

It’s time for Congress to let irresponsible mine operators know that rampant violations of safety laws will no longer be tolerated. Essentially, enforcement of safety laws must be strengthened to the point that mine owners have no doubt they will be shut down if they are not safety conscious. Unfortunately, that’s not the case now.

Miami Herald

Before President Obama gives in to the clamor for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, he should order the retired general to fix the problem, ASAP.

It’s become depressingly customary for politics to trump policy in virtually every realm of activity in Washington. The latest scandal is no exception. These are problems inherited by the administration, and there are signs that some progress has been made under Gen. Shinseki, who was plucked from retirement by President Obama to run this chronically troubled agency. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are using VA health care at higher rates than past generations of veterans, more Vietnam vets are receiving VA care as they age and the agency has liberalized rules for treatment of PTSD.

But progress has not been fast enough. Two years ago, a Government Accountability Office report concluded that the VA’s reporting on its medical-appointment wait times was “unreliable” and badly in need of a complete overhaul.

The buck stops with the president, whose silence is baffling. Unlike his reaction to the scandal in the Affordable Care Act last fall, when he repeatedly reassured Americans the problem would be fixed, Obama has limited his response to a written statement. That’s not enough. If he cares, he must show it.



blog comments powered by Disqus