East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 08, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Friday, December 8, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Tip of the hat;
kick in the pants
A tip of the hat to the Pendleton Round-Up for taking home their
third straight award for best large outdoor rodeo from the PRCA.
The rodeo won the award five times,
including their centennial year of 2010. This
year they defeated four other finalists in
the category from Cheyenne, Wyo., Dodge
City, Kansas, Ogden, Utah, and Caldwell,
And numerous folks with Round-Up
connections also brought in awards —
including pickup man Gary Rempel,
bullfighter Dusty Tuckness, clown Justin
Rumford and performer Bobby Kerr.
As the rodeo elite mingle and compete
down in Las Vegas, it’s good to know
Pendleton is holding its own and winning
awards that increase its reach and presence on the regional and national
A kick in the pants to lazy recyclers, who are putting all of us at risk
by not adequately cleaning or sorting what they throw in a transfer
station or a recycling bin.
You know ‘em. Maybe you are one. We admit we’re not perfect —
sometimes not fully scrubbing out that glass jar or just wishfully hoping our
refuse could be recycled, instead of
giving the sanitary company exactly
what it asks for.
We have to do better. The American
recycling industry is changing — much
of what we saved from landfills had
been sent to China on razor-thin profit
margins. But that’s no longer penciling
out, and it certainly doesn’t pencil if
the valuable, recyclable materials are
mixed in with no-way-around-it trash.
And sometimes that means the
do-gooders among us, who don’t want to put something in the trash that we
think could or should be recycled, have to suck it up and throw it away. If
your local sanitary service says no, it means no. By throwing in unwelcome
materials, you’re making it more likely that the good stuff will have to be
tossed on account of the bad.
And a tip of the hat to the Blue Mountain Community College
basketball team, who helped push and jumpstart a stalled vehicle,
earning gratitude for doing so.
BMCC basketball coach Osa Esene noticed Bryan Cummings about
6:30 a.m. Sunday morning leaning against
his stalled truck on Highway 37. Esene
was headed to the college where his team
would board a bus and drive to Clackamas
Community College for a game later in the
Esene stuck his head out of his car
window and asked if the man needed help
pushing the truck around the corner to a
better spot. Cummings, who posted on
Pendleton Classifieds later that morning,
wrote “I let him know that two of us were
not going to push it up that incline. So he
said he would be right back with his team.”
Osene drove to the school and directed his players to head down to
help Cummings. Nine of them jumped from a string of cars and offered
assistance. One of the players had jumper cables and soon Cummings was
on his way.
In his message Cummings wrote that “My hat is off to you guys. Thanks
so much for the assist. Kids to be proud of.”
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
A monumental mistake
The (Eugene) Register-Guard
nterior Secretary Ryan Zinke
recommended Tuesday that President
Trump reduce the size of the
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
in Southern Oregon and three others,
but didn’t say by how much. The
recommendation came the day after
the president traveled to Utah to
announce the shrinkage of two national
monuments — one by half, the other by
85 percent.
The actions threaten to make an
important type of public land protection
provisional, to the detriment of some
of the nation’s most important scenic,
cultural and biological resources.
Presidents create national monuments
under authority granted to them by the
Antiquities Act of 1906. The Cascade-
Siskiyou monument was created by
President Clinton in 2000, and expanded
by President Obama in his last days in
office. President Wilson scaled back the
national monument that later became
Olympic National Park, but the legal
question of whether the Antiquities
Act is a two-way street has not been
answered by the courts.
It’s about to be: Lawsuits have
already been filed by Native American
tribes and conservation groups against
Trump’s decision to reduce the Bears
Ears and the Grand Staircase Escalante
monuments in Utah. Oregon Gov. Kate
Brown has said she may sue if the
president withdraws protection from the
Cascade-Siskiyou monument. The tribes
may have a particularly strong case:
Bears Ears was created to protect sites
sacred to Native Americans from looting
and desecration — the explicit original
purpose of the Antiquities Act.
If the Trump administration prevails,
monument designations would mean
little — lands protected by one president
could be opened to development by
the next. Permanent protection would
have to come from Congress, either by
clarifying the Antiquities Act to block
presidential rollbacks or by giving
monuments some type of protective
But Congress gave presidents the
authority to create monuments for a
reason: They are less likely to be swayed
by parochial concerns, and can place the
national interest above all else.
As part of his review of 27 existing
monuments, Zinke has recommended
that three new ones be created — in
Kentucky, Mississippi and Zinke’s home
state of Montana. How long would
those designations last? By asserting
that previous presidents’ decisions about
monuments can be reversed, Trump is
undermining his own authority.
Living with the
Republican tax plan
state concentration has left Democrats
irst, let me vent. The Republican
leery of any confrontation.
tax reform, now extremely
Meanwhile, the thing that the bill’s
likely to become law pending
certain events next week in Alabama,
centrist critics are most incensed about,
represents a remarkable missed
the fiscal irresponsibility of cutting
opportunity for a party struggling
taxes without offsets, just doesn’t look
through an identity crisis and a country
like that big a deal in the context of
reckoning with a social crisis.
continued low interest rates and bond
After watching Trumpian
market unconcern.
populism overwhelm the dikes of
Like many people I accepted the
ideology during the last primary
arguments of fiscal hawks in the early
campaign, Republican lawmakers
Obama years, but few-to-none of their
could have learned something from
predictions have come to pass. I don’t
the experience, and made the discontented
think Republicans have really learned from
working class voters who put Donald Trump
this experience and become less alarmist about
in the White House the major beneficiaries of
deficits; they’re mostly just being opportunists
their tax reform.
and hypocrites. But the experience is still
Instead, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing, real, and the lesson that the deficit is not, in
they devised a bill that was more solicitous of
fact, our major near-term problem seems
their donors than their voters, and that only
modestly addressed the central socioeconomic
Then there are the fixable problems. The
challenge of our time — the
bill’s repeal of the individual
nexus of wage stagnation,
mandate will create
family breakdown
additional challenges for
and falling birthrates,
the struggling Obamacare
which will eventually
exchanges. But the mandate
undo conservatism if
has never worked as its
conservatives cannot take it
creators intended, it remains
as seriously as they do the
more unpopular than
animal spirits of the investor
Obamacare as a whole, and
it penalizes a narrow class
What’s particularly
of middle-class individual
frustrating is that it didn’t
market buyers instead of
have to be this way. The
spreading the burden of the
bill’s basic architecture
system’s costs more widely.
is compatible with better
In the long run any universal
policy, and there is no
health insurance system
great mystery about how
will be on a firmer political
it could have been improved: All it needed
footing if it finds a way to work without
was to shrink the business tax cuts somewhat
requiring people to buy a product they don’t
and push the extra money directly into the
paychecks of the working class. But when a
The corporate tax cut, meanwhile, is too
version of that improvement was attempted,
deep, but a lower corporate rate than the
when Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee
present one remains a good idea, and it’s not
tried to use a small portion of the bill’s
implausible to imagine these deep cuts being
corporate tax cut to pay for family tax cuts,
rolled back to a happy medium. Likewise,
the Republican leadership decided to make the the bill’s budgetary legerdemain, which has
corporate cut nonnegotiable; the Democrats
the individual tax cuts expiring early and
decided it was better not to improve a bill
threatening a middle-class tax hike, sets up
that they oppose; and the senators themselves
a plausible path to a negotiated settlement,
declined to be the Bad Guys of their caucus
in which Democrats who want to protect
in a good cause and simply swallowed their
the middle class can seek a variation on the
Obama-era deal that kept most of the Bush tax
So the result leaves a reforming
cuts in exchange for higher rates on the rich.
Or, should they be victorious in 2018
conservatism as the neglected stepchild of the
and 2020, Democrats can pursue broader
GOP, granted table scraps while the donors
ambitions, relying on this tax reform’s
get the feast. It leaves Republicans with
overreach for funding rather than simply
ownership of a bill that is neither populist
engaging in deficit-busting of their own.
nor popular, and Trump with ownership of
an economic agenda that a reasonable voter
“Repeal some of the Trump tax cuts to pay for
Liberal Ambition X or Y!” will be a natural
should consider a betrayal of his promises.
rallying cry for their party in 2020, and the
And it wastes an opportunity to turbocharge
fact that the Trump tax cuts are so tilted
the recovery, because the bill’s corporate
beneficiaries are already sitting on ample cash toward corporations and businessmen and
wealthy heirs means that the cry will have
reserves and it’s the middle-class taxpayers
much more political appeal than it might have
who would have been more likely to spend
extra money if they got it.
The question is what those liberal
However, to repeat something I’ve said a
few times in the Trump era, when the venting
ambitions should be. The bipartisan (if
is done it’s important to acknowledge that it
insufficient) support for Rubio and Lee’s child
could be worse. The bill is badly designed
tax credit amendment points to one possibility:
but it does some good things, including
Democrats could take up the work-and-family
some things that could be done only in the
agenda that reform conservatism has fitfully
teeth of Democratic opposition. Its flaws are
advanced, making something like Sens.
significant but also manageable, and they
Sherrod Brown and Michael Bennet’s child
aren’t going to tip America into the dystopian
tax credit proposal or Rep. Ro Khanna and
nightmare invoked by a certain kind of liberal
Brown’s bigger earned-income tax credit idea
Twitter hysteric this past week.
the centerpiece of their 2020 agenda.
The problem for the Democrats is that a lot
And as is often the case with flawed
of their activists’ hopes are invested with far
proposals, the failings offer useful signposts
inferior ideas, like the lure of free college and
to the opposition: The partial defeat of reform
the political fantasy of single-payer.
conservatism leaves good ideas lying around
But there is room here for liberalism to take
to be picked up, and Republican overreach
advantage of the Trump Republicans’ retreat
creates opportunities for the Democrats to
from populism, and to advance a left-wing
pursue them.
version of the politics of work and family
One good thing is that the bill’s stimulus,
that the blinkered GOP should champion but
flawed as it is, still might give the economy
refuses to embrace. In which case this bill’s
a further short-term boost and undo more
best elements could survive when the wheel
of the Great Recession’s damage. Another
of power turns, and its flaws and missed
good thing is the child tax credit increase
opportunities could still be good for the
that Rubio and Lee did win, which is much
country in the end.
too modest but still a step toward the family
policy the United States needs. A third good
Ross Douthat joined The New York
thing is the bill’s willingness to raise taxes
Times as an Op-Ed columnist in April 2009.
on the not-quite-rich upper-middle class, a
Previously, he was a senior editor at the
constituency whose influence is often bad for
Atlantic and a blogger for theatlantic.com.
the country and whose liberal drift and blue-
The result leaves
conservatism as
the neglected
stepchild of the
GOP, granted
table scraps
while the donors
get the feast.
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues
and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper
reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual services and
products or letters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted letters must
be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime phone number.
The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published. Send
letters to managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801
or email editor@eastoregonian.com.