Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Friday, December 8, 2017 OTHER VIEWS Founded October 16, 1875 KATHRYN B. BROWN Publisher DANIEL WATTENBURGER Managing Editor TIM TRAINOR Opinion Page Editor MARISSA WILLIAMS Regional Advertising Director MARCY ROSENBERG Circulation Manager JANNA HEIMGARTNER Business Office Manager MIKE JENSEN Production Manager OUR VIEW 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, Idaho. 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 stage. 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 day. 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. OTHER VIEWS A monumental mistake The (Eugene) Register-Guard I 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 status. 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. Ross populism overwhelm the dikes of Like many people I accepted the Douthat ideology during the last primary arguments of fiscal hawks in the early Comment 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 convincing. 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 class. 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 want. 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 defeat. 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 otherwise. 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- F The result leaves conservatism as the neglected stepchild of the GOP, granted table scraps while the donors get the feast. LETTERS POLICY 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.