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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (March 27, 2018)
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Founded October 16, 1875
Trump has torn
down trade deals,
but hasn’t rebuilt
President Trump has been busy
in recent months fulfilling campaign
promises on trade, which might be a
good thing for farmers and ranchers if
he were fulfilling all of his promises on
One of Trump’s favorite campaign
riffs was on trade, or more specifically
how the United States in general and
American workers and businesses in
particular were being beat up by our
“We don’t make good deals any
more. I say it all the time in speeches.
We don’t make good deals anymore;
we make bad deals. Our trade deals are
Candidate Trump said Mexico and
Canada were getting much more from
the United States under the North
American Free Trade Agreement than
they were giving. He promised to
reopen negotiations and make a better
President Trump reopened talks on
NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. So
far there’s no new deal, better or worse.
Canada and Mexico are, respectively,
the second- and third-largest importers
of U.S. agricultural goods. They
account for about $41 billion in ag
Farmers are understandably nervous.
Do they want a better deal? Yeah. Can
they afford to have no deal? No.
Trump promised to reopen talks on
NAFTA and get a better deal. So far
he’s delivered half.
As a candidate Trump liked to talk
about how foreign steel and aluminum
makers were unfairly dumping
under-priced goods in the U.S., hurting
American steel workers. Earlier this
month President Trump threatened to
increase tariffs on foreign steel and
aluminum. That made steel workers
happy, but farmers are left worried that
their products will bear the brunt of any
retaliatory measures steel-exporting
countries place on the U.S.
Then there’s the Trans-Pacific
Partnership. U.S. farmers had a big
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One, Friday in Andrews Air Force
Base, Md., en route to Palm Beach International Airport, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
stake in the multi-lateral trade pact with
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan,
Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore and Vietnam. But it wasn’t
very popular during the campaign.
Bernie Sanders said TPP was a
“global race to the bottom” to boost
corporate profits. As secretary of state,
Hillary Clinton called TPP the “gold
standard” of trade pacts, but candidate
Clinton said that when she read the final
text she couldn’t support it. Donald
Trump said the deal undercut American
workers and companies.
All three said they’d walk away from
the deal. Trump won, walked away
from the deal and said he’d negotiate
better bilateral treaties with our biggest
Last week the remaining 11 partners
signed the TPP, sans many of the
provisions insisted upon by U.S.
negotiators and the U.S. itself. No word
on any new bilateral agreements with
countries that buy the bulk of farm
exports from the Pacific Northwest.
U.S. farmers export $135 billion in
products each year. They have a lot
riding on trade.
Having walked away from “bad”
trade deals, it’s time for Trump to
fulfill the other half of his promises and
replace them with treaties that serve the
interests of U.S. farmers and ranchers.
The growing college graduation gap
irst, some good news: In
average inflation-adjusted wage of
recent decades, students from
workers with some college credit
modest backgrounds have
but no degree has actually fallen,
flooded onto college campuses. At
by 2 percent, according to a recent
many high schools where going to
report by the Economic Policy
college was once exotic, it’s now
Institute. The average wage of
normal. When I visit these high
college graduates is up 6 percent.
schools, I see college pennants all
There are surely multiple
over the hallways, intended to send
reasons the college-graduation
a message: College is for you, too.
Leonhardt gap is growing. For one thing,
And thank goodness for that
neighborhoods have become
message. As regular readers of this
more economically segregated,
column have heard before, college
which probably increases gaps in
can bring enormous benefits, including less the quality of K-12 schools — and, by
unemployment, higher wages, better long-
extension, academic preparation. Many
term health and higher life satisfaction.
colleges that serve poor and middle-class
Now for the bad news: The college-
students have also suffered cuts in state
graduation rate for these poorer students is
funding. And tuition has risen.
abysmal. It’s abysmal even though many
Whatever the causes, the gap makes the
of them are talented teenagers capable of
United States a less fair country. Thousands
graduating. Yet they often attend colleges
of students who work hard, overcome tough
with few resources or colleges that simply
neighborhoods or family situations and do
do a bad job of shepherding students
well in school are nonetheless falling by the
through a course of study.
wayside. They’re not failing so much as the
The result is both counterintuitive and
rest of society is failing them.
alarming. Even as the college-attendance
Doing right by them would require a lot
gap between rich and poor has shrunk, the
of changes, in tax policy, housing policy
gap in the number of rich and poor college
and other areas. The Trump administration
graduates has grown. That shouldn’t be
clearly has no interest in these changes.
Instead, it’s pushing an agenda that will
The surge in poorer students going
to college hasn’t led to any meaningful
But improving college graduation rates
change in the number of college graduates
does not, for the most part, depend on the
from poorer backgrounds. Among children
federal government. It’s an area where
born to low-wealth families in the 1970s,
people who want to help fix our economy
11.3 percent went on to earn a bachelor’s
— people in the nonprofit sector, in state
degree. Among the same category of
and local government and, obviously, on
children born in the 1980s, only 11.8
college campuses — can play a meaningful
The picture is very different for people
Some colleges have started to make
who grew up in the wealthiest one-fifth of
impressive changes. Georgia State has
families, according to the study, by Fabian
raised its six-year graduation rate sharply.
Pfeffer of the University of Michigan.
A network of 11 universities, including
The number going to college fell slightly
Kansas, Michigan State and the University
over the same time period (which may just
of California, Riverside, are working
be statistical noise, given how high their
together — imagine that — to share
attendance rates already were). But many
student-success strategies. In New York,
more of them emerged with degrees.
community colleges in the CUNY network
This growing gap has big consequences, have created a program that nearly doubled
because the benefits of college come largely graduation rates.
I’m convinced that the college-
from graduating, not merely attending
some classes. Graduation allows students to graduation problem is one of the big
barriers to economic mobility — and
complete a program and be prepared for a
job. Graduation has intangible benefits, too. yet also one on which we can make real
progress. In the coming months, I will
You can think of college as adulthood’s
be telling some of the unknown success
first obstacle course. People who complete
stories in higher education. I’ll also look at
it learn how to overcome other obstacles
campuses that should be doing better.
as they go through life. People who don’t
There are few things I find more
finish suffer a blow to their confidence.
inspiring than listening to teenagers from
They also typically have to repay college
difficult backgrounds talk about their
debt without the extra earning power of a
future, usually with optimism and ambition.
degree. It’s the worst of both worlds.
The rest of us owe them a little urgency.
If anything, the consequences of failing
to complete college seem to be increasing,
David Leonhardt is an op-ed columnist
as the economy becomes ever more
for The New York Times.
technologically advanced. Since 2000, the
silence speaks volumes
I think President Donald Trump’s
decision to take refuge at his Florida resort
while hundreds of thousands of students
marched on Washington speaks volumes
about the person he is and his presidency.
Rather than stay in Washington to at
least display deserved respect to the student
organizers of the march, Trump chose once
again to exemplify that when it comes to
the important matters before our nation, the
priority he’s most concerned with is himself.
Nevertheless, one of the student speakers
at the march — Emma Gonzalez — astutely
summed up what must become a priority for
our nation, when she movingly concluded
her remarks with the words “Fight for your
lives, before it’s someone else’s job.”
Indeed, Emma — very much so.
And on so many other important fronts
which Trump — dangerously — shows such
little if any genuine concern about, let alone
even a faint understanding that rings true.
Unadoptable wild horses
should be slaughtered
Your story about the teenager taking
a mustang from wild to mild was truly
inspiring. The responsibilities of rearing
and training this horse for eventual adoption
was in the words of the girl’s mother a
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the
East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and
not necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
The article also states there are
unadoptable horses rotting in corrals at
containment centers. There are over 45,000
of these horses costing us over $50 million
in taxpayers dollars per year. I don’t think
rotting is a good choice of words for
this lose-lose-lose situation. I have long
advocated these unadoptable horses be
slaughtered and the meat be provided to
poor families. Spending $1,000 per year per
horse to be held until they die, often more
than 10 years, while poor families cannot
provide their children a nutritious meal is
abhorrent. Nutritional analysis of horse
meat has shown it to be more nutritious
The 72,000 horses roaming BLM lands,
mentioned in the article, exceeds the 27,000
animals range scientists advocate for
good range health. The herd is continuing
to increase at 15 to 20 percent per year.
Removal of animals for adoption and
for programs like the one these kids are
involved in should be a priority. The $100
fee should be waived. After all, they would
be saving the government $1,000 per year.
Those animals not suitable for adoption
should be slaughtered and the meat
provided first to poor families. If there are
not enough poor families, the meat should
be offered to the general public interested in
a healthy, nutritious, lean source of protein.
This could be a real win-win-win.
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