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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS

WWW.CRAINSCLEVELAND.COM

MARCH 11-17, 2013

PUBLISHER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR:

Brian D. Tucker (btucker@crain.com) EDITOR:

Mark Dodosh (mdodosh@crain.com) MANAGING EDITOR:

Scott Suttell (ssuttell@crain.com)

OPINION

Sorry lot

T

he onset of the sequestration process represents the height of hypocrisy both by members of Congress and the Obama administration. They blame each other for this indiscriminate method of budget reduction, yet it was by mutual agreement that Congress approved and the president signed the measure that calls for $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts over 10 years. Sequestration was meant to be a ticking time bomb. Because of its nonsensical, one-size-fits-all way of dealing with spending cuts, the sequester would force Congress and the president to come up with a reasoned and reasonable compromise for how to hold down the federal deficit, and with it the astronomical federal debt. Or so it was thought. Instead, the behavior of the sorry lot in Washington in the months leading up to the sequester reminds us of the old Spanish Inquisition skit of the Monty Python comedy troupe. For those unfamiliar with the routine, the inquisitors who are accusing an old woman of heresy tell her she has one last chance to confess her sin … then quickly change it to two last chances … then three. Congress and the president pulled a similar “last chances” maneuver when they pushed back the original sequester deadline of Jan. 1 and moved it to March 1. Even then, they couldn’t diffuse the time bomb before it finally exploded. So now, the first stage of the sequester has kicked in, with $85 billion in spending cuts slated for this year. The cuts would be split 50-50 between defense and domestic programs. And the bickering over who is to blame continues. How’s that for leadership in action? The sequester is a lousy solution for a genuine problem, which is a government where spending is out of control and must be reined in if the United States isn’t to remain a debt slave to China and Middle Eastern nations. It’s fascinating that our elected officials must resort to a budget gimmick when public opinion polls indicate that a significant majority of Americans sees the need for federal spending cuts. Last Wednesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed the public, by nearly a 2-to-1 margin — 61% to 33% — supports cutting the overall budget along the lines of the sequester. And, in an interesting twist, the poll found majority support for the broad spending cuts among Republicans, Democrats and independents. However, there is a catch to the poll’s findings. By a nearly identical margin as those who favor broad spending cuts, poll respondents opposed a sequester-induced 8% reduction in military spending. Taken together, the results of this poll and others scream at Congress and President Obama to ditch the sequester’s meat cleaver method of budget reduction. Instead, they must take a tactical approach to spending restraint that doesn’t jeopardize national defense but doesn’t bankrupt the country, either. The people are waiting.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Save us the celeb fracking drivel to assemble land rights, get drilling pert’s no wonder that people tend to mits and build the needed infrastructure blindly lump actors, musicians and to process and deliver the gas and oil other celebrities into the same bin products. of ultra-liberal activism It’s a game-changer, and bilfueled by emotion rather than BRIAN lions of dollars are being spent careful thought. It’s because so TUCKER in Ohio to develop this newest often it’s true. part of our decades-old energy Case in point: Last week’s industry. As you will read in our Associated Press story about magazine next week, many celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Ohio manufacturers are already Robert Redford and others takbenefitting from this developing up the anti-fracking banner. ment, which is really in its Now, I presume all of you nascent stages. This work has who read this newspaper, and helped drop Ohio’s unemployCrain’s Shale magazine (the ment rate a full point below the national latest issue comes next week to our subaverage. scribers), know that “fracking” is the The AP story quoted these preposterslang term for horizontal hydraulic fracous statements from anti-fracking turing, a method of drilling for natural celebrities: gas and oil that blasts chemicals, sand Mr. Redford, in a radio ad, saying that and water a mile-and-a-half or so below fracking has “been linked to drinking the earth to release valuable minerals from heretofore inaccessible shale water contamination all across the counformations. try. It threatens the air we breathe.” The development along Ohio’s Utica Truth is that scientists have shown that shale is happening fast and furious, as greenhouse gases have been significantly big, out-of-state energy companies race cut because plentiful, fracked natural gas

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has prompted electric utilities to shift from coal as a fuel. Alec Baldwin, writing in the Huffington Post (surprise), states that companies promise big economic benefits but “deliver a pittance in actual compensation, desecrate their environment and then split and leave them the bill.” Truth is that this new industry already has brought significant economic prosperity to Ohio’s Appalachian region, which has long suffered. Emotional anti-fracking folks keep spouting that the country can be run on renewable resources. Truth is that it’s not economically feasible to meet America’s energy needs with renewable resources, and I’d guess that smart environmentalists know that. But emotions keep the donations pouring into organizations such as the Sierra Club and others that oppose fracking. And the celebrities just babble on, mouthing the same unfounded diatribes, with no care for the thousands of jobs that are being created in America’s starved rural areas, Ohio included. ■

THE BIG ISSUE Are you concerned that the growth in Internet sweepstakes cafes will lead to more problem gambling?

MARCUS WALTER

SUSAN GALLAGHER

ERVIN HILL

JIM FRENCH

Cleveland

Rocky River

East Cleveland

Westlake

No, I don’t. At least, I’m not worried about that initially — maybe toward the end. But I think it actually could foster creative ideas. … Can we make it safer for people to use? Can we make it, you know, not as crazy as sometimes traditional gambling is?

I would think the Internet cafes will increase the gambling issue within the Cleveland area, just because it becomes more convenient for someone.

I think a lot of that space can be used for other recreational purposes or something more positive. … They’re doing more harm than help, in my opinion.

We already have gambling in a wide variety of places and things in Ohio anyway, whether it’s going to the casino, whether you bet on sports or whether or not you actually play bingo. So I don’t think it’s going to change or affect things one way or another.

➤➤ Watch more people weigh in by visiting the Multimedia section at www.CrainsCleveland.com.

Crain's Cleveland Business  

March 11 -17, 2013 issue

Crain's Cleveland Business  

March 11 -17, 2013 issue

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