Raising wages ...
Congressional Democrats and President Obama -- apparently not understanding how a market economy is supposed to work most efficiently -- are again talking about raising the minimum wage. Republicans will surely object on the basis of sound economic logic, but what Washington wants to do pales compared to what is going on in another Washington -- the state.
In the town of SeaTac, Wash. -- between Seattle and Tacoma -- officials there plan to raise the minimum wage for many workers to $15 per hour, according to The Wall Street Journal. The idea -- as with so many things government attempts to do -- is well intended, and is essentially aimed at making lower wage earners more self-sufficient.
But this is an absurd increase that would artificially increase the value of a worker's labor, raises costs for consumers and adversely impact other businesses in surrounding areas that would not be subject to the new requirement.
However, this is nothing new in the Seattle area -- that city having elected a socialist councilman during the November general election. That councilman campaigned on a proposal to raise the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 for all workers.
Unfortunately, a minimum wage hike is another nice-sounding idea favored by some politicians that creates more problems than it solves. If everything were as easy as passing a new law or requirement politicians would have solved a lot of problems by now.
Now that Eric Kearney has stepped aside, the best thing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald can do is lick his wounds and move on, and quickly.
Kearney, a state senator from Cincinnati, had appeared to be an excellent choice as FitzGerald's candidate for lieutenant governor until it was discovered he has federal and state tax debt of more than $700,000.
Republicans, of course, reveled in the Democrats' misery, especially since Democrats repeatedly raised concerns about the tax debts of Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges.
But Kearney's situation is different in that he was seeking election, not appointment, to a statewide office.
With Kearney off the ticket, FitzGerald has major damage control to do. Some are already questioning if FitzGerald can handle the complexities of running the state if he can't fully vet his right-hand man..
Fitzgerald must distance himself from Kearney and move on, with the knowledge that his next pick will likely receive even more scrutiny than the first. He's said he won't announce a new running mate until after the new year.
That should give FitzGerald and his handlers adequate time to ask potential running mates questions not only about finances, but about past statements they've made, friendships, and medical history.
Those are things that either weren't asked of Kearney, or not asked until it was too late.
The (Findlay) Courier
Now is when the rubber meets the road in Ohio's third-grade reading guarantee. Teachers and principals, especially in big-city and poor rural school districts, have about six months to bring the reading skills of thousands of struggling third-graders up to grade level or else those children will have to repeat the grade.
Bringing them all up to speed is a monumental challenge and daunting task, but it could be the start of an overdue era of progress where stagnation long has reigned.
A law passed last summer holds that any child who is found to be behind in reading at the beginning of third grade and still hasn't caught up by the end of the year must be held back -- a "guarantee" that, from next school year on, any child in the fourth grade will be reading at grade level.
Although the Ohio law and versions in other states have been controversial, it never has been meant as a punishment for poor readers. It is a mandatory time-out, a drastic step taken to get kids on track before the chance at a good education passes them by.
But now it's official: Results of October's statewide reading tests, released last week, show that more than a third of third-graders failed.
If Ohio parents, teachers and bureaucrats had addressed the problem with the current level of urgency long ago, it never would have grown so large.
The Columbus Dispatch