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Don’t hand blank check to president

December 19, 2012
Salem News

Assume for a moment that you could increase the borrowing limit on your credit card any time you wanted, without even notifying the financial institution from which you got it. Now that would be one sweet deal.

Until you couldn't make the monthly payments. And until your spouse asked what you were trying to pull by increasing the family's debt without talking it over first.

Well, that's precisely what President Barack Obama wants to do. It is part of the plan he is demanding conservative lawmakers approve to keep the nation from going over the "fiscal cliff" when automatic tax increases and government spending cuts kick in on Jan. 1.

Current law requires that the executive branch can borrow money to run government only up to a limit set by Congress, the so-called "debt ceiling." Periodically, often after bitter debate over our ever-increasing national debt (nearly $16.4 trillion and growing), Congress has to increase the ceiling.

Obama is demanding he and future presidents be given authority to increase the ceiling on their own.

That's crazy. Conservative lawmakers of both parties should reject the plan flatly. No president should be handed a blank check.

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In most schools, a student scoring 63.5 percent on a test would receive an "F." While that standard probably is too strict for judging the success of taxpayer-funded economic development initiatives, success in fewer than two-thirds of grant and loan programs still should raise eyebrows.

As required by state law, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has completed a report on whether recipients of economic development grants, loans, tax credits and other assistance complied with conditions on which the help was based. Such stipulations range from how many people graduate from vocational training programs to the number of new jobs created by a company getting state help.

DeWine's office found 162 of 255 recipients of incentives complied substantially with terms and conditions of the aid last year. That is a success rate of 63.5 percent.

That is better than the previous year, when just 59 percent of economic development aid recipients met conditions set for the help.

Still, state legislators may want to consider whether economic development aid is giving taxpayers adequate "bang for the buck." Ohio can't afford to hand out money without a reasonable prospect of success.

 
 

 

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