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Editorials from around Pennsylvania

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 1, 2015 at 8:43 am •  Published: July 1, 2015

Editorials from around Pennsylvania:



Some readers might regard it as foolish to editorialize on the long-shot presidential campaign of real estate mogul Donald Trump.

They might believe that with so many Republican candidates vying for the party's 2016 nomination — with probably more to come — there are better candidates upon whom editorials should focus.

But Trump has made a major blunder, and there should be no delay in calling it what it is.

A man of Trump's intelligence and abilities should not have allowed himself to fall prey to a tactic not only weak, but potentially detrimental, not only for his campaign but for the country.

That's not to belittle the person at the center of Trump's error, because her personal and professional accomplishments have been magnanimous in scope.

But should Oprah Winfrey, the wonderful person that she is, be on a presidential ticket and potentially a heartbeat away from the presidency, in a world so torn with unrest, strife and violence? The answer is no.

By announcing that Winfrey might be his vice-presidential choice, Trump made a mockery of the seriousness of the presidential election process, much like U.S. Sen. John McCain unintentionally did in 2008 when he selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

At first Palin, to many Americans, seemed like a worthy choice, although, up to that time she was unknown to much of this country's citizenry.

However, it didn't take long for the country to recognize that Palin had serious flaws in her knowledge of foreign issues, even some on the domestic front.

Winfrey has accomplished much as an actress, producer, philanthropist and media proprietor - as well as in her role as a talk show host. But despite the knowledge she has gained from those roles, which have allowed her to see many facets of life in this and other countries, could she stand up to the pressures of being the second in command of this nation's well-being?

This isn't to suggest that Winfrey wouldn't be capable of rising up to the task, but that process wouldn't be easy without firsthand knowledge from previous government service.

It's one thing to operate with a script; it's another to respond to unforeseen events with many serious implications.

"I think Oprah would be great; I'd love to have Oprah," Trump told ABC News in his first interview after his presidential announcement.

He also said, "I think we'd win easily."

He was fooling himself in suggesting that.

Winfrey's life in the entertainment industry should not by itself disqualify her, but she doesn't have the government-service background to immediately catapult her to such a high position.

Ronald Reagan remains a beloved president in many Americans' eyes, but he was elected because of the government and political experience he gained as California's governor, not because of his earlier Hollywood acting career.

If Trump truly envisions himself as a serious candidate, he must think before he speaks.

The fact that he didn't this time burdened his campaign from the get-go.

The office of vice president is serious business, not just another rung of celebrity status.

— The Altoona Mirror



As you read this, Pennsylvania's budget deadline once again will have come and gone, leaving lawmakers trying to explain how, in failing to agree on a spending plan, they bungled one of their core responsibilities.

Fortunately, this latest budget impasse — late budgets are hardly unique in the commonwealth — will have little if any immediate impact. On Monday, Gov. Wolf sent letters to state employees and contractors filling them in on what would happen if today came without a budget. Basically, the letter indicated it would be business as usual, at least for the short term. The same goes for government services. If the Republican-dominated Legislature and the Democratic governor can settle their differences quickly, then missing the deadline will be soon forgotten.

If, however, the two sides remain far apart for any length of time, there seems to be a great deal of uncertainty exactly what the effect will be and on whom. Dan Egan, a Wolf spokesman, has said "there are no plans to furlough employees or have employees stop coming to work ... no talk by this administration of a government shutdown or anything of that nature."

The words are reassuring. Eventually, however, government services and facilities such as parks would have to shut down as their money runs out. In 2009, state employees endured "payless paydays" during a 101-day impasse, forcing some 16,000 workers to take out loans. The state Supreme Court later declared "payless paydays" unlawful.

But even if state employees aren't hurt, contractors, nonprofit organizations and local governments that rely on money from Harrisburg may be less fortunate. Perhaps as early as mid- or late July, funding for them could be cut off.

In his letter, Wolf wrote: "We understand the possible hardship you may experience in balancing your own budget, and we will do everything in our power to ease that burden."

The best way to "ease that burden," of course, is to prevent the burden in the first place. And the way to do that is to threaten to spread the hardship among those responsible for creating it.

Here's our solution: Beginning now and forevermore, whenever a state budget is late for any reason, everyone who has a hand in the budget-making process in both the legislative and executive branches should be docked their pay until an agreement is reached. The money would be forfeited, not restored retroactively. If "no budget, no paycheck" were the law, budget impasses would immediately become a thing of the past.

Our elected officials are never held to account when they casually dismiss the June 30 budget deadline. And we really question their concern for the people who suffer when it happens. It should never happen. This Legislature accomplishes precious little for what we pay it. The least the members and the governor can do — the bare minimum — is cooperate long enough to pass a budget on time.

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