• George Will: Smart tax reform would ignite growth

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jan 31, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Woodrow Wilson, who enjoyed moralizing about the mundane, called paying taxes a "glorious privilege." In 1865, when there was a Civil War income tax, one taxpayer shared this sensibility, sort of. Mark Twain said that his tax bill of $36.82 (including a $3.12 fine for filing late) made him feel "important" because the government was paying attention to him. Today, Rep. Kevin Brady wants to change the way government pays attention to taxpayers. Congress is like a Calder mobile: Something jiggled here causes things to wiggle over there. When conservatives toppled Speaker John Boehner, they inadvertently propelled Brady into the House's most important chairmanship, that of the Ways and Means Committee.

  • Oklahoma businessmen: State's youth need to be legislative priority in 2016

    By Craig Knutson, John Harper and Chuck Mills | Published: Sun, Jan 31, 2016

    Having spent the past year studying the state budget and budget process, culminating in the latest Oklahoma Academy Town Hall, we better understand the importance of prioritization, especially in times of scarce resources. Oklahoma is facing yet another budget hole, even larger than the one we faced last year. A number of process, policy and economic reasons account for this, and many were addressed through the Town Hall deliberations and highlighted in their consensus recommendations, but we'd like to make a “hold harmless” appeal for the agencies that effectively address the needs of our youngest children and have proven outcomes to show for it.

  • Ruth Marcus: Jeb Bush's nerdy decency

    RUTH MARCUS Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sat, Jan 30, 2016

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Jeb Bush has a cold. "I'm losing my voice, which is not a great sign, but we'll get through this," he tells the employees gathered in the cafeteria of Nationwide Insurance here. We'll get through this -- kind of a melancholy epigraph for the Bush 2016 campaign, don't you think? Bush on the campaign trail exudes a kind of nerdy decency, or maybe decent nerdiness — whatever. It's appealing, but jarringly out of step with the angry, high-decibel atmosphere of this campaign season. Bush launches into his remarks, complimenting Iowans on having the least credit card debt per individual of any state, and then he really gets going. "All other issues pale in comparison if we don't deal with the

  • State representative: Too many Oklahomans mired in nonworking system

    By State Rep. Bobby Cleveland | Published: Sat, Jan 30, 2016

    Oklahomans don't believe in being “soft on crime.” All agree that people who break the law should be held accountable for their offenses. However, probation as a sentencing option is being undermined by the overwhelming financial burden being placed upon probationers. Persons placed on probation are poor, and are required to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, fees and fines. The poor are finding it impossible to comply with probation not because they have violated the rules or because they committed new offenses but because they cannot keep up the financial cost. The system works like this: A person is convicted of a nonviolent crime. He or she is put on probation and responsible for court fees, and is given a

  • OU professor: Youths' attraction to Sanders shows education failure

    By David Deming | Published: Sat, Jan 30, 2016

    It's disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it's been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality. You don't have to be a student of ancient history to know socialism doesn't work. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was an unequivocal demonstration of the moral and economic superiority of capitalism. The misery caused by socialism is unfolding today in Venezuela. Since Venezuela embraced socialism in 1999, poverty, crime and corruption have all increased.

  • Point of View: Clean cities coalition is an Oklahoma success story

    By Eric Pollard | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition. It was established by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG), in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Energy Office and the U.S. Department of Energy, with a primary goal to advance the use of alternative fuels in vehicle fleets across the state. At the time, there were only two public compressed natural gas stations in Oklahoma City. There were no electric vehicle recharging stations for public use, and CNG and propane were used in relatively few fleets. Today, the coalition thrives.

  • Kathleen Parker: Clinton's cracked credibility

    KATHLEEN PARKER Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The first question to Hillary Clinton from an audience member during Monday night's Democratic town hall in Iowa must have been a blow from one so young — a potential new voter — this close to the caucuses. The query came from a fellow who asked what her response is to his friends who say she's dishonest. There was no beating around any bushes, so to speak, on that one. Flinching slightly, Clinton rested her expression somewhere between sadness and weariness. Ever the pro, she rallied: "I've been around a long time — people have thrown all kinds of things at me," she said. "They throw all this stuff at me, and I'm still standing.

  • Charles Krauthammer: The three-cornered fight for the soul of the GOP

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    WASHINGTON — It's hard to believe that the United States, having resisted the siren song of socialism during its entire 20th-century heyday (the only major democracy to do so), should suddenly succumb to its charms a generation after its intellectual demise. Indeed, the prospect of socialist Bernie Sanders, whatever his current momentum, winning the Democratic nomination remains far-fetched. The Dems would be risking a November electoral disaster of historic dimensions. Yet there is no denying how far Sanders has pulled his party to the left — and how hard the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, has been racing to catch up. The Republicans, on the other hand, are dealing with a full-scale riot.

  • Gov. Mary Fallin: Science must guide response to quakes

    By Gov. Mary Fallin | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    Like many Oklahoma residents, I have felt walls shake from earthquakes that have struck with increasing frequency over the past few years. I take the concerns seriously and I share your worries about potential damage from the quakes, which numbered more than 900 with a magnitude 3.0 or greater last year. We are taking action, but there is not an easy solution to halting Oklahoma's unprecedented rise in seismic activity. Researchers tell us the state's rise in earthquakes is caused by the disposal of produced saltwater deep into the Arbuckle formation beneath north-central Oklahoma, not by hydraulic fracturing, but haven't provided any clear answers on how to stop the shaking.

  • George Will: Michael Bloomberg is an echo, not a choice

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Michael Bloomberg's epiphany about the 2016 presidential proceedings is that what is missing is a second bossy, big-government billionaire from Manhattan's East Side — another candidate with malleable party loyalties. Bloomberg, whose net worth estimated by Forbes is $38.6 billion (eighth on the list of richest Americans), is again exploring an independent presidential candidacy. In 2001, he spent $74 million to become New York's mayor. He had been a registered Democrat but ran as a Republican to avoid a competitive primary. Re-elected in 2005, he left the GOP and in 2009 won a third term as an independent, spending $102 million — $174 per vote — to eke out a 50.6 percent victory against a negligible

  • Michael Gerson: Trump's politics of pride

    MICHAEL GERSON Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Of all Donald Trump's political skills, perhaps the most impressive is his ability to persuade people to support him by suspending their deepest, lifelong beliefs. Some prominent conservatives have embraced Trump, in spite of his recent support for dramatically higher taxes on the wealthy and a single-payer health care system. They are saying, in essence: Because he is an immigration restrictionist and speaks in a non-PC vernacular, it doesn't matter that he has endorsed the two main policy priorities of modern liberalism. The same can be said of some pro-lifers, who must look past Trump's previous support for partial-birth abortion and his inability to provide a serious rationale for his pro-life conversion

  • Jules Witcover: Democrats model political civility in Iowa town hall

    Jules Witcover Tribune Content Agency | Published: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Civility made a rare appearance Monday night at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, as the three Democratic presidential candidates submitted to a final public interrogation before next Monday's Iowa precinct caucuses. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley left the insults and personal attacks to the Republican debaters on their tumultuous stage. The result was a welcome exposition of why each of the Democrats wants to be nominated. For two hours, CNN moderator Chris Cuomo invited serious questions from mostly undecided Iowa voters in the audience, and the answers were uniformly without bombast.

  • Point of View: Proposed new turnpike will hurt eastern Oklahoma County

    By John Carpenter | Published: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    In “Sitting idle no option for Oklahoma's future” (Point of View, Jan. 21), Neal McCaleb, interim executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, correctly noted that no tax dollars are to be used to pay for the proposed “Driving Forward” turnpike project. However, he failed to note that the state will make no money from the turnpike. This turnpike will be built with bonds. Bond holders will be the ones profiting from the project. How did we get here? The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was established in 1947 when the Turner Turnpike was financed with $38 million in bonds. When the debt was paid off, the turnpike was to be “free.” Almost 70 years later, the public is still being charged to use the turnpike.

  • Cal Thomas: No Trump!

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Jan 26, 2016

    When the publisher of National Review magazine, Jack Fowler, called and asked me to write 300 words on why I oppose Donald Trump for president of the United States, my first thought was about the derision that was sure to come from Trump supporters. I was not disappointed, or rather I am disappointed that no one who reacted negatively rebutted any of the arguments I, or the other contributors, made about why we think a President Trump would not pursue conservative goals. Sounding like Trump, I was called a "loser" and someone for whom one writer said he had "lost all respect." Sure, there were some who called me "brilliant" (I'm filing those away), but the name-callers resembled their political master. Trump also refused to

  • Washington Examiner: Congress must give veterans way out of ill-managed system

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Tue, Jan 26, 2016

    DURING his State of the Union address this month, President Obama made the curious decision to give a warm shout-out to the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs. “We've made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care,” Obama said. “We're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need.” If only. Here's the real story. In April 2014, CNN first reported that VA employees secretly and systematically gamed their internal computer system to hide a massive backlog of medical care to ailing veterans. While doing this, the officials paid themselves and their subordinates bonuses based on their fraudulently excellent

  • Harding Charter Prep principal: Charter schools provide children opportunity

    By Mylo Miller | Published: Sun, Jan 24, 2016

    This week is nationally designated as School Choice Week, and as principal of Harding Charter Preparatory High School, I believe it's important to highlight not just the academic successes we have achieved but also the individual needs that we are able to meet for the students who attend our school and other charters across Oklahoma City. The fact that we are able to provide families a choice of where they send their children is profoundly impactful, as it gives these families a sense of hope for their children's future that might not have previously existed. Public charter schools often fill a gap or a void for students who might not be as successful in a traditional public school setting.

  • George Will: Will Obama's overreach be policed?

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jan 24, 2016

    WASHINGTON — During Watergate, Henry Kissinger's mordant wit leavened the unpleasantness: "The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." President Obama often does both simultaneously, using executive authoritarianism to evade the Constitution's separation of powers and rewrite existing laws. Last week, however, the Supreme Court took a perhaps momentous step toward correcting some of the constitutional vandalism that will be Obama's most significant legacy. The court agreed to rule on Obama's unilateral revision of immigration law.

  • Ruth Marcus: John Kasich is 2016's happiest warrior

    RUTH MARCUS Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jan 24, 2016

    CONTOOCOOK, N.H. — In the year of the angry candidate and the even angrier voter, John Kasich stands out as the self-proclaimed "prince of light and hope." As Kasich instructed voters at a town hall meeting here — his second in this town, population 1,444 — "If you want to just yell and scream at the other side, you should not vote for me. ... Don't vote for me." Little about Kasich's message is standard political operating procedure. He is more apt to mention God on the campaign trail than he is his Democratic opponents, much less his Republican ones. "This is not a political speech — this is a life talk," Kasich told workers at a warehouse in the town of Bow, observing that "the Lord has put his hand on me

  • Point of View: Change is needed to prairie chicken program

    By Stanley Barby and Wayne Walker | Published: Sat, Jan 23, 2016

    In Oklahoma, we pride ourselves in supporting free-market solutions, sincerely disliking big government, and holding in high esteem private property rights and landowners' ability to profit from their property. So the story of the lesser prairie chicken is truly perplexing. This has been a messy, frustrating and lengthy saga that does no honor to the federal Endangered Species Act listing process, or in this case, the belief that the “states can do a better job than the feds” in managing ESA challenges. If you desire predictability or outcomes that actually benefit the bird's conservation as well as private landowners, the five-state LPC Range-Wide Plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's implementation of it isn't for

  • Michael Gerson: Trump and Palin: A politics at war with reason

    MICHAEL GERSON Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sat, Jan 23, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The arrival of Sarah Palin brings a special something to the 2016 campaign, like a little LSD added to the punch bowl. Are we watching C-SPAN, or a reality TV show, or a "Saturday Night Live" skit? It is impossible to tell without consulting the channel guide. Ted Cruz may have secured the coveted Duck Dynasty blessing. But Palin is the original and best representative of Kardashian conservatism. Her endorsement of Donald Trump was entirely devoid of policy content — a speech that did not even aspire to shallowness. It is enough that Trump is "going rogue" and "ticking people off" and "making media heads spin.