Other editorial voices

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Election flaws stand alone

The 2000 election exposed a number of flaws in the way this country elects our president.

The confluence of errors was embarrassing. ...

Party affiliation aside, surely no one would approve of the presidency of the United States being decided by the limitations of technology - especially when it's so obvious that we can do better. ...

That's why it was encouraging ... to hear President Bush and Republican and Democratic members of Congress agree that the electoral process should be improved to decrease the likelihood that voters will be confused and minimize the chance of spoiled ballots. ...

To Florida's credit, state officials are not waiting on the federal government to suggest changes. At a statewide meeting of election supervisors..., a committee was formed to study new voting systems and to establish a statewide system that "makes the will of the voter self-evident." ...

It's unclear now exactly what federal changes might be recommended and even less clear which ones the U.S. government would be able to legally mandate.

It's important, though, that suggested changes be debated on their own merits. Already, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, of Mississippi, is suggesting that any proposals to change federal election regulations be attached to Arizona Sen. John McCain's proposed legislation to enact campaign finance reform.

Campaign finance reform is a separate issue from election reform, and wedding the two issues is likely to bog down the process of meaningful reform...

-The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

Another education president

Candidate George W. Bush told Americans that improving education to "leave no child behind" topped his priority list. Now President Bush has demonstrated his commitment to that theme by offering a promising education agenda as his first major policy proposal.

Released last week, the Bush plan contains much to applaud. He clearly wants to focus federal attention where it is needed most -- on struggling schools and low-income students. His proposal puts proper emphasis on early literacy, arguably the most important component of educational success. ...

The most controversial element of the Bush proposal involves vouchers. Should a school fail to measure up within three years, his plan would allow parents to use about $1,500 in federal Title 1 funds either for another public program or for private school. ...

Though Bush and the Democrats differ on vouchers, they agree in many other areas and have an excellent chance of reaching consensus. To his credit, Bush has reached out to those with whom he disagrees. He held a listening meeting with education experts prior to taking office; and just last week he appeared with Democratic and Republican education committee chairs at a Washington public school.

Just as his father did, Bush says he wants to be an "education president." His education strategy, enthusiasm for the topic and strong interest in bipartisanship will move him closer to that goal.

-Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Move forward on tax cuts

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has given President Bush's tax proposal boost. Let's see the Congress move forward on Bush's across-the-board tax cut.

Greenspan says the economy is slowed to probably no growth at all. He believes that his board's ability to lower interest rates will offer short-term aid to the nation's businesses and a tax cut will not because it will take too long to enact. But even with a slowing economy, the federal government has more money than it knows what to do with. The estimated budget surplus may be $5 trillion during the next 10 years. After the federal debt is paid off, an increasing possibility in 10 years, what will the government do with all that extra money?

It will do mischief, we fear. Greenspan thinks the government ought to start pulling money out of the system gradually, and that is why he now favors a tax cut. So do we.

-The Repository, Canton, Ohio

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