What others are saying

February 06, 2007

Politicians at every level are trying to prove their green credentials by bullying the automakers to do more to offset global climate change. This is a sure bet, since there's nothing the environmental lobby hates more than automobiles. So the politicians are obliging by promising higher fuel economy mandates, new engine technology and a rapid switch to ethanol.

There are severe downsides to all of these solutions, of course. To make cars more fuel efficient, they have to be made lighter, and thus less safe. The rush to ethanol is already driving up corn costs, meaning higher prices for everything from tortillas to corn flakes.

Still, if that's what the people want, then that's what they should have.

But they should also be willing to pay the tab. We have been wary of past calls by the Big Three for government assistance for their myriad problems. But we support their latest request for substantial help in developing the new technologies, alternative fuels and more efficient vehicles Washington is demanding. Those demands amount to unfunded mandates. Meeting them will require the automakers to fundamentally alter their business practices and products without any assurance the market will make them profitable.

If the American auto companies are expected to bear the brunt of the global warming attack for the public good, then the public should pony up adequate funding to cover the costs of research and development.

- The Detroit News

The notion that public funding of elections keeps overall spending down strikes us as a detriment to democracy. What public financing does is hand out millions of taxpayer dollars to some politicians who are capable of raising money on their own and to others who are incapable of it. It's hard to tell which is worse. Like any socialist measure, campaign finance "reform" creates more problems than it solves, making a regulatory maze out of what should be a level playing field. With spending caps on presidential candidates effectively gone, pundits are fretting about a "billion-dollar election" as if that's too much money to spend to sort out who will be the best leader of the free world. By our lights, it would be better if twice - or thrice - that were spent. ...

We're all for fighting corruption and cleaning up government. But public financing of political campaigns has been a failure, and will be a failure in the future.

- The New York Sun

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