Editorial roundup – April 25

Economy needs radical reforms

Bloomberg View (TNS)

The deeper the slump, economists used to say, the stronger the recovery. They don’t say that anymore. The effects of the crash of 2008 still reverberate, with the latest forecasts for global growth even more dismal than the last.

The persistently stagnant world economy is more than just a rebuke to economic theory, of course; it exacts a human toll. And while politicians and central bankers — or economists, for that matter — can’t be faulted for their creativity, their remedies might have more impact if they were bolder and better-coordinated.

By ordinary standards, to be sure, governments haven’t been timid. Without fiscal stimulus and aggressive monetary easing in the U.S. and other countries, things would look even worse. And yet, worldwide output is predicted to rise only 3.2 percent this year, falling still further below the pre-crash trend.

The last resort might be to combine monetary and fiscal policy in a hybrid known (unfortunately) as helicopter money. Governments would cut taxes and/or spend more but meet the cost by printing money rather than by borrowing. In one variant, central banks might simply send out checks to taxpayers.

‘Affluenza’ killer’s sentence lacking

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)

In June 2013, a drunken Ethan Couch of Fort Worth, Texas, plowed his pickup into a group of people. Couch, 16 at the time, was driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. His recklessness killed four people and paralyzed one.

During his trial, Couch’s prior brushes with the law painted an unflattering picture of a youth who always was able to buy his way out of trouble, thanks to the wealth generated by his father’s metal roofing company. Confronted with manslaughter charges, his lawyers offered a novel defense: The teen was suffering from “affluenza” — an affliction that befalls those who lack parental guidance and a sense of morality, yet still manage to operate from a position of privilege.

Couch and his mother were caught after having fled the country to Mexico in December and sent back to Texas. The felon, now 19, has been sentenced to jail for two years. He got 180 days for each of the four people he killed. Unless the judge reconsiders, the terms are to be served consecutively, making it far more time than what even the prosecutors originally asked for. Still, two years in jail for taking four lives, paralyzing a passenger and fleeing to Mexico falls far short of what Ethan Couch deserves.

Quality of life key to state’s future

KPC News Service

Indiana is losing people faster than we are gaining them.

That’s the major problem tackled by a new project titled Thriving Communities, Thriving State, led by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.

The state shrank by 47,000 in population between 2010 and 2015. The only good news is that we look healthy compared to our neighbors. Population loss was far worse in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

Our population drain “tells us that quality of life is not what it could be. It tells employers that there might not be enough skilled labor to meet their needs. It tells us that the status quo simply won’t do,” says a report by the IU project.

The university gathered people from all over the state to look for solutions. They searched for ways to raise Hoosiers’ education levels, reduce poverty and increase jobs and incomes. The top priorities were education and workforce preparation, leadership and engagement and quality of life and quality of place.

The new idea is that Indiana needs to be a place where people are smart — and where smart people want to live.