The move into DST this year was once again accompanied by the whiny rants of the “Indiana should be on Central time, not Eastern time” crowd. This state is the westernmost state in the Eastern zone, our kids shouldn’t be going to school in the dark, we’d see prime time network TV shows an hour earlier and blah, blah, blah.
But this year there was something new, too: a rising chorus of voices demanding to scrap the whole DST scheme, which makes more sense to us.
Lower tax hike is a good move
Anti-smoking advocates pushed the General Assembly to raise the cigarette tax in Indiana $1.50 a pack. The House was open to a hike, but settled on $1. Now the Senate is squawking, and House Speaker Brian Bosma says he is open to a smaller increase, perhaps 60 cents a pack.
It seems like a reasonable move to us, but complaints are flying in from left and right. The anti-smoking crowd would like to stick with the $1.50 or even go higher. Fiscal conservatives want no increase at all.
If the art of compromise means not pleasing anyone, Bosma has it about right.
But the tax hike has to be considered in context, not evaluated in isolation.
Repeal, replace is not so easy
In case you missed it, health care is now a right in this country.
Well, to be precise, health insurance is a right. But health insurance is not really insurance as it has historically been defined and understood — a risk pool to take care of huge, unforeseen events. It is an employer- or government-provided benefit guaranteeing health care.
Since Obamacare passed, congressional Republicans enthusiastically voted to repeal it scores of times. Of course they knew the attempts would die in the Senate or by President Obama’s veto. It was wonderful theater. Now, they face the reality that they can actually repeal it, and have a Republican president to sign off on it. And they’re not up to the task.
Those pesky social issues
The press is fascinated with how many social issues are being brought up in this year’s legislative session.
“Republicans who control Indiana’s Statehouse said they wanted a break from divisive social issues that embroiled the Legislature in recent years,” The Associated Press reported last week. “But with the session half over, it appears what lawmakers are actually taking a break from is their plan to steer clear of social issues.”
And now The Indianapolis Star wonders what Gov. Eric Holcomb will do if a social issue ends up as on his desk: “He made it clear during his campaign he is allied with social conservatives on issues such as abortion. But he also signaled a more nuanced approach.”
Hoosiers are helping Trump
President Trump has no government experience, and he has an impulsive, reactive nature. Fortunately, he is smart, too, so he recognizes that those two facts will limit his effectiveness as chief executive. That’s why one of his best moves was to surround himself with Cabinet heads and other administration personnel who have both deep experience and steady, deliberative natures, including two of Indiana’s finest.
The influence of Vice President Mike Pence has already been evident. Now Dan Coats joins the team as director of national intelligence after possibly the shortest retirement in U.S. Senate history.
Coats has a wealth of Washington experience, as a representative, senator and lobbyist.