Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Obama: bolder yet smaller

President Barack Obama offered an honest if disappointing picture of the final years of his term in his State of the Union address. The president said Washington's toxic political environment had all but forced him to go it alone on a range of policy fronts, from instituting a limited increase in the minimum wage to launching new initiatives on job creation, climate change and retirement planning. He painted a bolder vision for presidential leadership Tuesday but a narrower one for addressing the major issues that affect most Americans.

Obama's annual State of the Union address had many of the usual themes. He called out America's exceptional nature, praised single moms, teachers and military families and drew on the theme of citizenship to tout voting rights, gun control and civic activism. But even as Obama sketched larger goals, from extending jobless benefits to reforming immigration, he faulted Congress as obstructionist and vowed to bypass the legislative process and pursue his agenda if needed through executive action.

This route serves the president more than the American people. While Obama could flood the zone with mini-initiatives, most are small-bore and exploratory. The minimum wage hike would affect future federal contractors, not the workforce at large. The new starter retirement accounts would still be unaffordable to many Americans living paycheck to paycheck. The manufacturing initiatives still bring to only half the number that Obama originally proposed in 2012. All the major goals he announced Tuesday — which should be front and center with Congress as well — still need work, such as immigration reform, income inequality and the nation's deficit.

Still, Americans want their president to lead, and Obama's new approach could create better opportunities for millions of people while setting the table for congressional action down the road. It could force the Republicans to become a party of ideas, not merely the party of no. And it could reignite faith among Democrats that Obama's termed-out administration has not lost its compass or stomach.

Obama still supports the right priorities, and he should use the late-hour attention that some Republicans are paying to the income gap as an opportunity to find common ground in fighting poverty. His proposal to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without children is a good place to start. So is Obama's call for a federal review of job-training problems to ensure that today's employers are getting the workforce they need. These are baby steps in the larger scheme, but they might build confidence between the administration and congressional Republicans and form a basis for future accomplishments.

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Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18