YAY: ‘OBAMACARE’ RULING
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld tax subsidies in the Affordable Care Act was a welcome decision. The court rejected a mean-spirited challenge that threatened health-insurance tax credits for consumers specifically in states that lacked their own health exchanges. Adopted in 2010, “Obamacare” has helped insure more than half of the 1 million people in our state who were estimated to have been uninsured in 2013. Most are covered through Medicaid coverage of those with low incomes. Washington’s Healthplanfinder exchange is struggling to sign up consumers and an adverse ruling could have created confusion that made that worse.
BOO: ZEALOUS SIGN PATROL
There are good reasons for laws limiting business signs, but Yelm’s Mayor Ron Harding found himself apologizing last week for the city going a step too far. Tavern-keeper Kyle Phillips put up red, white and blue bunting to mark Independence Day, and the city sent him a letter saying it was out of compliance with codes. A social-media storm or two later, Harding replied on White Horse Tavern’s Facebook page that the code exempts decorations for holidays and special events.
YAY: GROWING WAGES
The average yearly wage grew to $54,829 last year in Washington, a 4.2 percent increase from 2013 levels and the largest gain since 2007, the Employment Security Department reports. This is good news. The average weekly pay is now $1,054, up $42. The state’s workforce (at least those covered by unemployment insurance) also grew to 2.9 million. We hope this trend continues.
BOO: DONALD TRUMP
In Republican billionaire and self-promoter Donald Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for president, he included a stunning jeremiad against Mexican immigrants. “They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he said, then lamely adding, “some, I assume, are good people.” Now Univision and NBC have fired him, Macy’s has stopped selling his clothing brand, and Mexicans are making piñatas of him to whack. All of this couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.
YAY: VATICAN TRIBUNAL
The sex-abuse scandal involving Catholic priests has dragged on for years with millions of dollars of payouts to victims. Now last month the Vatican under Pope Francis said it is forming a tribunal that for the first time will hold bishops accountable for covering up or failing to stop sexual abuse of minors by priests. Proof will be in the results, but this looks like a long overdue step in a better direction.
BOO: MILITARY SECRECY
The Defense Department is refusing to release its investigative reports into commanders who oversaw Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians in a March 2012 spree. The News Tribune has sought it since March 2013. Never known for its love of sunshine, DOD has released many other Bales documents but it is claiming an exemption based on the chance it might influence an ongoing investigation that it refuses to discuss.