SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 25, 2013

A look at what others are saying


The Salem News

---- — The following are excerpts of editorials from other newspapers across New England:

Watch out — here comes the sequester’s sequel. It’s not going to be pretty, say federal lawmakers and budget analysts. The sequester has slipped many an American mind, mainly because it didn’t really have much impact on ordinary people’s lives. For those who have forgotten, it goes something like this:

“In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if they (sic) couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion — including the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction lawmakers in both parties have already accomplished over the last few years — about $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts would start to take effect in 2013. Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t compromised.” That’s right from the White House website, which neglects to point out the sequester was the Obama administration’s idea.

Andrew Taylor of The Associated Press, by no means the voice of the tea party, made this point about the sequester, now in its ninth month:

“The first year of the automatic cuts didn’t live up to the dire predictions from the Obama administration and others who warned of sweeping furloughs and big disruptions of government services.” Why? Mr. Taylor waxed metaphorical: “... (F)ederal agencies that have emptied the change jar and searched beneath the sofa cushions for money to ease the pain of sequestration have been so far able to make it through the automatic cuts relatively unscathed.”

Perhaps the solution here is not to panic over the next round of sequester cuts but to gaze with favor upon federal managers who were able to perform virtually the same amount of work despite enduring “about $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board cuts.”

Why not give them some credit for that, rather than moaning in fear about the coming cuts?

— The Republican American of Waterbury, Conn.

Everything bad is good again. Until we are told by the experts that it has been changed back.

In our era, we’ve grown accustomed to having one study supersede another; to seeing one recipe for health turned completely on its head when another body of experts takes a second look at something that had seemed settled.

But it used to be that changes were years, or decades, in the making.

Not these days. Last week’s big news on cholesterol didn’t even make it through the weekend.

The headlines last week: Millions more may need statins to lower cholesterol.

The headlines on Monday: Never mind.

One problem with these kinds of changes, of course, is that the people will soon enough simply tune out.

It’s unfortunate because there are, in fact, a few verities, though it’s not a little difficult to get a handle on them when recommendations seem to come and go like the tides.

The butter vs. margarine battle is a prime example.

Those who are old enough to remember when butter was deemed suddenly unhealthful — doubtless just shook their heads when, decades later, margarine came to be seen as a tub full of trouble.

What was wrong with the latest cholesterol study? An online calculator at the heart of the new world order was found to be badly flawed. It flagged millions and millions of people who were likely quite healthy as needing treatment for high cholesterol.

And it didn’t have to happen, as a review of the findings, before the study was released, had caught the error. But nothing was done.

Do you need to take medication to lower your cholesterol? Maybe, or maybe not. You could talk to your doctor, but just make sure he isn’t relying on that new online calculator. ‘

— The Republican of Springfield