In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Pounds are fading away in C-W; extravagant minimum wage to go higher

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Cheers: To Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and Washougal Mayor Sean Guard for losing 25 and 20 pounds, respectively, in the past six months. They're making progress at the half-way point of the yearlong "Camas and Washougal on a Diet" campaign. The program is designed to inspire residents of the neighboring cities to fight back against the national obesity problem. An even bigger Cheer goes to Camas football coach Dale Rule, who has lost 140 pounds, mostly by walking. Rule recently led the second-annual Everyone Walk, a 24-hour event at Camas High School.We hope other communities follow the Camas-Washougal example and place more emphasis on community weight loss.

Jeers: Imagine a small-business owner trying to survive through the economic devastation of the past few years. Then imagine requiring that struggling small-business owner to increase the minimum wage for his workers from $8.55 per hour in 2010 to what will be $9.19 in 2013. That's a 7.4 increase in payroll over just four years, a period that just happens to embrace the worst economic downturn in seven decades.

Washington state's minimum wage — for many years now the highest in the nation — will increase next year by 15 cents to $9.19 per hour. Meanwhile, here's another story we don't believe is entirely unrelated: The state's unemployment rate in August increased slightly to 8.6 percent. That's the second straight month that it has increased. The state's extravagant minimum wage makes it even tougher to reverse that trend.

Cheers: To the U.S. Supreme Court for, well, doing nothing. The high court announced on Monday that it will not hear a challenge of the state's top two primary. Despite the top two primary's great popularity among voters of all political affiliations, the state Democratic and Libertarian parties were making yet another effort to derail the top system in the courts.

They should've known better. The Supreme Court by a 7-1 ruling in 2008 essentially endorsed the top two primary.

State Elections Division Co-Director Katie Blinn correctly links the popularity of the top two primary to the fact that "it allows voters to focus on candidates, not the political parties."

Jeers: To the 2,362 pretend paupers across America who collected unemployment payments in 2009. Oh, they were unemployed all right, and under current law they were entitled to the benefits. But here's the catch, and it ought to induce forehead smacks among all taxpayers: According to the Congressional Research Service, each of those 2,362 recipients of unemployment benefits in 2009 lived in a household with an income of $1 million or more annually.

Granted, this group constitutes only a tiny fraction of the 11.3 million people who reported unemployment insurance income that year. But the same report says another 954,000 recipients of unemployment benefits lived in households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more.

This is not the way unemployment benefits were designed to work. Legislation to prohibit benefits to millionaires passed unanimously in the Senate, and it was added to a later bill, but the Senate has yet to act on that bill.

Cheers: To the Clark County Skills Center and the Clark County Sheriff's Office for partnering in ways that help students prepare for careers in the criminal justice field. Students are joining detectives in answering calls to crime scenes, learning by observing and assisting with crime scene documentation. Kudos to the detectives for serving as role models, and thanks to the school for giving the students some powerful on-the-job training.