We should keep in mind the current extent of economic suffering in the U.S. as we consider President Obama’s misguided plan to impose a crippling 50 percent reduction in the community service block grants that serve as the crucial foundation for community action agencies. The cuts will undoubtedly doom many of the programs. (The Republicans in the House would eliminate the block grants entirely.)
Kathleen Parker on "Hard-Core" Women The Washington Post columnist describes a new kind of woman taking feminism by storm:
Among other traditionally feminine tricks, the new hard-core woman has grabbed men's symbols and toys and made them her own. She shoots straight and plays hardball. At the same time, she has manhandled women's issues, neatly packaged them in ironic pink tissue and placed them neatly on a floral paper-lined shelf.
She really can do it all, and there's nothing left to whine about. This is precisely why she's so annoying. Polly Perfect in a Pinafore has only changed outfits and carries a concealed weapon instead of a lace hankie, though she probably has one of those, too. Being both feminine and tough is the latest girly wile.
The New York Times on Defense Spending The liberal editorial board highlights the spending cuts the Pentagon missed:
Mr. Gates’s proposal to cancel the Marine Corps’s costly and unworkable Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle will save $11 billion in future costs. But $3 billion has already been needlessly spent. Unfortunately, Mr. Gates’s new budget would continue many other weapons programs whose costs will continue to climb.
The $300 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has already seen costs per plane nearly double from the amount originally budgeted. It should be cut back. Programs to keep building Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines — relics of the cold war — and the unsafe V-22 Osprey aircraft should also be scaled down now.
John Fund on Wisconsin's Budget Battle The Wall Street Journal columnist defends Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who is in a stand-off with the state's government employees:
Mr. Walker's proposals are hardly revolutionary. Facing a $137 million budget deficit, he has decided to try to avoid laying off 5,500 state workers by proposing that they contribute 5.8% of their income towards their pensions and 12.6% towards health insurance. That's roughly the national average for public pension payments, and it is less than half the national average of what government workers contribute to health care. Mr. Walker also wants to limit the power of public-employee unions to negotiate contracts and work rules—something that 24 states already limit or ban.
Al Neuharth on President's Day The USA Today founder takes the occasion to list his five favorite presidents of all time. In this order, it's Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush. He explains his number one pick:
No. 1 on the list led us to victory in World War II as Gen. Ike. He saw firsthand what a strong infrastructure, including the Autobahn, did for Adolf Hitler's conquest of Europe. So as president, Ike built our vast interstate highway system, not just for civilian use but because he also had military operations in mind. He also warned about the "military-industrial complex" that traditionally is war-bound for personal gain.