Weekend Editorial Roundup

Here are the highlights from this weekend’s editorials on fiscal and budget policy:

The Denver Post argued against both a second stimulus and the delaying of a return to fiscal balance. The Post said that there was no reason to add more to the deficit when it is very unclear whether last year's stimulus was effective and the national debt is skyrocketing. Although they acknowledged that the US had more flexibility than European countries to deal with relatively high levels of debt, they said that "banking on the resilience of U.S. capitalism while the government stacks up debt becomes wildly irresponsible." They called for concrete action by next year.

The Los Angeles Times, working off of the news that France proposed to raise its retirement age from 60 to 62, noted the problems that many developed countries were facing with pensions. Demographic problems are one issue, but they also pointed out that the US has an added problem that many people rely on private pensions, which have been hammered by the financial crisis. As for public old-age benefits, The Times said that raising the retirement age with life expectancy increases is reasonable.

The Financial Times also picked up on the French pension story, praising both the retirement age and public pension reforms, but saying that Sarkozy should have gone further. They said that even with the reform, France would still have one of the lowest retirement ages in all of Europe and said he should have pushed for a 63 or 64 retirement age. They wanted further changes that would make the public pension system sustainable to be presented quickly.

The Orlando Sentinel praised a bill proposed by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ron Klein (D-FL) that would crack down on Medicare fraud. The bill is designed to prevent fraud more on the "front-end" than on the "back-end" by mandating background checks and other screening processes for Medicare providers; also, it would double the penalty for Medicare fraud. The Sentinel said that the more effort put into stopping fraud, the better.