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In today's pages: budgets, bailouts and two-tier primaries

February 20, 2009 |  8:23 am

Dino_2 Enough already with the giant federal bailouts, unless an industry's problems threaten a much broader economic collapse, the editorial board advises. The Obama administration needs to construct a clear set of criteria for government intervention, and the board thinks that the auto companies' return trip for an even bigger pile of money doesn't pass the test. And the board notes thyat a back-room deal that delays new restrictions on diesel emissions isn't just bad for the environment and Californians' health, it's bad for Californian businesses as well.

The board also applauds the deal that led to the passage of a state budget, saying the changes to primaries sought by Sen. Abel Maldonado as part of the package would carry the benefit of giving centrist voters in the state more of an impact at the ballot box. But on the other side of  the fold, op-ed writer Steven Hill from the New American Foundation isn't so sure:

A top-two primary certainly would give voters more choice during the primary election, but it would reduce voters' choices in the November election -- to only two candidates, no matter how many parties put up how many candidates in the primary. That means in the general election, which is when most voters participate, the ballot will contain a dramatically reduced field.

But that's not all. In a very liberal district, say an urban area like Los Angeles, the top two candidates in November likely would be two Democrats; in a conservative district, the top two probably would be Republicans. Third-party candidates and independents almost never would appear on the November ballot. Once again, choice is reduced.

And Joel Stein has a plan, of sorts, for how he would run bad banks.

Credit: Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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