Editorial roundup

The (Columbus) Dispatch, Sept. 14

The five pension funds that serve active and retired government workers are referred to as “public” pensions, but the money in them doesn’t belong to the public, it belongs to the workers and retirees who have paid into the system over many years.

That’s why government officials such as Gov. John Kasich, have no business telling pensions how to invest their members’ money.

But Kasich on Tuesday called on Ohio’s largest public pension, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, to “look for responsible ways to divest in companies that do business with Iran.”

Julie Graham-Price, OPERS communication manager, got it exactly right when she rebuffed Kasich’s call. “No matter how worthwhile the purpose, such actions set a dangerous precedent of using the system’s money to achieve political or social agendas,” she said.

“The pension system’s fiduciary duty to protect retiree pensions is undermined when pension assets are restricted,” she said. “Placing the responsibility and financial risk of applying economic pressure to selected governments exclusively on the backs of Ohio public employees and retirees is an unfair approach.”

Well said. Kasich has no more business telling the pension how to invest members’ contributions than he does telling any reader of this newspaper how to invest his or her own 401(k).

Kasich not only is meddling with other people’s money, he is meddling in U.S. foreign affairs, a role that is not appropriate for a governor. At the very moment when President Barack Obama is about to complete an agreement lifting economic sanctions on Iran, Kasich seeks to pressure OPERS to continue such sanctions…

Online: http://bit.ly/1F95WhY

The (Cincinnati) Enquirer, Sept. 14

Kim Davis is no Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. But her decision to essentially countermand the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling crystallized an important conversation about this nation’s balance between religious freedom and state-mandated rights.

We don’t agree with Davis but her case is valuable if only to cause us to ask ourselves: Where would I defy the state to defend my principles? What would be worth sacrificing my freedom? These are questions worth pondering, even if only to understand why you disagree with Davis.

As an editorial board, we’ve had this conversation. We’ve been clear in our position that Davis needs to follow the law of the land and issue marriage licenses. If she can’t, she should resign or be impeached.

It’s not pure chance that Kentucky is ground zero on this debate. So-called flyover states aren’t as homogeneous as many might think. The commonwealth has a constitutional prohibition against gay marriage, yes, but it is a mix of relatively liberal urban islands amid a conservative rural sea. A gay mayor presides over Lexington, an hour west of Rowan County. This political geography makes for an excellent ideological laboratory in the clash between conscience and cold statute…

Online: http://cin.ci/1iJE61D

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Sept. 12

Two months ago when we urged Congress to rise to the occasion of statesmanship in debating the historic accord aimed at eliminating Iran’s capability of building a nuclear weapon, we said that “intelligent, knowledgeable discourse” was demanded.

In light of what occurred- or didn’t occur -this week when the debate in the House and Senate was supposed to begin, it appears that we had indulged in some wishful thinking in July.

We believed, wrongly it turned out, that members of Congress would recognize the importance of the issue and set aside their partisan bickering. Not only was partisanship alive and well on Capitol Hill, there even was dissension in the ranks of the Republican majority in the House.

Votes had been scheduled in Congress on the Iran nuclear agreement, but GOP leaders insisted on first putting forth a resolution of disapproval of the treaty.

While that was going on, the Republican majority in the Senate was trying to figure out a way of overcoming the strong support for the pact from Democrats. With 42 members of President Barack Obama’s party saying they were in favor of the agreement reached between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran, Republicans were scrambling to find a way of stopping the agreement…

Online: http://bit.ly/1NrWac0