Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Meet our new columnist, the UWT’s Katie Baird

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Oct. 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
October 8, 2010 3:42 pm

The readers of this opinion section do not cut me much slack.

Our goal is to run a nonpartisan and ideologically balanced open forum. We shoot for rough parity between lefties and righties in our national columnists and devote most of our oped space to debate on regional and state issues. Letters that challenge our editorial positions are given priority treatment.

If people think we’ve got our thumb on the scale, I hear about it. Until recently I’d been hearing a lot from liberals about our lack of a counterpoint to Richard S. Davis, who writes about state issues – especially fiscal policy – from a conservative perspective.

Patience, I’d plead, patience. I’m looking. We don’t want just anyone.

If you’ve been following these pages, you’ve probably noticed that our search is over. We have added Katie Baird to our lineup, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Baird caught our eye last March when she wrote a counterintuitive piece arguing that increasing taxes in a recession is economically smarter than cutting education and social welfare programs. It wasn’t just the opinion; it was the careful reasoning and thoughtful tone.

Turns out she has extraordinary credentials. Associate professor of economics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts. Her specialties include access to college, educational standards, public sector economics, and – OK, this is a little odd – Cuban baseball. Baird happens to be quite an authority on the economics of sports.

Like Davis, Baird knows the state and the South Sound well. Also like Davis, she’s is an engaging writer who can squeeze complex thoughts into simple sentences. They both traffic in ideas and persuasion, not red meat and ridicule. Readers who prefer the latter can find plenty of it elsewhere.

On Sunday, Baird offers her take on remedial education. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

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