Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Wall Street


Occupy Wall Street: A loud scream, but what’s the plan?

Seattle has been occupied. Tacoma has been occupied. Good heavens, even Puyallup has been occupied.

If nothing else, Occupy Wall Street is a triumph of branding. Any collection of individuals with gripes about the status quo can call itself an “Occupy,” lay claim to some public space and instantly be anointed part of the international phenomenon begun by a group of enterprising protesters in Manhattan.

A mass protest of some kind was inevitable in the current pit of economic distress and widespread joblessness. There are legions of exceedingly unhappy people out there. To its credit, Occupy Wall Street has emphasized

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Refreshing military candor about suicide and war

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Whatever problems the U.S. Army may have, evasiveness isn’t among them. This is one straight-talking organization.

Its newly released study on the psychological health of its soldiers, “Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention,” is brutally honest about a growing problem in the ranks.

The rate of suicide, drug dependence and high-risk behavior among soldiers has been pushing upward in recent years, the Army acknowledged.

The intuitive conclusion is that young men and women are snapping under the pressure of combat, but that appears to be only part of the problem – and probably the smaller part. The authors reported that only 21 percent of the soldiers who committed suicide had been deployed to combat zones more than once. The rest had been deployed only one time or not at all.

The Army pointed the finger right at itself. Some commanders – pressed to prepare their units for war – weren’t paying enough attention to their soldiers’ mental health. Standards had been lowered to meet recruiting goals. More recruits were entering the service with such baggage as drug abuse and criminal records. Fewer soldiers were being kicked out for misconduct.

Those are all command problems, though they appear largely driven by two wars that weren’t of the Army’s own making.
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The mystery of Wall Street’s stampeding market

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Start with the obvious: Some mysterious gremlin in some murky nook of America’s trading system should not be able to trigger the steepest sell-off in Wall Street history.

For that matter, a small Mediterranean country’s bad debts should not be able to threaten the European economy and spook investors around the world.

And while we’re on the subject, incomprehensible financial products based on fraudulent mortgage schemes should not be able to throw the world into a near-catastrophic credit crisis, as happened in 2008.

Republicans in Congress are attempting a last stand against a Democratic package of sweeping new regulations on financial markets and institutions. The Republicans make the usual points – some of them valid – about the virtues of free markets and the burdens of government restriction. But they’re shouting into a gale.

Americans have seen hundreds of billions of their dollars used to bail out enormous banks, and they aren’t in a mood to let the markets regulate themselves.
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