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Short takes: This election is vital; it's no time for a disconnect

ONLY about 18 percent of voters under age 30 are paying close attention to this election, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

Bad move.

As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, pointed out in a column headlined: "2012's sure losers - young people: Hi, I'm Marty and I'll be your waiter for the next 40 years," this election will shape young Americans' entire economic lives.

Henninger says unemployment and underemployment fuel this political disconnect, a phenomenon that emerged in a stagnant, low-growth Europe about 10 years ago.

"The depressive effects of having no job or a junk job for a long time have been well documented," he said.

"As an economic proposition, it means also that many in this generation are falling way off the curve for lifetime earnings, savings and debt paydowns."

"Whether in Europe or the U.S., the air is filled with cries to solve various debt calamities," Henninger writes.

"Look closely, though, and you'll notice that virtually any political 'solution' on offer to the euro crisis or U.S. debt will essentially force people age zero to 35 - jobs or no jobs - to spend their lifetimes paying off the rolled-over debt that bails out the politicians and guarantees benefit flows to the older half of the population, which will escape to worry-free graves before the crisis returns."

Young people, think. Disconnect now, and literally, your entire economic lives will be shaped by others.

Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would work to avert a half-century of that kind of economic damage. As Thursday's vice presidential debate made clear, Democrats would not.


MANY West Virginia municipalities are grappling with the problem of decaying structures on abandoned property - remnants of the past that now blight cities' futures.

Wheeling is discussing a plan that could speed the clearance and redevelopment of some vacant city-owned parcels, while preserving some structures in historic areas for possible re-use, reports Ian Hicks of the Wheeling News-Register.

The city apparently owns about 370 parcels of real estate. There are 128 vacant lots, some of which can't be developed. Another 111 pieces of land are part of city parks. More than 60 parcels are parking facilities, 48 are used by the Public Works Department, 13 have structures, and nine are on a portion of the 1100 block of Main and Market streets that will be demolished.

The city has identified seven properties that could fit the Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission's proposal to get some structures back into productive use.

The city would convey some parcels to owners for a small sum, perhaps as little as $1 - in exchange for new owners' agreement to renovate "in a timely manner consistent with the neighborhood's history," Hicks wrote.

It's an interesting concept, perhaps something other cities should watch. Cities don't have to destroy the best parts of their past to open the way to a better future.


FOR the second time in two weeks, federal courts have blocked the application of new voter ID laws in the Nov. 6 election.

But the courts indicated that their concerns "lay only with the law's implementation - not the underlying requirement to show a photo ID at the polls," reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Opponents of voter ID laws lost another battle in South Carolina Wednesday, when a federal court said the state's law doesn't disenfranchise minority voters," the Journal said.

"While the judges were not confident that South Carolina's photo-ID requirements could be ready to go for the November election, they concluded that the law 'lacks discriminatory retrogressive effect or discriminatory purpose," Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote for a unanimous federal court panel.

"South Carolina's goals of preventing voter fraud and increasing electoral confidence are legitimate; those interests cannot be deemed pretextual merely because of an absence of recorded incidents of inperson voter fraud in South Carolina," Kavanaugh said.

West Virginia's political leaders should take note: It's OK to require voters to prove they are who they say they are, just as they do when they buy beer, cigarettes or set up direct-deposit for their Social Security checks, which they will have to do next year anyway.




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