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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Global warming, April 28, 1974

Though this S-R editorial doesn’t use the terms “global warming” or “climate change,” it discusses the concept and its ramifications.

“Some research physicists now maintain that even with an unlimited power supply, we are not out of the woods. All energy, no matter what form it takes, eventually ends up as heat. Burning wood or coal is an obvious example, but it applies to electricity and other forms as well. In any given case, the amount of heat may be small but is measurable. And in locations where there is a heavy concentration of human activity, the heat given off from energy consumption is more than just nominal.

“Infrared photographs from space clearly show the heat islands formed by large urban areas. Scientists estimate that New York gives off seven times as much heat as it receives from the sun. This heat dissipation has a definite effect on the atmospheric temperatures, even at present energy consumption levels. And one region susceptible to temperature changes is the Arctic.”

It continued: “Substantial melting of the vast polar ice caps would cause the ocean level to rise as much as several hundred feet. Nor is this possibility something that belongs to the distant future. Projecting energy consumption at current growth rates could well provide the heat needed to bring about that dismal prediction.”

Iran raid, April 26, 1980

The failed attempt to rescue 52 hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran prompted this S-R editorial.

“While Monday morning quarterbacking is easy, it does seem fair to question the military about this high a malfunction rate. Conditions were not ideal, but certainly no worse than during wartime.

“President Carter immediately assumed full responsibility for the aborted mission, and Defense Secretary Harold Brown held an extensive press conference. Although he declined to go into all details of the mission, he did outline the reasoning that led to it. So far, all diplomatic attempts to achieve release of the hostages had failed.”

Searching for a silver lining, the editorial noted: “While over the past months our allies have expressed their deep sympathy with our plight, they have been less than enthusiastic in volunteering tangible support. This aborted mission might impart a somewhat greater sense of urgency.”

State income tax, April 25, 2007

An S-R editorial lamented the passing of another legislative session without tax reform.

“Here’s a simple merit: Most people would be better off under a tax code that reduced the sales tax, eliminated the state’s portion of property taxes and reduced the business and occupation tax in exchange for introducing an income tax. It can be done. The Gates Commission laid out how in great detail, only to see its work shelved because of ‘the devil we don’t know.’

“This devil isn’t so mysterious. We need only look at the 42 states that have an income tax to see that they haven’t punched a one-way ticket to Hades.”

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