What can we live without?

When it comes to cutting government expenditures, there’s been a lot of talk of late. But all that talk has also been accompanied by an equal amount of protest when it comes to following through with those cuts.

But, there are agencies making tough decisions necessary to reduce their spending. One that the Clarion reported on recently is the Independent Living Center, a disability resource agency that serves the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and Valdez-Cordova areas.

Due to federal sequestration, the agency has had to cut 5 percent from its budget. After crunching the numbers, the agency opted to trim its travel budget. The cuts won’t affect its services on the Peninsula, where it has offices, but it does mean that staff will visit Valdez half as much as they used to.

When it comes to government spending, there are no easy cuts. Something that seems an obvious waste to one person is a crucial service to another.

But bringing government spending under control means that less funding will be available. The cuts have to come from somewhere. They are tough decisions, but they have to be made.

At some point, every entity that receives funding from the federal government is going to face the same difficult decisions. Every agency — even ones spared from major cuts this time around — needs to take a good hard look at its priorities, determine which functions are absolutely essential, and which ones we can live without.

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What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

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