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Editorial Roundup

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The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star on ethanol energy policy (June 6) —  If Congress ever gets around to making the sort of spending cuts needed to put the country's finances on a sustainable path, the ethanol industry justifiably will be required to do its share.

As critics have pointed out, the industry currently enjoys a rare trifecta of government support. It’s subsidized. Its use is mandated. It’s protected from foreign competition.

Thanks to the government support, the industry has grown in the past three or more decades to the point that it now provides about 10 percent of the country’s transportation fuel needs.

But there’s a responsible way to cut the subsidy and a reckless way.

... The gradual ethanol subsidy reduction in (Sen. Chuck) Grassley’s bipartisan plan recognizes the importance of domestically produced, renewable fuels. The proposal deserves to be part of a comprehensive national energy policy.

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The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo., on the political rhetoric surrounding the federal budget (June 1) — Leaders of both parties are playing a dangerous game of political chicken with issues related to our national debt — dangerous for the re-election prospects of party members, but more importantly, for the economic future of this country.

Now, Americans watch as political jalopies careen toward the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline. ... We can only hope that someone hits the brakes and offers a more constructive means of crafting such critical public policy.

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The Dallas Morning News on U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan (June 6) — First-term U.S. presidents are, almost by definition, of two minds about most issues. One mind must focus on what’s best for the country; one mind must consider how each decision might play in an eventual re-election campaign.

So as Barack Obama weighs advice on what to do about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, our hope is that he’ll remember his own words from one year ago:

“We need to remember what this is all about. Our nation is at war. We face a very tough fight in Afghanistan. But Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks. We persist, and we persevere. We will not tolerate a safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy Afghan security from within and launch attacks against innocent men, women and children in our country and around the world.

“So make no mistake: We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum.”

Obama took longer than we might have liked to come to that conclusion, but once he did, he set the nation's course.

Now, the debate is how quickly to bring those troops home. ... Eventually, negotiations with the opposition Taliban are inevitable. Obama’s best move — and America’s — is to launch those talks from a position of strength, not while backing out the door.