Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Education, health care, poverty and other big issues

Published: Sunday, Jan. 27 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Webb: Enormous uncertainty exists in health insurance. The full impact of Obamacare hits over the next several months, and the state will make key decisions regarding Medicaid expansion and Utah's insurance exchange. If you have insurance, hang on to it. If you don't, watch the debate and follow the developments. Form a small business and find insurance through Avenue H, Utah's health insurance marketplace.

Intergenerational poverty

Pignanelli: Notwithstanding LaVarr's snarky comments, our society must not apologize for — and express pride in — the herculean efforts of the last half-century to lift millions of fellow citizens out of starvation and indigence. Granted, many of the programs need to be jettisoned or refashioned to reflect 21st century demographics. Leaders who truly care about solving poverty will avoid useless rhetoric targeted against "liberal do-gooders" and offer detailed solutions that persuade Americans to alter destructive behavior.

Webb: The liberal establishment loves to throw taxpayer money at poverty and social problems and feels pious about helping those in need. Sometimes more money helps. But in the big picture and over many generations, overly generous government programs enslave people in cycles of poverty. Food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing won't solve the problems caused by fathers abandoning their children. The state will never be a good replacement for family. But we don't articulate well the compassionate side of conservative values and policies. We talk about numbers and deficits while liberals talk about hungry children. Guess who wins that argument?

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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